Sometimes you dream strange dreams, impossible and unnatural; you wake up and remember them clearly, and are surprised at a strange fact: you remember first of all that reason did not abandon you during the whole course of your dream; you even remember that you acted extremely cleverly and logically for that whole long, long time when you were surrounded by murderers, when they were being clever with you, concealed their intentions, treated you in a friendly way, though they already had their weapons ready and were only waiting for some sort of sign; you remember how cleverly you finally deceived them, hid from them; then you realize that they know your whole deception by heart and merely do not show you that they know where you are hiding; but you are clever and deceive them again—all that you remember clearly. But why at the same time could your reason be reconciled with such obvious absurdities and impossibilities, with which, among other things, your dream was filled? Before your eyes, one of your murderers turned into a woman, and from a woman into a clever, nasty little dwarf—and all that you allowed at once, as an accomplished fact, almost without the least perplexity, and precisely at the moment when, on the other hand, your reason was strained to the utmost, displaying extraordinary force, cleverness, keenness, logic? Why, also, on awakening from your dream and entering fully into reality, do you feel almost every time, and occasionally with an extraordinary force of impressions, that along with the dream you are leaving behind something you have failed to fathom? You smile at the absurdity of your dream and feel at the same time that the tissue of those absurdities contains some thought, but a thought that is real, something that belongs to your true life, something that exists and has always existed in your heart; it is as if your dream has told you something new, prophetic, awaited; your impression is strong, it is joyful or tormenting, but what it is and what has been told you—all that you can neither comprehend nor recall.
We all accept the fact that there was a time before we were born, when we didn’t yet exist - so why should we be so disturbed at the prospect of nonexistence after our death?
If one’s life has a point as a part of something larger, it is still possible to ask about that larger thing, what is the point of it? Either there’s an answer in terms of something still larger or there isn’t. If there is, we simply repeat the question. If there isn’t, then our search for a point has come to an end with something which has no point. But if that pointlessness is acceptable for the larger thing of which our life is a part, why shouldn’t it be acceptable already for our life taken as a whole? Why isn’t it all right for your life to be pointless?
Not until the creation and maintenance of decent conditions of life for all men are recognized and accepted as a common obligation of all men and all countries-not until then shall we, with a certain degree of justification, be able to speak of mankind as civilized.
他们从来没有能力驾驭思想, 而是热烈地信仰它, 于是从此就仿佛在倒塌下来并把他们压得半死的巨石之下, 在垂死的痉挛重度过余生.
I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad — worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get MAD! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot — I don’t want you to write to your congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say: ‘I’m a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!’
We are young, confident, affluent, and have no memory of tougher times. We’ve grown up in an era of never ending financial growth, and have expected things to stay that way. We’ve grown up in owner occupied homes with total acceptance of technology, global warming and terrorism. Our whole society has been based on consumerism for the past fifteen years, making us dream consumers, yet we don’t know the difference between a credit card and a debit card, and we have no idea how much a pint of milk costs.
On average we have eight hundred illegally downloaded songs, and one in eight of us spends more than one hundred pounds a month on our mobile phone bill. We’ve never read a newspaper, and we’ve never used our chance to vote.
We allow our governments to make decisions without giving us all the facts. They send troops abroad who will die in order that we can steal resources from the people who have them. People who meant us little or no harm until we invaded their country. We allow those troops to commit horrendous atrocities and yet our leaders hang our alleged enemies for much less.
We’ve spent years entrusting our futures to our parents, our governments, the banks and the corporations who have continually lobbied for their own interests, and we’ve let them make selfish decisions that have left our society teetering on the edge of ruin.
We’re blinded from the information that would really shock us by stories of sex and sleaze which doesn’t make the smallest difference to our lives, and so we have no desire to do anything about the things that really do. We’ve watched as greed wipes billions off the world’s stock markets, destroys jobs and lives, and proves that capitalism is just as corruptible by human nature as communism.
These are tough times but we seek solace in our friends and Co-Conspirators, we make small differences in each other’s lives, and dream that we can make real progress.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference