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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

If reality contradicts your thoughts, that’s delusion. If your thoughts contradict your actions, that’s madness. If reality contradicts your actions, that’s defeat, frustration, self-destruction. And no sane being wants delusion, madness and destruction.

– From the Golden Transcendence, John C. Wright, page 212

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3 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • veryretired

    And yet, if you look back over most of the history of the human race, what do you see repeated over and over and over again? Delusion, madness, and destruction.

    This is not just a feature of the distant past, based on ignorance or lack of scientific knowledge. I would contend that the intellectual chaos, and increasing irrationlity, of the 19th century led directly to the delusions, madness, and destruction of the 20th.

    It is as if, sometime in the past, there was a debate over some bad thing that had happened, and one person got up and said, “We don’t know exactly what’s causing this, and we’re not sure what the best course of action is now, but give it some time, let me gather some evidence, and we’ll probably be able to deal with the problem successfully.”

    But then, another voice was heard. Someone got up and said, “I saw a vision in my dream, and a spirit told me that this whole problem was caused by an evil curse brought about by the first speaker. He challenged the will of the gods, and we are being punished. If we atone now, and do what I say, the gods might forgive us.”

    How many times has this same scenario played out, in cultures uncounted, down through the ages, on every continent, from glacial tundra to tropical paradise. The irrational, the fearful, the desperate need for certainty, the sneaky fear that someone has an inside line to powers beyond the natural world, and the equally desperate desire to turn those powers to our advantage—all these have won out, repeatedly, over the calm, the careful, the rational, the empirical.

    Why should anyone be surprised, then, that disaster follows disaster, madness begets madness, the delusional is believed without reservation, while the rational is treated with skeptical disdain?

    We have been following the wrong people, accepting truths that have no truth in them, claims that are visceral instead of intellectual, visions that are filled with death and blood, as are the archetypal hallucinations of the schizophrenic, the psychotic.

    The struggle between the conscious, human mind, and the reptilian repository of fear and hunger is ceaseless and unavoidable. Every person must choose one approach to the world around us or the other.

    Someone once said, “The anti-mind is the anti-life.”

    If the world is filled with delusion, madness, and destruction, which “gods” have been chosen?

  • Wook

    What an awesome triology that was. Is his other work as good?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Wook, I have not read any of the other books. I have just finished the third of the trilogy. I quite liked them and they offer a lot of food for thought. (You can spot the Ayn Rand influences in some of the passages). I will admit, however, that I find some of the dialogue and plot twists to be baffling and I found that reading parts of the books was a bit of a challenge. But Wright does play with some fascinating plot ideas.