Thursday, September 3, 2009

first notes on courage

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            Courage is the essence of virtue, the core of the heart, the man of the mind. Courage, sticking-it-out, persistence, doggedness, all these come down to the same, the one indispensible virtue; with courage we have a man, without it, a worm. Cowardliness is the source of every human corruption, of every vice, wanton cruelty, and crippling sin. Both courage and cowardliness are versions of fear: either you master and use it, or it masters and uses you.
            The problem of the afterlife, good or bad,  is not lack of proof that one exists, but that most men and women look proof they are worthy of an afterlife, good or bad – being so dull and uninteresting. The self is as the self does: if you shine like the sun, the universe will strive to hold you near, but if you are merely a mooner to some distant light, as most men and women are, then the best afterlife for you is the one you will receive, melded together into a larger group body – perhaps all of you together will amount to a man, perhaps not.

            Worrying whether there is an afterlife is stupid. Being powerful, evil, great, genius, passionate, loving, and glorious now on earth, so that you are worthy of the best afterlife—only such a concern would profit you whatever awaits you.

            Man glorious is moody, capricious, gentle, violent, loving, wrathful, the woodcraft of Wotan – wise and furious, laughing and dangerous. Such a one laughs before forms and functions, and the whole machine of society, which the little one by inheritance, religion, or social function claim a distinction for itself – the thing has no gender of its own, sexuality is a rare distinction –that cog of the social gear  – perhaps in the afterlife it will be a cell of a body worthy of existence. We get what we deserve, and those who are grateful for gifts undeserved nevertheless get what they really deserve.

            I am ever Hermes among the people, Wotan in my hat, I play tricks with words and names to wrangle some chuckles, and meanwhile pierce with my eyes their very souls. Sometimes I catch a glimmer of mind, a spark of will—let me find one I can love!—and here I pour the fuel, I pile dynamite and gasoline upon him and prod him to spark again. I seek men and women to admire.




Perfection Is Easy


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