Possession is more often secular than supernatural. Men are possessed by their thoughts of a hated person, a hated class, race or nation. At the present time the destinies of the world are in the hands of self-made demoniacs — of men who are possessed by, and who manifest, the evil they have chosen to see in others. They do not believe in devils, but they have tried their hardest to be possessed — have tried and been triumphantly successful.

Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudon

https://coldewey.cc/2020/11/secular-possession/ »

I now rambled about in great uneasiness from the coffee-house to the promenade, from thence to the museum, from the museum to the tavern, from the tavern to the exhibition of wild beasts, and at last to the playhouse, but I could nowhere find tranquillity.

Lawrence Flammenberg, The Necromancer; or, The Tale of the Black Forest

https://coldewey.cc/2019/11/4036/ »

We don’t need other worlds. We need mirrors.

Stanislaw Lem, Solaris

https://coldewey.cc/2019/09/3980/ »

There is little else to do but write this clear explanation of everything that has happened to me since the misfortune of birth. He that has fared better, and without deceiving himself, let him utter his jackass cry.

Robert Aickman, The Fetch
https://coldewey.cc/2018/09/there-is-little-else-to-do-but-write-this-clear/ »

For art is like a living organism — better dead than dying.

Samuel Butler, Erewhon
https://coldewey.cc/2017/12/for-art-is-like-a-living-organism-better-dead/ »

Never could the eye have beheld the sun, had not its own essence been soliform, neither can a soul not beautiful attain to an intuition of beauty.

Samuel Coleridge (paraphrasing Plotinus) – Biographia Literaria
https://coldewey.cc/2017/06/never-could-the-eye-have-beheld-the-sun-had-not/ »

When the artichoke flowers, and the chirping grass-hopper sits in a tree and pours down his shrill song continually from under his wings in the season of wearisome heat, then goats are plumpest and wine sweetest; women are most wanton, but men are feeblest.

At that time let me have a shady rock and wine of Biblis, a clot of curds and milk of drained goats with the flesh of an heifer fed in the woods, that has never calved, and of firstling kids; then also let me drink bright wine, sitting in the shade, when my heart is satisfied with food, and so, turning my head to face the fresh Zephyr, from the everflowing spring which pours down unfouled thrice pour an offering of water, but make a fourth libation of wine.

Hesiod, Works and Days
https://coldewey.cc/2017/06/when-the-artichoke-flowers-and-the-chirping/ »

Fools! They know not how much more the half is than the whole, nor what great advantage there is in mallow and asphodel.

Hesiod, Works and Days
https://coldewey.cc/2017/02/fools-they-know-not-how-much-more-the-half-is/ »

Full many a stoic eye and aspect stern
Mask hearts where grief hath little left to learn;
And many a withering thought lies hid, not lost,
In smiles that least befit who wear them most.

Lord Byron, The Corsair
https://coldewey.cc/2017/01/full-many-a-stoic-eye-and-aspect-stern-mask/ »

The sea had leeringly kept his finite body up, but drowned the infinite of his soul. Not drowned entirely, though. Rather carried down alive to wondrous depths, where strange shapes of the unwarped primal world glided to and fro before his passive eyes; and the miser-merman, Wisdom, revealed his hoarded heaps; and among the joyous, heartless, ever-juvenile eternities, Pip saw the multitudinous, God-omnipresent, coral insects, that out of the firmament of waters heaved the colossal orbs. He saw God’s foot upon the treadle of the loom, and spoke it; and therefore his shipmates called him mad.

Herman Melville, Moby Dick
https://coldewey.cc/2016/12/the-sea-had-leeringly-kept-his-finite-body-up-but/ »

Failure is less frequently attributable to either insufficiency of means or impatience of labour, than to a confused understanding of the thing actually to be done.

John Ruskin, The Seven Lamps of Architecture
https://coldewey.cc/2016/11/failure-is-less-frequently-attributable-to-either/ »

Love has many masks; masks of submission and of oppression; and even more terrible masks that make Nature a stranger to herself and ‘turn the truth of God into a lie,’ as St. Paul wrote.

Ray Russell, Sardonicus
https://coldewey.cc/2016/11/love-has-many-masks-masks-of-submission-and-of/ »

I could cite you more than one hundred incidents corroborating the truth, that people have a very confused idea when their senses are tied up by fear and anxiety. As soon as cool reflection gives way to the horrors of a disordered fancy, we are but too apt to create phantoms and spectres all around us, we do not see what really exists, but what we fear to behold.

Lawrence Flammenberg, The Necromancer; or, The Tale of the Black Forest
https://coldewey.cc/2016/10/i-could-cite-you-more-than-one-hundred-incidents/ »

Horrid to behold did now a second phantom appear before our gazing looks, staggering slowly towards us, and leaving a numerous retinue on the staircase; the garment of the spectre was stained with blood, the skull fractured, the eyes like two portentous comets!

Lawrence Flammenberg, The Necromancer; or, The Tale of the Black Forest
https://coldewey.cc/2016/09/horrid-to-behold-did-now-a-second-phantom-appear/ »

There is one thing to be said for Mondays. They take the mind off everything else.

William Sloane, To Walk the Night
https://coldewey.cc/2016/08/there-is-one-thing-to-be-said-for-mondays-they/ »

There is no such thing as a stationary point in human endeavors; he who is not worse today than he was yesterday is better; and he who is not better is worse.

Edward Taller, Journals
https://coldewey.cc/2016/07/there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-stationary-point-in/ »

There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.

Jack London – The Call of the Wild
https://coldewey.cc/2016/04/there-is-an-ecstasy-that-marks-the-summit-of-life/ »

Sweet close rings of the serpent’s twining,
As heart in heart lay sighing and pining.
“What bright babes had Lilith and Adam!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Shapes that coiled in the woods and waters,
Glittering sons and radiant daughters.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti – “Eden Bower”
https://coldewey.cc/2016/03/sweet-close-rings-of-the-serpents-twining-as/ »

It sometimes happens that, even against principles, even against liberty, equality, and fraternity, even against universal suffrage, even against the government of all by all, from the depths of its anguish, of its discouragements, of its privations, of its fevers, of its distresses, of its miasmas, of its ignorance, of its darkness, that great madman, the rabble, protests, and the populace gives battle to the people.

Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
https://coldewey.cc/2016/01/it-sometimes-happens-that-even-against/ »

There are some people, my dear, who hate advice, and, on the whole, do you know, I rather think they are right.

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, The Rose and the Key
https://coldewey.cc/2015/12/there-are-some-people-my-dear-who-hate-advice/ »