Benjamin DeCasseres | Quotes

FANTASIA IMPROMPTU

Idea No. 4602. — The evolution and incarnation of the Satanic spirit. Satanism in sex, in religion, in art, in science, in sentiment, in love, in metaphysics, in poetry, in friendship. It is curious the thrill I get out of the word “Satan” and its variations. To look at the advertisement each day in big type in the newspapers of “The Sorrows of Satan” gives me a thrill. The word always causes to rise in me a whole panorama of complex and inter-related emotions, ideas and super-normal abstractions. I still believe Satan is a vast Thing, not an abstraction of moods, prenatal experiences and beliefs. We are the miniatures of abstractions, and abstractions are made up of an infinite number of miniatures. Thus do I reconcile Plato and Aristotle, Science and Religion. I have a demon in me; but I do not want to suppress it. I want to express it. That’s the difference between me and a Christian. Only the epicurean pessimist gets one hundred per cent out of life. All things build a road to his door. I read recently that Gabriele D’Annunzio burns all letters he receives without opening them. You hypocrite pacifist! You are a peace-lover because you itch to murder. Your pacifism is your guard, your fear erected into a virtue. Personally, I am bitterly anti-Christian; but I cannot do without Christianity. It is the mother of my irony, my scepticism, my mystical nihilism. There is a naiveté about anarchists, revolutionaries and Utopian poets which is not found at all among legislators and the Cardinals of the Vatican. No wonder Church and State smile forever and forever with that gay, knowing, Mephistophelian smile! I break the Ten Commandments over the head of Moses and turn to “my people” and say unto them, “Do as thy wilt!” It is possible to invent stenches that do not exist in nature—Christianity inventing sins, for instance. I am the most bitter and militant anti-feminist it is possible to conceive. I am pro-woman, but anti-feminist. Is there anything “unnatural”? No, nothing that can be done is “unnatural”.

UNDER A MASK

The right to live implies theft. If you cannot take, you cannot live. What we call social justice is merely the machinery by which we regulate theft. The ideal of good citizenship is the philosophy of servants. All popular uprisings are attempts to impose upon the strong the very yoke which the weak are trying to cast off. There are no bad men; there are only men who affect us badly; men who reject our way to felicity; who will have none of our blessed state. The strong man seeks out evil; the weak man is sought out by evil. Wreak your soul on Life. Use your powers. Never question whether they are moral. Once you put the question you are already weak.

A MEMORABLE ESCAPE

He who believes that good is the end of the universe, tolerate him; he who believes that evil is the end of the universe, respect him; but he who says that ends are myths, follow him! The cosmic mind can have no evil thoughts; the vilest things can be pictured there and smiled at… Misery… is caused by the inability of the individual mind to discriminate between what is its good and what is its not-good.

THE MASQUERADE

The brain itself is only a dream of conscious force and this body of mine but a haunted house, itself forever withering and crumbling under the strain of its mutabilities.

THE ETERNAL RENAISSANCE

A pagan movement is always a “new movement.” It is always a rebellion against dogma, codes, conventions, systems The pagan attitude is the attitude of wonder, amazement, childish delight. Winter is haunted with the ghost of a spring. Paganism is the instinct for liberty. It is a tendency, not a bindle of opinions. The spirit of scepticism is essentially pagan. Dogma and morals orb in the same beaten track. Paganism is attitude. The emptiness of that word “progress”! The pagan spirit can never die. It is itself the instinct to live.

POSTERITY: THE NEW SUPERSTITION

When an Oriental worships the soul of a bit of wood we call him superstitious; when the Westerner worships certain letters of his alphabet which spell “God” or “Church” or “Morality” or “Posterity” we call it the Ideal.

AN EVAPORATING UNIVERSE

As the years roll over us we become more dogmatic about the few things we do know, and it is this dogmatism that is mistaken for wisdom, just as a deep, matured voice is often mistaken for brains. If you stare at a truth too long it will become an error. To sacrifice our life for another is ridiculous from nature’s point of view, for nature knows nothing of individuals. The desire to do good is the source of all the evil in the world. A pessimist is a man who sees life as it is. …the disinterested seeker after truth is always the pessimist, the alarmist, the iconoclast. For a man to see life as it really is he should spend a year in a madhouse, a year in a hospital, a year in a jail, and a year in a tomb. In the madhouse he will come to understand practical life, in a hospital he will see the soul of man as it slowly turns and writhes on its bed of needles, in the jail he will come to comprehend the meaning of universal necessity and catch upon his ear the wail from the depths of things, in the tomb he will meet Change the Comedian. Universal unhappiness is caused by the inability of infinite appetite to subsist on a finite number of crumbs. Why should I go ghost hunting, for who has explained man? Where is there a haunted house that can compare with this universe before me? Nature is not a series of Laws. Nature is infinite readjustment. An eternal Law is only an adjustment that has lasted a long while. Life is Death’s dream.

THE TRAIL OF THE WORM

The one fact is Pain; all other facts are factors. Our memories of childhood are not the same as the childhood we remember. Behind all masks of time and place there is the grimace of Mephisto.

PRELUDE

Whatever exists preys. I believe in the grandeur and the divinity of the individual man against the mass—Public Opinion, Church or State. I have no programmes, panaceas, nos­trums, cure-alls or a mission. Live and let live! What we call our problems are merely the comic attempts of humans to deform or to lie about Necessity. The most tragic happenings on Earth are comedies in the brains of the gods… Mirth is the mischievous pétarade at the banquets of the Staid and Solemn; it is what Mencken calls the dead cat in the shrine. Power, my naïve Christ­ian-Socialist brother, is your secret dream. I shall unmask humility-fakers. In the war of opposing beliefs and ideals the sceptic, the artist, the satirist goes scot-free.