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Jesus

‘He goes to great lengths to emphasise the demand for unworldliness, telling the people to think of nothing but God, and not to be anxious about the morrow. The Sermon on the Mount is a demand for asceticism and devotion to God. Jesus attacks hypocrites and worldly-wise-men, and demands a higher standard of conduct. Generally speaking, his attitude to the world is very like Nietzsche’s — harshly critical, and based on a feeling that most men are only half-men, and that they ought to spend all their time becoming whole-men.’

 

‘On reading the Gospels, it becomes clear that Jesus’s aim was the aim of every prophet and artist — to make men more alive, more conscious; a desire to get more life and more will out of a great sea of half-dead matter. He teaches that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the vehicle of the expression of the God-force.’

 

‘This, then, is the essence of Christ’s teaching: it is the will of the life force that men should strive for more consciousness and life (or, as Jesus would have expressed it, it is God’s will that men strive to become more like Him). All men must be made to realise that this is the single and sole aim. When they do so, they will cease to bother their heads about trivialities; they will cease to be petty and quarrelsome.’

 

‘He had told them that ‘the kingdom of God was within them,’ and that men are gods (as the Eighty-second Psalm states) and must strive to ‘have life more abundantly’ by accepting greater responsibility for carrying out God’s purpose in the world.’

 

On Religion and Civilisation

‘Spiritual standards have almost ceased to exist, and Freud and Karl Marx have done a thorough job of convincing us that all men are much the same, subject to the same kind of psychological and economic pressures.’

 

‘Spiritual hell is to place a man of high abilities and great talent in a position where he will be frustrated and bored, denied self-expression. It is, in short, the Outsider’s position in the world.’

 

‘The obvious necessity is that the great artists and philosophers of the age should also be its religious men and scientists. The scientist should be as capable of attaining religious insight as the monk is of understanding the quantum theory. The necessity today is obviously for a renaissance of the idea of purpose — of the meaning of life. This is the basis of the existentialist revolt.’

 

‘The ideal of a civilisation is to become ‘self-determined. But what then? It is like saying that the ideal aim of a man is to be perfectly self-controlled. But to what end? A man might strive for self-control in order to be a better soldier or thinker or artist or saint; but self-control is no end in itself.’

 

‘Man is a telephone line between God and the world, and his business is to be as receptive as possible.’

 

‘Civilisations wreck when they lose control over their own complexity. And they begin to lose control the moment they begin to think in materialist categories; for ultimately, all power is spiritual power.’

 

‘Western man — Faustian man — has always been inclined to lay too much emphasis on his intellect. This is the secret of his tremendous material progress; but it is also the cause of his downfall. He loses spiritual power — the vital sense that keeps species healthy. Without this vital sense, the word ‘progress’ is a mockery; it is like having a streamlined car, but no petrol to run it on.’

 

‘The ideal social discipline is the one that takes fullest account of the men of genius. When society no longer has such discipline, the men of genius become Outsiders: they feel lost; they no longer seem to fit into the social body.’

 

‘There is a certain type of person who likes to declare that life is meaningless — usually as a justification for some hedonistic philosophy or just sheer empty-headedness. I have tried to argue that there is a meaning, and that it can be discovered by rigorous analysis and a tremendous will to discovery. (Without this latter, all the scepticism in the world is barren.)’

 

‘What is important to realise is that ‘mystical’ experiences are not experiences of another order of reality, but insights into this order seen with extraordinarily clear vision and greater concentration.’

 

‘Most people will claim that ‘they know their own limitations,’ although what they really mean is that they have no intention of paying the tremendous price of will power and sweat that makes a great artist. The moral teacher who tries to persuade men to stop looking for comfort and strive to become great is likely to find himself without an audience.’

 

‘A religion is the receptacle of the heroic, the symbol of man’s need to strive for prehension. Failure of religion and world wars are inevitable companions.’

 

‘I believe every civilisation reaches a moment of crisis, and that Western civilisation has now reached its moment. I believe that this crisis presents its challenge: Smash, or go on to higher things. So far, no civilisation has ever met this challenge successfully. History is the study of the bones of civilisations that failed, as the pterodactyl and the dinosaur failed.’

 

‘In our case, the scientific progress that has brought us closer than ever before to conquering the problems of civilisation, has also robbed us of spiritual drive; and the Outsider is doubly a rebel: a rebel against the Established Church, a rebel against the unestablished church of materialism. Yet for all this, he is the real spiritual heir of the prophets, of Jesus and St. Peter, of St. Augustine and Peter Waldo. The purest religion of any age lies in the hands of its spiritual rebels. The twentieth century is no exception.’

 

‘Not necessarily the Nietzschean Superman, but some type of man with broader consciousness and a deeper sense of purpose than ever before. Civilisation cannot continue in its present muddling, short-sighted way, producing better and better refrigerators, wider and wider cinema screens, and steadily draining men of all sense of a life of the spirit. The Outsider is nature’s attempt to counterbalance this death of purpose. The challenge is immediate, and demands response from every one of us who is capable of understanding it.’

 

‘Ideas are fashionable, and then become unfashionable, and this is unimportant; it matters as little as that the headlines of the news papers change every day. The standards by which we judge a Shakespeare or Dante are the real and important standards.’

A really simple entry

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Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer tincidunt. Cras dapibus. Vivamus elementum semper nisi. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus. Aenean leo ligula, porttitor eu, consequat vitae, eleifend ac, enim.

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