If evil is due to ignorance, then all professors should be saints.

Richard S. Emrich

We who live beneath a sky still streaked with the smoke of crematoria have paid a high price to find out that evil is really evil.

Francois Mauriac

I would suggest that barbarism be considered as a permanent and universal human characteristic which becomes more or less pronounced according to the play of circumstances.

Simone Weil

A duck’s legs, though short, cannot be lengthened without discomfort to the duck; a crane’s legs, though long, cannot be shortened without discomfort to the crane.


Humanity does not change much; in some ways it even improves. Our international football games are occasions for violence, but football began in England with a severed head for a ball.

Anthony Burgess

Man will only become better when you make him see what he is like.

Anton Chekhov

Krishnamurti was in a car with three friends who were heatedly discussing “awareness.” There was a jolt to the car but no one paid any attention as they were all intent upon the arguments. Krishnamurti turned to them and asked what everyone was discussing. “Awareness” came the reply and they all wanted him to join. He asked, “Did any of you notice what happened just now?” “No.” “We knocked down a goat. Did you not see it?” “No.” “And you were discussing awareness?”

Pupul Jayakar

What a piece of bread looks like depends on whether you are hungry or not.

Jallaludin Rumi

There is tenderness only in the coarsest demand: that no one shall go hungry anymore.

Theodor Adorno

There can be no love in one who does not love himself, and one can only love himself if he has the compassion that grows out of the terrifying confrontation with one’s own self. To look into one’s shadow is to learn compassion for the shadow of others. . . . If you hate yourself with a fierce loathing, you may try to run from your own shadow in a campaign to do good, not for love, but to rescue your ego and convince yourself that you are not evil. In the eyes of how many world-transforming activists do we see dissonance, anxiety, fear, and self-loathing? They would reform the world, but they cannot even reform themselves, much less quit smoking.

William Irwin Thompson, Evil and World Order

“Man is unhappy because he doesn’t know he’s happy. It’s only that. That’s all, that’s all! If anyone finds out he’ll become happy at once, that minute. . . . It’s all good. I discovered it all of a sudden.”

“And if anyone dies of hunger,” [asks Stavrogin], “and if anyone insults and outrages the little girl, is that good?”

“Yes! And if anyone blows his brains out for the baby, that’s good too. And if anyone doesn’t, that’s good too. It’s all good, all. It’s good for all those who know that it’s all good. If they knew that it was good for them, it would be good for them, but as long as they don’t know it’s good for them, it will be bad for them. That’s the whole idea, the whole of it! . . . They’re bad because they don’t know they’re good. When they find out, they won’t outrage a girl. They’ll find out that they’re good and they’ll all become good, every one of them.”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Possessed

Mystics and schizophrenics find themselves in the same ocean, but the mystics swim whereas the schizophrenics drown.

R.D. Laing

When a man becomes fully conscious of his powers, his role, his destiny, he’s an artist and he ceases his struggle with reality. . . . Thus, he is enabled to play the monstrous role of living and dying innumerable times, according to the measure of his capacity for life.

Henry Miller

They can crush all the roses they want to, but they will not be able to postpone the spring.

Octavio Paz