October 27, 2009

The Madness of the World

"Is it true, my friends, that there are many more insane persons in our day than ever before? Why? Because of the very powerful effect of the passions, it seems to me... A soul too sensitive to the pleasures of passions also feels sharply the pain they cause. In such a soul paradise and hell are neighbors. Ecstasy is followed by either despair or melancholy, each of which so often opens the door... to the madhouse."

Nikolay Karamzin, “The Letters of a Russian Traveler”

"But isn’t the exalted state of a poet, or an inventor, closer to what is called insanity than insanity is to an ordinary animal-like stupidity? Isn’t what we call common sense a highly elastic term, a term used by an ordinary person against a great man who is incomprehensible to him, and also by a man of genius to cover up his reasonings and not to frighten an ordinary person with them?"

Prince Vladimir Odoevsky, “Russian Nights”

"A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying: ‘You are mad, you are not like us.’"

St. Anthony the Great

"There is a way which seems right to man, but its end is the way of death."

King Solomon, Proverbs 14:12

"In each of us, two natures are at war – the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. But in our own hands lies the power to choose – what we want most to be we are."

Robert Louis Stevenson, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"