Gleanings from the Past #80

Cynicism and Horror

cthulhu

Only a cynic can create horror — for behind every masterpiece of the sort must reside a driving demonic force that despises the human race and its illusions, and longs to pull them to pieces and mock them.

— H. P. Lovecraft, letter to Edward Baird dated c. October 1923, quoted in Weird Tales, March 1924

Kingons

The only thing known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Wheedle. He reasoned like this: you can’t have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles — kingons, or possibly queons — that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed.”

— Terry Pratchett, Mort, 1987

Busybodies

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

— C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays in Theology, 1948

Immortality of Verses

The Sun’s a Poet, and his poetry
The stars of heaven that shine when he is absent:
So live man’s verses best when they’re dead,
Gilding the night of Time.

— John A. Heraud, Salvador, the Poor Man of Naples, 1845

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com

5 thoughts on “Gleanings from the Past #80

  1. That C.S. Lewis quotation is one of my favorites. As soon as I read ‘busybodies’ I was sure I’d have the pleasure of reading again. The busybodies are multiplying among us, sad to say.

    Like

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