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The Book of the Damned

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Author Topic: The Book of the Damned  (Read 3603 times)
Dusk
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« on: April 12, 2009, 02:42:03 am »

Our general expression:

That the state that is commonly and absurdly called "existence," is a flow, or a current, or an attempt, from negativeness to positiveness, and is intermediate to both.

By positiveness we mean:

Harmony, equilibrium, order, regularity, stability, consistency, unity, realness, system, government, organization, liberty, independence, soul, self, personality, entity, individuality, truth, beauty, justice, perfection, definiteness—

That all that is called development, progress, or evolution is movement toward, or attempt toward, this state for which, or for aspects of which, there are so many names, all of which are summed up in the one word "positiveness."

At first this summing up may not be very readily acceptable. At first it may seem that all these words are not synonyms: that "harmony" may mean "order," but that by "independence," for instance, we do not mean "truth," or that by "stability" we do not mean "beauty," or "system," or "justice."

I conceive of one inter-continuous nexus, which expresses itself

p. 8

in astronomic phenomena, and chemic, biologic, psychic, sociologic: that it is everywhere striving to localize positiveness: that to this attempt in various fields of phenomena—which are only quasi-different—we give different names. We speak of the "system" of the planets, and not of their "government": but in considering a store, for instance, and its management, we see that the words are interchangeable. It used to be customary to speak of chemic equilibrium, but not of social equilibrium: that false demarcation has been broken down. We shall see that by all these words we mean the same state. As every-day conveniences, or in terms of common illusions, of course, they are not synonyms. To a child an earth worm is not an animal. It is to the biologist.

By "beauty," I mean that which seems complete.

Obversely, that the incomplete, or the mutilated, is the ugly.

Venus de Milo.

To a child she is ugly.

When a mind adjusts to thinking of her as a completeness, even though, by physiologic standards, incomplete, she is beautiful.

A hand thought of only as a hand, may seem beautiful.

Found on a battlefield—obviously a part—not beautiful.

But everything in our experience is only a part of something else that in turn is only a part of still something else—or that there is nothing beautiful in our experience: only appearances that are intermediate to beauty and ugliness—that only universality is complete: that only the complete is the beautiful: that every attempt to achieve beauty is an attempt to give to the local the attribute of the universal.

By stability, we mean the immovable and the unaffected. But all seeming things are only reactions to something else. Stability, too, then, can be only the universal, or that besides which there is nothing else. Though some things seem to have—or have—higher approximations to stability than have others, there are, in our experience, only various degrees of intermediateness to stability and instability. Every man, then, who works for stability under its various names of "permanency," "survival," duration," is striving to localize in something the state that is realizable only in the universal.

By independence, entity, and individuality, I can mean only that

p. 9
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