Saturday, November 16, 2013

Live the Lives of Witches

Eric Hoffer used to collect quotations from his reading on 3x5 index cards, often adding his own responses (not unlike what I do here). Tom Bethell's book about him recounts a number of these, including one on a topic I've recently been banging on about:

George Steiner: "We have no proof that a tradition of literary studies makes a man more humane. What is worse — a certain body of evidence points the other way. When barbarism came to twentieth century Europe the arts faculties in more than one university offered very little moral reistance. In a disturbing number of cases the literary imagination gave servile and ecstatic welcome to political bestiality."

Hoffer: The creative individual is more uniquely human than the noncreative but not more uniquely humane. Malice is as uniquely human as compassion. Where the creative live together they live the lives of witches.