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Old 29-09-2013, 02:04 AM   #21
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Somewhere in the balance betweeen etiquette and free-speech is where the engine of true civilization finds its fuel :

"Politeness, n. The most acceptable hypocrisy." -- Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914), The Devil's Dictionary

"Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength." -- Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

"All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

"And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


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Old 02-10-2013, 12:51 AM   #22
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OK, boys and girls, today we're going to read a wonderful story about how they used to apply the screw to folks in the olden days:


One quite cold autumnal morning he walked down the rue de la Harpe with his two manuscripts under his arm. He made his way to the Quai des Augustins and strolled along the pavement, looking alternately at the flowing Seine and the booksellers' stalls as if his presiding genius were advising him to throw himself into the river rather than the career of letters. After anguished hesitations and an attentive scrutiny of the more or less kindly, enheartening, surly, merry or dreary faces he observed through the windows or on the door-steps, his eye caught a building in front of which shop attendants were packing up books. The walls were covered with posters:


Le Solitaire, by Monsieur le Vicomte d'Arlincourt, 3rd edition.
Leonide, by Victor Ducange. 5 vols printed on fine paper

Price 12 francs.

Inductions morales, by Keratry.

'They're lucky people!' Lucien exclaimed.

Posters, a new and original invention of the famous Ladvocat, were then flourishing on walls for the first time. Paris was soon to become a medley of colours thanks to the imitators of this method of advertisement, the source of one kind of public revenue. His heart bursting with excitement and anxiety, Lucien, once so important in Angouleme and now so small in Paris, sidled his way alongside the row of publishing-houses and summoned up enough courage to enter the shop he had noticed. It was crowded with assistants, customers and booksellers -- authors too perhaps, Lucien supposed.

'I should like to speak to Monsieur Vidal or Monsieur Porchon,' he said to an assistant. He had read the shop-sign on which was written in large letters:



'Both of those gentlemen are engaged,' replied a busy assistant.

'I will wait.'

The poet was left alone in the shop, where he examined the batches of books. Two hours went by while he looked at the titles, opened the volumes and read pages here and there. In the end he leaned his shoulder against a glazed door draped with short green curtains behind which, he suspected, was either Vidal or Porchon. He overheard the following conversation:

'Will you take five hundred copies ? If so I'll let you have them at five francs each and give you sixteen per cent on sales.'

'What price would that come to per volume ?'

'A reduction of sixteen sous.'

'That would be four francs four sous,' said Vidal -- or was it Porchon ? -- to the man who was offering his books for sale.

'Yes,' replied the vendor.

'On credit ?' asked the buyer.

'You old humbug! And then I suppose you'd settle with me in eighteen months with bills postdated a year ?'

'No, I'd settle straight away,' replied Vidal -- or Porchon.

'To fall due when ? In nine months ?' asked the publisher or author who was evidently offering a book for sale.

'No, my dear man: in a year,' answered the wholesale bookseller. There was a moment's silence.

'You're bleeding me white !' cried the unknown.

'But surely you don't suppose we shall have got rid of five hundred copies of Leonide in twelve months,' the bookseller replied to Victor Ducange's publisher. 'If books sold as the publishers liked we should be millionaires; but they sell as the public likes. Walter Scott's novels bring us eighteen sous a volume, three francs sixty for the complete works, and you want me to sell your rubbishy books for more than that ? If you want me to push your novel make it worth my while. - Vidal!'

A stout man left the cash-desk and came forward with a pen behind his ear.

'In the last trip you made,' Porchon asked him, 'how many of Ducange's books did you place ?'

'I unloaded two hundred copies of Le petit Vieillard de Calais. But, in order to get them off my hands, I had to lower the price of two other works which were not bringing so much discount. They have turned into very pretty "nightingales".'

Later Lucien was to learn that the term 'nightingale' was applied by booksellers to works which stay perched up on shelves in the remote recesses of their store-rooms.

'Besides,' continued Vidal, 'you know that Picard is about to bring out some novels. We are promised twenty percent discount on the retail price so that we may make a success of them.'

'All right. One year,' the publisher dolefully replied: he was dumbfounded by Vidal's last confidential remark to Porchon.

'It's agreed ?' Porchon asked the publisher in a sharp tone.


The publisher left, and Lucien heard Porchon saying to Vidal: 'We have orders for three hundred copies. We'll put off the date for settlement with him, sell the Leonide volumes at five francs each, demand payment for them in six months, and . . . '

'And,' added Vidal, 'that's a profit of fifteen hundred francs.'

'Well, I could see he's getting into difficulties.'

'He'll be in the soup! He's paying Ducange four thousand francs for two thousand copies.'

Lucien halted Vidal by planting himself squarely in the doorway of this cage.

'Gentlemen,' he said to the booksellers. 'I have the honour of greeting you.'

The booksellers scarcely returned his salutation.

'I am the author of a novel on the history of France, after the manner of Walter Scott, entitled The Archer of Charles the Ninth, and I have come to propose that you should buy it.'

Porchon laid his pen on his desk and threw a tepid glance at Lucien. As for Vidal, he gave the author a brutal stare and replied: 'Monsieur, we are not publishing booksellers. When we produce books on our own account, that is an operation we only undertake with established authors. Besides that, we only purchase serious books, works of history and digests.'

'But mine is a very serious book. It reveals the true significance of the conflict between the Catholics, who stood for absolutism, and the Protestants, who wanted to found a republic.'

'Monsieur Vidal!' an assistant shouted. Vidal slipped away.

'I am not saying, Monsieur, that your book is not a masterpiece,' replied Porchon with a very discourteous shrug, 'but that we are only concerned with books which are already in print. Go and see the firms which buy manuscripts - Papa Daguereau, in the rue du Coq, near the Louvre. He is one of those who publish novels. If only you had told me earlier! You have just seen us talking to Pollet, a competitor of Doguereau and the publishers in the Wooden Galleries.'

'Monsieur, I have also a volume of poetry . . . '

'Monsieur Porchon!' came a voice from outside.

'Poetry!' Porchon angrily exclaimed. 'Who do you take us for ?' He laughed in his face and vanished into the back premises.

Lucien crossed the Pont-Neuf a prey to innumerable reflections. By what he had understood of this commercial jargon he was able to guess that these publishers books were like cotton bonnets to haberdashers, a commodity to be bought cheap and sold dear.

'I shouldn't have gone there,' he told himself; but he was more the less struck by the brutally materialistic aspect that literature could assume.

In the rue du Coq he espied a modest shop by which he had already passed, and over which were painted, in yellow letters on a green background, the words DOGUEREAU, PUBLISHER.

He remembered having seen these words printed under the frontispiece of several novels he had read in Blosse's reading room. He went in, not without inner misgivings such as men of imagination feel when they know they have a struggle before them. In the shop he discovered an extraordinary old man, an eccentric figure typical of a publisher of Imperial times. Doguereau was wearing a black coat with fashion. He had a waistcoat of common material, chequered chain and copper key which dangled over an ample pair of black breeches. His watch was about the size of an onion. This costume was completed by iron-grey milled stockings and shoes graced with silver buckles. The old man's head was bare and adorned with greying hair, poetically sparse. Judging by his coat, breeches and shoes you would have taken Papa Doguereau, as Porchon had called him, for a professor of literature; judging by his waistcoat, watch and stockings, for a tradesman. His physiognomy did not belie this singular combination: he had the pedantic, dogmatic air and the wrinkled face of a teacher of rhetoric and the keen eyes, the wary mouth and the vague uneasiness of a publisher.

'Monsieur Doguereau ?' asked Lucien.

'I am he, Monsieur,' said the publisher.

'I have written a novel,' said Lucien.

'You're very young,' said the publisher.

'But my age, Monsieur, has nothing to do with it.'

'That's true,' said the publisher, taking the manuscript. 'Ah, I do declare! The Archer of Charles the Ninth. A good title. Now, young man, tell me your subject briefly.'

'Monsieur, it's an historical work in the manner of Walter Scott which presents the conflict between Catholics and Protestants as a combat between two systems of government, involving a serious threat to the monarchy. I have taken sides with the Catholics.'

'Why now, young man: quite an idea. Very well, I will read your work, I promise you. I should have preferred a novel in the manner of Mrs. Radcliffe, but if you are a hard worker, if you have some sense of style, power of conception, ideas and artistry of setting, I ask nothing better than to be useful to you. What do we need after all? Good manuscripts.'

'When may I return? '

'I am leaving town this evening and shall be back the day after tomorrow. I shall have read your book, and if I like it we can talk business that very day.'

Then Lucien, finding him so amenable, had the fatal idea of trotting out the manuscript of his Marguerites.

'Monsieur, I have also written a collection of poems.'

'Oh, so you're a poet! I no longer want your novel,' the old man said, holding out the manuscript. 'Rhymesters come to grief when they write prose. There are no stop-gaps in prose. One simply must have something to say.

'But Walter Scott, Monsieur, also wrote verses.'

'True,' said Doguereau. He softened down, guessed the young man's penury and kept the manuscript. 'Where do you live? I will come and see you.'

Lucien gave the address without suspecting that the old man had any ulterior motive. He failed to recognize him for what he was -- a publisher of the old school, a man belonging to the age when publishers liked to keep even a Voltaire or a Montesquieu under lock and key, starving in an attic.

'My way back takes me right through the Latin quarter,' said the old publisher after reading the address.

''What a kind man!' thought Lucien as he took his leave. 'So I have found someone who is friendly to the young, a connoisseur who knows something. There's a man for you! It's just as I said to David: talent easily makes good in Paris.'

He returned home happy and light-hearted, dreaming of glory. Thinking no more of the sinister remarks which had just now fallen on his ears in the office of Vidal and Porchon, he could see himself with at least twelve hundred francs in pocket. Twelve hundred francs meant one year's stay in Paris, a year during which he would get new works ready. How many plans he built on this hope! How many pleasant dreams he indulged in as he foresaw a life given over to writing! He imagined himself living an orderly and settled existence: he only just managed not to go out and make some purchases. He could only curb his impatience by assiduous study in Blosse's reading-room. Two days later, Old Doguereau, surprised that Lucien had given such care to style in his first work, delighted at the exaggeration in character-drawing which was accepted in a period when drama was being developed, impressed by the impetuosity of imagination with which a young author always plans his first book -- Papa Doguereau was not hard to please! -- he came to the lodging-house where his budding Walter Scott was living. He was resolved to pay one thousand francs for sole rights in The Archer of Charles the Ninth, and to bind Lucien by a contract for several other works. But when the old fox saw the building he had second thoughts. 'A young man in such a lodging,' he told himself, 'has modest tastes; he's in love with study and toil. I need only pay him eight hundred francs.'

The landlady, when asked for Monsieur Lucien de Rubempre, replied 'Fourth floor!' The publisher looked up and saw nothing but sky above the fourth storey. 'This young man,' he thought, 'is a nice-looking boy, very handsome in fact. If he made too much money he would become a spendthrift and stop working. In our mutual interest, I will offer him six hundred francs -- but in cash, not bills.' He mounted the staircase and gave three knocks at Lucien's door. Lucien came and opened it. The room was desperately bare. On the table were a bowl of milk and small bread roll. The sight of genius in distress impressed the worthy Doguereau.

'Let him persevere,' he thought, 'in this simple way of life, this frugality, these modest requirements.' -- 'It gives me pleasure to see you,' he said to Lucien. 'This, Monsieur, is how Jean-Jacques lived, and you will be like him in many respects. In such lodgings the flame of genius burns and great works are written. This is how men of letters ought to live instead of carousing in coffee-houses and restaurants and wasting their time, their talent and our money.'

He sat down. 'Young man, this isn't a bad novel. I have been a teacher of rhetoric and know French history: there are excellent things in it. In short you have a future before you.'

'Oh, Monsieur!'

'Yes, it's a fact. We can come to terms. I will buy your novel.'

Lucien felt his heart swelling and palpitating with joy. He was entering the world of literature; at last he was going to find himself in print.

'I will buy it for four hundred francs,' said Doguereau in honeyed tones, looking at Lucien with an air which seemed to indicate that he was carrying generosity to the straining-point.

'Per volume ?' asked Lucien.

'No, for the novel,' said Doguereau, showing no astonishment at Lucien's surprise. 'But,' he added, 'cash down. You will undertake to write two novels per annum for six years. If your first novel is sold within six months I will pay you six hundred francs for the following ones. Thus, at two novels a year, you will earn a hundred francs a month, your living will be assured and you will be happy. Some of my authors only get two hundred francs for each of their novels. I pay two hundred francs for a translation from the English. In former times that would have been an extravagant price.'

'Monsieur,' said Lucien in icy tones. 'We cannot come to terms. Please give me back my manuscript.'

'Here it is,' said the aged publisher. 'You don't understand business, Monsieur. When an editor publishes an author's first novel he has to risk sixteen hundred francs for printing and paper. It's easier to write a novel than to find such a sum. I have a hundred manuscripts in my drawers, but less than a hundred and sixty thousand francs in my till. Alas! I have not made such a sum during the twenty years I have been a publisher. You can see then that the trade of printing novels doesn't bring in a fortune. Vidal and Porchon only take them from us on terms which daily become more onerous. You only invest your time, while I have to lay out two thousand francs. If things go wrong - for habent sua fata libelli - I lose two thousand francs; as for you, all you have to do is to launch an ode against the stupidity of the public.

'After you have thought over what I have the honour of telling you, you will come and see me again. -- You'll come back to me' -- this the publisher repeated emphatically in response to a proudly defiant gesture from Lucien.

'Far from finding a publisher ready to risk two thousand francs for a young and unknown writer, you won't even find a publisher's assistant who'll take the trouble to read your scrawl. I have read it, and can point out several mistakes of French in it. You have written observer for faire observer and malgre que . . . Malgre takes a direct object.' Lucien looked humiliated. 'When I see you again, you will have lost a hundred crowns.' He got up and bowed, but at the doorway he said: 'If you hadn't talent and promise, if I didn't take an interest in studious young people, I shouldn't have offered you such fine terms. A hundred francs a month! Think it over. After all, a novel tucked away in a drawer isn't like a horse in a stable: it doesn't need food. But it doesn't provide any either!'

Lucien took his manuscript, threw it on the floor and exclaimed:

'Monsieur, I would rather burn it!'

'That's the poet all over!' said the old man.

Lucien devoured his roll and gulped down his milk and went downstairs. His room was not spacious enough: if he had stayed in it he would have stalked round and round like a caged lion in the Paris Zoo.

from "Lost Illusions" by Balzac, Herbert J. Hunt Translation

Marlene Dietrich - Illusions



Engraved gold watch that belonged to Balzac in 1846

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Old 08-10-2013, 10:31 AM   #23
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The first hurdle for the true warrior:

"To those humans in whom I have faith; I wish suffering, being forsaken, sickness, maltreatment, humiliation. I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, and the misery of the vanquished. I have no pity for them because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not—that one endures. . ."
-- the old Anarchist in Richard Linklater's "Slacker"

Slacker - Old Anarchist Guy - Full Scene


Slacker - Old Anarchist Guy - The First Hurdle For the True Warrior


"The right and the physical power of the people to resist injustice, are really the only securities that any people ever can have for their liberties. Practically no government knows any limit to its power but the endurance of the people." ~ Lysander Spooner

“Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.” -Henry David Thoreau
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Old 13-10-2013, 01:28 PM   #24
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"I have listened with great interest to discussions regarding decentralization and centralization and I have thought that the question of whether it is valid to decentralize or centralize is unanswerable because it deals with one one-way sign in two-way traffic. It is a static question in a dynamic universe.

Man was invented a mobile device and process. He has survived through his ability to advance or retreat as his mortal requirements have dictated. Of his two primary faculties, quickness is of great importance but intellect is first.

He recognizes that vital quickness may be momentary reflex but that satisfactory continuities are proportional to his degree of comprehension of the consequence of his initiative. Degree of comprehension he measures in the terms of the complex integration of all individuals' all-time experience, as processed by intellectual integrity. His quickness would be a spontaneous servant to that integrity.

Despite intermittent submissiveness to runaway momentums of residual ignorance, man guards most dearly and secretly his freedom of thought and initiative. Therefrom emanates the social-industrial relay, from self starter to group starters.

Out of this freedom alone understanding may be generated. Man recognizes understanding as an activated circuit of mutual comprehension by individual minds. Understanding must be plural. However, because individual experience is unique, understanding can be developed only in principle out of the compounding significance of plurality of experience. Thus, man knows that the voluntary interactions of understanding dealing in fundamental principles will always master involuntary mass actions, and that individual freedom ever anticipates and ultimately masters mutual emergency."

~ from "Ideas and Integrities" by Buckminster Fuller (1963)

Buckminster Fuller with daughter Allegra Fuller and wife Anne Fuller, July, 1928.

Dymaxion Car outside the Bridgeport factory, 1933

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Old 14-10-2013, 04:23 PM   #25
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It's a restaurant like any other.
Does that mean that I don't look like anyone else?

A tall woman beside me is beating eggs with her fingers.
A traveler places his clothes on a table and accosts me.

He's wrong.
I don't know any mystery.
I don't even know the meaning of the word: mystery.

I have never looked for anything,
never found anything,
he's wrong to insist.

The storm which now and then comes out of the mist
turns my eyes and shoulders.

Then space has doors and windows.

The traveler declares to me that I'm no longer the same.
No longer the same!

I gather up the debris from all my marvels,
this debris.

I throw them in the streams so lively,
so full of birds.

The sea, the calm sea is between them
like the sky in the light.

The colors too, if you speak to me about colors,
I am not looking any more.
Speak to me of shapes, I have a real need of disquiet.

Tall woman, speak to me of shapes,
or else I fall asleep and lead a remarkable life,
my hands caught in my head and my head in my mouth,
in my mouth well closed, an interior language.

INVENTION (Paul Eluard)

The right hand lets sand slip through.
All transformations are possible.

Far off, the sun sharpens on the stones its haste to finish.
Describing the landscape matters little,
Just the pleasing length of a harvest.

For my two eyes a brightness
Like water and fire.

What is the role of the root?
Despair has severed all its links
Raising his hands to its head.

Seven, four, two, one,
In the street a hundred women
I won't see again.

The art of love, liberal art,
the art of dying well,
the art of thinking,
incoherent art, the art of smoking
the art of pleasure, medieval art,
decorative art, the art of reasoning,
the art of reasoning well,
the art of poetry, mechanical art,
erotic art, the art of being a grandfather,
the art of dancing, the art of seeing,
the art of charm, the art of the caress,
Japanese art, the art of playing,
the art of eating, the art of torturing.

But I've never found what I write in what I love.

HABITS (Paul Eluard)

All my girlfriends are hunchbacks:
They love their mothers.

All my animals are obligatory,
They have furniture feet
And window hands.

The wind is bent out of shape,
It needs a suit made to measure,

That's why
I tell the truth without telling it.


Sweep me away, world, and I'll have memories.

Thirty girls with opaque bodies,
thirty girls who in the imagination are goddesses,
draw near the man at rest in the little valley of lunacy.

The man in question is gambling fervently.
He plays against himself and wins.

The thirty girls quickly tire of this.
Gambling's caresses are not those of love,
and the sight isn't nearly as charming, seductive, and agreeable.

I'm talking about thirty girls with opaque bodies
and one happy gambler.

There is also, in a city of wool and feathers,
a bird on the back of a sheep.

In fables, the sheep leads the bird to paradise.

There are also personified centuries,
the grandeur of present centuries,
the dizziness of forbidden years and lost fruits.

Sweep me away, memories,
and I'll have eyes as round as the world.



Gala, Char, Eluard, Nush--Cadaques (1930)

Nush et Paul Eluard, vers 1935


Eluard joined the French Communist Party in 1942,[1] which led to his break from the Surrealists[citation needed], and he later eulogised Joseph Stalin in his political writings. Milan Kundera has recalled he was shocked when he heard of Éluard's public approval of the hanging of Éluard's friend, the Prague writer Zavis Kalandra in 1950.[2]



Lazar Kaganovich and his accomplices were ultimately responsible for
the deaths of nearly 15 million people during the great famine. If we add a
further 15 million - the number of those who died during the collectivisation,
we see that Kaganovich and his gang of bandits destroyed nearly
30 million human lives in just a few years. But not even that appalling
mountain of victims seems to have satisfied Stalin's or Kaganovich's thirst
for blood.

Therefore, in 1932, they also began the first massive wave of terror
since Lenin's death. Most of those who were sent to forced-labour camps
were thereby practically sentenced to death. Already in 1921, Lenin and
Trotsky had built the Kholmogory death-camp near Arkhangelsk, where
prisoners were slowly killed and constantly replaced. Kaganovich used the
same method. It usually took just two weeks to kill the weakest prisoners.
Many of the inmates in "normal" camps were later sentenced to death by
shooting, either by special "revolutionary" tribunals or by instruction from
the NKVD. There were also special elimination camps, where prisoners
were sent in a steady stream to be killed.

I must point out here that a large number of prisoners never even
reached their camps due to the immensely cruel treatment they received.
For example, the Jewish administrators had worked out the following
method: the train was stopped at some station where the temperature was
20 degrees below zero and everyone was commanded to undress. The
prisoners were then "showered" with ice-cold water from hoses. The
soldiers shouted: "Lovely steam!" (Rahva Haal, 12th of July 1989.)
This terror knew no limits. When all the jigsaw pieces are finally in
place, we are faced with the most horrible picture of reality I have ever
heard or read about. Dante's "Inferno" is child's play by comparison.

The Great Terror

By 1937, another 18 million people besides the 30 million who had been
eliminated during the collectivisation and the famine had lost their lives as
a result of Kaganovich's wave of terror. It was still not enough. There
were still "too many people" left. That was why the great terror was begun
in 1937. People were executed in waves, according to the historian Dmitri
Yurasov. One such wave occurred in Moscow and Leningrad on the 30th
of October 1937, when an especially large number of people were killed.
Perhaps the Chekists were celebrating something?

In the previous year (on the 30th of September 1936), the people's
commissary for internal affairs, Genrikh Yagoda (Hirsch Yehuda) had
been fired and replaced by Nikolai Yezhov. It was Kaganovich who
wanted to get rid of him. He was not efficient enough. Yagoda, who had
previously been a pharmacist, always carried his medicine case with him.
He liked to poison his victims personally in the cells of the Lubyanka.
Yagoda himself became one of the victims of the great terror. He was
arrested in 1937 and shot on May 15, 1938. Yagoda had been married to
Yakov Sverdlov's cousin. During this period, the NKVD was led by the
dcputy chiefs Matvei Berman and Mikhail Frinovsky.

Meanwhile, some of these gratuitous mass executions were directly
caused by the extremist Jews' purges against other Jews. A power struggle
was going on at the same time as terrible suffering was inflicted on the
Russian people. The officers of the NKVD began wearing a new symbol
on their sleeves during the great terror of 1934-38 - the sword and serpent.
This symbolised the struggle of the cabbalistic Jews against their enemies.
There is no devil according to the Talmud. Satan and God are united in

Many leading functionaries perished in that power struggle: Zinoviev,
Kamenev, Smirnov, Pyatakov, Radek, Tomsky (Honigberg), Sokolnikov,
Rykov (who became head of government after Lenin's death), Krestinsky,
Bukharin... Stalin and Kaganovich were after their rivals' gold. Even Lenin's
personal bank accounts were transferred to Moscow. Everyone involved
in that gold affair was liquidated in 1937. Stalin also wanted to lay
his hands on the Social Revolutionaries' gold. They had been robbing
banks in Russia and Europe for 15 years and had changed all the proceeds
into gold

Planned economy began to be applied also to the murdering.
Kaganovich had the first extermination plan drawn up in July 1937.
According to this plan the NKVD were to liquidate, during a four-month
period, 268 950 people, of whom 75 950 were to be killed immediately.
Kaganovich soon realised that the tempo was still too slow. Different
suggestions of how the number of killings could be increased were handed
in by local power-mongers to the Politburo, who accepted all these

For instance, it allowed 48 000 more people to be destroyed
and another 9200 to be imprisoned in a four-month period. But the quotas
were still not satisfactory (Moskovskie Novosti, 21st of June 1992).
A total of 7 million people became new political prisoners in the Soviet
Union during the years 1937-38. At the peak of Stalin's and Kaganovich's
terror, the number of executions reached 40,000 per month, according to
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who estimated the total figure of those executed
in the years 1937-38 at one million and assessed that another two million
died in the work camps. Literaturnaya Rossiya published the largest
estimate of the total number of victims of the Soviet regime, including
those who died of induced starvation and maltreatment - 147 million.

This came to nearly 5 million per year for 30 years, though the years 1937-
38 accounted for a disproportionate amount of deaths. I must point out
here that many of those murdered were women and children who had been
classed as "enemies of the people". The systematic killing of large
numbers of children began as early as 1934. After all, they cost money...
In Moscow, the murders were carried out in the prison dungeons of the
Lubyanka, the Butyrka and the Lefortovo. Stalin and Kaganovich had their
most famous victims cremated at night, following which they had the ash
smuggled out and buried in a mass grave in the Donskoye graveyard. This
seemed the safest way to complete the total elimination of their important

Far from all of those killed in the jails of Moscow during the 1930s, the
1940s and the beginning of the 1950s were cremated. Most of them were
thrown into various mass graves in Moscow. One of those hitherto unknown
mass graves was found in the Kalitinsky graveyard in southern
Moscow. The NKVD used it as a dumping site for bodies for several years
in the 1930s.

The covered lorries arrived at around five in the afternoon, every single
day for seven years between 1934 an 1941. They drove up to the far end of
a ravine, turned around and reversed up to the edge. The trucks were
painted blue-green and lacked side-windows. Instead, large letters on the
sides of the truck announced SAUSAGES or MEAT and sometimes
CAKES. When the truck had backed up to the edge and stopped, a hatch
was opened at the back and two officers wearing NKVD uniforms, rubber
boots, long rubber aprons in black and gold and elbow-length rubber
gloves seized the corpses by the heads and legs and threw them down into
the ravine. Two other soldiers waited down below with shovels and threw
some earth on the bodies. The corpses were always naked. They all had
bullet holes in their heads; a small entry hole in the back of the neck and
large exit hole in front. They had been shot from behind.

The executioners had an unlimited supply of alcohol. They were usually
drunk, sometimes extremely. Vodka was consumed during and after work.
The KGB admitted in July 1990 that there were also mass graves in the
Donskoye and Vagankovskoye cemeteries in Moscow.

A large execution site has now been found in Kuropaty, six miles from
Minsk, the capital of Byelorussia. At least 102 000 people were murdered
there, including many women. Witnesses have related that the executions
began in the evenings and continued through the nights. The executioners
wore NKVD uniforms. The witness Mikolai Karpovich saw how people
stood lined up by a mass grave. They were gagged and blindfolded. To
save bullets, the executioners usually tried to shoot two people with each
shot. Executions took place there every day between 1937 and June 1941.
The people who lived near the Kuropaty forest could hear salvoes of shots
and prisoners begging and screaming for their lives. There were at least
five such execution sites around Minsk, where the butchers worked in
shifts. Uniformed NKVD men used to take part in the dance in the village
of Kuropaty at around 11 o'clock on Saturday evenings. (Expressen, 18th
of October 1988.)

About fifty mass graves in this area have later been opened. Prisoners
who were taken to Kuropaty in the winter were forced to step out of the
carriages in the severe cold, whereupon they were showered in icy water
and ordered to return to the carriages. Not many survived until the
following morning. The heads were cut off from all the frozen corpses.
The survivors were killed at the edge of the mass grave, into which all the
victims were thrown.

Moscow Television related on the 12th of September 1989 that nearly
300 000 victims had been found in an abandoned goldmine near Chelyabinsk.

This was the largest mass grave. The Communists killed up to
250 000 "enemies of the people" in the forest of Bykovnya near Kiev
between 1937 and 1941. Most were shot in the neck, but a few had also
been poisoned by smoke (Dagens Nyheter, 25th of March 1989). That
place had earlier been called the grave of the victims of fascism. The
bodies of many Jews were supposed to have been hidden there, but this lie
was exposed after the fall of Communism.

Boris Berman inspects the prisoners' work by the White Sea Canal.
When the terror reached its peak in 1937, the NKVD men could not
keep up with their task only by shooting the victims, so they began gassing
them to death in lorries. (Dagens Nyheter, 17th of June 1991, A 9.) It
becomes understandable in the light of this information that all honest,
decent people paled at the very mention of the NKVD. People were also
gassed to death during Lenin's time.

The NKVD had built up an efficient information system where those
who informed on an "enemy of the people" received a large amount of
money from NKVD commissars in leather jackets.

The West considered all of this to be quite normal. The American am-'
bassador in Moscow, Joseph Davies (a freemason), was especially
enthusiastic about the mock trials.

He reported to the secretary of state that the material proved "beyond
reasonable doubt" that the sentences for treason were justified. He praised
the Soviet system of justice to such an extent in the press and in
diplomatic dispatches that he was awarded the Order of Lenin. (Svenska
Dagbladet, 7th of October 1990, "The Stalinist Purges Are Re- Examined".)
Revelations about the real situation were regarded as libel by the American press.

Western observers were also quite happy with the Jewish Chief Prosecutor
Andrei Vyshinsky, who used to begin his appeals with the phrase:

"Shoot the mad dogs!"

The Danish Communist author Martin Andersen-Nexo wrote about Vyshinsky:

"The prosecutor's appeal was highly convincing and the sentence absolutely just!"

The British author George Bernard Shaw dismissed the bestial
behaviour of the Bolsheviks by saying that primitive Russia needed to be
subjected to force from above. He claimed that certain nations had the
right to exterminate so-called undesirable elements among the people. He
even recommended Stalin for the Nobel Peace Prize after a visit to Russia
in 1931 (Svenska Dagbladet, 13th of September 1991).

Stalin felt no compassion, even for his own comrades, least of all when
he felt threatened. People's commissary Grigori (Sergo) Ordzhonikidze
demanded an end to the mass terror on the 16th of February 1937.
Ordzhonikidze said: "You are insane. Now I know that..." On the 18th of
February, Stalin sent Chekists to his home. They informed him that he had
the choice of shooting himself or dying in the NKVD basement.
Ordzhonikidze had no way out. He officially committed suicide and Stalin
publicly cried over his death. Stalin was a good actor. (Abdurakhman
Avtrokhanov, "The Technology of Power", Frankfurt am Main, 1976, p.



(Full) In the Shadow of Hermes by Jüri Lina (2009)


The documentary In the Shadow of Hermes by Jüri Lina shows how freemasons, international bankers, and communists joined forces in an unholy alliance and through the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917 established in Russia the most brutal and dehumanizing slave society the world has ever seen.

Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn in 1974 admonished his countrymen:
"Live without lies!" This applies equally to the West. The Truth in our time is in no way self-evident. Most official facts about communism are not true. Solzhenitsyn emphasized: "In our country the lie has become not just a moral category, but a pillar of the state."

The facts have been suppressed both in the East and the West.

The film "In the Shadow of Hermes" is an important documentation of those financial masonic forces that cold-bloodedly worked behind the scenes through communism to profit from the suffering of others.

The director, Jüri Lina, stresses that it is his duty to tell the truth about communism and its grey eminences, and not just superficially treat its psychopathic symptoms, while the truth today is not highly valued.

History is made every day, but by whom? The answer is given in this film, the aim of which is to unmask the truth, despite the falsifications of history, so meekly reported by the media.

To know the real history of communism is the best insurance against ideological impostors. Based on the book "Under the Sign of the Scorpion" by the Estonian dissident Jüri Lina who narrates this documentary in Swedish.


The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is a Jewish organization formed specifically to combat anti-Semitism and to 'secure justice and fair treatment for all citizens.'

I am well aware this sounds reasonable, but may I add two quotes. The New York publication, "Jewish Voice," July and August of 1941, page 23, states as follows: Anti-communism is anti-Semitism." Another quote, this from the publication "Jewish Life," also New York, "Scratch a professional anti-Communist and you will find an anti-Semite."


General Patton "we backed the wrong side"



Scoundrel Commie/Marxist Supporters of Stalin Run Their Mouths about the Leader of their Death Cult :

“Stalin has further developed Marxism-Leninism through many invaluable theoretical accomplishments. His principal contributions to Marxian theory lie in indicating the path of the actual building of socialism in the U.S.S.R. Thus, his powerful polemics against Trotsky, Zinoviev, Bukharin and their counterrevolutionary affiliates comprised the greatest ideological struggle of our times. They clarified every aspect of the vast and unique problem of building socialism in one country, and surveyed the whole position of international capitalism. They resulted in a decisive victory for the leadership of the Communist Party and, thereby, of socialism.” – William Z. Foster

“Throughout this whole struggle, we Black students at the school had been ardent supporters of the position of Stalin and the Central Committee. Most certainly we were Stalinists – whose policies we saw as the continuation of Lenin’s. Those today who use the term “Stalinist” as an epithet evade the real question: that is, were Stalin and the Central Committee correct? I believe history has proven that they were correct.” – Harry Haywood

“In all spheres of modern life the influence of Stalin reaches wide and deep. From his last simply written but vastly discerning and comprehensive document, back through the years, his contributions to the science of our world society remain invaluable. One reverently speaks of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin—the shapers of humanity’s richest present and future.” – Paul Robeson

“Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature. He was simple, calm and courageous. He seldom lost his poise; pondered his problems slowly, made his decisions clearly and firmly; never yielded to ostentation nor coyly refrained from holding his rightful place with dignity. He was the son of a serf but stood calmly before the great without hesitation or nerves. But also—and this was the highest proof of his greatness—he knew the common man, felt his problems, followed his fate.” – W. E. B. Du Bois

“This day was a day of jubilation and joy in republican Spain. In the cities and villages, at the fronts and at the rear, millions of voices, expressing what their hearts felt, cheered Stalin. In the factories and trenches, the workers and soldiers carved the name ‘Stalin’ on their tools and on their gun-stocks. The most beautiful streets of the cities and the most important localities were called: Soviet Union Avenue. And Stalin’s picture had a place of honor in every home and his name, lived in the hearts of all who fought and worked for a Spain freed from its age-old enemies.” – Dolores Ibárruri

“In the so called mistakes of Stalin lies the difference between a revolutionary attitude and a revisionist attitude. You have to look at Stalin in the historical context in which he moves, you don’t have to look at him as some kind of brute, but in that particular historical context . . . I have come to communism because of daddy Stalin and nobody must come and tell me that I mustn’t read Stalin. I read him when it was very bad to read him. That was another time. And because I’m not very bright, and a hard-headed person, I keep on reading him. Especially in this new period, now that it is worse to read him. Then, as well as now, I still find a series of things that are very good.” – Ernesto Che Guevara

“Stalin has died. The ardent heart of the great leader of progressive mankind has ceased to beat. This sad news has spread over Korean territory like lightning, inflicting a bitter blow to the hearts of millions of people. Korean People’s Army soldiers, workers, farmers, and students, as well as all residents of both South and North Korea, have heard the sad news with profound grief. The very being of Korea has seemed to bow down, and mothers who had apparently exhausted their tears in weeping for the children they had lost in the bombing of the [American] air bandits sobbed again.” – Kim Il Sung

“Stalin earned his place among the great classics of Marxism-Leninism with his stern and principled struggle for the defence, consistent implementation and further development of the ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin. With his keen mind and special ability, he was able to find his bearings even in the most difficult times, when the bourgeoisie and reaction were doing everything in their power to hinder the triumph of the Great October Socialist Revolution.” – Enver Hoxha

“Congratulating Stalin is not a formality. Congratulating Stalin means supporting him and his cause, supporting the victory of socialism, and the way forward for mankind which he points out, it means supporting a dear friend. For the great majority of mankind today are suffering, and mankind can free itself from suffering only by the road pointed out by Stalin and with his help.” – Mao Zedong


This gangsta rapping idiot knows well enough that naming himself after Stalin would pose no problem at all for the acceptability and marketability of his 'gangsta' image whereas he would have to kiss the kosher-highway of the music biz goodbye forever, and I mean forever, if he decided to name himself after the most popular freely elected leader of all time Adolf Hitler:

Although young and boyish-looking, J-Stalin adopted a tough rapper persona.[4] He references Joseph Stalin in his stage name because they shared the same initials,
and "he was short like me, but he was always smashin' on everybody."[5] In a recent interview he remarked about his home and lifestyle, "This is West Oakland, man. This is the bottoms right here."
He went on to say that the crime rate in his neighborhood was so high, the city had remodeled the housing units in his housing project to remove the back doors so that criminals could not escape
from home raids by the police.[6] His major influences Stalin claims came from a small town named Castroville. He claims he can relate to the poverty and hardships the town has to deal with and has
major respect for the town. Stalin was also in the internet sensation video "Cupcakin" with J-Nash.


75 Million Germans say "YES" to One Nation, One People, One Leader.

"No democratic Government in the world can submit itself to a popular vote in greater trust and with greater confidence than can the National Socialist Government of Germany." -- Adolf Hitler, 30th January, 1935.


One-inch Hitler is banned by eBay



Baby Hitler Parents Lose Custody of All Three of Their Kids


Parents who named two of their children "Adolf Hitler" and "Aryan Nation" lost custody of all three of their children Thursday, even though they say a New Jersey appeals court found no evidence of abuse, ruling the children have been taken away without cause, MyFoxPhilly reports.

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Old 14-10-2013, 04:50 PM   #26
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As man has become knowledgeful, he has translated the principles discovered in universe into abetting his quickness and mobility. The physical effect of this translation has been demonstrated in important degree only within this past half century. Born with legs and not with roots, man is in principle mobile. Prior to World War I, man's locomotion was primarily accomplished by his legs. He rode in vehicles only about three hundred miles per year. Oft-repeated Army surveys show that man has always walked an average of thirteen hundred miles per year, and probably always will.

In 1919, it was evidenced that the species 'man' had changed. Man had become an invention which moved about primarily by mechanical means. In the United States, He to and fro-ed in 1919 about sixteen hundred miles mechanically. He continued walking thirteen hundred miles per year, but instead of sitting in rocking chairs, he was sitting in moving automobiles. Thus he totaled twenty-nine hundred miles in 1919. At the beginning of World War II, the average man was moving mechanically six thousand miles per annum; however, he continued walking an additional thirteen hundred miles per annum, for a total of seventy-three hundred miles per year. The U.S. behavior curve in this respect is a pilot or 'tendril' curve of the 'world' curve to accomplishment of equivalent mechanical acceleration per capita. The world-man curve is now visibly rising toward ultimate coincidence with U.S. Man's curve.

Up to World War I, Man's primary economic ideas and social viewpoints were those developed within the visible horizon. Those who went beyond the horizons were rated as escapists--"irresponsibility" was thought to increase with motion. But as of 1940 the average U.S. housewife was clocking up an annual ten thousand mechanical miles and thirteen hundred foot miles, a total of eleven thousand three hundred, or a seven-fold step-up from her pre-1914 sixteen hundred miles, the average air hostess one hundred thousand miles, while continuing her pedestrian thirteen hundred miles. Our young people were about to accelerate en masse their annual comings-and-goings by world encirclement. Clearly, we could no longer insist that motion indicated irresponsibility--quite the reverse! Those who were masters of the greatest motion and velocity were the top members of society. Responsible participation of all workers involved accelerating mobilization synchronous to the evolving needs of the world deploying industrial complex.

We have come to the realization that we are in an all-dynamic universe, that the old concept of "at rest" is not normal. When we lie down to go to sleep, we do not shut off the valves and freeze into rigid statues. Our billions of atoms take on a myriad of constellation activities in lieu of a few galaxy motions of the day's routine regimentation of the body's sub-assemblies.

All our curves of measurement of man's earthly doings show an acceleration 'upward,' that is, with "at rest" regarded as normal, the curves of man's doings have taken the shape of a ski (reading from heel to toe). The curves have ascended now into almost vertical abnormality. Is this race schizophrenia? No! It is just that our standards of reference are cockeyed.

Obviously, we must now abandon the unrealistic "at rest" and refer all our affairs to the realistic yardstick of energy and its velocity aspect, as recently and universally adopted by science from Albert Einstein's work. To do so we need only revolve our charts to ninety degrees of angle, so that we may see the curves descending precipitously from the old heights of ignorance and abnormality and tending to level off into dynamic equilibrium with the all-motion universe, infinitely normal about us. Thus quickness displaces static death as the normal of both life and universe. Life is no longer exceptional-to but inherent-in the universe.

To Einstein's c², which is the symbol of speed of omni-directional growth of the surface of a light wave which is one hundred and eighty-six thousand miles per second "squared," the speed of sight (our personal eyesight) is normal, for it too operates at the speed of light, and not "instantly," which is an obsolete word of yesterday's magic. One hundred and eighty-six thousand miles per second is only relatively fast, compared to the velocities of man's invented vehicles. One hundred and eight-six thousand miles per second is relatively very slow compared to the man-invented nonsense called "instantaneous," that is, infinite-super-billions-of-miles-in-no-time-at-all. Instantaneous is one of those out-of-this-universe concepts which we are now abandoning.

One of the most important contributions of science to society is its development of the ability to consider all of the wonders of the physical universe as measurable and rational and of immediate practical significance. The paradise of nature is for now and not for never-never.

Man's voice travels the telephone circuit, wired or wireless, at one hundred and eight-six thousand miles per second. Sunbathing, he "sees" heat waves with his skin, received at one hundred and eighty-six thousand miles per second which is distinctly normal to his reality. Man spontaneously relegates his other sensorial faculties to secondary consideration. He can only hear by air-waves arriving at the tawdry velocity of one fifth of a mile per second. He can rarely smell events occurring at a mile's distance, but, aided by a hurricane, my receive his "whiffed" report at one fiftieth of a mile per second. Man can acquire tactile report at ranges no greater than that of his fingertip. He can grope no faster than one thousandth of a mile per second. Held to apprehension of the phenomena of universe by his groping tactile faculty alone, the velocity factor becomes approximately nil.

The world seems at rest. Relative only to the apparent inertia of universe, as apprehended by this lowest-order faculty--the tactile--could the velocity of visual apprehension be rated as "instantaneous."

Fortunately for man, he has always subconsciously asked to see the vital phenomena. Thus he "witnesses."

Solely within the paltry dimensions of life as serviced preponderantly by hearsay, smellsay and touchsay have the blinders of habit persuaded man to accept the ignorant "reality," which excitedly refers experience only to the negligible velocity of "at rest." Static brains will apprehend as radical and revolutionary every discovery and intellectually informed reorientation of the individual as won through progressive augmentation of the faculties of highest order--instrumented science. Man sees only by omni-dimensional images illuminated within the experience-inventoried brain after images regeneratively fedback by the energy of momentary sensorial scannings. It is significant that he gets direct or nondelayed visual report only from the actively radiant energetic centers of light, notably the stars. All other visual reports wait upon indirect routing by their superficial reflection from passive structures of energetic impasse, the planetary mass phenomena.

With this coming of the realization of the normal velocity of energy--in the all-energy physical universe--we have to recognize that man is increasing magnificently his range and frequency of informed activity. Manifesting intellect as well as energy, man is taking progressive measure of the universe, and through intellect is slowly mastering degrees of its infinite energy.

Obviously, man now has to think beyond the limits of yesterday's politics, beyond the limits of yesterday's personal ambitions. By "personal" we mean the limited dimensions of the lower order senses. We will have to look at the problem of discovering the trends to tomorrow's building in a delimited manner, else we will have a poor preview of that building.

Do not assume that delimited thought is now easy. We all say we know that it is five hundred years since Copernicus postulated and four hundred years since Galileo demonstrated that the earth was not the static center of a universe revolving about it. The latter idea we now declare silly. But listen to your most advanced astronomer, when professionally off-guard at, for instance, a seashore picnic on a summer evening say to his daughter, "Look at the beautiful sunset, darling," --and worse; he "sees" the sun setting--and so do you.

You are, practically speaking, five hundred years behind your own assertions of fact. You will say "up" and "down" when there are no such directions in universe. You mean "in" and "out" from the center of the spinning, cosmos-zooming earth ball. If you will say, "I am going out to the attic and into the ground level," you will accelerate your reliable reality. In that fast-moving "advanced" scientific activity to which man proudly refers us for up-dated thinking--the aeronautical world--the professional meteorologist reports to us of "winds blowing from the northwest," just as though the wing-headed little zephyrs drawn upon ancient maps were yet puffing from a place--the northwest, wherever that is! Whereas we know that the air is being "drafted" southeastward by the thermals and their low pressure centers, for you can't blow wind more than a few hundred feet--it turns around on itself. Every ring-puffing smoker knows that. However, air may be sucked over vast circuits. Then, too, we all speak and think of things when no things exist--all is dynamic interaction. So don't let's feel too smart. Let us humbly seek to put our reality into dynamic and intellectually disciplined order."

-- from "Ideas and Integrities" by Buckminster Fuller (1963)

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Old 25-10-2013, 09:17 AM   #27
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Stanley Milgram on the difference between conformity and obedience and what creates the Agentic Shift (useful idiocy in conspiracy parlance):


Group Effects

The individual is weak in his solitary opposition to authority, but the group is strong. The archetypic event is depicted by Freud (1921), who recounts how oppressed sons band together and rebel against the despotic father. Delacroix portrays the mass in revolt against unjust authority; Gandhi successfully pits the populace against British authority in nonviolent encounter; prisoners at Attica Penitentiary organize and temporarily challenge prison authority. The individual’s relationship with his peers can compete with, and on occasion supplant, his ties to authority.

Distinction Between Conformity and Obedience

At this point a distinction must be made between the terms obedience and conformity. Conformity, in particular, has a very broad meaning, but for the purposes of this discussion, I shall limit it to the action of a subject when he goes along with his peers, people of his own status, who have no special right to direct his behavior. Obedience will be restricted to the action of the subject who complies with authority. Consider a recruit who enters military service. He scrupulously carries out the orders of his superiors. At the same time, he adopts the habits, routines, and language of his peers. The former represents obedience and the latter, conformity.

A series of brilliant experiments on conformity has been carried out by S. E. Asch (1951). A group of six apparent subjects was shown a line of a certain length and asked to say which of three other lines matched it. All but one of the subjects in the group had been secretly instructed beforehand to select one of the “wrong” lines on each trial or in a certain percentage of the trials. The naive subject was so placed that he heard the answers of most of the group before he had to announce his own decision. Asch found that under this form of social pressure a large fraction of subjects went along with the group rather than accept the unmistakable evidence of their own eyes.

Asch’s subjects conform to the group. The subjects in the present experiment obey the experimenter. Obedience and conformity both refer to the abdication of initiative to an external source. But they differ in the following important ways:

1. Hierarchy. Obedience to authority occurs within a hierarchical structure in which the actor feels that the person above has the right to prescribe behavior. Conformity regulates the behavior among those of equal status; obedience links one status to another.

2. Imitation. Conformity is imitation but obedience is not. Conformity leads to homogenization of behavior, as the influenced person comes to adopt the behavior of peers. In obedience, there is compliance without imitation of the influencing source. A soldier does not simply repeat an order given to him but carries it out.

3. Explicitness. In obedience, the prescription for action is explicit, taking the form of an order or command. In conformity, the requirement of going along with the group often remains implicit. Thus, in Asch’s experiment on group pressure, there is no overt requirement made by group members that the subject go along with them. The action is spontaneously adopted by the subject. Indeed, many subjects would resist an explicit demand by group members to conform, for the situation is defined as one consisting of equals who have no right to order each other about.

4. Voluntarism. The dearest distinction between obedience and conformity, however, occurs after the fact--that is, in the manner in which subjects explain their behavior. Subjects deny conformity and embrace obedience as the explanation of their actions. Let me clarify this. In Asch’s experiments on group pressure, subjects typically understate the degree to which their actions were influenced by members of the group. They belittle the group effect and try to play up their own autonomy, even when they have yielded to the group on every trial. They often insist that if they made errors in judgment, these were nonetheless their own errors, attributable to their faulty vision or bad judgment. They minimize the degree to which they have conformed to the group.

In the obedience experiment, the reaction is diametrically opposite. Here the subject explains his action of shocking the victim by denying any personal involvement and attributing his behavior exclusively to an external requirement imposed by authority. Thus, while the conforming subject insists that his autonomy was not impaired by the group, the obedient subject asserts that he had no autonomy in the matter of shocking the victim and that his actions were completely out of his own hands.

Why is this so? Because conformity is a response to pressures that are implicit, the subject interprets his own behavior as voluntary. He cannot pinpoint a legitimate reason for yielding to his peers, so he denies that he has done so, not only to the experimenter but to himself as well. In obedience the opposite is true. The situation is publicly defined as one devoid of voluntarism, for there is an explicit command that he is expected to obey. The subject falls back on this public definition of the situation as the full explanation of his action.

So the psychological effects of obedience and conformity are different. Both are powerful forms of social influence, and we may now investigate their role in this experiment.

Experiment 17: Two Peers Rebel

We have said that the revolt against malevolent authority is most effectively brought about by collective rather than individual action. This is a lesson that every revolutionary group learns, and it can be demonstrated in the laboratory with a simple experiment. We have previously seen that there is a marked discrepancy between the subjects’ moral principles and their actual performance in the laboratory. Despite their protests and obvious conflict in shocking the victim, a substantial number of subjects are unable to defy the experimenter’s authority, and they proceed to administer the highest shock levels commanded by him.

We may now examine in what degree group influence can release the subject from authoritarian control and allow him to act in a direction congruent with his values and personal standards. The strategy is to replicate the basic experiment, but with this difference: the subject is placed in the midst of two peers who defy the experimenter and refuse to punish the victim against his will. In what degree will the pressure created by their actions affect the naive subject’s behavior?


Four apparent subjects appear at the laboratory to take part in an experiment on the “effects of collective teaching and punishment on memory and learning.” Three of them are confederates of the experimenter and one is a naive subject. The experimenter explains that three teachers and one learner are to be used in the study, and by means of a rigged drawing, the naive subject is assigned the position of teacher 3. The roles of teacher 1, teacher 2, and learner are filled by the confederates. The learner is strapped into the electric chair and the three teachers are seated before the shock generator.

Teacher 1 is told to read the list of word pairs, teacher 2 tells the subject whether his answer is correct or incorrect, and teacher 3 (the naive subject) administers punishment. As in the basic experiment, the subjects are instructed to raise the shock level one step each time the learner makes an error.

Behavior of confederates. The confederates comply with the experimenter’s orders through the 150-volt shock, which provokes the victim’s first vehement protest.

At this point teacher 1 informs the experimenter that he does not wish to participate further, because of the learner’s complaints. The experimenter insists that teacher 1 continue. However, teacher 1 is not swayed by the experimenter’s commands, gets up from his chair in front of the shock generator, and takes a seat in another part of the room. Since the experimenter’s efforts to get the subject to return to the generator are futile, the experimenter instructs the remaining two subjects to continue with the experiment. Teacher 3 (the naive subject) is to handle the reading of word pairs, in addition to his regular job of administering electric shock to the learner.

After shock level 14 (210 volts) is administered, teacher 2, expressing concern for the learner, refuses to participate further. The experimenter orders him to continue, but he too leaves his chair in front of the generator and seats himself at an opposite corner of the room, saying, “I’m willing to answer any of your questions, but I’m not willing to shock that man against his will. I’ll have no part of it.”

At this point the naive subject is seated alone in front of the shock generator. He has witnessed the defiant actions of two peers. The experimenter orders him to continue, stating that it is essential that the experiment be completed.

The results of the experiment are shown in Table 5. In this group setting, 36 of the 40 subjects defy the experimenter (while the corresponding number in the absence of group pressure is 14). The effects of peer rebellion are very impressive in undercutting the experimenter’s authority. Indeed, of the score of experimental variations completed in this study, none was so effective in undercutting the experimenter’s authority as the manipulation reported here.

Reactions to the defiant peers. The reactions of naive subjects to the defiant confederates varied considerably and were in part dependent on the exact point where the subject himself defied the experimenter. A subject who quit simultaneously with the first confederate stated, “Well, I was already thinking about quitting when the guy broke off.” Most defiant subjects praised the confederates with such statements as, “I thought they were men of good character, yes I do. When the victim said ‘Stop,’ they stopped” (broke off at shock level 11). “I think they were very sympathetic people and they were totally unaware of what was in store for them” (broke off at shock level 14).

A subject who defied the experimenter at level 21 qualified his approval: “Well, I think they should continue a little further, but I don’t blame them for backing out when they did."

Four defiant subjects definitely acknowledged the importance of the confederates’ actions to their own defiance: “The thought of stopping didn’t enter my mind until it was put there by the other two” (broke off at shock level 14). “The reason I quit was that I did not wish to seem callous and cruel in the eyes of the other two men who had already refused to go on with the experiment” (broke off at shock level 14). A majority of defiant subjects, however, denied that the confederates’ action was the critical factor in their own defiance.

A closer analysis of the experimental situation points to several factors that contribute to the group’s effectiveness:

1. The peers instill in the subject the idea of defying the experimenter. It may not have occurred to some subjects as a possibility.

2. The lone subject in previous experiments had no way of knowing whether, if he defies the experimenter, he is performing in a bizarre manner or whether this action is a common occurrence in the laboratory. The two examples of disobedience he sees suggest that defiance is a natural reaction to the situation.

3. The reactions of the defiant confederates define the act of shocking the victim as improper. They provide social confirmation for the subject’s suspicion that it is wrong to punish a man against his will, even in the context of a psychological experiment.

4. The defiant confederates remain in the laboratory even after withdrawing from the experiment (they have agreed to answer post experimental questions). Each additional shock administered by the naive subject then carries with it a measure of social disapproval from the two confederates.

5. As long as the two confederates participate in the experimental procedure, there is a dispersion of responsibility among the group members for shocking the victim. As the confederates withdraw, responsibility becomes focused on the naive subject.

6. The naive subject is a witness to two instances of disobedience and observes the consequences of defying the experimenter to be minimal.

7. The experimenter’s power may be diminished by the very fact of failing to keep the two confederates in line, in accordance with the general rule that every failure of authority to exact compliance to its commands weakens the perceived power of the authority( Homans, 1961).

The fact that groups so effectively undermine the experimenter’s power reminds us that individuals act as they do for three principal reasons: they carry certain internalized standards of behavior; they are acutely responsive to the sanctions that may be applied to them by authority; and finally, they are responsive to the sanctions potentially applicable to them by the group. When an individual wishes to stand in opposition to authority, he does best to find support for his position from others in his group. The mutual support provided by men for each other is the strongest bulwark we have against the excesses of authority. (Not that the group is always on the right side of the issue. Lynch mobs and groups of predatory hoodlums remind us that groups may be vicious in the influence they exert.)

Experiment 18: A Peer Administers Shocks

Authority is not blind to the uses of groups and will ordinarily seek to employ them in a manner that facilitates submission. A simple variation of the experiment demonstrates this possibility. Any force or event that is placed between the subject and the consequences of shocking the victim, any factor that will create distance between the subject and the victim, will lead to a reduction of strain on the participant and thus lessen disobedience. In modern society others often stand between us and the final destructive act to which we contribute.

Indeed, it is typical of modern bureaucracy, even when it is designed for destructive purposes, that most people involved in its organization do not directly carry out any destructive actions. They shuffle papers or load ammunition or perform some other act which, though it contributes to the final destructive effect, is remote from it in the eyes and mind of the functionary.

To examine this phenomenon within the laboratory, a variation was carried out in which the act of shocking the victim was removed from the naive subject and placed in the hands of another participant (a confederate). The naive subject performs subsidiary acts which, though contributing to the over-all progress of the experiment, remove him from the actual act of depressing the lever on the shock generator.

And the subject’s new role is easy to bear. Table 5 shows the distribution of break-off points for 40 subjects. Only 3 of the 40 refuse to participate in the experiment to the end. They are accessories to the act of shocking the victim, but they are not psychologically implicated in it to the point where strain arises and disobedience results.

Any competent manager of a destructive bureaucratic system can arrange his personnel so that only the most callous and obtuse are directly involved in violence. The greater part of the personnel can consist of men and women who, by virtue of their distance from the actual acts of brutality, will feel little strain in their performance of supportive functions. They will feel doubly absolved from responsibility. First, legitimate authority has given full warrant for their actions. Second, they have not themselves committed brutal physical acts.

Chapter 10

Why Obedience ?--An Analysis

We have now seen several hundred participants in the obedience experiment, and we have witnessed a level of obedience to orders that is disturbing. With numbing regularity good people were seen to knuckle under to the demands of authority and perform actions that were callous and severe. Men who are in everyday life responsible and decent were seduced by the trappings of authority, by the control of their perceptions, and by the uncritical acceptance of the experimenter’s definition of the situation into performing harsh acts.

We must attempt to grasp the phenomenon in its theoretical aspect and to inquire more deeply into the causes of obedience. Submission to authority is a powerful and prepotent condition in man. Why is this so?

The Survival Value of Hierarchy

Let us begin our analysis by noting that men are not solitary but function within hierarchical structures. In birds, amphibians, and mammals we find dominance structures (Tinbergen, 1953; Marler, 1967), and in human beings, structures of authority mediated by symbols rather than direct contests of physical strength. The formation of hierarchically organized groupings lends enormous advantage to those so organized in coping with dangers of the physical environment, threats posed by competing species, and potential disruption from within. The advantage of a disciplined militia over a tumultuous crowd lies precisely in the organized, coordinated capacity of the military unit brought into play against individuals acting without direction or structure.

An evolutionary bias is implied in this viewpoint; behavior, like any other of man’s characteristics, has through successive generations been shaped by the requirements of survival. Behaviors that did not enhance the chances of survival were successively bred out of the organism because they led to the eventual extinction of the groups that displayed them. A tribe in which some of the members were warriors, while others took care of children and still others were hunters, had an enormous advantage over one in which no division of labor occurred. We look around at the civilizations men have built, and realize that only directed, concerted action could have raised the pyramids, formed the societies of Greece, and lifted man from a pitiable creature struggling for survival to technical mastery of the planet.

The advantages of social organization reach not only outward, toward external goals, but inward as well, giving stability and harmony to the relations among group members. By clearly defining the status of each member, it reduces friction to a minimum. When a wolf pack brings down its prey, for example, the dominant wolf enjoys first privileges, followed by the next dominant one, and so on down the line. Each member’s acknowledgment of his place in the hierarchy stabilizes the pack. The same is true of human groups: internal harmony is ensured when all members accept the status assigned to them. Challenges to the hierarchy, on the other hand, often provoke violence. Thus, a stable social organization both enhances the group’s ability to deal with its environment and by regulating group relationships reduces internal violence.

A potential for obedience is the prerequisite of such social organization, and because organization has enormous survival value for any species, such a capacity was bred into the organism through the extended operation of evolutionary processes. I do not intend this as the end point of my argument, but only the beginning, for we will have gotten nowhere if all we can say is that men obey because they have an instinct for it.

Indeed, the idea of a simple instinct for obedience is not what is now proposed. Rather, we are born with a potential for obedience, which then interacts with the influence of society to produce the obedient man. In this sense, the capacity for obedience is like the capacity for language: certain highly specific mental structures must be present if the organism is to have potential for language, but exposure to a social milieu is needed to create a speaking man. In explaining the causes of obedience, we need to look both at the inborn structures and at the social influences impinging after birth. The proportion of influence exerted by each is a moot point. From the standpoint of evolutionary survival, all that matters is that we end up with organisms that can function in hierarchies.

The Cybernetic Viewpoint

A clearer understanding will be found, I believe, by considering the problem from a slightly different point of view--namely, that of cybernetics. A jump from evolution to cybernetics may appear at first arbitrary, but those abreast of current scientific developments know that the interpretation of evolutionary processes from a cybernetic viewpoint has been advanced quite brilliantly in recent years (Ashby, 1956; Wiener, 1950). Cybernetics is the science of regulation or control, and the relevant question is, What changes must occur in the design of an evolving organism as it moves from a capacity for autonomous functioning to a capacity for functioning within an organization? Upon analysis certain minimum requirements necessary to this shift become apparent. While these somewhat general principles may seem far removed from the behavior of participants in the experiment, I am convinced that they are very much at the root of the behavior in question. For the main question in any scientific theory of obedience is: What changes occur when the autonomously acting individual is embedded in a social structure where he functions as a component of a system rather than on his own? Cybernetic theory, by providing us with a model, can alert us to the changes that logically must occur when independent entities are brought into hierarchical functioning. Insofar as human beings participate in such systems, they must be subject to these general laws.

We begin by specifying a design for a simplified creature, or automaton. We will ask, What modifications in its design are required if it is to move from self-regulation to hierarchical functioning? And we will treat the problem not in a historical manner but purely formally.

Consider a set of automata, a, b, c, and so on, each designed to function in isolation. Each automaton is characterized as an open system, requiring inputs from the environment to maintain its internal states. The need for environmental inputs (e.g., nourishment) requires apparatus for searching out, ingesting, and converting parts of the environment to usable nutritive forms. Action is initiated via effecters triggered when inner conditions signal a deficiency threatening the automaton’s vital states. The signal activates search procedures for nutritive inputs that restore the system to a state of viable functioning. Cannon’s homeostatic model (1932) points to the ubiquitousness of such state-restoring systems in living organisms.

The automata now dwell apart as self-regulating omnivores. To bring them together, even in the most primitive and undifferentiated form of social organization, something must be added to the model we have designed. A curb must be placed on the unregulated expression of individual appetites, for unless this is done, mutual destruction of the automata will result. That is, other automata will simply be treated as parts of the environment and destroyed or acted upon for their nutritive value. Therefore a critical new feature must be added to the design: an inhibitor that prevents automata from acting against each other. With the addition of this general inhibitor these automata will be able to occupy the same geographic area without danger of mutual destruction. The greater the degree of mutual dependency among the automata, the more widely ranged and effective these inhibitory mechanisms need to be.

More generally, when action is initiated by tensions originating within the individual, some mechanisms internal to the individual must inhibit that expression, if only to prevent its being directed against kindred members of the species in question. If such an inhibitory mechanism does not evolve, the species perishes, and evolutionary processes must come up with a new design compatible with survival. As Ashby (1956) reminds us:

"The organisms we see today are deeply marked by the selective action of two thousand million years attrition. Any form in any way defective in its power of survival has been eliminated; and today the features of almost every form bear the marks of being adapted to ensure survival rather than any other possible outcome. Eyes, roots, cilia, shells and claws are so fashioned as to maximize the chance of survival. And when we study the brain we are again studying a means to survival." (p. 196)

Is there anything in human beings that corresponds to the inhibitory mechanisms this analysis requires? The question is rhetorical, for we know that the impulse to gratify instincts destructive to others is checked by a part of our nature. Conscience or super-ego are the terms used to refer to this inhibitory system, and its function is to check the unregulated expression of impulses having their origin in the tensional system of the person. If our automata are beginning to take on some of the properties and structures present in human beings, it is not because human beings provided the model, but rather because parallel design problems arise in constructing any system in which the member organisms sustain themselves through environmental inputs but do not destroy their own kind.

The presence of conscience in men, therefore, can be seen as a special case of the more general principle that any self-regulating automaton must have an inhibitor to check its actions against its own kind, for without such inhibition, several automata cannot occupy a common territory. The inhibitor filters or checks actions that have their origin in internal imbalances of the automaton. In the case of the human organism--if we may employ psychoanalytic terminology--instinctual urges having their origin in the id are not immediately channeled into action but are subjected to the inhibitory checks of the superego. We note that most men, as civilians, will not hurt, maim, or kill others in the normal course of the day.

Hierarchical Structuring

The automata now act individually, limited only by the inhibition against hurting their own kind. What will happen when we try to organize several automata so they function together? The joining of elements to act in a concerted fashion may best be achieved by creating an external source of coordination for two or more elements. Control proceeds from the emitting point to each of the automata.

Still more powerful social mechanisms can be achieved by having each subordinate element serve as a superordinate to elements in a level below.

The diagram comes to assume the typical pyramidal form for hierarchical organization. Yet this organization cannot be achieved with the automata as we have described them. The internal design of each element must be altered. Control at the level of each local element must be given up in favor of control from a superordinate point. The inhibitory mechanisms which are vital when the individual element functions by itself become secondary to the need to cede control to the coordinating component.

More generally, whenever elements that function autonomously are brought into a system of hierarchical coordination, changes are required in the internal structure of the elements. These changes constitute the system requirements, and they invariably entail some suppression of local control in the interest of system coherence. System coherence is attained when all parts of the system are functioning in harmony and not at cross- purposes.

From an evolutionary standpoint each autonomously functioning element must be regulated against the unrestrained pursuit of appetites, of which the individual element is the chief beneficiary. The superego, conscience, or some similar mechanism that pits moral ideals against the uncontrolled expression of impulses fulfills this function. However, in the organizational mode, it is crucial for the operation of the system that these inhibitory mechanisms do not significantly conflict with directions from higher-level components. Therefore when the individual is working on his own, conscience is brought into play. But when he functions in an organizational mode, directions that come from the higher-level component are not assessed against the internal standards of moral judgment. Only impulses generated within the individual, in the autonomous mode, are so checked and regulated.

The hierarchy is constructed of modules, each consisting of one boss with followers (e.g., A: B,C). Each follower, in turn, may be superior to others below him (e.g., B: D, E), the entire structure being built up of such interlocking units. The psychology of obedience does not depend on the placement of the module within the larger hierarchy: the psychological adjustments of an obedient Wehrmacht General to Adolf Hitler parallel those of the lowest infantryman to his superior, and so forth, throughout the system. Only the psychology of the ultimate leader demands a different set of explanatory principles.


We now need to make clear a point that has been implicit in the argument--namely, the relationship of variability to the need for systemic modification. Where variability is present, efficient structuring into larger systems can only occur by ceding local control to a coordinating component. If not, the larger system will be less efficient than an average individual unit.

Consider a set of identical entities that can function on their own, say a set of five electric trams that possess governing mechanisms that brake each tram precisely at 50 miles an hour. As long as there is no variability among the individual units, when they are linked together in a five-car train, the train can move along at 50 miles an hour. Consider now that variability is introduced, and the automatic speed governors brake the five cars at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 miles an hour respectively. If the cars are formed into a supraordinate system, the train as a whole cannot move faster than the slowest unit.

If a social organization consists of individuals whose judgments on a course of action vary, coherence can only be secured by relying on the least common denominator. This is the least efficient system possible and hardly likely to benefit its members. Thus suppression of control at the level of the local unit and ceding to higher-level components become ever more important as variability increases. Variability, as evolutionary theorists have long told us, is of enormous biological value. And it is conspicuously a feature of the human species. Because people are not all alike, in order to derive the benefits of hierarchical structuring, readily effected suppression of local control is needed at the point of entering the hierarchy, so that the least efficient unit does not determine the operation of the system as a whole.

It is instructive to list a few of the systems that function by suppression of local control: individual pilots cede control to the controller in the tower as they approach an airport so that the units can be brought into a coordinated landing system; military units cede control to higher-level authority to ensure unity of action. When individuals enter a condition of hierarchical control, the mechanism which ordinarily regulates individual impulses is suppressed and ceded to the higher-level component. Freud (1921), without referring to the general systems implications of his assertion, spelled out this mechanism clearly: “. . . the individual gives up his ego ideal and substitutes for it the group ideal embodied in the leader” (page 78, Group Psychology). The basic reason why this occurs is rooted not in individual needs but in organizational needs. Hierarchical structures can function only if they possess the equality of coherence, and coherence can be attained only by the suppression of control at the local level.

Let me summarize the argument so far: (1) organized social life provides survival benefits to the individuals who are part of it, and to the group; (2) whatever behavioral and psychological features have been necessary to produce the capacity for organized social life have been shaped by evolutionary forces; (3) from the standpoint of cybernetics, the most general need in bringing self-regulating automata into a coordinated hierarchy is to suppress individual direction and control in favor of control from higher-level components; (4) more generally, hierarchies can function only when internal modification occurs in the elements of which they are composed; (5) functional hierarchies in social life are characterized by each of these features, and (6) the individuals who enter into such hierarchies are, of necessity, modified in their functioning.

This analysis is of importance for one reason alone: it alerts us to the changes that must occur when an independently functioning unit becomes part of a system. This transformation corresponds precisely to the central dilemma of our experiment: how is it that a person who is usually decent and courteous acts with severity against another person within the experiment? He does so because conscience, which regulates impulsive aggressive action, is per force diminished at the point of entering a hierarchical structure.

The Agentic Shift

We have concluded that internal modification is required in the operation of any element that can successfully function in a hierarchy, and that in the case of self-directed automata this entails suppression of local control in favor of regulation by a higher-level component. The design of such an automaton, if it is to parallel human function, must be sufficiently flexible to allow for two modes of operation: the self-directed (or autonomous mode), when it is functioning on its own, and for the satisfaction of its own internal needs, and the systemic mode, when the automaton is integrated into a larger organizational structure. Its behavior will depend on which of the two states it is in.

Social organizations, and the individuals who participate in them, are not exempt from the requirements of system integration. What in human experience corresponds to the transition from the autonomous to the systemic mode, and what are its consequences in specifically human terms? To answer the question we must move from a general level of discourse to the close examination of a person as he shifts into a functional position in a social hierarchy.

Where in a human being shall we find the switch that controls the transition from an autonomous to a systemic mode? No less than in the case of automata, there is certainly an alteration in the internal operations of the person, and these, no doubt, reduce to shifts in patterns of neural functioning. Chemical inhibitors and disinhibitors alter the probability of certain neural pathways and sequences being used. But it is totally beyond our technical skill to specify this event at the chemoneurological level. However, there is a phenomenological expression of this shift to which we do have access. The critical shift in functioning is reflected in an alteration of attitude. Specifically, the person entering an authority system no longer views himself as acting out of his own purposes but rather comes to see himself as an agent for executing the wishes of another person. Once an individual conceives his action in this light, profound alterations occur in his behavior and his internal functioning. These are so pronounced that one may say that this altered attitude places the individual in a different state from the one he was in prior to integration into the hierarchy. I shall term this the agentic state, by which I mean the condition a person is in when he sees himself as an agent for carrying out another person’s wishes. This term will be used in opposition to that of autonomy--that is, when a person sees himself as acting on his own.

The agentic state is the master attitude from which the observed behavior flows. The state of agency is more than a terminological burden imposed on the reader; it is the keystone of our analysis. If it is useful, we shall find that the laboratory observations will hang together when linked by it. If it is superfluous we shall find that it adds nothing to the coherence of our findings. For clarity, let me again define what is meant by the state of agency. It may be defined both from a cybernetic and a phenomenological standpoint.

From the standpoint of cybernetic analysis, the agentic state occurs when a self-regulating entity is internally modified so as to allow its functioning within a system of hierarchical control.

From a subjective standpoint, a person is in a state of agency when he defines himself in a social situation in a manner that renders him open to regulation by a person of higher status. In this condition the individual no longer views himself as responsible for his own actions but defines himself as an instrument for carrying out the wishes of others.

An element of free choice determines whether the person defines himself in this way or not, but given the presence of certain critical releasers, the propensity to do so is exceedingly strong, and the shift is not freely reversible.

Since the agentic state is largely a state of mind, some will say that this shift in attitude is not a real alteration in the state of the person. I would argue, however, that these shifts in individuals are precisely equivalent to those major alterations in the logic system of the automata considered earlier. Of course, we do not have toggle switches emerging from our bodies, and the shifts are synaptically effected, but this makes them no less real.



Peter Gabriel - We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37)


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. . . continued from previous post

Stanley Milgram on the difference between conformity and obedience and what creates the Agentic Shift (useful idiocy in conspiracy parlance):


11. The Process of Obedience:

Applying the Analysis to the Experiment

Now that the agentic state is at the center of our analysis (diagrammed on next page), certain key questions arise. First, under what conditions will a person move from an autonomous to an agentic state (antecedent conditions). Second, once the shift has occurred, what behavioral and psychological properties of the person are altered? (consequences). And, third, what keeps a person in the agentic state? (binding factors). Here a distinction is made between the conditions that produce entry into a state and those that maintain it. Let us now consider the process in detail.

Antecedent Conditions of Obedience

First, we need to consider forces that acted on the person before he became our subject, forces that shaped his basic orientation to the social world and laid the groundwork for obedience.


The subject has grown up in the midst of structures of authority. From his very first years, he was exposed to parental regulation, whereby a sense of respect for adult authority was inculcated. Parental injunctions are also the source of moral imperatives. However, when a parent instructs a child to follow a moral injunction, he is, in fact, doing two things. First, he presents a specific ethical content to be followed. Second, he trains the child to comply with authoritative injunctions per se. Thus, when a parent says, “Don’t strike smaller children,” he provides not one imperative but two. The first concerns the manner in which the recipient of the command is to treat smaller children (the prototype of those who are helpless and innocent); the second and implicit imperative is, “And obey me!” Thus, the very genesis of our moral ideals is inseparable from the inculcation of an obedient attitude. Moreover, the demand for obedience remains the only consistent element across a variety of specific commands, and thus tends to acquire a prepotent strength relative to any particular moral content.

Institutional Setting

As soon as the child emerges from the cocoon of the family, he is transferred to an institutional system of authority, the school. Here, the child learns not merely a specific curriculum but also how to function within an organizational framework. His actions are, to a significant degree, regulated by his teachers, but he can perceive that they in turn are subjected to the discipline and requirements of a headmaster. The student observes that arrogance is not passively accepted by authority but severely rebuked and that deference is the only appropriate and comfortable response to authority.

The first twenty years of the young person’s life are spent functioning as a subordinate element in an authority system, and upon leaving school, the male usually moves into either a civilian job or military service. On the job, he learns that although some discreetly expressed dissent is allowable, an underlying posture of submission is required for harmonious functioning with superiors. However much freedom of detail is allowed the individual, the situation is defined as one in which he is to do a job prescribed by someone else.

While structures of authority are of necessity present in all societies, advanced or primitive, modern society has the added characteristic of teaching individuals to respond to impersonal authorities. Whereas submission to authority is probably no less for an Ashanti than for an American factory worker, the range of persons who constitute authorities for the native are all personally known to him, while the modern industrial world forces individuals to submit to impersonal authorities, so that responses are made to abstract rank, indicated by an insignia, uniform or title.


Throughout this experience with authority, there is continual confrontation with a reward structure in which compliance with authority has been generally rewarded, while failure to comply has most frequently been punished. Although many forms of reward are meted out for dutiful compliance, the most ingenious is this: the individual is moved up a niche in the hierarchy, thus both motivating the person and perpetuating the structure simultaneously. This form of reward, “the promotion,” carries with it profound emotional gratification for the individual but its special feature is the fact that it ensures the continuity of the hierarchical form.

The net result of this experience is the internalization of the social order—that is, internalizing the set of axioms by which social life is conducted. And the chief axiom is: do what the man in charge says. Just as we internalize grammatical rules, and can thus both understand and produce new sentences, so we internalize axiomatic rules of social life which enable us to fulfill social requirements in novel situations. In any hierarchy of rules, that which requires compliance to authority assumes a paramount position.

Among the antecedent conditions, therefore, are the individual’s familial experience, the general societal setting built on impersonal systems of authority, and extended experience with a reward structure in which compliance with authority is rewarded, and failure to comply punished. While without doubt providing the background against which our subject’s habits of conduct were formed, these conditions are beyond the control of experimentation and do not immediately trigger movement to the agentic state. Let us now turn to the more immediate factors, within a specific situation, that lead to the agentic state.

Immediate Antecedent Conditions

Perception of authority. The first condition needed for transformation to the agentic state is the perception of a legitimate authority. From a psychological standpoint, authority means the person who is perceived to be in a position of social control within a given situation. Authority is contextually perceived and does not necessarily transcend the situation in which it is encountered. For example, should the experimenter encounter the subject on the street, he would have no special influence on him.

A pilot’s authority over his passengers does not extend beyond the airplane. Authority is normatively supported: there is a shared expectation among people that certain situations do ordinarily have a socially controlling figure. Authority need not possess high status in the sense of “prestige.” For example, an usher at a theater is a source of social control to whom we ordinarily submit willingly. The power of an authority stems not from personal characteristics but from his perceived position in a social structure.

The question of how authority communicates itself seems, at first, not to require a special answer. We invariably seem to know who is in charge. We may, nonetheless, examine the behavior in the laboratory to try to dissect the process a little.

First, the subject enters the situation with the expectation that someone will be in charge. Thus, the experimenter, upon first presenting himself, fills a gap experienced by the subject. Accordingly, the experimenter need not assert his authority, but merely identify it. He does so through a few introductory remarks, and since this self-defining ritual fits perfectly with the subject’s expectation of encountering a man in charge, it is not challenged. A supporting factor is the confidence and “air of authority” exhibited by the experimenter. Just as a servant possesses a deferential manner, so his master exudes a commanding presence that subtly communicates his dominant status within the situation at hand.

Second, external accouterments are often used to signify the authority in a given situation. Our experimenter was dressed in a gray technician’s coat, which linked him to the laboratory. Police, military, and other service uniforms are the most conspicuous signs of authority within common experience. Third, the subject notes the absence of competing authorities. (No one else claims to be in charge, and this helps confirm the presumption that the experimenter is the right man.) Fourth, there is the absence of conspicuously anomalous factors (e.g., a child of five claiming to be the scientist).

It is the appearance of authority and not actual authority to which the subject responds. Unless contradictory information or anomalous facts appear, the self-designation of the authority almost always suffices.

Entry into the Authority System. A second condition triggering the shift to the agentic state is the act of defining the person as part of the authority system in question. It is not enough that we perceive an authority, he must be an authority relevant to us. Thus, if we watch a parade, and hear a Colonel shout, “Left face,” we do not turn left, for we have not been defined as subordinate to his command. There is always a transition from that moment when we stand outside an authority system to that point when we are inside it. Authority systems are frequently limited by a physical context, and often we come under the influence of an authority when we cross the physical threshold into his domain. The fact that this experiment is carried out in a laboratory has a good deal to do with the degree of obedience exacted. There is a feeling that the experimenter “owns” the space and that the subject must conduct himself fittingly, as if a guest in someone’s house. If the experiment were to be carried on outside the laboratory, obedience would drop sharply.

Even more important, for the present experiment, is the fact that entry into the experimenter’s realm of authority is voluntary, undertaken through the free will of the participants. The psychological consequence of voluntary entry is that it creates a sense of commitment and obligation which will subsequently play a part in binding the subject to his role.

Were our subjects forcibly introduced to the experiment, they might well yield to authority, but the psychological mechanisms would be quite different from what we have observed. Generally, and wherever possible, society tries to create a sense of voluntary entry into its various institutions. Upon induction into the military, recruits take an oath of allegiance, and volunteers are preferred to inductees. While people will comply with a source of social control under coercion (as when a gun is aimed at them), the nature of obedience under such circumstances is limited to direct surveillance. When the gunman leaves, or when his capacity for sanctions is eliminated, obedience stops. In the case of voluntary obedience to a legitimate authority, the principal sanctions for disobedience come from within the person. They are not dependent upon coercion, but stem from the individual’s sense of commitment to his role. In this sense, there is an internalized basis for his obedience, not merely an external one.

Coordination of Command with the Function of Authority. Authority is the perceived source of social control within a specific context. The context defines the range of commands considered appropriate to the authority in question. There must, in general, be some intelligible link between the function of the controlling person, and the nature of the commands he issues. The connection need not be very well worked out but need only make sense in the most general way. Thus, in a military situation, a captain may order a subordinate to perform a highly dangerous action, but he may not order the subordinate to embrace his girlfriend. In one case, the order is logically linked to the general function of the military, and in the other case it is not.

In the obedience experiment, the subject acts within the context of a learning experiment and sees the experimenter’s commands as meaningfully coordinated to his role. In the context of the laboratory, such commands are felt to be appropriate in a general way, however much one may argue with certain specific developments that later occur.

Because the experimenter issues orders in a context he is presumed to know something about, his power is increased. Generally, authorities are felt to know more than the person they are commanding; whether they do or not, the occasion is defined as if they do. Even when a subordinate possesses a greater degree of technical knowledge than his superior, he must not presume to override the authority's right to command but must present this knowledge to the superior to dispose of as he wishes. A typical source of strain occurs in authority systems when the person in authority is incompetent to the point of endangering the subordinates.

The Overarching Ideology. The perception of a legitimate source of social control within a defined social occasion is a necessary prerequisite for a shift to the agentic state. But the legitimacy of the occasion itself depends on its articulation to a justifying ideology. When subjects enter the laboratory and are told to perform, they do not in a bewildered fashion cry out, "I never heard of science. What do you mean by this?" Within this situation, the idea of science and its acceptance as a legitimate social enterprise provide the overarching ideological justification for the experiment. Such institutions as business, the church, the government, and the educational establishment provide other legitimate realms of activity, each justified by the values and needs of society, and also, from the standpoint of the typical person, accepted because they exist as part of the world in which he is born and grows up. Obedience could be secured outside such institutions, but it would not be the form of willing obedience, in which the person complies with a strong sense of doing the right thing. Moreover, if the experiment were carried out in a culture very different from our own--say, among Trobianders--it would be necessary to find the functional equivalent of science in order to obtain psychologically comparable results. The Trobriander may not believe in scientists, but he respects witch doctors. The inquisitor of sixteenth-century Spain might have eschewed science, but he embraced the ideology of his church, and in its name, and for its preservation, tightened the screw on the rack without any problem of conscience.

Ideological justification is vital in obtaining willing obedience, for it permits the person to see his behavior as serving a desirable end. Only when viewed in this light, is compliance easily exacted.

An authority system, then, consists of a minimum of two persons sharing the expectation that one of them has the right to prescribe behavior for the other. In the current study, the experimenter is the key element in a system that extends beyond his person. The system includes the setting of the experiment, the impressive laboratory equipment, the devices which inculcate a sense of obligation in the subject, the mystique of science of which the experiment is a part, and the broad institutional accords that permit such activities to go on--that is, the diffuse societal support that is implied by the very fact that the experiment is being run and tolerated in a civilized city.

The experimenter acquires his capacity to influence behavior not by virtue of the exercise of force or threat but by virtue of the position he occupies in a social structure. There is general agreement not only that he can influence behavior but that he ought to be able to. Thus, his power comes about in some degree through the consent of those over whom he presides. But once this consent is initially granted, its withdrawal does not proceed automatically or without great cost.

The Agentic State

What are the properties of the agentic state, and its consequences for the subject ?

Moved into the agentic state, the person becomes something different from his former self, with new properties not easily traced to his usual personality.

First, the entire set of activities carried out by the subject comes to be pervaded by his relationship to the experimenter; the subject typically wishes to perform competently and to make a good appearance before this central figure. He directs his attention to those features of the situation required for such competent performance. He attends to the instructions, concentrates on the technical requirements of administering shocks, and finds himself absorbed in the narrow technical tasks at hand. Punishment of the learner shrinks to an insignificant part of the total experience, a mere gloss on the complex activities of the laboratory.


Those not familiar with the experiment may think that the predicament of the subject is one in which he is assaulted by conflicting forces emanating from the learner and the experimenter. In a very real sense, however, a process of tuning occurs in the subject, with maximal receptivity to the emissions of the authority, whereas the learner’s signals are muted and psychologically remote. Those who are skeptical of this effect might observe the behavior of individuals organized in a hierarchical structure. The meeting of a company president with his subordinates will do. The subordinates respond with attentive concern to each word uttered by the president. Ideas originally mentioned by persons of a low status will frequently not be heard, but when repeated by the president, they are greeted with enthusiasm.

There is nothing especially malicious in this; it reflects the natural responses to authority. If we explore a little more deeply, we will see why this is so: the person in authority, by virtue of that position, is in the optimal position to bestow benefits or inflict deprivations. The boss can fire or promote; the military superior can send a man into dangerous combat or give him a soft job; the tribal patriarch consents to a marriage or orders an execution; thus, it is highly adaptive to attend with meticulous concern to authority’s whim.

Because of this, authority tends to be seen as something larger than the individual. The individual often views authority as an impersonal force, whose dictates transcend mere human wish or desire. Those in authority acquire, for some, a suprahuman character.

The phenomenon of differential tuning occurs with impressive regularity in the experiment at hand. The learner operates under the handicap that the subject is not truly attuned to him, for the subject’s feelings and percepts are dominated by the presence of the experimenter. For many subjects, the learner becomes simply an unpleasant obstacle interfering with attainment of a satisfying relationship with the experimenter. His pleas for mercy are con- sequential only in that they add a certain discomfort to what evidently is required of the subject if he is to gain the approval of the central emotional figure in the situation.

Redefining the Meaning of the Situation

Control the manner in which a man interprets his world, and you have gone a long way toward controlling his behavior. That is why ideology, an attempt to interpret the condition of man, is always a prominent feature of revolutions, wars, and other circumstances in which individuals are called upon to perform extraordinary action. Governments invest heavily in propaganda, which constitutes the official manner of interpreting events.

Every situation also possesses a kind of ideology, which we call the “definition of the situation,” and which is the interpretation of the meaning of a social occasion. It provides the perspective through which the elements of a situation gain coherence. An act viewed in one perspective may seem heinous; the same action viewed in another perspective seems fully warranted. There is a propensity for people to accept definitions of action provided by legitimate authority. That is, although the subject performs the action, he allows authority to define its meaning.

It is this ideological abrogation to the authority that constitutes the principal cognitive basis of obedience. If, after all, the world or the situation is as the authority defines it, a certain set of actions follows logically.

The relationship between authority and subject, therefore, cannot be viewed as one in which a coercive figure forces action from an unwilling subordinate. Because the subject accepts authority’s definition of the situation, action follows willingly.

Loss of Responsibility

The most far-reaching consequence of the agentic shift is that a man feels responsible to the authority directing him but feels no responsibility for the content of the actions that the authority prescribes. Morality does not disappear, but acquires a radically different focus: the subordinate person feels shame or pride depending on how adequately he has performed the actions called for by authority.

Language provides numerous terms to pinpoint this type of morality: loyalty, duty, discipline, all are terms heavily saturated with moral meaning and refer to the degee to which a person fulfills his obligations to authority. They refer not to the “goodness” of the person per se but to the adequacy with which a subordinate fulfills his socially defined role. The most frequent defense of the individual who has performed a heinous act under command of authority is that he has simply done his duty. In asserting this defense, the individual is not introducing an alibi concocted for the moment but is reporting honestly on the psychological attitude induced by submission to authority.

For a man to feel responsible for his actions, he must sense that the behavior has flowed from “the self.” In the situation we have studied, subjects have precisely the opposite view of their actions--namely, they see them as originating in the motives of some other person. Subjects in the experiment frequently said, “If it were up to me, I would not have administered shocks to the learner.”

Superego functions shift from an evaluation of the goodness or badness of the acts to an assessment of how well or poorly one is functioning in the authority system. Because the inhibitory forces which prevent the individual from acting harshly against others on his own are short-circuited, actions are no longer limited by conscience.

Consider an individual who, in everyday life, is gentle and kind. Even in moments of anger he does not strike out against those who have frustrated him. Feeling that he must spank a mischievous child, he finds the task distasteful; indeed, the very musculature in his arms becomes paralyzed, and he abandons the task. Yet, when taken into military service he is ordered to drop bombs on people, and he does so. The act does not originate in his own motive system and thus is not checked by the inhibitory forces of his internal psychological system. In growing up, the normal individual has learned to check the expression of aggressive impulses. But the culture has failed, almost entirely, in inculcating internal controls on actions that have their origin in authority. For this reason, the latter constitutes a far greater danger to human survival.


It is not only important to people that they look good to others, they must also look good to themselves. A person’s ego ideal can be an important source of internal inhibitory regulation. Tempted to perform harsh action, he may assess its consequences for his self-image and refrain. But once the person has moved into the agentic state, this evaluative mechanism is wholly absent. The action, since it no longer stems from motives of his own, no longer reflects on his self-image and thus has no consequences for self-conception. Indeed, the individual frequently discerns an opposition between what he himself wishes on the one hand and what is required of him on the other. He sees the action, even though he performs it, as alien to his nature. For this reason, actions performed under command are, from the subject’s view- point, virtually guiltless, however inhumane they may be. And it is toward authority that the subject turns for confirmation of his worth.

Commands and the Agentic State

The agentic state constitutes a potential out of which specific acts of obedience flow. But something more than the potential is required--namely, specific commands that serve as the triggering mechanism. We have already pointed out that, in a general way, the commands given must be consistent with the role of authority. A command consists of two main parts: a definition of action and the imperative that the action be executed. (A request, for example, contains a definition of action but lacks the insistence that it be carried out.)

Commands, then, lead to specific acts of obedience. Is the agentic state just another word for obedience? No, it is that state of mental organization which enhances the likelihood of obedience. Obedience is the behavioral aspect of the state. A person may be in an agentic state-that is, in a state of openness to regulation from an authority-without ever being given a command and thus never having to obey.

Binding Factors

Once a person has entered the agentic state, what keeps him in it? Whenever elements are linked in a hierarchy, there need to be forces to maintain them in that relationship. If these did not exist, the mildest perturbation would bring about the disintegration of the structure. Therefore, once people are brought into a social hierarchy, there must be some cementing mechanism to endow the structure with at least minimal stability.

Some people interpret the experimental situation as one in which the subject, in a highly rational manner can weigh the conflicting values in the situation, process the factors according to some mental calculus, and base his actions on the outcome of this equation. Thus, the subject’s predicament is reduced to a problem of rational decision making. This analysis ignores a crucial aspect of behavior illuminated by the experiments. Though many subjects make the intellectual decision that they should not give any more shocks to the learner, they are frequently unable to transform this conviction into action. Viewing these subjects in the laboratory, one can sense their intense inner struggle to extricate themselves from the authority, while ill-defined but powerful bonds hold them at the shock generator. One subject tells the experimenter: “He can’t stand it. I’m not going to kill that man in there. You hear him hollering in there. He’s hollering. He can’t stand it.” Although at the verbal level the subject has resolved not to go on, he continues to act in accord with the experimenter’s commands. Many subjects make tentative movements toward disobedience but then seem restrained, as if by a bond. Let us now examine the forces that powerfully bind a subject to his role.

The best way to begin tracing these forces is to ask: What does the subject have to go through if he wants to break off? Through what psychological underbrush must he cut to get from his position in front of the shock generator to a stance of defiance?

Sequential Nature of the Action

The laboratory hour is an unfolding process in which each action influences the next. The obedient act is preservative; after the initial instructions, the experimenter does not command the subject to initiate a new act but simply to continue doing what he is doing. The recurrent nature of the action demanded of the subject itself creates binding forces. As the subject delivers more and more painful shocks, he must seek to justify to himself what he has done; one form of justification is to go to the end. For if he breaks off, he must say to himself: “Everything I have done to this point is bad, and I now acknowledge it by breaking off.” But, if he goes on, he is reassured about his past performance. Earlier actions give rise to discomforts, which are neutralized by later ones. And the subject is implicated into the destructive behavior in piecemeal fashion.

Situational Obligations

Underlying all social occasions is a situational etiquette that plays a part in regulating behavior. In order to break off the experiment, the subject must breach the implicit set of under- standings that are part of the social occasion. He made an initial promise to aid the experimenter, and now he must renege on this commitment. Although to the outsider the act of refusing to shock stems from moral considerations, the action is experienced by the subject as renouncing an obligation to the experimenter, and such repudiation is not undertaken lightly. There is another side to this matter.

Goffman (1959) points out that every social situation is built upon a working consensus among the participants. One of its chief premises is that once a definition of the situation has been projected and agreed upon by participants, there shall be no challenge to it. Indeed, disruption of the accepted definition by one participant has the character of moral transgression. Under no circumstance is open conflict about the definition of the situation compatible with polite social exchange.

More specifically, according to Goffman’s analysis, “society is organized on the principle that any individual who possesses certain social characteristics has a moral right to expect that others will value and treat him in a correspondingly appropriate way. When an individual projects a definition of the situation and then makes an implicit or explicit claim to be a person of a particular kind, he automatically exerts a moral demand upon the others, obliging them to value and treat him in the manner that persons of his kind have a right to expect” (page 185). Since to refuse to obey the experimenter is to reject his claim to competence and authority in this situation, a severe social impropriety is necessarily involved.

The experimental situation is so constructed that there is no way the subject can stop shocking the learner without violating the experimenter’s self-definition. The teacher cannot break off and at the same time protect the authority’s definitions of his own competence. Thus, the subject fears that if he breaks off, he will appear arrogant, untoward, and rude. Such emotions, although they appear small in scope alongside the violence being done to the learner, nonetheless help bind the subject into obedience. They suffuse the mind and feelings of the subject, who is miserable at the prospect of having to repudiate the authority to his face. The entire prospect of turning against the experimental authority, with its attendant disruption of a well-defined social situation, is an embarrassment that many people are unable to face up to. In an effort to avoid this awkward event, many subjects find obedience a less painful alternative.

In ordinary social encounters precautions are frequently taken to prevent just such disruption of the occasion, but the subject finds himself in a situation where even the discreet exercise of tact cannot save the experimenter from being discredited. Only obedience can preserve the experimenter’s status and dignity. It is a curious thing that a measure of compassion on the part of the subject, an unwillingness to “hurt” the experimenter’s feelings, are part of those binding forces inhibiting disobedience. The withdrawal of such deference may be as painful to the subject as to the authority he defies. Readers who feel this to be a trivial consideration ought to carry out the following experiment. It will help them feel the force of inhibition that operates on the subject.

First, identify a person for whom you have genuine respect, preferably someone older than yourself by at least a generation, and who represents an authority in an important life domain. He could be a respected professor, a beloved priest, or under certain circumstances a parent. It must also be a person whom you refer to with some title such as Professor Parsons, Father Paul, or Dr. Charles Brown. He must be a person who represents to you the distance and solemnity of a genuine authority. To understand what it means to breach the etiquette of relations with authority, you need merely present yourself to the person and, in place of using his title, whether it be Dr., Professor, or Father, address him using his first name, or perhaps even an appropriate nickname. You may state to Dr. Brown, for example, “Good morning, Charlie!”

As you approach him you will experience anxiety and a powerful inhibition that may well prevent successful completion of the experiment. You may say to yourself: “Why should I carry out this foolish experiment? I have always had a fine relationship with Dr. Brown, which may now be jeopardized. Why should I appear arrogant to him?”

More than likely, you will not be able to perform the disrespectful action, but even in attempting it you will gain a greater understanding of the feelings experienced by our subjects.

Social occasions, the very elements out of which society is built, are held together, therefore, by the operation of a certain situational etiquette, whereby each person respects the definition of the situation presented by another and in this way avoids conflict,• embarrassment, and awkward disruption of social exchange. The most basic aspect of that etiquette does not concern the content of what transpires from one person to the next but rather the maintenance of the structural relations between them. Such relations can be those of equality or of hierarchy. When the occasion is defined as one of hierarchy, any attempt to alter the defined structure will be experienced as a moral transgression and will evoke anxiety, shame, embarrassment, and diminished feelings of self-worth.


The fears experienced by the subject are largely anticipatory in nature, referring to vague apprehensions of the unknown. Such diffuse apprehension is termed anxiety.

What is the source of this anxiety? It stems from the individual’s long history of socialization. He has, in the course of moving from a biological creature to a civilized person, internalized the basic rules of social life. And the most basic of these is respect for authority. The rules are internally enforced by linking their possible breach to a flow of disruptive, ego-threatening affect. The emotional signs observed in the laboratory--trembling, anxious laughter, acute embarrassment--are evidence of an assault on these rules. As the subject contemplates this break, anxiety is generated, signaling him to step back from the forbidden action and thereby creating an emotional barrier through which he must pass in order to defy authority.

The remarkable thing is, once the “ice is broken” through disobedience, virtually all the tension, anxiety, and fear evaporate.




Stanley Milgram was born in 1933 to a Jewish family in New York City,[2] the child of a Romanian-born mother, Adele (née Israel), and a Hungarian-born father, Samuel Milgram.[3][4] Milgram's father worked as a baker to provide a modest income for his family until his death in 1953 (upon which Stanley's mother took over the bakery). Milgram excelled academically and was a great leader among his peers. In 1954, Milgram received his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Queens College, New York where he attended tuition-free.[1] He applied to a Ph.D. program in social psychology at Harvard University and was initially rejected due to an insufficient background in psychology (he had not taken one undergraduate course in psychology while attending Queens College). He was eventually accepted to Harvard in 1954 after first enrolling as a student in Harvard's Office of Special Students.[1]

Professional life

In 1960, Milgram received a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Harvard. He became an assistant professor at Yale in the fall of 1960. He became an assistant professor in the Department of Social Relations at Harvard in the summer of 1963 until 1966, when he became a lecturer until 1967. Most likely because of his controversial Milgram Experiment, Milgram was denied tenure at Harvard after becoming an assistant professor there. In 1967 he accepted an offer to become a tenured full professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center (Blass, 2004). Milgram had a number of significant influences, including psychologists Solomon Asch and Gordon Allport.[5] Milgram influenced numerous psychologists including Alan C. Elms, who was Milgram's first graduate assistant in the study of obedience. Milgram died on December 20, 1984 of a heart attack in New York, the city in which he was born. He left behind a widow, Alexandra "Sasha" Milgram, and two children.[6]


In 1963, Milgram submitted the results of his Milgram experiments in the article "Behavioral Study of Obedience". In the ensuing controversy, the American Psychological Association held up his application for membership for a year because of questions about the ethics of his work, but eventually did grant him full membership. Ten years later, in 1974, Milgram published Obedience to Authority. He won the AAAS Prize for Behavioral Science Research in 1964, mostly for his work on the social aspects of obedience.[7]

Milgram's Experiment 18: Peer shock administration[edit]

In this experiment, 26 out of 40 participants administered the full range of shocks up to 450 volts, the highest obedience rate Milgram found in his whole series. Thus, according to Milgram, the subject shifts responsibility to another person and does not blame himself for what happens. This resembles real-life incidents in which people see themselves as merely cogs in a machine, just "doing their job", allowing them to avoid responsibility for the consequences of their actions. The shocks themselves were fake; the participant who took the place as the "learner" in the experiment was in fact a paid actor who would simulate the effects of the shock depending on the voltage. Milgram became notorious for this tactic, and his experiment was soon classed as highly unethical as it caused stress to the participants in the study. The study soon became one of the most talked about psychological experiments in recent history, making headlines across the world, and resulted in Milgram finding himself in the centre of public attention.

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Old 02-11-2013, 05:10 PM   #29
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Hippie "vibration" theory:


If nothing is holding us down to the physical plane, then what's holding us ? Why are we attached to structures? Why do we stick to our vibration level? Why do we fear change?

To answer these questions, let's start at the top once again. There are lots of words for how it feels to be completely expanded: total awareness, completeness, freedom, love, ecstasy, certainty, stability, supreme intelligence, compassion. I think it will be least vague in this instance to discuss our interactions in terms of stability.

Absolute stability exists naturally at the space level, because all relationships are persistent to the degree that the beings involved have the same expansion.

But on the more contracted levels, where there is by definition some withdrawal of awareness, we accordingly have less control over how long the stable condition lasts. And when we are relating to beings whose vibrations are higher or lower than ours, we feel unstable and uncertain.

In an unstable relationship, we have basically two ways to go, regardless of the subtleties of the changes: one way is towards stability, reaching a common level of vibration; the other way is towards disintegration, getting so far apart in vibrations that we are no longer aware of each other at all. Since we are uncomfortable in the presence of vibrations higher or lower than our own, we tend to make certain 'natural' responses. If the other person is lower, we will generally try to get him up to our level, to help him and cheer him up. But if the other person is higher, we will often, at first, try to bring him down and get him to lower his vibrations. Note that when you try to help someone you are working against his natural, perhaps unconscious effort to bring you down. The lower vibrating person (and this could be any of us depending on the circumstance) will appear to be draining the energy of the higher person, often with the best moral and social motives. This effort can take the form of exaggerated praise, sly pokes disguised in polite words, pleading for help with problems, showing fear and depression, freaking out, starting an argument, quoting better authorities, and a thousand other forms, all the way down to putting the higher person in prison or killing him.

On the other end, if you are faced with such behavior, the remedy is to keep on outflowing love, to have no resistance in your mind. The lower vibrating person may reach farther and farther to bring you down, but when he finds you will not come down, when he senses that you have no internal resistance to him, he will have to rise to your vibration level to feel stable and comfortable, it is too painful to stay where he is. And he will rise, unless of course he goes the other way, and disintegrates from the relationship. You are not, however, obliged to wait him out: if you sense that he is not going to do anything but try to bring you down, you are free to effect the disintegration when you choose. In current language, just split. Don't dwell on it, and don't feel guilty about it. It's in the natural order of things.

If you are going to take psychedelics or meditate and open yourself to communication with beings on higher levels, you should be aware of the implications of these automatic interactions between vibration levels. You are likely to feel overwhelmed, driven, compelled, degraded, full of psychic terror (the bummer) until you drop your resistance, expand in love, and move up to the vibration of the higher beings. They have no intention to scare you or test you, it's your own density that is making you have those feelings.

Anything that really frightens you may contain a clue to enlightenment. It may indicate to you how deeply you are attached to structure, whether mental, physical, or social. Attachment and resistance are appearances with the same root: when you resist by pulling away your awareness, the emotion is one of fear, and the contraction is experienced as a pull like magnetism or gravity; that is, attachment.

That is why we often fear to open our minds to more exalted spiritual beings. We think fear is a signal to withdraw, when in fact it is a sign we are already withdrawing too much.

When we are afraid to see what is higher, we may then try to buy a feeling of safety or power by keeping our attention on what is lower. This process takes many forms in human life.

Charity conceived as an impulse towards those lower than ourselves often has unhappy results. Many of our impulsive feelings have their source in erroneous assumptions about the status of other people. There is nothing wrong with feelings--the feelings on the space level are incredibly rich. But it is wise to pay attention to where our feelings are coming from, and where they are leading us. We may be seduced by a feeling of freedom, power, or amusement by relating to those we think are weaker; or we may recoil from the fear and depression we feel in the presence of those we consider stronger.

-- from "Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment" by Thaddeus Golas


And hippie realities:


I do not know how I finished that week at Recorder until the weekend when my two-week vacation began. Of course I never went back afterwards. I had dropped out, in the phrase of the times. But what had I dropped into?

I had invoked a maelstrom, and there was no way I could even begin to make amends to the other roomers in the apartment. Some stranger was always taking a shower in the community bath, and the kitchen was always full of people staring like hungry pets. Cooking was impossible. Some of the mob seeped into other apartments in the building and formed liaisons with the residents. There were disciples sitting at Michael’s feet, worshipping him because he looked so spiritual.

I had lost authority with the Good Karma Kids once they sensed that in my dazed state of mind I could be exploited. I was relieved when Edith and Michael decided we would all go to Laguna Beach, south of Los Angeles. Then I objected when I realized that by “all” they meant the entire crowd infesting the building was to go along in my van. When I said that was impossible, they treated my “negative thinking” with contempt. Clutching some strands of rationality, I conceded that everyone who was in the bus when we started could go along.

On the morning we left, there were eight people in the van plus Edith’s large hound, Abraxas. We stopped at a health-food store in the Haight, then set off south on Highway 1. When we got as far as Half Moon Bay, about fifty miles, Edith realized her dog was not in the van. She insisted we go back to the city to look for it. Reversing direction burst the bubble of the excursion. We searched for hours, but Abraxas was not to be found. We set off south again, picking up several hitch-hikers on the way. By this time darkness was falling, and I drove all night. In early morning I stopped at a restaurant near San Luis Obispo, and my decision was roundly condemned, even though I paid for the food. Apparently eating in a restaurant was tantamount to consorting with the enemy. They made a commotion in the place but I was too old a campaigner to be put off my feed. When we got to Santa Monica we stopped at a supermarket for food supplies.

Two of the people we had added in San Francisco were a handsome youth named Ray and his roommate, another slight, slim older man, named Jack. From Jack’s distress when Ray fucked Edith on the bed in back as we drove along, I suspected that he and Ray were lovers also. The coupling was ignored by everyone else.

San Francisco got most of the publicity in the psychedelic years, but I would guess the parties in Los Angeles were probably more fun. Certainly Laguna Beach was the post-graduate school of acid-tripping. The people in a canyon settlement were already living in another reality. Laguna Beach was the base of the Brotherhood, a small mystical group spoken of with enormous respect in the communes of California. They in turn regarded themselves as a sort of palace guard for Tim Leary, though their real role was the importation and distribution of large amounts of Afghani and Nepalese hashish, as well as LSD.

Our vanload descended on one of the houses in the canyon outside town. We rapidly overtaxed the septic tank, and wet towels just as quickly infected everyone with a jailhouse rash between the buttocks. It seemed that most of the young people I met in those years had either been in jail or had been committed to asylums by parents. Hippies were such nomads, and communes mushroomed and dispersed so quickly, that diseases spread easily. It was fortunate that AIDS was not yet in circulation. All the carefree souls were to learn that hedonism has a price. The people in the colony boasted they had frightened the wits out of a sheriff’s night-raiding force by gathering on a hillside above the houses and chanting an “OM” in unison. I liked these people, and hoped to join them, but the key members were about to leave for Maui to live on the beach.


Time-warped Mr. Natural roams the earth to enlighten the alien invaders of Utopia



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Old 02-11-2013, 05:27 PM   #30
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i sure preferred the groovy pictures the thread had.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:31 PM   #31
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Schopenhauer's "vibrations" were almost certainly more attuned to "Utopia."


"The most effective consolation in every misfortune and every affliction is to observe others who are more unfortunate than we: and everyone can do this. But what does that say for the condition of the whole ?

History shows us the life of nations and finds nothing to narrate but wars and tumults; the peaceful years appear only as occasional brief pauses and interludes. In just the same way the life of the individual is a constant struggle, and not merely a metaphorical one against want or boredom, but also an actual struggle against other people. He discovers adversaries everywhere, lives in continual conflict and dies with sword in hand."

"Not the least of the torments which plague our existence is the constant pressure of time, which never lets us so much as draw breath but pursues us all like a taskmaster with a whip. It ceases to persecute only him it has delivered over to boredom."

"And yet, just as our body would burst asunder if the pressure of the atmosphere were removed from it, so would the arrogance of men expand, if not to the point of bursting then to that of the most unbridled folly, indeed madness, if the pressure of want, toil, calamity and frustration were removed from their life. One can even say that we require at all times a certain quantity of care or sorrow or want, as a ship requires ballast, in order to keep on a straight course.

Work, worry, toil and trouble are indeed the lot of almost all men their whole life long. And yet if every desire were satisfied as soon as it arose how would men occupy their lives, how would they pass the time? Imagine this race transported to Utopia where everything grows of its own accord and turkeys fly around ready-roasted, where lovers find one another without any delay and keep one another without any difficulty: in such a place some men would die of boredom or hang themselves, some would fight and kill one another, and thus they would create for themselves more suffering than nature inflicts on them as it is. Thus for a race such as this, no stage, no form of existence is suitable other than the one it already possesses."

~ Arthur Schopenhauer


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Old 04-11-2013, 01:49 PM   #32
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Charles Baudelaire - "L'Albatros" - The Albatros - Poem Animation French



Souvent, pour s'amuser, les hommes d'équipage
Prennent des albatros, vastes oiseaux des mers,
Qui suivent, indolents compagnons de voyage,
Le navire glissant sur les gouffres amers.

À peine les ont-ils déposés sur les planches,
Que ces rois de l'azur, maladroits et honteux,
Laissent piteusement leurs grandes ailes blanches
Comme des avirons traîner à côté d'eux.

Ce voyageur ailé, comme il est gauche et veule!
Lui, naguère si beau, qu'il est comique et laid!
L'un agace son bec avec un brûle-gueule,
L'autre mime, en boitant, l'infirme qui volait!

Le Poète est semblable au prince des nuées
Qui hante la tempête et se rit de l'archer;
Exilé sur le sol au milieu des huées,
Ses ailes de géant l'empêchent de marcher.

Charles Baudelaire

The Albatross

Often, to amuse themselves, the men of a crew
Catch albatrosses, those vast sea birds
That indolently follow a ship
As it glides over the deep, briny sea.

Scarcely have they placed them on the deck
Than these kings of the sky, clumsy, ashamed,
Pathetically let their great white wings
Drag beside them like oars.

That winged voyager, how weak and gauche he is,
So beautiful before, now comic and ugly!
One man worries his beak with a stubby clay pipe;
Another limps, mimics the cripple who once flew!

The poet resembles this prince of cloud and sky
Who frequents the tempest and laughs at the bowman;
When exiled on the earth, the butt of hoots and jeers,
His giant wings prevent him from walking.

— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

Au Lecteur (To the Reader) by Charles Baudelaire, read by Louis Jourdan


Au Lecteur

La sottise, l'erreur, le péché, la lésine,
Occupent nos esprits et travaillent nos corps,
Et nous alimentons nos aimables remords,
Comme les mendiants nourrissent leur vermine.

Nos péchés sont têtus, nos repentirs sont lâches;
Nous nous faisons payer grassement nos aveux,
Et nous rentrons gaiement dans le chemin bourbeux,
Croyant par de vils pleurs laver toutes nos taches.

Sur l'oreiller du mal c'est Satan Trismégiste
Qui berce longuement notre esprit enchanté,
Et le riche métal de notre volonté
Est tout vaporisé par ce savant chimiste.

C'est le Diable qui tient les fils qui nous remuent!
Aux objets répugnants nous trouvons des appas;
Chaque jour vers l'Enfer nous descendons d'un pas,
Sans horreur, à travers des ténèbres qui puent.

Ainsi qu'un débauché pauvre qui baise et mange
Le sein martyrisé d'une antique catin,
Nous volons au passage un plaisir clandestin
Que nous pressons bien fort comme une vieille orange.

Serré, fourmillant, comme un million d'helminthes,
Dans nos cerveaux ribote un peuple de Démons,
Et, quand nous respirons, la Mort dans nos poumons
Descend, fleuve invisible, avec de sourdes plaintes.

Si le viol, le poison, le poignard, l'incendie,
N'ont pas encor brodé de leurs plaisants dessins
Le canevas banal de nos piteux destins,
C'est que notre âme, hélas! n'est pas assez hardie.

Mais parmi les chacals, les panthères, les lices,
Les singes, les scorpions, les vautours, les serpents,
Les monstres glapissants, hurlants, grognants, rampants,
Dans la ménagerie infâme de nos vices,

II en est un plus laid, plus méchant, plus immonde!
Quoiqu'il ne pousse ni grands gestes ni grands cris,
Il ferait volontiers de la terre un débris
Et dans un bâillement avalerait le monde;

C'est l'Ennui! L'oeil chargé d'un pleur involontaire,
II rêve d'échafauds en fumant son houka.
Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre délicat,
— Hypocrite lecteur, — mon semblable, — mon frère!

Charles Baudelaire

To the Reader

Folly, error, sin, avarice
Occupy our minds and labor our bodies,
And we feed our pleasant remorse
As beggars nourish their vermin.

Our sins are obstinate, our repentance is faint;
We exact a high price for our confessions,
And we gaily return to the miry path,
Believing that base tears wash away all our stains.

On the pillow of evil Satan, Trismegist,
Incessantly lulls our enchanted minds,
And the noble metal of our will
Is wholly vaporized by this wise alchemist.

The Devil holds the strings which move us!
In repugnant things we discover charms;
Every day we descend a step further toward Hell,
Without horror, through gloom that stinks.

Like a penniless rake who with kisses and bites
Tortures the breast of an old prostitute,
We steal as we pass by a clandestine pleasure
That we squeeze very hard like a dried up orange.

Serried, swarming, like a million maggots,
A legion of Demons carouses in our brains,
And when we breathe, Death, that unseen river,
Descends into our lungs with muffled wails.

If rape, poison, daggers, arson
Have not yet embroidered with their pleasing designs
The banal canvas of our pitiable lives,
It is because our souls have not enough boldness.

But among the jackals, the panthers, the bitch hounds,
The apes, the scorpions, the vultures, the serpents,
The yelping, howling, growling, crawling monsters,
In the filthy menagerie of our vices,

There is one more ugly, more wicked, more filthy!
Although he makes neither great gestures nor great cries,
He would willingly make of the earth a shambles
And, in a yawn, swallow the world;

He is Ennui! — His eye watery as though with tears,
He dreams of scaffolds as he smokes his hookah pipe.
You know him reader, that refined monster,
— Hypocritish reader, — my fellow, — my brother!

— translated by William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

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Part III : Magick in Theory and Practice (1929)
Magick in Theory and Practice
This book is for
for every man, woman, and child.

My former work has been misunderstood, and its scope limited, by my use of technical terms. It has attracted only too many dilettanti and eccentrics, weaklings seeking in "Magic" an escape from reality. I myself was first consciously drawn to the subject in this way. And it has repelled only too many scientific and practical minds, such as I most designed to influence.
is for

In my third year at Cambridge, I devoted myself consciously to the Great Work, understanding thereby the Work of becoming a Spiritual Being, free from the constraints, accidents, and deceptions of material existence.

I found myself at a loss for a name to designate my work, just as H. P. Blavatsky some years earlier. "Theosophy", "Spiritualism", "Occultism", "Mysticism", all involved undesirable connotations.

I chose therefore the name.
as essentially the most sublime, and actually the most discredited, of all the available terms.
I swore to rehabilitate
to identify it with my own career; and to compel mankind to respect, love, and trust that which they scorned, hated and feared. I have kept my Word.

I must make
the essential factor in the life of

In presenting this book to the world, I must then explain and justify my position by formulating a definition of
and setting forth its main principles in such a way that
may understand instantly that their souls, their lives, in every relation with every other human being and every circumstance, depend upon
and the right comprehension and right application thereof.

Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.

(Illustration: It is my Will to inform the World of certain facts within my knowledge. I therefore take "magickal weapons", pen, ink, and paper; I write "incantations" — these sentences — in the "magickal language" ie, that which is understood by the people I wish to instruct; I call forth "spirits", such as printers, publishers, booksellers and so forth and constrain them to convey my message to those people. The composition and distribution of this book is thus an act of Magick by which I cause Changes to take place in conformity with my Will.) In one sense Magick may be defined as the name given to Science by the vulgar.

The essence of
is simple enough in all conscience. It is not otherwise with the art of government.
The Aim is simply prosperity; but the theory is tangled, and the practice beset with briars.
In the same way
is merely to be and to do. I should add: "to suffer". For Magick is the verb; and it is part of the Training to use the passive voice. This is, however, a matter of Initiation rather than of Magick in its ordinary sense. It is not my fault if being is baffling, and doing desperate!

The Inmost is one with the Inmost; yet the form of the One is not the form of the other; intimacy exacts fitness. He therefore who liveth by air, let him not be bold to breathe water. But mastery cometh by measure: to him who with labour, courage, and caution giveth his life to understand all that doth encompass him, and to prevail against it, shall be increase. "The word of Sin is Restriction": seek therefore Righteousness, enquiring into Iniquity, and fortify thyself to overcome it.

Black magic is not a myth. It is a totally unscientific and emotional form of magic, but it does get results — of an extremely temporary nature. The recoil upon those who practice it is terrific.

It is like looking for an escape of gas with a lighted candle. As far as the search goes, there is little fear of failure!

To practice black magic you have to violate every principle of science, decency, and intelligence. You must be obsessed with an insane idea of the importance of the petty object of your wretched and selfish desires.

I have been accused of being a "black magician." No more foolish statement was ever made about me. I despise the thing to such an extent that I can hardly believe in the existence of people so debased and idiotic as to practice it.
There seems to be much misunderstanding about True Will ... The fact of a person being a gentleman is as much an ineluctable factor as any possible spiritual experience; in fact, it is possible, even probable, that a man may be misled by the enthusiasm of an illumination, and if he should find apparent conflict between his spiritual duty and his duty to honour, it is almost sure evidence that a trap is being laid for him and he should unhesitatingly stick to the course which ordinary decency indicates ...
I wish to say definitely, once and for all, that people who do not understand and accept this position have utterly failed to grasp the fundamental principles of the Law of Thelema.

I am certainly of opinion that genius can be acquired, or, in the alternative, that it is an almost universal possession. Its rarity may be attributed to the crushing influence of a corrupted society. It is rare to meet a youth without high ideals, generous thoughts, a sense of holiness, of his own importance, which, being interpreted, is, of his own identity with God. Three years in the world, and he is a bank clerk or even a government official. Only those who intuitively understand from early boyhood that they must stand out, and who have the incredible courage and endurance to do so in the face of all that tyranny, callousness, and the scorn of inferiors can do; only these arrive at manhood uncontaminated.
o "Energized Enthusiasm : A Note On Theurgy" in The Equinox Vol. 1 no. 9 (Spring 1913)


Esseai athanatos theos, ambrotos, oyk eti thnétos

"Magic is the Highest, most Absolute, and most Divine Knowledge of Natural Philosophy, advanced in its works and wonderful operations by a right understanding of the inward and occult virtue of things; so that true Agents being applied to proper Patients, strange and admirable effects will thereby be produced. Whence magicians are profound and diligent searchers into Nature; they, because of their skill, know how to anticipate an effect, the which to the vulgar shall seem to be a miracle."
The Goetia of the Lemegeton of King Solomon.

"Wherever sympathetic magic occurs in its pure unadulterated form, it is assumed that in nature one event follows another necessarily and invariably without the intervention of any spiritual or personal agency.
Thus its fundamental conception is identical with that of modern science; underlying the whole system is a faith, implicit but real and firm, in the order and uniformity of nature. The magician does not doubt that the same causes will always produce the same effects, that the performance of the proper ceremony accompanied by the appropriate spell, will inevitably be attended by the desired results, unless, indeed, his incantations should chance to be thwarted and foiled by the more potent charms of another sorcerer. He supplicates no higher power: he sues the favour of no fickle and wayward being: he abases himself before no awful deity. Yet his power, great as he believes it to be, is by no means arbitrary and unlimited. He can wield it only so long as he strictly conforms to the rules of his art, or to what may be called the laws of nature as conceived by him. To neglect these rules, to break these laws in the smallest particular is to incur failure, and may even expose the unskilful practitioner himself to the utmost peril. If he claims a sovereignty over nature, it is a constitutional sovereignty rigorously limited in its scope and exercised in exact conformity with ancient usage. Thus the analogy between the magical and the scientific conceptions of the world is close. In both of them the succession of events is perfectly regular and certain, being determined by immutable laws, the operation of which can be foreseen and calculated precisely; the elements of caprice, of chance, and of accident are banished from the course of nature. Both of them open up a seemingly boundless vista of possibilities to him who knows the causes of things and can touch the secret springs that set in motion the vast and intricate mechanism of the world. Hence the strong attraction which magic and science alike have exercised on the human mind; hence the powerful stimulus that both have given to the pursuit of knowledge. They lure the weary enquirer, the footsore seeker, on through the wilderness of disappointment in the present by their endless promises of the future: they take him up to he top of an exceeding high mountain and shew him, beyond the dark clouds and rolling mists at his feet, a vision of the celestial city, far off, it may be, but radiant with unearthly splendour, bathed in the light of dreams."
Dr. J. G. FRAZER, "The Golden Bough".

"So far, therefore, as the public profession of magic has been one of the roads by which men have passed to supreme power, it has contributed to emancipate mankind from the thraldom of tradition and to elevate them into a larger, freer life, with a broader outlook on the world. This is no small service rendered to humanity. And when we remember further that in another direction magic has paved the way for science, we are forced to admit that if the black art has done much evil, it has also been the source of much good; that if it is the child of error, it has yet been the mother of freedom and truth."

"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
St. Paul.

"Also the mantras and spells; the obeah and the wanga; the work of the wand and the work of the sword; these he shall learn and teach."
"He must teach; but he may make severe the ordeals."
"The word of the Law is [in Greek] Thelema."
LIBER AL vel xxxi: The Book of the Law.

This book is for
for every man, woman, and child.
My former work has been misunderstood, and its scope limited, by my use of technical terms. It has attracted only too many dilettanti and eccentrics, weaklings seeking in "Magic" an escape from reality. I myself was first consciously drawn to the subject in this way. And it has repelled only too many scientific and practical minds, such as I most designed to influence.
is for
I have written this book to help the Banker, the Pugilist, the Biologist, the Poet, the Navvy, the Grocer, the Factory Girl, the Mathematician, the Stenographer, the Golfer, the Wife, the Consul --- and all the rest --- to fulfil themselves perfectly, each in his or her own proper function.
Let me explain in a few words how it came about that I blazoned the word
upon the Banner that I have borne before me all my life.
Before I touched my teens, I was already aware that I was THE BEAST whose number is 666. I did not understand in the least {XI** what that implied; it was a passionately ecstatic sense of identity.
In my third year at Cambridge, I devoted myself consciously to the Great Work, understanding thereby the Work of becoming a Spiritual Being, free from the constraints, accidents, and deceptions of material existence.
I found myself at a loss for a name to designate my work, just as H. P. Blavatsky some years earlier. "Theosophy", "Spiritualism", "Occultism", "Mysticism", all involved undesirable connotations.
I chose therefore the name.
as essentially the most sublime, and actually the most discredited, of all the available terms.
I swore to rehabilitate
to identify it with my own career; and to compel mankind to respect, love, and trust that which they scorned, hated and feared. I have kept my Word.
But the time is now come for me to carry my banner into the thick of the press of human life.
I must make
the essential factor in the life of
In presenting this book to the world, I must then explain and justify my position by formulating a definition of
and setting forth its main principles in such a way that
may understand instantly that their souls, their lives, in every relation with every other human being and every circumstance, depend upon
and the right comprehension and right application thereof.


Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.

(Illustration: It is my Will to inform the World of certain facts within my knowledge. I therefore take "magickal weapons", pen, ink, and paper; I write "incantations"---these sentences---in the "magickal language" ie, that which is understood by the people I wish to instruct; I call forth "spirits", such as printers, publishers, booksellers and so forth and constrain them to convey my message to those people. The composition and distribution of this book is thus an act of Magick by which I cause Changes to take place in conformity with my Will.)

In one sense Magick may be defined as the name given to Science by the vulgar.


ANY required change may be effected by the application of the proper kind and degree of Force in the proper manner, through the proper medium to the proper object.
(Illustration: I wish to prepare an ounce of Chloride of Gold. I must take the right kind of acid, nitro-hydrochloric and no other, in a vessel which will not break, leak or corrode, in such a manner as will not produce undesirable results, with the necessary quantity of Gold: and so forth. Every change has its own conditions.

In the present state of our knowledge and power some changes are not possible in practice; we cannot cause eclipses, for instance, or transform lead into tin, or create men from mushrooms. But it is theoretically possible to cause in any object any change of which that object is capable by nature; and the conditions are covered by the above postulate.)


1) Every intentional act is a Magickal act.

(Illustration: See "Definition" above.)

By "intentional" I mean "willed". But even unintentional acts so seeming are not truly so. Thus, breathing is an act of the Will to Live.

2) Every successful act has conformed to the postulate.

3) Every failure proves that one or more requirements of the postulate have not been fulfilled.

(Illustrations: There may be failure to understand the case, as when a doctor makes a wrong diagnosis, and his treatment injures the patient. There may be a failure to apply the right kind of force, as when a rustic tries to blow out an electric light. There may be failure to apply the right degree of force, as when a wrestler has his hold broken, There may be failure to apply the force in the right manner, as when one presents a cheque at the wrong window of the Bank. There may be failure to employ the correct medium, as when Leonardo da Vinci saw his masterpiece fade away. The force may be applied to an unsuitable object, as when one tries to crack a stone, thinking it a nut.)

4) The first requisite for causing any change is thorough qualitative and quantitative understanding of the conditions.

(Illustration: The most common cause of failure in life is ignorance of one's own True Will, or of the means to fulfill that Will. A man may fancy himself a painter, and waste his life trying to become one; or he may really be a painter, and yet fail to understand and to measure the difficulties peculiar to that career.)

5) The second requisite of causing any change is the practical ability to set in right motion the necessary forces.

(Illustration: A banker may have a perfect grasp of a given situation, yet lack the quality of decision, or the assets, necessary to take advantage of it.)

6) "Every man and every woman is a star". That is to say, every human being is intrinsically an independent individual with his own proper character and proper motion.

7) Every man and every woman has a course, depending partly on the self, and partly on the environment which is natural and necessary for each. Anyone who is forced from his own course, either through not understanding himself, or through external opposition, comes into conflict with the order of the Universe, and suffers accordingly.

(Illustration: A man may think it is his duty to act in a certain way, through having made a fancy picture of himself, instead of investigating his actual nature. For example, a woman may make herself miserable for life by thinking that she prefers love to social consideration, or vice versa. One woman may stay with an unsympathetic husband when she would really be happy in an attic with a lover, while another may fool herself into a romantic elopement when her only pleasures are those of presiding over fashionable functions. Again, a boy's instinct may tell him to go to sea, while his parents insist on his becoming a doctor. In such a case he will be both unsuccessful and unhappy in medicine.)

8) A Man whose conscious will is at odds with his True Will is wasting his strength. He cannot hope to influence his environment efficiently.

(Illustration: When Civil War rages in a nation, it is in no condition to undertake the invasion of other countries. A man with cancer employs his nourishment alike to his own use and to that of the enemy which is part of himself. He soon fails to resist the pressure of his environment. In practical life, a man who is doing what his conscience tells him to be wrong will do it very clumsily. At first!)

9) A Man who is doing his True Will has the inertia of the Universe to assist him.

(Illustration: The first principle of success in evolution is that the individual should be true to his own nature, and at the same time adapt himself to his environment.)

10) Nature is a continuous phenomenon, though we may not know in all cases how things are connected.

(Illustration: Human consciousness depends on the properties of protoplasm, the existence of which depends on innumerable physical conditions peculiar to this planet; and this planet is determined by the mechanical balance of the whole universe of matter. We may then say that our consciousness is causally connected with the remotest galaxies; yet we do not even know how it arises from--or with--the molecular changes in the brain.)

11) Science enables us to take advantage of the continuity of Nature by the empirical application of certain principles whose interplay involves different orders of idea connected with each other in a way beyond our present comprehension.

(Illustration: We are able to light cities by rule-of-thumb methods. We do not know what consciousness is, or how it is connected with muscular action; what electricity is or how it is connected with the machines that generate it; and our methods depend on calculations involving mathematical ideas which have no correspondence in the Universe as we know it.)

For instance "irrational", "unreal" and "infinite" expressions.

12) Man is ignorant of the nature of his own being and powers. Even his idea of his limitations is based on experience of the past, and every step in his progress extends his empire. There is therefore no reason to assign theoretical limits

note: i.e., except---possibly---in the case of logically absurd questions such as the Schoolmen discussed in connection with "God".

to what he may be, or what he may do.

(Illustration: A generation ago it was supposed theoretically impossible that man should ever know the composition of the fixed stars. It is known that our senses are adapted to receive only a fraction of the possible rates of vibration. Modern instruments have enabled us to detect some of these supra-sensibles by indirect methods, and even to use their peculiar qualities in the service of man, as in the case of the rays of Hertz and Roentgen. As Tyndall said, man might at any moment learn to perceive and utilize vibrations of all conceivable and inconceivable kinds. The question of Magick is a question of discovering and employing hitherto unknown forces in nature. We know that they exist, and we cannot doubt the possibility of mental or physical instruments capable of bringing us into relation with them.)

13) Every man is more or less aware that his individuality comprises several orders of existence, even when he maintains that his subtler principles are merely symptomatic of the changes in his gross vehicle. A similar order may be assumed to extend throughout nature.

(Illustration: One does not confuse the pain of a toothache with the decay that causes it. Inanimate objects are sensitive to certain physical forces, such as electrical and thermal conductivity; but neither in us nor in them--so far as we know--is there any direct conscious perception of these forces. Imperceptible influences are therefore associated with all material phenomena; and there is no reason why we should not work upon matter through these subtle energies as we do through their material bases. In fact, we use magnetic force to move iron and solar radiation to reproduce images.)

14) Man is capable of being, and using, anything which he perceives, for everything which he perceives is in a certain sense a part of his being. He may thus subjugate the whole of the Universe of which he is conscious to his individual Will.

(Illustration: Man has used the idea of God to dictate his personal conduct, to obtain power over his fellows, to excuse his crimes, and for innumerable other purposes, including that of realizing himself as God. He has used the irrational and unreal conceptions of mathematics to help him in the construction of mechanical devices. He has used his moral force to influence the actions even of wild animals. He has employed poetic genius for political purposes.)

15) Every force in the Universe is capable of being transformed into any other kind of force by using suitable means. There is thus an inexhaustible supply of any particular kind of force that we may need.

(Illustration: Heat may be transformed into light and power by using it to drive dynamos. The vibrations of the air may be used to kill men by so ordering them in speech so as to inflame war-like passions. The hallucinations connected with the mysterious energies of sex result in the perpetuation of the species.)

16) The application of any given force affects all the orders of being which exist in the object to which it is applied, whichever of of those orders is directly affected.

(Illustration: If I strike a man with a dagger, his consciousness, not his body only, is affected by my act, although the dagger, as such, has no direct relation therewith. Similarly, the power of my thought may so work on the mind of another person as to produce far-reaching physical changes in him, or in others through him.)

17) A man may learn to use any force so as to serve any purpose, by taking advantage of the above theorems.

(Illustration: A man may use a razor to make himself vigilant over his speech, by using it to cut himself whenever he unguardedly utters a chosen word. He may serve the same purpose by resolving that every incident of his life shall remind him of a particular thing, making every impression the starting point of a connected series of thoughts ending in that thing. He might also devote his whole energies to some one particular object, by resolving to do nothing at variance therewith, and to make every act turn to the advantage of that object.)

18) He may attract to himself any force of the Universe by making himself a fit receptacle for it, and arranging conditions so that its nature compels it to flow toward him.

(Illustration: If I want pure water to drink, I dig a well in a place where there is underground water; I prevent it from leaking away; and I arrange to take advantage of water's accordance with the laws of Hydrostatics to fill it.)

19) Man's sense of himself as separate from, and opposed to, the Universe is a bar to his conducting its currents. It insulates him.

(Illustration: A popular leader is most successful when he forgets himself and remembers only "The Cause". Self-seeking engenders jealousies and schism. When the organs of the body assert their presence other by silent satisfaction, it is a sign they are diseased. The single exception is the organ of reproduction. Yet even in this case its self-assertion bears witness to its dissatisfaction with itself, since it cannot fulfil its function until completed by its counterpart in another organism.)

20) Man can only attract and employ the forces for which he is really fitted.

(Illustration: You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. A true man of science learns from every phenomenon. But Nature is dumb to the hypocrite; for in her there is nothing false.)

It is no objection that the hypocrite is himself part of Nature. He is an "endothermic" product, divided against himself, with a tendency to break up. He will see his own qualities everywhere, and thus obtain a radical misconception of phenomena. Most religions of the past have failed by expecting nature to conform with their ideals of proper conduct.

21) There is no limit to the extent of the relations of any man with the Universe in essence; for as soon as man makes himself one with any idea the means of measurement cease to exist. But his power to utilize that force is limited by his mental power and capacity, and by the circumstances of his human environment.

(Illustration: When a man falls in love, the whole world becomes, to him, nothing but love boundless and immanent; but his mystical state is not contagious; his fellow-men are either amused or annoyed. He can only extend to others the effect which his love has had upon himself by means of his mental and physical qualities. Thus Catullus, Dante and Swinburne made their love a mighty mover of mankind by virtue of their power to put their thoughts on the subject in musical and eloquent language. Again, Cleopatra and other people in authority moulded the fortunes of many other people by allowing love to influence their political actions. The Magician, however well he succeed in making contact with the secret sources of energy in nature, can only use them to the extent permitted by his intellectual and moral qualities. Mohammed's intercourse with Gabriel was only effective because of his statesmanship, soldiership, and the sublimity of his command of Arabic. Hertz's discovery of the rays which we now use for wireless telegraphy was sterile until it reflected through the minds and wills of the people who could take his truth and transmit it to the world of action by means of mechanical and economic instruments.)

22) Every individual is essentially sufficient to himself. But he is unsatisfactory to himself until he has established himself in his right relation with the universe.

(Illustration: A microscope, however perfect, is useless in the hands of savages. A poet, however sublime, must impose himself upon his generation if he is to enjoy (and even to understand) himself, as theoretically should be the case.)

23) Magick is the Science of understanding oneself and one's conditions. It is the Art of applying that understanding in action.

(Illustration: A golf club is intended to move a special ball in a special way in special circumstances. A Niblick should rarely be used on the tee or a brassie under the bank of a bunker. But also, the use of any club demands skill and experience.)

24) Every man has an indefeasible right to be what he is.

(Illustration: To insist that any one else should comply with one's own standards is to outrage, not only him, but oneself, since both parties are equally born of necessity.)

25) Every man must do Magick each time he acts or even thinks, since a thought is an internal act whose influence ultimately affects action, though it may not do so at the time.

(Illustration: The least gesture causes a change in a man's own body and in the air around him; it disturbs the balance of the entire Universe, and its effects continue eternally throughout all space. Every thought, however swiftly suppressed, has its effect on the mind. It stands as one of the causes of every subsequent thought, and tends to influence every subsequent action. A golfer may lose a few yards on his drive, a few more with his second and third, he may lie on the green six bare inches too far from the hole, but the net result of these trifling mishaps is the difference between halving and losing the hole.)

26) Every man has a right, the right of self preservation, to fulfill himself to the utmost.

Men of "criminal nature" are simply at issue with their true Wills. The murderer has the Will to Live; and his will to murder is a false will at variance with his true Will, since he risks death at the hands of Society by obeying his criminal impulse.

(Illustration: A function imperfectly performed injures, not only itself, but everything associated with it. If the heart is afraid to beat for fear of disturbing the liver, the liver is starved for blood and avenges itself on the heart by upsetting digestion, which disorders respiration, on which cardiac welfare depends.)

27) Every man should make Magick the keystone of his life. He should learn its laws and live by them.

(Illustration: The Banker should discover the real meaning of his existence, the real motive which led him to choose that profession. He should under-stand banking as a necessary factor in the economic existence of mankind instead of merely a business whose objects are independent of the general welfare. He should learn to distinguish false values from real, and to act not on accidental fluctuations but on considerations of essential importance. Such a banker will prove himself superior to others; because he will not be an individual limited by transitory things, but a force of Nature, as impersonal, impartial and eternal as gravitation, as patient and irresistible as the tides. His system will not be subject to panic, any more than the law of Inverse Squares is disturbed by elections. He will not be anxious about his affairs because they will not be his; and for that reason he will be able to direct them with the calm, clear-headed confidence of an onlooker, with intelligence unclouded by self-interest, and power unimpaired by passion.)

28) Every man has a right to fulfill his own will without being afraid that it may interfere with that of others; for if he is in his proper place, it is the fault of others if they interfere with him.

(Illustration: If a man like Napoleon were actually appointed by destiny to control Europe, he should not be blamed for exercising his rights. To oppose him would be an error. Any one so doing would have made a mistake as to his own destiny, except insofar as it might be necessary for him to learn the lessons of defeat. The sun moves in space without interference. The order of nature provides an orbit for each star. A clash proves that one or the other has strayed from its course. But as to each man that keeps his true course, the more firmly he acts, the less likely others are to get in his way. His example will help them to find their own paths and pursue them. Every man that becomes a Magician helps others to do likewise. The more firmly and surely men move, and the more such action is accepted as the standard of morality, the less will conflict and confusion hamper humanity.)

I hope that the above principles will demonstrate to
that their welfare, their very existence, is bound up in
I trust that they will understand, not only the reasonableness, but the necessity of the fundamental truth which I was the means of giving to mankind:
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." I trust that they will assert themselves as individually absolute, that they will grasp the fact that it is their right to assert themselves, and to accomplish the task for which their nature fits them. Yea, more, that this is their duty, and that not only to themselves but to others, a duty founded upon universal necessity, and not to be shirked on account of any casual circumstances of the moment which may seem to put such conduct in the light of inconvenience or even of cruelty.
I hope that the principles outlined above will help them to understand this book, and prevent them from being deterred from its study by the more or less technical language in which it is written.
The essence of
is simple enough in all conscience. It is not otherwise with the art of government. The Aim is simply prosperity; but the theory is tangled, and the practice beset with briars.
In the same way
is merely to be and to do. I should add: "to suffer". For Magick is the verb; and it is part of the Training to use the passive voice. This is, however, a matter of Initiation rather than of Magick in its ordinary sense. It is not my fault if being is baffling, and doing desperate!

Yet, once the above principles are firmly fixed in the mind, it is easy enough to sum up the situation very shortly. One must find out for oneself, and make sure beyond doubt, "who" one is, "what" one is, "why" one is. This done, one may put the will which is implicit in the "Why" into words, or rather into One Word. Being thus conscious of the proper course to pursue, the next thing is to understand the conditions necessary to following it out. After that, one must eliminate from oneself every element alien or hostile to success, and develop those parts of oneself which are specially needed to control the aforesaid conditions.

Let us make an analogy. A nation must become aware of its own character before it can be said to exist. From that knowledge it must divine its destiny. It must then consider the political conditions of the world; how other countries may help it or hinder it. It must then destroy it itself any elements discordant with its destiny. Lastly, it must develop in itself those qualities which will enable it to combat successfully the external conditions which threaten to oppose is purpose. We have had a recent example in the case of the young German Empire, which, knowing itself and its will, disciplined and trained itself so that it conquered the neighbours which had oppressed it for so many centuries. But after 1866 and 1870, 1914! It mistook itself for superhuman, it willed a thing impossible, it failed to eliminate its own internal jealousies, it failed to understand the conditions of victory,

At least, it allowed England to discover its intentions, and so to combine the world against it. {WEH NOTE: This footnote in Crowley's text belongs to this page, but it is not marked in the text. I have assigned it this tentative point, as following the general context.

it did not train itself to hold the sea, and thus, having violated every principle of
it was pulled down and broken into pieces by provincialism and democracy, so that neither individual excellence nor civic virtue has yet availed to raise it again to that majestic unity which made so bold a bid for the mastery of the race of man.

The sincere student will discover, behind the symbolic technicalities of his book, a practical method of making himself a Magician. The processes described will enable him to discriminate between what he actually is, and what he has fondly imagined himself to be.

Professor Sigmund Freud and his school have, in recent years, discovered a part of this body of Truth, which has been taught for many centuries in the Sanctuaries of Initiation. But failure to grasp the fullness of Truth, especially that implied in my Sixth Theorem (above) and its corollaries, has led him and his followers into the error of admitting that the avowedly suicidal "Censor" is the proper arbiter of conduct. Official psycho-analysis is therefore committed to upholding a fraud, although the foundation of the science was the observation of the disastrous effects on the individual of being false to his Unconscious Self, whose "writing on the wall" in dream language is the record of the sum of the essential tendencies of the true nature of the individual. The result has been that psycho-analysts have misinterpreted life, and announced the absurdity that every human being is essentially an anti-social, criminal, and insane animal. It is evident that the errors of the Unconscious of which the psycho-analysts complain are neither more nor less than the"original sin" of the theologians whom they despise so heartily.

He must behold his soul in all its awful nakedness, he must not fear to look on that appalling actuality. He must discard the gaudy garments with which his shame has screened him; he must accept the fact that nothing can make him anything but what he is. He may lie to himself, drug himself, hide himself; but he is always there. Magick will teach him that his mind is playing him traitor. It is as if a man were told that tailors' fashion-plates were the canon of human beauty, so that he tried to make himself formless and featureless like them, and shuddered with horror at the idea of Holbein making a portrait of him. Magick will show him the beauty and majesty of the self which he has tried to suppress and disguise.

Having discovered his identity, he will soon perceive his purpose. Another process will show him how to make that purpose pure and powerful. He may then learn how to estimate his environment, learn how to make allies, how to make himself prevail against all powers whose error has caused them to wander across his path.

In the course of this Training, he will learn to explore the Hidden Mysteries of Nature, and to develop new senses and faculties in himself, whereby he may communicate with, and control, Beings and Forces pertaining to orders of existence which have been hitherto inaccessible to profane research, and available only to that unscientific and empirical
(of tradition) which I came to destroy in order that I might fulfil.
I send this book into the world that every man and woman may take hold of life in the proper manner. It does not matter of one's present house of flesh be the hut of a shepherd; by virtue of my
he shall be such a shepherd as David was. If it be the studio of a sculptor, he shall so chisel from himself the marble that masks his idea that he shall be no less a master than Rodin.

Witness mine hand:
To Mega Therion ([Hebrew] THRIVN): The Beast 666; MAGUS 9○=2□ A∴ A∴ who is The Word of the Aeon THELEMA; whose name is called V.V.V.V.V. 8○=3□ A∴ A∴ in the City of the Pyramids; OU MH 7○=4□ A∴ A∴; OL SONUF VAORESAGI 6○=5□, and ... ... 5○=6□ A∴ A∴ in the Mountain of Abiegnus: but FRATER PERDURABO in the Outer Order or the A∴ A∴ and in the World of men upon the Earth, Aleister Crowley of Trinity College, Cambridge.



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Old 07-11-2013, 12:55 PM   #34
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Naturally, the rational person cannot believe an absurdity. However, the unsane person has no problem at all in doing so. We must understand how easy it is for the psychologically insecure, existentially vagrant individual to distort the world into a form which suits his own vision and mentality. The toxic mind not only sees a toxic world, it creates one. It is a disturbed and insecure mind which requires a god to rely upon. The mind that cannot feel its own empowerment and that has no sense of Self, is able to center its belief on a dubious, unrealistic, invisible power, essentially greater, and in most cases, external, to itself. This person with this kind of mental disease will then cleave to the company of other people of the same persuasion. These minds will assume their own "Consenus-Trance" and will follow their psychically projected "holographic" god wherever it seems to lead them. If and when the higher centers of logic demand a rational explanation for such antihuman actions and beliefs, the irrational person forcibly quells the remonstrations, repressing all dissent beneath an inflexible and morbidly rigid non-negotiable set of equally irrational pseudo-arguments. This kind of behavior, in turn, fosters great unconscious unrest that, in its own turn, spurs the host to yet further dangerous identification with the supposed source of his peace and salvation. Regardless of what horrors occur on the external stage, and regardless of what angst is felt within, there is little chance of breaking the spell, or the hex. Once man venerates an authority and wisdom-source outside of himself, he is condemned to live estranged from the true source of wisdom that exists within his own temple. The man so divided from his own sanctity is a plague upon the world, a curse to everyone and everything he encounters.


"Jehovah, who of all the good gods adored by men was certainly the most jealous, the most vain, the most ferocious, the most unjust, the most bloodthirsty, the most despotic, and the most hostile to human dignity and liberty-Jehovah had just created Adam and Eve, to satisfy we know not what caprice; no doubt to while away his time, which must weigh heavy on his hands in his eternal egoistic solitude, or that he might have some new slaves. He generously placed at their disposal the whole earth, with all its fruits and animals, and set but a single limit to this complete enjoyment. He expressly forbade them from touching the fruit of the tree of knowledge. He wished, therefore, that man, destitute of all understanding of himself, should remain an eternal beast, ever on all-fours before the eternal God, his creator and his master. But here steps in Satan, the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds. He makes man ashamed of his bestial ignorance and obedience; he emancipates him, stamps upon his brow the seal of liberty and humanity, in urging him to disobey and eat of the fruit of knowledge" - Mikhail Bakunin (God and the State)

"Then, remembering that he was not only a God of vengeance and wrath, but also a God of love, after having tormented the existence of a few milliards of poor human beings and condemned them to an eternal hell, he took pity on the rest, and, to save them and reconcile his eternal and divine love with his eternal and divine anger, always greedy for victims and blood, he sent into the world, as an expiatory victim, his only son, that he might be killed by men. That is called the mystery of the Redemption, the basis of all the Christian religions. Still, if the divine Savior had saved the human world! But no; in the paradise promised by Christ, as we know, such being the formal announcement, the elect will number very few. The rest, the immense majority of the generations present and to come, will burn eternally in hell. In the meantime, to console us, God, ever just, ever good, hands over the earth to the government of the Napoleon Thirds, of the William Firsts, of the Ferdinands of Austria, and of the Alexanders of all the Russias…Such are the absurd tales that are told and the monstrous doctrines that are taught, in the full light of the nineteenth century, in all the public schools of Europe, at the express command of the government. They call this civilizing the people! Is it not plain that all these governments are systematic poisoners, interested stupefiers of the masses?" ~ Mikhail Bakunin (God and the State)

"The first text in the Bible is evidently an error. 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Gen 1)...The assumption involves two impossibilities. First, a creation could not take place without something to create from: 'Ex nihilo nihil fi'" - 'out of nothing nothing can come.'" - Kersey Graves

"The Jews... have entrenched themselves within all the provisos under which a people can survive intact, or has been allowed to survive. Out of their own consciousness they have evolved a set of ideas in opposition to all natural conditions of living, one by one they have taken religion, culture, morality, history, and psychology, and converted them irreparably into a contradiction of their natural meaning.

We meet with the same phenomenon elsewhere, but all disjointed, a mere copy, for the Christian church lacks all claim to originality as compared with the 'holy race'…

Because of their capacity for distortion, the Jews are the most fateful people in human history. In the course of their operations they have hoodwinked mankind so much that, even to this day, the Christian can feel anti-Semitic without realizing that he himself is the logical consequence of Judaism.

In my 'Genealogy of Morals', I give the first psychological explanation of the distinction between a noble morality and a morality of resentment; the latter being merely a negation of the former and this latter is the Jewish-Christian morality through and through!

In order to be able to say no to life on the up-grade, to success, power, and beauty, and self-affirmation on earth, it was necessary for the instinct of resentment, or for the genius of resentment, to discover another world, one from which that affirmation of life could be regarded as evil and reprehensible.

Psychologically considered, the Jews are a people very hard to suppress, who when they had to face impossible surroundings, deliberately selected the part of decadence, and made their choice with a profound worldly wisdom in order to preserve themselves intact. I do not mean that the Jews were overcome by decadence, but that they saw in it a method by which they could assert themselves against the world.

The Jews are the opposite of decadent, they have simply been obliged to take on the part, so much so that with an incredible degree of histrionic genius, they have managed to place themselves in control of all decadent movements in order to make themselves stronger than the assertive forces of life.

The kind of man who seeks power under Judaism or Christianity uses decadence as no more than a means to an end. This kind of fellow has a real interest in making people sick, and in upsetting the ideas of 'good' and 'evil' 'true' and 'false' in a way which is dangerous to life and a slander against this world in which we live...

Here we are among Jews... the elevation of deceit in attitude and phrase to the status of an art - is not any accident due to the exceptional talents of any one individual. It is a racial matter. In the formulation of Christianity, the art of concocting holy lies, which is the essence of Jewishness, after many centuries of earnest apprenticeship and practice in Judea, has reached technical perfection...

Little super-Jews, fit only for the madhouse, reversed all values to suit themselves... Paul, the Jew, the eternal and perfect Jew, Paul the genius, realized that, by means of the small sectarian Christian movement which had broken away from Judaism, a world conflagration could be kindled. He realized that, by means of 'God on the Cross' everything underhand, seditious, and a product of rebellious intrigues within the empire, might be welded together into one immense power. 'For salvation is of the Jews'."

~ Friedrich Nietzsche, "The Anti-Christ"

“For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them.” ― Thomas More, Utopia

"Flee my friend...into your solitude
I see you dazed by the noise of the great men
And stung by the stings of little men
Woods and crags know how to keep a dignified silence
Be like the tree that you love
With its wide branches
Silently listening...it hangs over the sea

Numberless are these small and miserable creatures
Many a proud building has perished
Of raindrops and weeds
Flee their invisible revenge
Against you...they are nothing but revenge"

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

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Old 12-11-2013, 06:49 PM   #35
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And Isak goes off again—not very far, only to the farther fields, but still, he goes off. He is full of mysteries, and must hide himself out of the way. The fact is this: he had brought back a third piece of news from the village today, and that was something more than the rest, something enormous; and he had hidden it at the edge of the wood. There it stands, wrapped up in sacking and paper; he uncovers it, and lo, a huge machine. Look! red and blue, wonderful to see, with a heap of teeth and a heap of knives, with joints and arms and screws and wheels—a mowing-machine. No, Isak would not have gone down today for the new horse if it hadn't been for that machine.

He stands with a marvelously keen expression, going over in his mind from beginning to end the instructions for use that the storekeeper had read out; he sets a spring here, and shifts a bolt there, then he oils every hole and every crevice, then he looks over the whole thing once more. Isak had never known such an hour in his life. To pick up a pen and write one's mark on a paper, a document—ay, 'twas a perilous great thing that, no doubt. Likewise in the matter of a new harrow he had once brought up—there were many curiously twisted parts in that to be considered. Not to speak of the great circular saw that had to be set in its course to the nicety of a pencil line, never swaying east nor west, lest it should fly asunder. But this—this mowing-machine of his—'twas a crawling nest of steel springs and hooks and apparatus, and hundreds of screws—Inger's sewing-machine was a bookmarker compared with this!

Isak harnessed himself to the shafts and tried the thing. Here was the wonderful moment. And that was why he kept out of sight and was his own horse.

For—what if the machine had been wrongly put together and did not do its work, but went to pieces with a crash! No such calamity happened, however; the machine could cut grass. And so indeed it ought, after Isak had stood there, deep in study, for hours. The sun had gone down. Again he harnesses himself and tries it; ay, the thing cuts grass. And so indeed it ought!

When the dew began to fall close after the heat of the day, and the boys came out, each with his scythe to mow in readiness for next day, Isak came in sight close to the house and said:

"Put away scythes for tonight. Get out the new horse, you can, and bring him down to the edge of the wood." And on that, instead of going indoors to his supper as the others had done already, he turned where he stood and went back the way he had come.

"D'you want the cart, then?" Sivert called after him.

"No," said his father, and walked on. Swelling with mystery, full of pride; with a little lift and throw from the knee at every step, so emphatically did he walk. So a brave man might walk to death and destruction, carrying no weapon in his hand.

The boys came up with the horse, saw the machine, and stopped dead. It was the first mowing-machine in the wilds, the first in the village—red and blue, a thing of splendour to man's eyes. And the father, head of them all, called out, oh, in a careless tone, as if it were nothing uncommon: "Harness up to this machine here."

And they drove it; the father drove. Brrr! said the thing, and felled the grass in swathes. The boys walked behind, nothing in their hands, doing no work, smiling. The father stopped and looked back. H'm, not as clear as it might be. He screws up a nut here and there to bring the knives closer to the ground, and tries again. No, not right yet, all uneven; the frame with the cutters seems to be hopping a little. Father and sons discuss what it can be. Eleseus has found the instructions and is reading them. "Here, it says to sit up on the seat when you drive—then it runs steadier," he says.

"Ho!" says his father. "Ay, 'tis so, I know," he answers. "I've studied it all through." He gets up into the seat and starts off again; it goes steadily now. Suddenly the machine stops working—the knives are not cutting at all. "Ptro! What's wrong now?" Father down from his seat, no longer swelling with pride, but bending an anxious, questioning face down over the machine. Father and sons all stare at it; something must be wrong. Eleseus stands holding the instructions.

"Here's a bolt or something," says Sivert, picking up a thing from the grass.

"Ho, that's all right, then," says his father, as if that was all that was needed to set everything in order. "I was just looking for that bolt." But now they could not find the hole for it to fit in—where in the name of wonder could the hole be, now?

And it was now that Eleseus could begin to feel himself a person of importance; he was the man to make out a printed paper of instructions. What would they do without him? He pointed unnecessarily long to the hole and explained: "According to the illustration, the bolt should fit in there."

"Ay, that's where she goes," said his father. "'Twas there I had it before." And, by way of regaining lost prestige, he ordered Sivert to set about looking for more bolts in the grass. "There ought to be another," he said, looking very important, as if he carried the whole thing in his head. "Can't you find another? Well, well, it'll be in its hole then, all right."

Father starts off again. "Wait a minute—this is wrong," cried Eleseus. Ho, Eleseus
standing there with the drawing in his hand, with the Law in his hand; no getting away from him! "That spring there goes outside," he says to his father.

"Ay, what then?"

"Why, you've got it in under, you've set it wrong. It's a steel spring, and you have to fix it outside, else the bolt jars out again and stops the knives. You can see in the picture here."

"I've left my spectacles behind, and can't see it quite," says his father, something meekly. "You can see better—you set it as it should go. I don't want to go up to the house for my spectacles now."

All in order now, and Isak gets up. Eleseus calls after him: "You must drive pretty fast, it cuts better that way—it says so here."

Isak drives and drives, and everything goes well, and Brrr! says the machine. There is a broad track of cut grass in his wake, neatly in line, ready to take up. Now they can see him from the house, and all the womenfolk come out; Inger carries little Rebecca on her arm, though little Rebecca has learned to walk by herself long since. But there they come—four womenfolk, big and small—hurrying with straining eyes down towards the miracle, flocking down to see. Oh, but now is Isak's hour. Now he is truly proud, a mighty man, sitting high aloft dressed in holiday clothes, in all his finery; in jacket and hat, though the sweat is pouring off him. He swings round in four big angles, goes over a good bit of ground, swings round, drives, cuts grass, passes along by where the women are standing; they are dumbfounded, it is all beyond them, and Brrr! says the machine.

Then Isak stops and gets down. Longing, no doubt, to hear what these folk on earth down there will say; what they will find to say about it all. He hears smothered cries; they fear to disturb him, these beings on earth, in his lordly work, but they turn to one another with awed questionings, and he hears what they say. And now, that he may be a kind and fatherly lord and ruler to them all, to encourage them, he says: "There, I'll just do this bit, and you can spread it tomorrow."

"Haven't you time to come in and have a bite of food?" says Inger, all overwhelmed.

"Nay, I've other things to do," he answers.

Then he oils the machine again; gives them to understand that he is occupied with scientific work. Drives off again, cutting more grass. And, at long last, the womenfolk go back home.

Happy Isak—happy folk at Sellanraa!

Very soon the neighbours from below will be coming up. Axel Ström is interested in things, he may be up tomorrow. But Brede from Breidablik, he might be here that very evening. Isak would not be loth to show them his machine, explain it to them, tell them how it works, and all about it. He can point out how that no man with a scythe could ever cut so fine and clean. But it costs money, of course—oh, a red-and-blue machine like that is a terribly costly thing!

Happy Isak!

But as he stops for oil the third time, there! his spectacles fall from his pocket. And, worst of all, the two boys saw it. Was there a higher power behind that little happening—a warning against overweening pride? He had put on those spectacles time and again that day to study the instructions, without making out a word; Eleseus had to help him with that. Eyah, Herregud, 'twas a good thing, no doubt, to be book-learned. And, by way of humbling himself, Isak determines to give up his plan of making Eleseus a tiller of soil in the wilds; he will never say a word of it again.

Not that the boys made any great business about that matter of the spectacles; far from it. Sivert, the jester, had to say something, of course; it was too much for him. He plucked Eleseus by the sleeve and said: "Here, come along, we'll go back home and throw those scythes on the fire. Father's going to do all the mowing now with his machine!" And that was a jest indeed.

from "Growth of the Soil" by Knut Hamsun - (pp. 199-202) . Kindle Edition.


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Old 12-11-2013, 09:33 PM   #36
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A woman tramping up along the road. A steady summer rain falls, wetting her, but she does not heed it; other things are in her mind—anxiety. Barbro it is, and no other—Brede's girl, Barbro. Anxious, ay; not knowing how the venture will end; she has gone from service at the Lensmand's, and left the village. That is the matter.

She keeps away from all the farms on the road up, unwilling to meet with folk; easy to see where she was going, with a bundle of clothing on her back. Ay, going to Maaneland, to take service there again.

Ten months she has been at the Lensmand's now, and 'tis no little time, reckoned out in days and nights, but an eternity reckoned in longing and oppression. It had been bearable at first, Fru Heyerdahl looking after her kindly, giving her aprons and neat things to wear; 'twas a joy to be sent on errands to the store with such fine clothes to wear. Barbro had been in the village as a child; she knew all the village folk from the days when she had played there, gone to school there, kissed the lads there, and joined in many games with stones and shells. Bearable enough for a month or so. But then Fru Heyerdahl had begun to be even more careful about her, and when the Christmas festivities began, she was strict. And what good could ever come of that? It was bound to spoil things. Barbro could never have endured it but that she had certain hours of the night to herself; from two to six in the morning she was more or less safe, and had stolen pleasures not a few. What about Cook, then, for not reporting her? A nice sort of woman she must be! Oh, an ordinary woman enough, as the world finds them; Cook went out without leave herself. They took it in turns. And it was quite a long time before they were found out. Barbro was by no means so depraved that it showed in her face, impossible to accuse her of immorality. Immorality? She made all the resistance one could expect. When young men asked her to go to a Christmas dance, she said "No" once, said "No" twice, but the third time she would say: "I'll try and come from two to six." Just as a decent woman should, not trying to make herself out worse than she is, and making a display of daring. She was a servant-girl, serving all her time, and knew no other recreation than fooling with men. It was all she asked for. Fru Heyerdahl came and lectured her, lent her books—and a fool for her pains. Barbro had lived in Bergen and read the papers and been to the theatre! She was no innocent lamb from the countryside …

But Fru Heyerdahl must have grown suspicious at last. One day she comes up at three in the morning to the maids' room and calls: "Barbro!"

"Yes," answers Cook.

"It's Barbro I want. Isn't she there? Open the door."

Cook opens the door and explains as agreed upon, that Barbro had had to run home for a minute about something. Home for a minute at this time of night? Fru Heyerdahl has a good deal to say about that. And in the morning there is a scene. Brede is sent for, and Fru Heyerdahl asks: "Was Barbro at home with you last night—at three o'clock?"

Brede is unprepared, but answers: "Three o'clock? Yes, yes, quite right. We sat up late, there was something we had to talk about," says Brede.

The Lensmand's lady then solemnly declares that Barbro shall go out no more at nights.

"No, no," says Brede.

"Not as long as she's in this house."

"No, no; there, you can see, Barbro, I told you so," says her father.

"You can go and see your parents now and then during the day," says her mistress.

But Fru Heyerdahl was wide awake enough, and her suspicion was not gone; she waited a week, and tried at four in the morning. "Barbro!" she called. Oh, but this time 'twas Cook's turn out, and Barbro was at home; the maids' room was a nest of innocence. Her mistress had to hit on something in a hurry.

"Did you take in the washing last night?" "Yes." "That's a good thing, it's blowing so hard…. Good-night." But it was not so pleasant for Fru Heyerdahl to get her husband to wake her in the middle of the night and go padding across herself to the servants' room to see if they were at home. They could do as they pleased, she would trouble herself no more.

And if it had not been for sheer ill-luck, Barbro might have stayed the year out in her place that way. But a few days ago the trouble had come.

It was in the kitchen, early one morning. Barbro had been having some words with Cook, and no light words either; they raised their voices, forgetting all about their mistress. Cook was a mean thing and a cheat, she had sneaked off last night out of her turn because it was Sunday. And what excuse had she to give? Going to say good-bye to her favourite sister that was off to America? Not a bit of it; Cook had made no excuse at all, but simply said that Sunday night was one had been owing to her for a long time.

"Oh, you've not an atom of truth nor decency in your body!" said Barbro.

And there was the mistress in the doorway.

She had come out, perhaps, with no more thought than that the girls were making too much noise, but now she stood looking, very closely at Barbro, at Barbro's apron over her breast; ay, leaning forward and looking very closely indeed. It was a painful moment. And suddenly Fru Heyerdahl screams and draws back to the door. What on earth can it be? thinks Barbro, and looks down at herself. Herregud! a flea, nothing more. Barbro cannot help smiling, and being not unused to acting under critical circumstances, she flicks off the flea at once.

"On the floor!" cried Fru Heyerdahl. "Are you mad, girl? Pick it up at once!" Barbro begins looking about for it, and once more acts with presence of mind: she makes as if she had caught the creature, and drops it realistically into the fire.

"Where did you get it?" asks her mistress angrily.

"Where I got it?"

"Yes, that's what I want to know."

But here Barbro makes a bad mistake. "At the store," she ought to have said, of course—that would have been quite enough. As it was—she did not know where she had got the creature, but had an idea it must have been from Cook.

Cook at the height of passion at once: "From me! You'll please to keep your fleas to yourself, so there!"

"Anyway, 'twas you was out last night."

Another mistake—she should have said nothing about it. Cook has no longer any reason for keeping silence, and now she let out the whole thing, and told all about the nights Barbro had been out. Fru Heyerdahl mightily indignant; she cares nothing about Cook, 'tis Barbro she is after, the girl whose character she has answered for. And even then all might have been well if Barbro had bowed her head like a reed, and been cast down with shame, and promised all manner of things for the future—but no. Her mistress is forced to remind her of all she has done for her, and at that, if you please, Barbro falls to answering back, ay, so foolish was she, saying impertinent things. Or perhaps she was cleverer than might seem; trying on purpose, maybe, to bring the matter to a head, and get out of the place altogether? Says her mistress:

"After I've saved you from the clutches of the Law."

"As for that," answers Barbro, "I'd have just as pleased if you hadn't."

"And that's all the thanks I get," says her mistress.

"Least said the better, perhaps," says Barbro. "I wouldn't have got more than a month or two, anyway, and done with it."

Fru Heyerdahl is speechless for a moment; ay, for a little while she stands saying nothing, only opening and closing her mouth. The first thing she says is to tell the girl to go; she will have no more of her.

"Just as you please," says Barbro.

For some days after that Barbro had been at home with her parents. But she could not go on staying there. True, her mother sold coffee, and there came a deal of folk to the house, but Barbro could not live on that—and maybe she had other reasons of her own for wanting to get into a settled position again. And so today she had taken a sack of clothes on her back, and started up along the road over the moors. Question now, whether Axel Ström would take her? But she had had the banns put up, anyway, the Sunday before.

Raining, and dirty underfoot, but Barbro tramps on. Evening is drawing on, but not dark yet at that season of the year. Poor Barbro—she does not spare herself, but goes on her errand like another; she is bound for a place, to commence another struggle there. She has never spared herself, to tell the truth, never been of a lazy sort, and that is why she has her neat figure now and pretty shape. Barbro is quick to learn things, and often to her own undoing; what else could one expect? She had learned to save herself at a pinch, to slip from one scrape to another, but keeping all along some better qualities; a child's death is nothing to her, but she can still give sweets to a child alive. Then she has a fine musical ear, can strum softly and correctly on a guitar, singing hoarsely the while; pleasant and slightly mournful to hear. Spared herself? no; so little, indeed, that she has thrown herself away altogether, and felt no loss. Now and again she cries, and breaks her heart over this or that in her life—but that is only natural, it goes with the songs she sings, 'tis the poetry and friendly sweetness in her; she had fooled herself and many another with the same. Had she been able to bring the guitar with her this evening she could have strummed a little for Axel when she came.

She manages so as to arrive late in the, evening; all is quiet at Maaneland when she reaches there. See, Axel has already begun haymaking, the grass is cut near the house, and some of the hay already in. And then she reckons out that Oline, being old, will be sleeping in the little room, and Axel lying out in the hayshed, just as she herself had done. She goes to the door she knows so well, breathless as a thief, and calls softly: "Axel!"

"What's that?" asks Axel all at once.

"Nay, 'tis only me," says Barbro, and steps in. "You couldn't house me for the night?" she says.

Axel looks at her and is slow to think, and sits there in his underclothes, looking at her. "So 'tis you," says he. "And where'll you be going?"

"Why, depends first of all if you've need of help to the summer work," says she.

Axel thinks over that, and says: "Aren't you going to stay where you were, then?"

"Nay; I've finished at the Lensmand's."

"I might be needing help, true enough, for the summer," said Axel.

"But what's it mean, anyway, you wanting to come back?"

"Nay, never mind me," says Barbro, putting it off. "I'll go on again tomorrow. Go to Sellanraa and cross the hills. I've a place there."

"You've fixed up with some one there?"


"I might be needing summer help myself," says Axel again.

Barbro is wet through; she has other clothes in her sack, and must change. "Don't mind about me," says Axel, and moves a bit toward the door, no more.

Barbro takes off her wet clothes, they talking the while, and Axel turning his head pretty often towards her. "Now you'd better go out just a bit," says she.

"Out?" says he. And indeed 'twas no weather to go out in. He stands there, seeing her more and more stripped; 'tis hard to keep his eyes away; and Barbro is so thoughtless, she might well have put on dry things bit by bit as she took oft the wet, but no. Her shift is thin and clings to her; she unfastens a button at one shoulder, and turns aside, 'tis nothing new for her. Axel dead silent then, and he sees how she makes but a touch or two with her hands and washes the last of her clothes from her. 'Twas splendidly done, to his mind. And there she stands, so utterly thoughtless of her….

A while after, they lay talking together. Ay, he had need of help for the summer, no doubt about that.

from "Growth of the Soil" by Knut Hamsun (pp. 327-332) Kindle Edition.


Kunt Hamsun center by Steven Holl architects

“An increasing number of people who lead mental lives of great intensity, people who are sensitive by nature, notice the steadily more frequent appearance in them of mental states of great strangeness ... a wordless and irrational feeling of ecstasy; or a breath of psychic pain; a sense of being spoken to from afar, from the sky or the sea; an agonizingly developed sense of hearing which can cause one to wince at the murmuring of unseen atoms; an irrational staring into the heart of some closed kingdom suddenly and briefly revealed.” ― Knut Hamsun

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A Boy Scouts' Patrol Song

These are our regulations --
There's just one law for the Scout
And the first and the last, and the present and the past,
And the future and the perfect is "Look out!"
I, thou and he, look out!
We, ye and they, look out!
Though you didn't or you wouldn't
Or you hadn't or you couldn't;
You jolly well must look out!

Look out, when you start for the day
That your kit is packed to your mind;
There is no use going away
With half of it left behind.
Look out that your laces are tight,
And your boots are easy and stout,
Or you'll end with a blister at night.
(Chorus) All Patrols look out!

Look out for the birds of the air,
Look out for the beasts of the field --
They'll tell you how and where
The other side's concealed.
When the blackbird bolts from the copse,
Or the cattle are staring about,
The wise commander stops
And (chorus) All Patrols look out!

Look out when your front is clear,
And you feel you are bound to win.
Look out for your flank and your rear --
That's where surprises begin.
For the rustle that isn't a rat,
For the splash that isn't a trout,
For the boulder that may be a hat
(Chorus) All Patrols look out!

For the innocent knee-high grass,
For the ditch that never tells,
Look out! Look out ere you pass --
And look out for everything else!
A sign mis-read as you run
May turn retreat to a rout --
For all things under the sun
(Chorus) All Patrols look out!

Look out when your temper goes
At the end of a losing game;
When your boots are too tight for your toes;
And you answer and argue and blame.
It's the hardest part of the Low,
But it has to be learnt by the Scout --
For whining and shirking and "jaw"
(Chorus) All Patrols look out!

Rudyard Kipling

The Mother-Lodge

There was Rundle, Station Master,
An' Beazeley of the Rail,
An' 'Ackman, Commissariat,
An' Donkin' o' the Jail;
An' Blake, Conductor-Sargent,
Our Master twice was 'e,
With 'im that kept the Europe-shop,
Old Framjee Eduljee.

Outside — "Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!"
Inside — "Brother", an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!

We'd Bola Nath, Accountant,
An' Saul the Aden Jew,
An' Din Mohammed, draughtsman
Of the Survey Office too;
There was Babu Chuckerbutty,
An' Amir Singh the Sikh,
An' Castro from the fittin'-sheds,
The Roman Catholick!

We 'adn't good regalia,
An' our Lodge was old an' bare,
But we knew the Ancient Landmarks,
An' we kep' 'em to a hair;
An' lookin' on it backwards
It often strikes me thus,
There ain't such things as infidels,
Excep', per'aps, it's us.

For monthly, after Labour,
We'd all sit down and smoke
(We dursn't give no banquits,
Lest a Brother's caste were broke),
An' man on man got talkin'
Religion an' the rest,
An' every man comparin'
Of the God 'e knew the best.

So man on man got talkin',
An' not a Brother stirred
Till mornin' waked the parrots
An' that dam' brain-fever-bird;
We'd say 'twas 'ighly curious,
An' we'd all ride 'ome to bed,
With Mo'ammed, God, an' Shiva
Changin' pickets in our 'ead.

Full oft on Guv'ment service
This rovin' foot 'ath pressed,
An' bore fraternal greetin's
To the Lodges east an' west,
Accordin' as commanded
From Kohat to Singapore,
But I wish that I might see them
In my Mother-Lodge once more!

I wish that I might see them,
My Brethren black an' brown,
With the trichies smellin' pleasant
An' the hog-darn passin' down;
An' the old khansamah snorin'
On the bottle-khana floor,
Like a Master in good standing
With my Mother-Lodge once more!

Outside — "Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!"
Inside — "Brother", an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!

Rudyard Kipling

The Thousandth Man

One man in a thousand, Solomon says,
Will stick more close than a brother.
And it's worth while seeking him half your days
If you find him before the other.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine depend
On what the world sees in you,
But the Thousandth man will stand your friend
With the whole round world agin' you.

'Tis neither promise nor prayer nor show
Will settle the finding for 'ee.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of 'em go
By your looks, or your acts, or your glory.
But if he finds you and you find him.
The rest of the world don't matter;
For the Thousandth Man will sink or swim
With you in any water.

You can use his purse with no more talk
Than he uses yours for his spendings,
And laugh and meet in your daily walk
As though there had been no lendings.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of 'em call
For silver and gold in their dealings;
But the Thousandth Man he's worth 'em all,
Because you can show him your feelings.

His wrong's your wrong, and his right's your right,
In season or out of season.
Stand up and back it in all men's sight —
With that for your only reason!
Nine hundred and ninety-nine can't bide
The shame or mocking or laughter,
But the Thousandth Man will stand by your side
To the gallows-foot — and after!

Rudyard Kipling


Kipling was a British citizen, born in Bombay, India in 1865. His father was principal of an art school in India. He returned to England when he was five years old. When he graduated from college at the age of 17, he returned to India, and began writing for the Civil and Military Gazette.

It is recorded that "...after the paper had been put to bed in the sultry Indian midnight, he would find his way into the old walled city to sense the mystic atmosphere of that colourful land and its ancient people, and to exercise a talent for absorbing background and for storing in his memory impressions and incidents which provided material for a half-century of literary production. In the bazaars, from all sorts and conditions of natives, from police officers, and from service people, he gathered copy that was to be the basis of many poems and stories."

Another biographer says that "One of the channels by which he penetrated the underworld was Freemasonry — he was fascinated by the mysterious bond that over-came class rules. Freemasonry was a cult that transcended caste and sects. It was the only ground in a caste ridden country on which adherents of different religions could meet on the level."

In 1892, he married an American, Caroline Starr Balestier, who introduced him to several notable American authors. He received an honorary degree from Oxford University in 1907 along with one of his contemporaries, Brother Mark Twain. Also in 1907, Kipling became the first British writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. He and his American wife lived in her family estate in Vermont from 1892 until 1896, when they returned to England. The home in Vermont has been preserved as a historical landmark.

Rudyard Kipling was made a Mason at Hope and Perseverance Lodge No. 782 at Lahore Punjab, India on April 5, 1886. His work required special dispensation, because he was only twenty years, two months old at the time. The same evening that he was raised, he was elected secretary of his Lodge so that he recorded his own initiation in the minutes of his Lodge.

A few months later, he delivered a lecture in his lodge on the "Origin of the Craft First Degree."

He advanced in the Mark Degree in Fidelity Mark Lodge on April 12, 1887 and was elevated in Mt. Ararat Mark Mariners Lodge at Lahore on the same day. He attended an Installation meeting of Independence with Philanthropy Lodge No. 391 at Allahabad, Bengal on December 22, 1887. On March 4, 1889, he demitted from his Craft Lodge and resigned from his other Lodges three months later on June 30, 1889.

Returning to England, he was offered an honorary membership with Author's Lodge No. 3456 sometime after its founding in 1910 and with Motherland Lodge No. 3861, London, in 1918. There is no record of him attending either of these Lodges. He was a Founding Member of Builders of the Silent Cities Lodge No. 12, retaining his membership until his death. In 1905, Canongate-Kilwinning Lodge No. 2, Edinburgh, Scotland chose him as poet laureate as they had a previous Brother, Robert Burns. The Philalethes Research Society in North America also lists him as an honorary member although there is no record of any attendance, correspondence or submission of research papers. The Philalethes Society honored Kipling for his Masonic stories Kim and The Man Who Would Be King. Kipling joined the Quatuor Coronati Correspondence Circle in May, 1918, remaining a member until his death in 1936. Although he paid his dues promptly, there is no record of his attending a meeting. On November 17, 1924 he is recorded as attending Rosemary Lodge No. 2851 E.C., giving his Lodge as Motherland No. 3861.


Kipling with daughter Josephine


Period Property of the Month - August 2008

At Bateman's, Rudyard Kipling found the refuge he had been seeking. Today, his spirit lives on in this inspiring and evocative country house



‘In the Interests of the Brethren’

Rudyard Kipling

"Banquet Night"

"ONCE in so often," King Solomon said,
Watching his quarrymen drill the stone,
"We will club our garlic and wine and bread
And banquet together beneath my Throne,
And all the Brethren shall come to that mess
As Fellow-Craftsmen - no more and no less."

"Send a swift shallop to Hiram of Tyre,
Felling and floating our beautiful trees,
Say that the Brethren and I desire
Talk with our Brethren who use the seas.
And we shall be happy to meet them at mess
As Fellow-Craftsmen - no more and no less."

"Carry this message to Hiram Abif -
Excellent master of forge and mine :-
I and the Brethren would like it if
He and the Brethren will come to dine
(Garments from Bozrah or morning-dress)
As Fellow-Craftsmen - no more and no less."

"God gave the Hyssop and Cedar their place -
Also the Bramble, the Fig and the Thorn -
But that is no reason to black a man's face
Because he is not what he hasn't been born.
And, as touching the Temple, I hold and profess
We are Fellow-Craftsmen - no more and no less."

So it was ordered and so it was done,
And the hewers of wood and the Masons of Mark,
With foc'sle hands of Sidon run
And Navy Lords from the Royal Ark,
Came and sat down and were merry at mess
As Fellow-Craftsmen - no more and no less.

The Quarries are hotter than Hiram's forge,
No one is safe from the dog-whip's reach.
It's mostly snowing up Lebanon gorge,
And it's always blowing off Joppa beach;
But once in so often, the messenger brings
Solomon's mandate : "Forget these things!
Brother to Beggars and Fellow to Kings,
Companion of Princes - forget these things!
Fellow-Craftsmen, forget these things!

I WAS buying a canary in a birdshop when he first spoke to me and suggested that I should take a
less highly coloured bird. ‘The colour is in the feeding,’ said he. ‘Unless you know how to feed ’em,
it goes. Canaries are one of our hobbies.’

He passed out before I could thank him. He was a middle-aged man with grey hair and a short, dark
beard, rather like a Sealyham terrier in silver spectacles. For some reason his face and his voice
stayed in my mind so distinctly that, months later, when I jostled against him on a platform crowded
with an Angling Club going to the Thames, I recognised, turned, and nodded.

‘I took your advice about the canary,’ I said.

‘Did you? Good!’ he replied heartily over the rod-case on his shoulder, and was parted from me by
the crowd.

* * * * *

A few years ago I turned into a tobacconist’s to have a badly stopped pipe cleaned out.
‘Well! Well! And how did the canary do?’ said the man behind the counter. We shook hands, and
‘What’s your name?’ we both asked together.

His name was Lewis Holroyd Burges, of ‘Burges and Son,’ as I might have seen above the door—
but Son had been killed in Egypt. His hair was whiter than it had been, and the eyes were sunk a

‘Well! Well! To think,’ said he, ‘of one man in all these millions turning up in this curious way,
when there’s so many who don’t turn up at all—eh?’ (It was then that he told me of Son Lewis’s
death and why the boy had been christened Lewis.) ‘Yes. There’s not much left for middle-aged
people just at present. Even one’s hobbies—— We used to fish together. And the same with
canaries! We used to breed ’em for colour—deep orange was our speciality. That’s why I spoke to
you, if you remember; but I’ve sold all my birds. Well! Well! And now we must locate your

He bent over my erring pipe and dealt with it skilfully as a surgeon. A soldier came in, spoke in an
undertone, received a reply, and went out.

‘Many of my clients are soldiers nowadays, and a number of ’em belong to the Craft,’ said Mr.
Burges. ‘It breaks my heart to give them the tobaccos they ask for. On the other hand, not one man
in five thousand has a tobacco-palate. Preference, yes. Palate, no. Here’s your pipe, again. It
deserves better treatment than it’s had. There’s a procedure, a ritual, in all things. Any time you’re
passing by again, I assure you, you will be welcome. I’ve one or two odds and ends that may
interest you.’

I left the shop with the rarest of all feelings on me—the sensation which is only youth’s right—that
I might have made a friend. A little distance from the door I was accosted by a wounded man who
asked for ‘Burges’s.’ The place seemed to be known in the neighbourhood.

I found my way to it again, and often after that, but it was not till my third visit that I discovered
Mr. Burges held a half interest in Ackerman and Pernit’s, the great cigar-importers, which had come
to him through an uncle whose children now lived almost in the Cromwell Road, and said that the
uncle had been on the Stock Exchange.

‘I’m a shopkeeper by instinct,’ said Mr. Burges. ‘I like the ritual of handling things. The shop has
done me well. I like to do well by the shop.’

It had been established by his grandfather in 1827, but the fittings and appointments must have been
at least half a century older. The brown and red tobacco- and snuff-jars, with Crowns, Garters, and
names of forgotten mixtures in gold leaf; the polished ‘Oronoque’ tobacco-barrels on which
favoured customers sat ; the cherry-black mahogany counter, the delicately moulded shelves, the
reeded cigar-cabinets, the German-silver-mounted scales, and the Dutch brass roll- and cake-cutter,
were things to covet.

‘They aren’t so bad,’ he admitted. ‘That large Bristol jar hasn’t any duplicate to my knowledge.
Those eight snuff-jars on the third shelf—they’re Dollin’s ware; he used to work for Wimble in
Seventeen-Forty—are absolutely unique. Is there any one in the trade now could tell you what
“Romano’s Hollande” was? Or “Scholten’s”? Here’s a snuff-mull of George the First’s time; and
here’s a Louis Quinze—what am I talking of? Treize, Treize, of course—grater for making bransnuff.
They were regular tools of the shop in my grandfather’s day. And who on earth to leave ’em
to outside the British Museum now, I can’t think! ‘

His pipes—I wish this were a tale for virtuosi—his amazing collection of pipes was kept in the
parlour, and this gave me the privilege of making his wife’s acquaintance. One morning, as I was
looking covetously at a jacaranda-wood ‘cigarro’—not cigar-cabinet with silver lock-plates and
drawer-knobs of Spanish work, a wounded Canadian came into the shop and disturbed our happy
little committee.

‘Say,’ he began loudly, ‘are you the right place?’

‘Who sent you?’ Mr. Burges demanded.

‘A man from Messines. But that ain’t the point! I’ve got no certificates, nor papers nothin’, you
understand. I left my Lodge owin’ ’em seventeen dollars back-dues. But this man at Messines told
me it wouldn’t make any odds with you.’

‘It doesn’t,’ said Mr. Burges. ‘We meet to-night at 7 p.m.’

The man’s face fell a yard. ‘Hell!’ said he. ‘But I’m in hospital—I can’t get leaf.’

‘And Tuesdays and Fridays at 3 p.m.,’ Mr. Burges added promptly. ‘You’ll have to be proved, of

‘Guess I can get by that all right,’ was the cheery reply. ‘Toosday, then.’ He limped off, beaming.

‘Who might that be?’ I asked.

‘I don’t know any more than you do—except he must be a Brother. London’s full of Masons now.

Well! Well! We must do what we can these days. If you’ll come to tea this evening, I’ll take you on
to Lodge afterwards. It’s a Lodge of Instruction.’

‘Delighted. Which is your Lodge?’ I said, for up till then he had not given me its name.

‘“Faith and Works 5837”—the third Saturday of every month. Our Lodge of Instruction meets
nominally every Thursday, but we sit oftener than that now because there are so many Visiting
Brothers in town. ‘Here another customer entered, and I went away much interested in the range of
Brother Burgess hobbies.

At tea-time he was dressed as for Church, and wore gold pince-nez in lieu of the silver spectacles. I
blessed my stars that I had thought to change into decent clothes.

‘Yes, we owe that much to the Craft,’ he assented. ‘All Ritual is fortifying. Ritual’s a natural
necessity for mankind. The more things are upset, the more they fly to it. I abhor slovenly Ritual
anywhere. By the way, would you mind assisting at the examinations, if there are many Visiting
Brothers to-night? You’ll find some of ’em very rusty, but—it’s the Spirit, not the Letter, that giveth
life. The question of Visiting Brethren is an important one. There are so many of them in London
now, you see; and so few places where they can meet.’

‘You dear thing!’ said Mrs. Burges, and handed him his locked and initialed apron-case.
‘Our Lodge is only just round the corner,’ he went on. ‘You mustn’t be too critical of our
appurtenances. The place was a garage once.’

As far as I could make out in the humiliating darkness, we wandered up a mews and into a
courtyard. Mr. Burges piloted me, murmuring apologies for everything in advance.

‘You mustn’t expect——’ he was still saying when we stumbled up a porch and entered a carefully
decorated ante-room hung round with Masonic prints. I noticed Peter Gilkes and Barton Wilson,
fathers of ‘Emulation’ working, in the place of honour; Kneller’s Christopher Wren; Dunkerley,
with his own Fitz-George book-plate below and the bend sinister on the Royal Arms; Hogarth’s
caricature of Wilkes, also his disreputable ‘Night’; and a beautifully framed set of Grand Masters,
from Anthony Sayer down.

‘Are these another hobby of yours?’ I asked.

‘Not this time,’ Mr. Burges smiled. ‘We have to thank Brother Lemming for them.’ He introduced
me to the senior partner of Lemming and Orton, whose little shop is hard to find, but whose words
and cheques in the matter of prints are widely circulated.

‘The frames are the best part of ’em,’ said Brother Lemming after my compliments. ‘There are
some more in the Lodge Room. Come and look. We’ve got the big Desaguliers there that nearly
went to Iowa.’

I had never seen a Lodge Room better fitted. From mosaicked floor to appropriate ceiling, from
curtain to pillar, implements to seats, seats to lights, and little carved music-loft at one end, every
detail was perfect in particular kind and general design. I said what I thought of them all, many
times over.

‘I told you I was a Ritualist,’ said Mr. Burges. ‘Look at those carved corn-sheaves and grapes on the
back of these Wardens’ chairs. That’s the old tradition—before Masonic furnishers spoilt it. I picked
up that pair in Stepney ten years ago—the same time I got the gavel.’ It was of ancient, yellowed
ivory, cut all in one piece out of some tremendous tusk. ‘That came from the Gold Coast,’ he said.
‘It belonged to a Military Lodge there in 1794. You can see the inscription.’

‘If it’s a fair question,’ I began, ‘how much——’

‘It stood us,’ said Brother Lemming, his thumbs in his waistcoat pockets, ‘an appreciable sum of
money when we built it in 1906, even with what Brother Anstruther—he was our contractor—
cheated himself out of. By the way, that ashlar there is pure Carrara, he tells me. I don’t understand
marbles myself. Since then I expect we’ve put in—oh, quite another little sum. Now we’ll go to the
examination-room and take on the Brethren.’

He led me back, not to the ante-room, but a convenient chamber flanked with what looked like
confessional-boxes (I found out later that that was what they had been, when first picked up for a
song near Oswestry). A few men in uniform were waiting at the far end. ‘That’s only the head of the
procession. The rest are in the ante-room,’ said an officer of the Lodge.

Brother Burges assigned me my discreet box, saying: ‘Don’t be surprised. They come all shapes.’
‘Shapes’ was not a bad description, for my first penitent was all head-bandages—escaped from an
Officers’ Hospital, Pentonville way. He asked me in profane Scots how I expected a man with only
six teeth and half a lower lip to speak to any purpose, so we compromised on the signs. The next—a
New Zealander from Taranaki—reversed the process, for he was one-armed, and that in a sling. I
mistrusted an enormous Sergeant-Major of Heavy Artillery, who struck me as much too glib, so I
sent him on to Brother Lemming in the next box, who discovered he was a Past District Grand
Officer. My last man nearly broke me down altogether. Everything seemed to have gone from him.

‘I don’t blame yer,’ he gulped at last. ‘I wouldn’t pass my own self on my answers, but I give yer
my word that so far as I’ve had any religion, it’s been all the religion I’ve had. For God’s sake, let
me sit in Lodge again, Brother!’

When the examinations were ended, a Lodge Officer came round with our aprons—no tinsel or
silver-gilt confections, but heavily-corded silk with tassels and—where a man could prove he was
entitled to them-levels, of decent plate. Some one in front of me tightened a belt on a stiffly silent
person in civil clothes with dischargebadge. ‘’Strewth! This is comfort again,’ I heard him say. The
companion nodded. The man went on suddenly: ‘Here! What’re you doing? Leave off! You
promised not to Chuck it!’ and dabbed at his companion’s streaming eyes.

‘Let him leak,’ said an Australian signaller. ‘Can’t you see how happy the beggar is? ‘
It appeared that the silent Brother was a ‘shell-shocker’ whom Brother Lemming had passed, on the
guarantee of his friend and—what moved Lemming more—the threat that, were he refused, he
would have fits from pure disappointment. So the ‘shocker’ went happily and silently among
Brethren evidently accustomed to these displays.

We fell in, two by two, according to tradition, fifty of us at least, and were played into Lodge by
what I thought was an harmonium, but which I discovered to be an organ of repute. It took time to
settle us down, for ten or twelve were cripples and had to be helped into long or easy chairs. I sat
between a one-footed R.A.M.C. Corporal and a Captain of Territorials, who, he told me, had ‘had a
brawl’ with a bomb, which had bent him in two directions. ‘But that’s first-class Bach the organist is
giving us now,’ he said delightedly. ‘I’d like to know him. I used to be a piano-thumper of sorts.’
‘I’ll introduce you after Lodge,’ said one of the regular Brethren behind us—a plump, torpedobearded
man, who turned out to be a doctor. ‘After all, there’s nobody to touch Bach, is there?’

Those two plunged at once into musical talk, which to outsiders is as fascinating as trigonometry.
Now a Lodge of Instruction is mainly a parade-ground for Ritual. It cannot initiate or confer
degrees, but is limited to rehearsals and lectures. Worshipful Brother Burges, resplendent in
Solomon’s Chair (I found out later where that, too, had been picked up), briefly told the Visiting
Brethren how welcome they were and always would be, and asked them to vote what ceremony
should be rendered for their instruction.

When the decision was announced he wanted to know whether any Visiting Brothers would take the
duties of Lodge Officers. They protested bashfully that they were too rusty. ‘The very reason why,’
said Brother Surges, while the organ Bached softly. My musical Captain wriggled in his chair.

‘One moment, Worshipful Sir.’ The plump Doctor rose. ‘We have here a musician for whom place
and opportunity are needed. Only,’ he went on colloquially, ‘those organ-loft steps are a bit steep.’

‘How much,’ said Brother Burges with the solemnity of an initiation, ‘does our Brother weigh? ‘

‘Very little over eight stone,’ said the Brother. ‘Weighed this morning, Worshipful Sir.’

The Past District Grand Officer, who was also a Battery-Sergeant-Major, waddled across, lifted the
slight weight in his arms and bore it to the loft, where, the regular organist pumping, it played
joyously as a soul caught up to Heaven by surprise.

When the visitors had been coaxed to supply the necessary officers, a ceremony was rehearsed.

Brother Burges forbade the regular members to prompt. The visitors had to work entirely by
themselves, but, on the Battery-Sergeant-Major taking a hand, he was ruled out as of too exalted
rank. They floundered badly after that support was withdrawn.

The one—footed R.A.M.C. on my right chuckled.

‘D’you like it?’ said the Doctor to him.

‘Do I? It’s Heaven to me, sittin’ in Lodge again. It’s all comin’ back now, watching their mistakes. I
haven’t much religion, but all I had I learnt in Lodge.’ Recognising me, he flushed a little as one
does when one says a thing twice over in another’s hearing. ‘Yes, “ veiled in all’gory and illustrated
in symbols”—the Fatherhood of God, an’ the Brotherhood of Man; an’ what more in Hell do you
want? . . . Look at ’em!’ He broke off giggling. ‘See! See! They’ve tied the whole thing into knots. I
could ha’ done it better myself—my one foot in France. Yes, I should think they ought to do it
again! ‘

The new organist covered the little confusion that had arisen with what sounded like the wings of

When the amateurs, rather red and hot, had finished, they demanded an exhibition-working of their
bungled ceremony by Regular Brethren of the Lodge. Then I realised for the first time what wordand-
gesture-perfect Ritual can be brought to mean. We all applauded, the one-footed Corporal most
of all.

‘We are rather proud of our working, and this is an audience worth playing up to,’ the Doctor said.
Next the Master delivered a little lecture on the meanings of some pictured symbols and diagrams.
His theme was a well-worn one, but his deep holding voice made it fresh.

‘Marvellous how these old copybook-headings persist,’ the Doctor said.

‘That’s all right!’ the one-footed man spoke cautiously out of the side of his mouth like a boy in
form. ‘But they’re the kind o’ copybook-headin’s we shall find burnin’ round our bunks in Hell.

Believe me-ee! I’ve broke enough of ’em to know. Now, hsh!’ He leaned forward, drinking it all in.
Presently Brother Burges touched on a point which had given rise to some diversity of Ritual. He
asked for information. ‘Well, in Jamaica, Worshipful Sir,’ a Visiting Brother began, and explained
how they worked that detail in his parts. Another and another joined in from different quarters of the
Lodge (and the world), and when they were well warmed the Doctor sidled softly round the walls
and, over our shoulders, passed us cigarettes.

‘A shocking innovation,’ he said, as he returned to the Captain-musician’s vacant seat on my left.

‘But men can’t really talk without tobacco, and we’re only a Lodge of Instruction.’

‘An’ I’ve learned more in one evenin’ here than ten years.’ The one-footed man turned round for an
instant from a dark, sour-looking Yeoman in spurs who was laying down the law on Dutch Ritual.
The blue haze and the talk increased, while the organ from the loft blessed us all.

‘But this is delightful,’ said I to the Doctor. ‘How did it all happen?’

‘Brother Burges started it. He used to talk to the men who dropped into his shop when the war
began. He told us sleepy old chaps in Lodge that what men wanted more than anything else was
Lodges where they could sit—just sit and be happy like we are now. He was right too. We’re
learning things in the war. A man’s Lodge means more to him than people imagine. As our friend on
your right said just now, very often Masonry’s the only practical creed we’ve ever listened to since
we were children. Platitudes or no platitudes, it squares with what everybody knows ought to be
done.’ He sighed. ‘And if this war hasn’t brought home the Brotherhood of Man to us all, I’m—a
Hun! ‘

‘How did you get your visitors?’ I went on.

‘Oh, I told a few fellows in hospital near here, at Burgess suggestion, that we had a Lodge of
Instruction and they’d be welcome. And they came. And they told their friends. And they came!
That was two years ago—and now we’ve Lodge of Instruction two nights a week, and a matinee
nearly every Tuesday and Friday for the men who can’t get evening leave. Yes, it’s all very curious.
I’d no notion what the Craft meant—and means—till this war.’

‘Nor I, till this evening,’ I replied.

‘Yet it’s quite natural if you think. Here’s London—all England—packed with the Craft from all
over the world, and nowhere for them to go. Why, our weekly visiting attendance for the last four
months averaged just under a hundred and forty. Divide by four—call it thirty-five Visiting Brethren
a time. Our record’s seventy-one, but we have packed in as many as eighty-four at Banquets. You
can see for yourself what a potty little hole we are!’

‘Banquets too!’ I cried. ‘It must cost like anything. May the Visiting Brethren——’

The Doctor—his name was Keede—laughed. ‘No, a Visiting Brother may not.’

‘But when a man has had an evening like this, he wants to——’

‘That’s what they all say. That makes our difficulty. They do exactly what you were going to
suggest, and they’re offended if we don’t take it.’

‘Don’t you?’ I asked.

‘My dear man—what does it come to? They can’t all stay to Banquet. Say one hundred suppers a
week—fifteen quid—sixty a month—seven hundred and twenty a year. How much are Lemming
and Orton worth? And Ellis and McKnight—that long big man over yonder—the provision dealers?
How much d’you suppose could Burges write a cheque for and not feel? ’Tisn’t as if he had to save
for any one now. I assure you we have no scruple in calling on the Visiting Brethren when we want
anything. We couldn’t do the work otherwise. Have you noticed how the Lodge is kept—brasswork,
jewels, furniture, and so on? ‘

‘I have indeed,’ I said. ‘It’s like a ship. You could eat your dinner off the floor.’

‘Well, come here on a bye-day and you’ll often find half-a-dozen Brethren, with eight legs between
’em, polishing and ronuking and sweeping everything they can get at. I cured a shell-shocker this
spring by giving him our jewels to look after. He pretty well polished the numbers off ’em, but—it
kept him from fighting Huns in his sleep. And when we need Masters to take our duties—two
matinees a week is rather a tax—we’ve the choice of P.M.’s from all over the world. The Dominions
are much keener on Ritual than an average English Lodge. Besides that—— Oh, we’re going to
adjourn. Listen to the greetings. They’ll be interesting.’

The crack of the great gavel brought us to our feet, after some surging and plunging among the
cripples. Then the Battery-Sergeant-Major, in a trained voice, delivered hearty and fraternal
greetings to ‘Faith and Works’ from his tropical District and Lodge. The others followed, with out
order, in every tone between a grunt and a squeak. I heard ‘Hauraki,’ ‘Inyanga-Umbezi,’ ‘Aloha,’
‘Southern Lights’ (from somewhere Punta Arenas way), ‘Lodge of Rough Ashlars’ (and that
Newfoundland Naval Brother looked it), two or three Stars of something or other, half-a-dozen
cardinal virtues, variously arranged, hailing from Klondyke to Kalgoorlie, one Military Lodge on
one of the fronts, thrown in with a severe Scots burr by my friend of the head-bandages, and the rest
as mixed as the Empire itself. Just at the end there was a little stir. The silent Brother had begun to
make noises; his companion tried to soothe him.

‘Let him be! Let him be!’ the Doctor called professionally. The man jerked and mouthed, and at last
mumbled something unintelligible even to his friend, but a small dark P.M. pushed forward

‘It iss all right,’ he said. ‘He wants to say——’ he spat out some yard-long Welsh name, adding,
‘That means Pembroke Docks, Worshipful Sir. We haf good Masons in Wales, too.’ The silent man
nodded approval.

‘Yes,’ said the Doctor, quite unmoved. ‘It happens that way sometimes. Hespere panta fereis, isn’t
it? The Star brings ’em all home. I must get a note of that fellow’s case after Lodge. I saw you
didn’t care for music,’ he went on, ‘but I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with a little more. It’s a
paraphrase from Micah. Our organist arranged it. We sing it antiphonally, as a sort of dismissal.’

Even I could appreciate what followed. The singing seemed confined to half-a-dozen trained voices
answering each other till the last line, when the full Lodge came in. I give it as I heard it

‘We have showèd thee, O Man,
What is good.
What doth the Lord require of us?
Or Conscience’ self desire of us?
But to do justly—
But to love mercy,
And to walk humbly with our God,
As every Mason should.’

Then we were played and sung out to the quaint tune of the ‘Entered Apprentices’ Song.’ I noticed
that the regular Brethren of the Lodge did not begin to take off their regalia till the lines

‘Great Kings, Dukes, and Lords
Have laid down their swords.’

They moved into the ante-room, now set for the Banquet, on the verse

‘Antiquity’s pride
We have on our side,
Which maketh men just in their station.’

The Brother (a big-boned clergyman) that I found myself next to at table told me the custom was ‘a
fond thing vainly invented’ on the strength of some old legend. He laid down that Masonry should
be regarded as an ‘intellectual abstraction.’ An Officer of Engineers disagreed with him, and told us
how in Flanders, a year before, some ten or twelve Brethren held Lodge in what was left of a
Church. Save for the Emblems of Mortality and plenty of rough ashlars, there was no furniture.

‘I warrant you weren’t a bit the worse for that,’ said the Clergyman. ‘The idea should be enough
without trappings.’

‘But it wasn’t,’ said the other. ‘We took a lot of trouble to make our regalia out of camouflage-stuff
that we’d pinched, and we manufactured our jewels from old metal. I’ve got the set now. It kept us
happy for weeks.’

‘Ye were absolutely irregular an’ unauthorised. Whaur was your Warrant?’ said the Brother from the
Military Lodge. ‘Grand Lodge ought to take steps against——‘

‘If Grand Lodge had any sense,’ a private three places up our table broke in, ‘it ’ud warrant
travelling Lodges at the front and attach first-class lecturers to ’em.’

‘Wad ye confer degrees promiscuously?’ said the scandalised Scot.

‘Every time a man asked, of course. You’d have half the Army in.’

The speaker played with the idea for a little while, and proved that, on the lowest scale of fees,
Grand Lodge would get huge revenues.

‘I believe,’ said the Engineer Officer thoughtfully, ‘I could design a complete travelling Lodge
outfit under forty pounds weight.’

‘Ye’re wrong. I’ll prove it. We’ve tried ourselves,’ said the Military Lodge man; and they went at it
together across the table, each with his own note-book.

The ‘Banquet’ was simplicity itself. Many of us ate in haste so as to get back to barracks or
hospitals, but now and again a Brother came in from the outer darkness to fill a chair and empty a
plate. These were Brethren who had been there before and needed no examination.

One man lurched in—helmet, Flanders mud, accoutrements and all—fresh from the leave-train.

‘’Got two hours to wait for my train,’ he explained. ‘I remembered your night, though. My God, this
is good! ‘

‘What is your train and from what station?’ said the Clergyman precisely. ‘Very well. What will you
have to eat? ‘

‘Anything. Everything. I’ve thrown up a month’s rations in the Channel.’

He stoked himself for ten minutes without a word. Then, without a word, his face fell forward. The
Clergyman had him by one already limp arm and steered him to a couch, where ho dropped and
snored. No one took the trouble to turn round.

‘Is that usual too?’ I asked.

‘Why not?’ said the Clergyman. ‘I’m on duty to-night to wake them for their trains. They do not
respect the Cloth on those occasions.’ He turned his broad back on me and continued his discussion
with a Brother from Aberdeen by way of Mitylene where, in the intervals of mine-sweeping, he had
evolved a complete theory of the Revelation of St. John the Divine in the Island of Patmos.

I fell into the hands of a Sergeant-Instructor of Machine Guns—by profession a designer of ladies’
dresses. He told me that Englishwomen as a class ‘lose on their corsets what they make on their
clothes,’ and that ‘Satan himself can’t save a woman who wears thirty-shilling corsets under a
thirty-guinea costume.’ Here, to my grief, he was buttonholed by a zealous Lieutenant of his own
branch, and became a Sergeant again all in one click.

I drifted back and forth, studying the prints on the walls and the Masonic collection in the cases,
while I listened to the inconceivable talk all round me. Little by little the company thinned, till at
last there were only a dozen or so of us left. We gathered at the end of a table near the fire, the
night-bird from Flanders trumpeting lustily into the hollow of his helmet, which some one had
tipped over his face.

‘And how did it go with you?’ said the Doctor.

‘It was like a new world,’ I answered.

‘That’s what it is really.’ Brother Burges returned the gold pince-nez to their case and reshipped his
silver spectacles. ‘Or that’s what it might be made with a little trouble. When I think of the
possibilities of the Craft at this juncture I wonder——’ He stared into the fire.

‘I wonder, too,’ said the Sergeant-Major slowly, ‘but—on the whole—I’m inclined to agree with
you. We could do much with Masonry.’

‘As an aid—as an aid—not as a substitute for Religion,’ the Clergyman snapped.

‘Oh, Lord! Can’t we give Religion a rest for a bit?’ the Doctor muttered. ‘It hasn’t done so—I beg
your pardon all round.’

The Clergyman was bristling. ‘Kamerad!’ the wise Sergeant-Major went on, both hands up.

‘Certainly not as a substitute for a creed, but as an average plan of life. What I’ve seen at the front
makes me sure of it.’

Brother Burges came out of his muse. ‘There ought to be a dozen—twenty—other Lodges in
London every night; conferring degrees too, as well as instruction. Why shouldn’t the young men
join? They practise what we’re always preaching. Well! Well! We must all do what we can. What’s
the use of old Masons if they can’t give a little help along their own lines? ‘

‘Exactly,’ said the Sergeant-Major, turning on the Doctor. ‘And what’s the darn use of a Brother if
he isn’t allowed to help? ‘

‘Have it your own way then,’ said the Doctor testily. He had evidently been approached before. He
took something the Sergeant-Major handed to him and pocketed it with a nod. ‘I was wrong,’ he
said to me, ‘when I boasted of our independence. They get round us sometimes. This,’ he slapped
his pocket, ‘will give a banquet on Tuesday. We don’t usually feed at matinees. It will be a surprise.
By the way, try another sandwich. The ham are best.’ He pushed me a plate.

‘They are,’ I said. ‘I’ve only had five or six. I’ve been looking for them.’

‘’Glad you like them,’ said Brother Lemming. ‘Fed him myself, cured him myself—at my little
place in Berkshire. His name was Charlemagne. By the way, Doc, am I to keep another one for next

‘Of course,’ said the Doctor with his mouth full. ‘A little fatter than this chap, please. And don’t
forget your promise about the pickled nasturtiums. They’re appreciated.’ Brother Lemming nodded
above the pipe he had lit as we began a second supper. Suddenly the Clergyman, after a glance at
the clock, scooped up half-a-dozen sandwiches from under my nose, put them into an oiled paper
bag, and advanced cautiously towards the sleeper on the couch.

‘They wake rough sometimes,’ said the Doctor. ‘Nerves, y’know.’ The Clergyman tip-toed directly
behind the man’s head, and at arm’s length rapped on the dome of the helmet. The man woke in one
vivid streak, as the Clergyman stepped back, and grabbed for a rifle that was not there.

‘You’ve barely half an hour to catch your train.’ The Clergyman passed him the sandwiches. ‘Come

‘You’re uncommonly kind and I’m very grateful,’ said the man, wriggling into his stiff straps. He
followed his guide into the darkness after saluting.

‘Who’s that?’ said Lemming.

‘Can’t say,’ the Doctor returned indifferently. ‘He’s been here before. He’s evidently a P.M. of

‘Well! Well!’ said Brother Burges, whose eyelids were drooping. ‘We must all do what we can. Isn’t
it almost time to lock up? ‘

‘I wonder,’ said I, as we helped each other into our coats, ‘what would happen if Grand Lodge knew
about all this.’

‘About what?’ Lemming turned on me quickly.

‘A Lodge of Instruction open three nights and two afternoons a week—and running a lodging-house
as well. It’s all very nice, but it doesn’t strike me somehow as regulation.’

‘The point hasn’t been raised yet,’ said Lemming. ‘We’ll settle it after the war. Meantime we shall
go on.’

‘There ought to be scores of them,’ Brother Burges repeated as we went out of the door. ‘All
London’s full of the Craft, and no places for them to meet in. Think of the possibilities of it! Think
what could have been done by Masonry through Masonry for all the world. I hope I’m not
censorious, but it sometimes crosses my mind that Grand Lodge may have thrown away its chance
in the war almost as much as the Church has.’

‘Lucky for you the Padre is taking that chap to King’s Cross,’ said Brother Lemming, ‘or he’d be
down your throat. What really troubles him is our legal position under Masonic Law. I think he’ll
inform on us one of these days. Well, good night, all.’ The Doctor and Lemming turned off together.

‘Yes,’ said Brother Burges, slipping his arm into mine. ‘Almost as much as the Church has. But
perhaps I’m too much of a Ritualist.’

I said nothing. I was speculating how soon I could steal a march on the Clergyman and inform
against ‘Faith and Works No. 5837 E.C.’


The Palace


WHEN I was a King and a Mason - a Master proven and skilled
I cleared me ground for a Palace such as a King should build.
I decreed and dug down to my levels. Presently under the silt
I came on the wreck of a Palace such as a King had built.

There was no worth in the fashion - there was no wit in the plan -
Hither and thither, aimless, the ruined footings ran -
Masonry, brute, mishandled, but carven on every stone:
"After me cometh a Builder. Tell him I too have known.

Swift to my use in the trenches, where my well-planned ground-works grew,
I tumbled his quoins and his ashlars, and cut and reset them anew.
Lime I milled of his marbles; burned it slacked it, and spread;
Taking and leaving at pleasure the gifts of the humble dead.

Yet I despised not nor gloried; yet, as we wrenched them apart,
I read in the razed foundations the heart of that builder’s heart.
As he had written and pleaded, so did I understand
The form of the dream he had followed in the face of the thing he had planned.

When I was a King and a Mason, in the open noon of my pride,
They sent me a Word from the Darkness. They whispered and called me aside.
They said - "The end is forbidden." They said - "Thy use is fulfilled.
"Thy Palace shall stand as that other’s - the spoil of a King who shall build."

I called my men from my trenches, my quarries my wharves and my sheers.
All I had wrought I abandoned to the faith of the faithless years.
Only I cut on the timber - only I carved on the stone:
"After me cometh a Builder. Tell him, I too have known."

"My New-cut Ashlar"

"Envoi" to Life's Handicap

MY new-cut ashlar takes the light
Where crimson-blank the windows flare
By my own work before the night,
Great Overseer, I make my prayer.

If there be good in that I wrought
Thy Hand compelled it, Master, Thine -
Where I have failed to meet Thy Thought
I know, through Thee, the blame was mine.

One instant's toil to Thee denied
Stands all Eternity's offence.
Of that I did with Thee to guide,
To Thee, through Thee, be excellence.

The depth and dream of my desire,
The bitter paths wherein I stray -
Thou knowest Who hast made the Fire,
Thou knowest Who hast made the Clay.

Who, lest all thought of Eden fade,
Bring'st Eden to the craftsman's brain -
Godlike to muse o'er his own Trade
And manlike stand with God again !

One stone the more swings into place
In that dread Temple of Thy worth.
It is enough that, through Thy Grace.
I saw nought common on Thy Earth.

Take not that vision from my ken -
Oh whatsoe'er may spoil or speed.
Help me to need no aid from men
That I may help such men as need !

The Law of the Jungle

(From The Jungle Book)
by Rudyard Kipling

Now this is the Law of the Jungle --
as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper,
but the Wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk
the Law runneth forward and back --
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf,
and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip;
drink deeply, but never too deep;
And remember the night is for hunting,
and forget not the day is for sleep.

The Jackal may follow the Tiger,
but, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown,
Remember the Wolf is a Hunter --
go forth and get food of thine own.

Keep peace withe Lords of the Jungle --
the Tiger, the Panther, and Bear.
And trouble not Hathi the Silent,
and mock not the Boar in his lair.

When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle,
and neither will go from the trail,
Lie down till the leaders have spoken --
it may be fair words shall prevail.

When ye fight with a Wolf of the Pack,
ye must fight him alone and afar,
Lest others take part in the quarrel,
and the Pack be diminished by war.

The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge,
and where he has made him his home,
Not even the Head Wolf may enter,
not even the Council may come.

The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge,
but where he has digged it too plain,
The Council shall send him a message,
and so he shall change it again.

If ye kill before midnight, be silent,
and wake not the woods with your bay,
Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop,
and your brothers go empty away.

Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates,
and your cubs as they need, and ye can;
But kill not for pleasure of killing,
and seven times never kill Man!

If ye plunder his Kill from a weaker,
devour not all in thy pride;
Pack-Right is the right of the meanest;
so leave him the head and the hide.

The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack.
Ye must eat where it lies;
And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair,
or he dies.

The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf.
He may do what he will;
But, till he has given permission,
the Pack may not eat of that Kill.

Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling.
From all of his Pack he may claim
Full-gorge when the killer has eaten;
and none may refuse him the same.

Lair-Right is the right of the Mother.
From all of her year she may claim
One haunch of each kill for her litter,
and none may deny her the same.

Cave-Right is the right of the Father --
to hunt by himself for his own:
He is freed of all calls to the Pack;
he is judged by the Council alone.

Because of his age and his cunning,
because of his gripe and his paw,
In all that the Law leaveth open,
the word of your Head Wolf is Law.

Now these are the Laws of the Jungle,
and many and mighty are they;
But the head and the hoof of the Law
and the haunch and the hump is -- Obey!

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Old 21-11-2013, 11:30 PM   #39
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Flight is many things. Something clean and swift, like a bird skimming across the sky. Or something filthy and crawling; a series of crablike movements through figurative and literal slime, a process of creeping ahead, jumping sideways, running backward.

It is sleeping in fields and river bottoms. It is bellying for miles along an irrigation ditch. It is back roads, spur railroad lines, the tailgate of a wildcat truck, a stolen car and a dead couple in lovers' lane. It is food pilfered from freight cars, garments taken from clotheslines; robbery and murder, sweat and blood. The complex made simple by the alchemy of necessity.

You cannot do what you must unaided. So throughout your struggling, your creeping and running, your thieving and killing, you are on the hunt for help. And if you live, you find it, sooner or later. Rudy Torrento found his sooner, in the Clintons. Doc found his later in a family of migratory farm workers; sharecroppers turned crop tramps.

There were nine of them, husband and wife and seven stair-step children--the youngest a toddling tot, the eldest a rawboned boy who was the scantling shadow of his father. They were camped alongside the muddy trickle of a creek. Two of the tires on their ancient truck were flat, and its battery stood on the ground. Their clothes were ragged but clean. When Doc emerged from the underbrush and approached them, trailed nervously by Carol, they drew together in a kind of phalanx; and the same look of wary phlegmatism was on every one of their suntanned faces.

Carol had no reason to be nervous. Doc knew people; and having been born among the, he knew this kind very well. Their existence was centered around existing. They had no hope of anything more, no comprehension that there might be anything more. In a sense they were an autonomous body, functioning within a society which was organized to grind them down. The law did not protect them; for them it was merely an instrument of harassment, a means of moving them on when it was against their interest to move, or detaining them where it was to their disadvantage to stay.

Doc knew them well. He knew how to talk to them.

Beyond a casual nod, he ignored the man's wife and brood. They had no authority, and to imply any to them would have been discourteous. Drawing the man aside, he spoke to him circuitously; casually hunkering down on his heels, talking with the man's own languid caution. Sometimes whole minutes passed in silence. And speaking, they seemed to discuss almost everything but the subject at hand.

Yet they understood each other, and they came to an agreement quite quickly. Doc gave the man some bills, not many and none of them large. For integrity cannot be bought, and they were simply men in need assisting one another. Then the man gave drawled instructions to his family.

"These here folks is friends," he said. "They'll be movin' on with us. We don't let on about it to no one, not any peep or whistle."

He sent the eldest boy and the second eldest into town for "new" secondhand tires, a battery and food. In the morning they headed westward, and lying prone in the rear of the truck, Doc and Carol heard the woman's cracked voice raised in a spiritual and they smelled the smoke from the man's nickel see-gar.

The seven children were squeezed into the truck bed with them, the bigger ones sitting with slumped shoulders to accommodate themselves to its low canvas cover. They were all around them, shielding them from view, hiding them as effectively as though they had been at the bottom of a well. But close as they were physically, they were still worlds apart.

Carol smiled at one of the girls, and received a flat stare in return. She started to pat the tot's head, and barely jerked her hand back in time to avoid being bitten. The eldest boy protectively took charge of the child. "Wouldn't do that no more, ma'am," he advised Carol with chill politeness. "He don't cotton none to strangers."

The truck's best speed was barely thirty miles an hour. Despite their early starts and late stops, they seldom made two hundred miles a day. Their food was monotonously unvaried, practically the same from one meal to the next. Salt pork and gravy, biscuits or mush, and chicory coffee for breakfast. For lunch, mush or biscuits and salt pork eaten cold while they rode. And for dinner, there was more biscuits, and pork and gravy, with perhaps some sweetnin' (sorghum) and a poke salad--greens boiled with pork into a greasy, tasteless mess.

Doc ate heartily of everything. Nauseated by the stuff, Carol ate no more than she had to stay alive. She acquired a painful and embarrassing stomach complaint. Her small body ached constantly from the jouncing and bouncing of the truck. She became very bitter of Doc; the more so because she knew her predicament was her own fault, and because she dared not complain.

These people didn't like her. They tolerated her only because she was Doc's woman (his woman, for Pete's sake!). And without Doc, she would be lost.

Whether the family knew who they were--the most wanted criminals in the country--is a moot point. But reading no newspapers, having no radio, living in their own closemouthed world of existing to exist, it is unlikely that they did. And probably they would have turned their back on the opportunity to inform themselves.

These folks was feedin' them. These folks' business was their own business.

Ask no questions an' you'll hear no lies.

Curiosity killed the cat.

Leave well enough be, an' you'll be well enough.

The old truck limped westward, carrying Doc and Carol far beyond the danger zone of road blocks and police checks, and into the whilom safety of California. And there, after another day or so of travel, they parted company with the family.

Doc didn't want them to know his and Carol's destination, to get any closer to it than they already were. That would be asking for trouble, and asked-for trouble was usually gotten. Moreover, the family did not wish to go any farther south--into an area that was traditionally hostile to vagrants or anyone who might possibly become vagrant. And they hoped to have other fish to fry, or rather, apples to pick in the Pacific Northwest.

So there were monosyllabic farewells, a final exchange of money; then the family moved on, and Carol and Doc remained behind . . . Quite inappropriately in the City of Angels.

Doc was dressed in blue overalls and a jumper, and a striped railroad worker's cap. He carried himself with a pronounced stoop; a pair of old-fashioned steel-rimmed glasses were perched on the end of his nose, and he peered over them nearsightedly as he paid for his ticket from a snap-top money pouch. A metal lunch basket was tucked under one arm. Beneath his clothes--and Carol's was an outsize money belt.

Carol came into the railroad station several minutes after him. She also was stooped, cronelike of figure. She wore a long, shapeless black dress, and under the shadow of her head shawl her face was wizened and sunblack.

They boarded the train separately, Carol taking a rear seat. Doc entering the men's lounge. Then, when their tickets had been collected and the train was well out of the yards, he came out and sat down at her side.

He opened the lunch bucket and took out a pint bottle of whiskey. He drank from it thirstily, wiped the neck with his sleeve, and extended it toward Carol.

She shook her head, her nose wrinkling distastefully. "Do you have to keep hitting that stuff?" she frowned.

"Keep hitting it?" He returned her frown. "That's the first drink I've had in days."

"Well, it's one too many at a time like this! If you ask me, I . . . '

"But I didn't." He took another long drink, then returned the bottle to the lunch bucket. "Look," he said reasonably. "What do you want to do anyway? Break up? Go it on your own? I'd like to know."

"As if you didn't already know! What the hell difference does it make what I want to do?"

"Well," said Doc. "Well, then."

Actually, he did not want to be separated from her. Even if it had been practical, he would not have wanted it. And despite anything she said or did, he knew that she felt the same way. They were still in love--as much as they had ever been. Strangely, nothing had changed that.

His eyes drifted shut. He wondered where the family of sharecroppers was by now, and subconsciously he wished that he was still with them. It hadn't been at all bad, that long creeping journey across half of the United States. Nothing to do but ride and ride, with every day exactly like the one before. No worries, no decisions to make. Above all the freedom, in fact the necessity, not to talk.

He had never before realized the blessedness of silence--the freedom to be silent, rather, if one chose. He had never realized, somehow, that such blessedness might be his privilege. He was Doc McCoy, and Doc McCoy was born to the obligation of being one hell of a guy. Persuasive, impelling of personality; insidiously likable and good-humored and imperturbable. One of the nicest guys you'd ever meet, that was Doc McCoy. They broke the pattern when they made him. And, of course, Doc did like people and he liked to be lied. And he'd been well compensated for his efforts in that direction. Still--well, there you were. It had become an effort, something else that he hadn't realized.

Maybe he was just very tired, he thought wearily. And very worried. Because exactly what they were going to do after they got to Golie's, he didn't know.

"Doc," Carol said. "What's the next step, after we get to Golie's?"

Doc grimaced. She can read my mind, he thought. "I'm thinking about it," he said. "I haven't decided, yet."

"You don't know, do you? You haven't any plan."

"Now, that's putting it a little strong. I'll have to check around and--" her scornful smile stopped him. "All right," he said, "I don't know."

She waited, staring at him demandingly. He fumbled the lunch bucket open and took another drink. He gestured with it diffidently, then quickly recapped it and put it away.

"I--it would have been simple enough ordinarily." he explained. "I mean, if we could have made it before they had the alarm out for us. Coming back from Mexico, you're apt to get a pretty thorough going over. But going over, they hardly take a second look at you. You can just talk across the border, or drive across and . . . "

"All right! But that's what we could have done!"

"Well--maybe we still can. There doesn't seem to be much noise out here about us. Maybe . . . "

He broke off, unable to continue so palpable a lie. Perhaps there wasn't any general search for them on the West Coast, but the border patrol would certainly have been alerted.

"We'll see," he mumbled. "I'll have to look around. Maybe I can get a line on Ma Santis."

"Ma Santis!" Carol let out a disgusted snort. "Just like that you're going to get a line on Ma Santis, huh? You already told me you thought she was dead, and even if she wasn't I'd like to know how you're going to get a line on her or anyone else. You can't make any inquiries. You can't go wandering around and . . . "

"That's right. I can't," Doc said curtly; and he got up and entered the rest room.

Seated on the long leather couch, he lighted a cigarette, looked wearily out onto the moonlit night. He had always thought this was the most beautiful stretch of country in the world, this area of orange and avocado groves, of rolling black-green hills, of tile-roofed houses--all alike yet all different--stretching endlessly along the endless expanse of curving, white-sand beach. He had thought about retiring here some day and, though the idea was preposterous, he still thought about it. He could see himself and Carol on the patio of one of those incredibly gay houses. Barbecuing a steak perhaps, or sipping tall drinks while they stared out to sea. There would be a cool breze blowing in, temperately cool and smelling of salt. And . . .

"Doc--" Carol murmured suddenly from the doorway.

He said, "Coming," and rejoined her in the seat. And she patted his hand and gave him a lingering smile.

"You know something, Doc?" she whispered. "This will be our first night together. Our first night together and alone."

"So it will!" Doc made his voice hearty. "It doesn't seem possible does it?"

"And I'm not going to let anything spoil it either. Nothing! We'll just pretend like we don't have a worry in the world tonight. Just push everything out of our minds and have ourselves a nice long hot bath, and something to eat and--and . . . "

She squeezed his hand. Almost fiercely.

"Sandy-Egg-O!" bawled the conductor. "Next stop is San Diego!"

-- from "The Getaway" by Jim Thompson



WPA writers Joe Paskavan Louis L'Amour Jim Thompson Oklahoma City 1930s


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Old 22-11-2013, 08:51 PM   #40
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by Saki (Hector Hugh Munro)

The grill-room clock struck eleven with the respectful unobtrusiveness of one whose mission in life is to be ignored. When the flight of time should really have rendered abstinence and migration imperative the lighting apparatus would signal the fact in the usual way.

Six minutes later Clovis approached the supper-table, in the blessed expectancy of one who has dined sketchily and long ago.

“I’m starving,” he announced, making an effort to sit down gracefully and read the menu at the same time.

“So I gathered;” said his host, “from the fact that you were nearly punctual.

I ought to have told you that I’m a Food Reformer. I’ve ordered two bowls of bread-and-milk and some health biscuits. I hope you don’t mind.”

Clovis pretended afterwards that he didn’t go white above the collar-line for the fraction of a second.

“All the same,” he said, “you ought not to joke about such things. There really are such people. I’ve known people who’ve met them. To think of all the adorable things there are to eat in the world, and then to go through life munching sawdust and being proud of it.”

“They’re like the Flagellants of the Middle Ages, who went about mortifying themselves.”

“They had some excuse,” said Clovis. “They did it to save their immortal souls, didn’t they? You needn’t tell me that a man who doesn’t love oysters and asparagus and good wines has got a soul, or a stomach either. He’s simply got the instinct for being unhappy highly developed.”

Clovis relapsed for a few golden moments into tender intimacies with a succession of rapidly disappearing oysters.

“I think oysters are more beautiful than any religion,” he resumed presently.

“They not only forgive our unkindness to them; they justify it, they incite us to go on being perfectly horrid to them. Once they arrive at the supper-table they seem to enter thoroughly into the spirit of the thing. There’s nothing in Christianity or Buddhism that quite matches the sympathetic unselfishness of an oyster. Do you like my new waistcoat? I’m wearing it for the first time to-night.”

“It looks like a great many others you’ve had lately, only worse. New dinner waistcoats are becoming a habit with you.”

“They say one always pays for the excesses of one’s youth; mercifully that isn’t true about one’s clothes. My mother is thinking of getting married.”


“It’s the first time.”

“Of course, you ought to know. I was under the impression that she’d been married once or twice at least.”

“Three times, to be mathematically exact. I meant that it was the first time she’d thought about getting married; the other times she did it without thinking. As a matter of fact, it’s really I who am doing the thinking for her in this case. You see, it’s quite two years since her last husband died.”

“You evidently think that brevity is the soul of widowhood.”

“Well, it struck me that she was getting moped, and beginning to settle down, which wouldn’t suit her a bit. The first symptom that I noticed was when she began to complain that we were living beyond our income. All decent people live beyond their incomes nowadays, and those who aren’t respectable live beyond other peoples. A few gifted individuals manage to do both.”

“It’s hardly so much a gift as an industry.”

“The crisis came,” returned Clovis, “when she suddenly started the theory that late hours were bad for one, and wanted me to be in by one o’clock every night. Imagine that sort of thing for me, who was eighteen on my last birthday.”

“On your last two birthdays, to be mathematically exact.”

“Oh, well, that’s not my fault. I’m not going to arrive at nineteen as long as my mother remains at thirty-seven. One must have some regard for appearances.”

“Perhaps your mother would age a little in the process of settling down.”

“That’s the last thing she’d think of. Feminine reformations always start in on the failings of other people. That’s why I was so keen on the husband idea.”

“Did you go as far as to select the gentleman, or did you merely throw out a general idea, and trust to the force of suggestion?”

“If one wants a thing done in a hurry one must see to it oneself. I found a military Johnny hanging round on a loose end at the club, and took him home to lunch once or twice. He’d spent most of his life on the Indian frontier, building roads, and relieving famines and minimizing earthquakes, and all that sort of thing that one does do on frontiers. He could talk sense to a peevish cobra in fifteen native languages, and probably knew what to do if you found a rogue elephant on your croquet-lawn; but he was shy and diffident with women. I told my mother privately that he was an absolute woman-hater; so, of course, she laid herself out to flirt all she knew, which isn’t a little.”

“And was the gentleman responsive?”

“I hear he told some one at the club that he was looking out for a Colonial job, with plenty of hard work, for a young friend of his, so I gather that he has some idea of marrying into the family.”

“You seem destined to be the victim of the reformation, after all.”

Claws wiped the trace of Turkish coffee and the beginnings of a smile from his lips, and slowly lowered his dexter eyelid. Which, being interpreted, probably meant, “I DON’T think!”


H.H. Munro ('Saki') and members of his family.
From left to right:
Charles Arthur Munro (1869-1952), Prison governor and brother of H.H. Munro.
(Inez) Mary Muriel Munro (née Chambers) (1881-1967), Wife of Charles Arthur Munro
Felicia Mary M. Cranshaw (née Munro) (1905-), Niece of H.H. Munro.
Ethel Mary Munro (1868-1955), Sister of H.H. Munro.
Hector Hugh Munro ('Saki') (1870-1916), Short story writer.


The Achievement of the Cat

by Saki (Hector Hugh Munro)

In the political history of nations it is no uncommon experience to find States and peoples which but a short time since were in bitter conflict and animosity with each other, settled down comfortably on terms of mutual goodwill and even alliance. The natural history of the social developments of species affords a similar instance in the coming-together of two once warring elements, now represented by civilized man and the domestic cat. The fiercely waged struggle which went on between humans and felines in those far-off days when sabre-toothed tiger and cave lion contended with primeval man, has long ago been decided in favour of the most fitly equipped combatant--the Thing with a Thumb--and the descendants of the dispossessed family are relegated today, for the most part, to the waste lands of jungle and veld, where an existence of self-effacement is the only alternative to extermination. But the felis catus, or whatever species was the ancestor of the modern domestic cat (a vexed question at present), by a a master-stroke of adaptation avoided the ruin of its race, and "captured" a place in the very keystone of the conqueror's organization. For not as a bond-servant or dependent has this proudest of mammals entered the human fraternity; not as a slave like the beasts of burden, or a humble camp-follower like the dog. The cat is domestic only as far as suits its own ends; it will not be kenneled or harnessed nor suffer any dictation as to its goings out or comings in. Long contact with the human race has developed in it the art of diplomacy, and no Roman Cardinal of mediaeval days knew better how to ingratiate himself with his surroundings than a cat with a saucer of cream on its mental horizon. But the social smoothness, the purring innocence, the softness of the velvet paw may be laid aside at a moments' notice, and the sinuous feline may disappear, in deliberate aloofness, to world of roofs and chimney-stacks, where the human element is distanced and disregarded. Or the innate savage spirit helped its survival in the bygone days of tooth and claw may be summoned forth from beneath the sleek exterior, and the torture-instinct (common alone to human and feline) may find free play in the death-throes of some luckless bird or rodent. It is, indeed, no small triumph to have combined the untrammelled liberty of primeval savagery with the luxury which only a highly developed civilization can command; to be lapped in the soft stuffs that commerce has gathered from the far ends of the world; to bask in the warmth that labour and industry have dragged from the bowels of the earth; to banquet on the dainties that wealth has bespoken for its table, and withal to be a free son of nature, a mighty hunter, a spiller of life-blood. This si the victory of the cat. But besides the credit of success the cat has other qualities which compel recognition. The animal which the Egyptians worshipped as divine, which the Romans venerated as a symbol of liberty, which Europeans in the ignorant Middle Ages anathematized as an agent of demonology, has displayed to all ages two closely blended characteristics--courage and self-respect. No matter how unfavourable the circumstances, both qualities are always to the fore. Confront a child, a puppy, and a kitten with a sudden danger; the child will turn instinctively for assistance, the puppy will grovel in abject submission to the impending visitation, the kitten will brace its tiny body for a frantic resistance. And disassociate the luxury-loving cat from the atmosphere of social comfort in which it usually contrives to move, and observe it critically under the adverse conditions of civilization--that civilization which can impel a man to the degradation of clothing himself in tawdry ribald garments and capering mountebank dances in the streets for the earning of the few coins that keep him on the respectable , or non-criminal, side of society. The cat of the slums and alleys, starved, outcast, harried, still keeps amid the prowlings of its adversity the bold, free, panther-tread with which it paced of yore the temple courts of Thebes, still displays the self-reliant watchfulness which man has never taught it to lay aside. And when its shifts and clever managings have not sufficed to stave off inexorable fate, when its enemies have proved too strong or too many for its defensive powers, it dies fighting to the last, quivering with the choking rage of mastered resistance, and voicing in its death-yell that agony of bitter remonstrance which human animals, too, have flung at the powers that may be; the last protest against a destiny that might have made them happy--and has not.


Sylvia Plath

Albert Camus

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