Freuchen tells how one day, after coming home hungry from an unsuccessful walrus-hunting expedition, he found one of the successful hunters dropping off several hundred pounds of meat. He thanked him profusely. The man objected indignantly:Up in our country we are human! said the hunter. And since we are human we help each other. We don't like to hear anybody say thanks for that. What I get today you may get tomorrow. Up here we say that by gifts one makes slaves and by whips one makes dogs.... The refusal to calculate credits and debits can be found throughout the anthropological literature on egalitarian hunting societies. Rather than seeing himself as human because he could make economic calculations, the hunter insisted that being truly human meant refusing to make such calculations, refusing to measure or remember who had given what to whom, for the precise reason that doing so would inevitably create a world where we began comparing power with power, measuring, calculating and reducing each other to slaves or dogs through debt. It's not that he, like untold millions of similar egalitarian spirits throughout history, was unaware that humans have a propensity to calculate. If he wasn't aware of it, he could not have said what he did. Of course we have a propensity to calculate. We have all sorts of propensities. In any real-life situation, we have propensities that drive us in several different contradictory directions simultaneously. No one is more real than any other. The real question is which we take as the foundation of our humanity and therefore, make the basis of our civilization.
David Graeber
Imagination is not, as some poets have thought, simply synonymous with good. It may be either good or evil. As long as art remained primarily mimetic, the evil which imagination could do was limited by nature. Again, as long as it was treated as an amusement, the evil which it could do was limited in scope. But in an age when the connection between imagination and figuration is beginning to be dimly realized, when the fact of the directionally creator relation is beginning to break through into consciousness, both the good and the evil latent in the working of imagination begin to appear unlimited. We have seen in the Romantic movement an instance of the way in which the making of images may react upon the collective representations. It is a fairly rudimentary instance, but even so it has already gone beyond the dreams and responses of a leisured few. The economic and social structure of Switzerland is noticeably affected by its tourist industry and that is due only in part to increased facilities of travel. It is due not less to the condition that (whatever may be said about their ‘particles’) the mountains which twentieth-century man sees are not the mountains which eighteenth-century man saw.It may be objected that this is a very small matter and that it will be a long time before the imagination of man substantially alters those appearances of nature with which his figuration supplies him. But then I am taking the long view. Even so, we need not be too confident. Even if the pace of change remained the same, one who is really sensitive to (for example) the difference between the medieval collective representations and our own will be aware that, without traveling any greater distance than we have come since the fourteenth century, we could very well move forward into a chaotically empty or fantastically hideous world. But the pace of change has not remained the same. It has accelerated and is accelerating. We should remember this, when appraising the aberrations of the formally representational arts. Of course, in so far as these are due to affectation, they are of no importance. But in so far as they are genuine, they are genuine because the artist has in some way or other experienced the world he represents. And in so far as they are appreciated, they are appreciated by those who are themselves willing to make a move towards seeing the world in that way and, ultimately therefore, seeing that kind of world. We should remember this, when we see pictures of a dog with six legs emerging from a vegetable marrow or a woman with a motorbicycle substituted for her left breast.
Owen Barfield
Let us not, however, exaggerate our power. Whatever man does, the great lines of creation persist; the supreme mass does not depend on man. He has power over the detail, not over the whole. And it is right that this should be so. The Whole is providential. Its laws pass over our head. What we do goes no farther than the surface. Man clothes or unclothes the earth; clearing a forest is like taking off a garment. But to slow down the rotation of the globe on its axis, to accelerate the course of the globe on its orbit, to add or subtract a fathom on he earth's daily journey of 718,000 leagues around the sun, to modify the precession of the equinoxes, to eliminate one drop of rain--never! What is on high remains on high. Man can change the climate, but not the seasons Just try and make the moon revolve anywhere but in the ecliptic!Dreamers, some of them illustrious, have dreamed of restoring perpetual spring to the earth. The extreme seasons, summer and winter, are produced by the excess of the inclination of the earth's axis over the place of the ecliptic of which we have just spoken. In order to eliminate the seasons it would be necessary only to straighten this axis. Nothing could be simpler. Just plant a stake on the Pole and drive it in to the center of the globe; attach a chain to it; find a base outside the earth; have 10 billion teams, each of 10 billion horses and get them to pull. THe axis will straighten up, ad you will have your spring. As you can see, an easy task.We must look elsewhere for Eden. Spring is good; but freedom and justice are beter. Eden is moral, not material. To be free and just depends on ourselves.
Victor Hugo
We owe all to Jesus crucified. What is your life, my brethren, but the cross? Whence comes the bread of your soul but from the cross? What is your joy but the cross? What is your delight, what is your heaven, but the Blessed One, once crucified for you, who ever liveth to make intercession for you? Cling to the cross, then, put both arms around it! Hold to the Crucified and never let Him go. Come afresh to the cross at this moment and rest there now and for ever! Then, with the power of God resting upon you, go forth and preach the cross! Tell out the story of the bleeding Lamb. Repeat the wondrous tale and nothing else. Never mind how you do it, only proclaim that Jesus died for sinner.The cross held up by a babe’s hands is just as powerful as if a giant held it up. The power lies in the word itself, or rather in the Holy Spirit who works by it and with it. O glorious Christ, when I have had a vision of Thy cross, I have seen it at first like a common gibbet and Thou wast hanging on it like a felon; but, as I have looked, I have seen it begin to rise and tower aloft till it has reached the highest heaven and by its mighty power has lifted up myriads to the throne of God. I have seen its arms extend and expand until they have embraced all the earth. I have seen the foot of it go down deep as our helpless miseries are; and what a vision I have had of Thy magnificence, O Thou crucified One! Brethren, believe in the power of the cross for the conversion of those around you. Do not say of any man that he cannot be saved. The blood of Jesus is omnipotent. Do not say of any district that it is too sunken, or of any class of men that they are too far gone: the word of the cross reclaims the lost. Believe it to be the power of God and you shall find it so.Believe in Christ crucified and preach boldly in His name and you shall see great and gladsome things. Do not doubt the ultimate triumph of Christianity. Do not let a mistrust flit across your soul. The cross must conquer; it must blossom with a crown, a crown commensurate with the person of the Crucified and the bitterness of His agony. His reward shall parallel His sorrows. Trust in God and lift your banner high and now with psalms and songs advance to battle, for the Lord of hosts is with us, the Son of the Highest leads our van. Onward, with blast of silver trumpet and shout of those that seize the spoil. Let no man’s heart fail him! Christ hath died! Atonement is complete! God is satisfied! Peace is proclaimed! Heaven glitters with proofs of mercy already bestowed upon ten thousand times ten thousand! Hell is trembling, heaven adoring, earth waiting. Advance, ye saints, to certain victory! You shall overcome through the blood of the Lamb.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon