SEPTEMBER 1, 1939I sit in one of the divesOn Fifty-second StreetUncertain and afraidAs the clever hopes expireOf a low dishonest decade:Waves of anger and fearCirculate over the brightAnd darkened lands of the earth,Obsessing our private lives;The unmentionable odour of deathOffends the September night.Accurate scholarship canUnearth the whole offenceFrom Luther until nowThat has driven a culture mad,Find what occurred at Linz,What huge imago madeA psychopathic god:I and the public knowWhat all schoolchildren learn,Those to whom evil is doneDo evil in return.Exiled Thucydides knewAll that a speech can sayAbout Democracy,And what dictators do,The elderly rubbish they talkTo an apathetic grave;Analysed all in his book,The enlightenment driven away,The habit-forming pain,Mismanagement and grief:We must suffer them all again.Into this neutral airWhere blind skyscrapers useTheir full height to proclaimThe strength of Collective Man,Each language pours its vainCompetitive excuse:But who can live for longIn an euphoric dream;Out of the mirror they stare,Imperialism's faceAnd the international wrong.Faces along the barCling to their average day:The lights must never go out,The music must always play,All the conventions conspireTo make this fort assumeThe furniture of home;Lest we should see where we are,Lost in a haunted wood,Children afraid of the nightWho have never been happy or good.The windiest militant trashImportant Persons shoutIs not so crude as our wish:What mad Nijinsky wroteAbout DiaghilevIs true of the normal heart;For the error bred in the boneOf each woman and each manCraves what it cannot have,Not universal loveBut to be loved alone.From the conservative darkInto the ethical lifeThe dense commuters come,Repeating their morning vow;'I will be true to the wife,I'll concentrate more on my work,'And helpless governors wakeTo resume their compulsory game:Who can release them now,Who can reach the dead,Who can speak for the dumb?All I have is a voiceTo undo the folded lie,The romantic lie in the brainOf the sensual man-in-the-streetAnd the lie of AuthorityWhose buildings grope the sky:There is no such thing as the StateAnd no one exists alone;Hunger allows no choiceTo the citizen or the police;We must love one another or die.Defenseless under the nightOur world in stupor lies;Yet, dotted everywhere,Ironic points of lightFlash out wherever the JustExchange their messages:May I, composed like themOf Eros and of dust,Beleaguered by the sameNegation and despair,Show an affirming flame.
W.H. Auden
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.
Winston S. Churchill
Unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life are common themes in the American culture today.Folks sometimes mistake my meaning when I say, You have the freedom of choice and the ability to create your best life, because they all too often rush to drop everything that is weighing them down. They quit the job, ditch the unhappy marriage, cut out negative friends and family, get out of Dodge, etc. I do not advocate such hastiness; in fact, I believe that rash decision-making leads to more problems further down the road. Another unsatisfying job manifests; another unhappy relationship results. These people want a new environment, yet the same negative energy always seems to occupy it. This is because transformation is all about the internal shift, not the external. Any blame placed on outside sources for our unhappiness will forever perpetuate that unhappiness. Pointing the finger is giving away your power of choice and the ability to create our best life. We choose: That person is making me unhappy vs. I make myself happy. When you are in unhappy times of lack and feelings of separation – great! Sit there and be with it. Find ways to be content with little. Find ways to be happy with your Self. As we reflect on the lives of mystics past and present, it is not the things they possess or the relationships they share that bring them enlightenment – their light is within. The same light can bring us unwavering happiness (joy). Love, Peace, Joy – these three things all come from within and have an unwavering flame – life source – that is not dependent on the conditions of the outside world. This knowing is the power and wisdom that the mystics teach us that we are all capable of achieving. When I say, You have the freedom of choice and the ability to create your best life, I am not referring to external conditions; I am referring to the choice you have to look inward and discover the ability to transform the lead of the soul into gold. Transformation is an inner journey of the soul. Why? Because, as we mentioned above, wherever we go, ourselves go with us. Thus, quitting the job, dumping relationships, etc. will not make us happy because we have forgotten the key factor that makes or breaks our happiness: ourselves. When we find, create and maintain peace, joy and love within ourselves, we then gain the ability to embrace the external world with the same emotions, perspective and vibration. This ability is a form of enlightenment. It is the modern man’s enlightenment that transforms an unsatisfying life into one of fulfillment.
Alaric Hutchinson