It is human nature to want to believe in the wizardry of the magician--but also to turn against him and to scorn him the moment that he commits the slightest error that reveals his trickery. Those in the audience are embarrassed to have been so easily astonished, and they blame the performer for their gullibility.
I consider Mr. Morphy the finest chess player who ever existed. He is far superior to any now living, and would doubtless have beaten Labourdonnais himself. In all his games with me, he has not only played, in every instance, the exact move, but the most exact. He never makes a mistake; but, if his adversary commits the slightest error, he is lost.
Within me is the potential to commit every evil act I see being committed by other men, and unless I feel this potential, I can at any moment be controlled by these same urges. I am free from these urges only if I recognize when I am feeling them, and while feeling them and acknowledging them to be me, choose not to follow them. Only in this way can I begin to regain the disowned parts of me. And only in this way can I know what it is I am criticizing in others.
Life in the world... was nothing more than a system of atavistic contracts, banal ceremonies, preordained words, with which people entertained each other in society in order not to commit murder. The dominant sign in that paradise of provincial frivolity was fear of the unknown.
Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight.... If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible.
If we deny our awesome challenge; turn our backs on the living universe, and forsake our cosmic destiny, we will commit a crime of unutterable magnitude. Mankind alone has the power to carry out this fundamental change in the universe. Our failure would lead to consequences unthinkable. This is perhaps the first and only chance the universe will ever have to awaken from its long night and live. We are the caretakers of this delicate spark of Life. To let it flicker and die through ignorance, neglect, or lack of imagination is a horror too great to contemplate.