“The special trait making me an anarch is that I live in a world which I ‘ultimately’ do not take seriously. This increases my freedom; I serve as a temporary volunteer”
“Freedom is based on the anarch’s awareness that he can kill himself. He carries this awareness around; it accompanies him like a shadow that he can conjure up. “A leap from this bridge will set me free.”
“The partisan wants to change the law, the criminal break it; the anarch wants neither. He is not for or against the law. While not acknowledging the law, he does try to recognize it like the laws of nature, and he adjusts accordingly.”
“The anarchist, as the born foe of authority, will be destroyed by it after damaging it more or less. The anarch, on the other hand, has appropriated authority; he is sovereign. He therefore behaves as a neutral power vis-à-vis state and society. He may like, dislike, or be indifferent to whatever occurs in them. That is what determines his conduct; he invests no emotional values.”
“Seen politically, systems follow one another, each consuming the previous one. They live on ever-bequeathed and ever-disappointed hope, which never entirely fades. Its spark is all that survives, as it eats its way along the blasting fuse. For this spark, history is merely an occasion, never a goal.”
“The anarch's study of the history of the caesars has more of a theoretical significance for him - it offers a sampling of how far rulers can go. In practice, self-discipline is the only kind of rule that suits the anarch. He, too, can kill anyone (this is deeply immured in the crypt of his consciousness) and, above all, extinguish himself if he finds himself inadequate.”
“The anarch is oriented to facts, not ideas. He fights alone, as a free man, and would never dream of sacrificing himself to having one inadequacy supplant another and a new regime triumph over the old one. In this sense, he is closer to the philistine; the baker whose chief concern is to bake good bread; the peasant, who works his plow while armies march across his fields.”
“For the anarch, little has changed; flags have meaning for him, but not sense. I have seen them in the air and on the ground like leaves in May and November; and I have done so as a contemporary and not just as a historian. The May Day celebration will survive, but with a different meaning. New portraits will head up the processions. A date devoted to the Great Mother is re-profaned. A pair of lovers in the wood pays more homage to it. I mean the forest as something undivided, where every tree is still a liberty tree.
For the anarch, little is changed when he strips off a uniform that he wore partly as fool’s motley, partly as camouflage. It covers his spiritual freedom, which he will objectivate during such transitions. This distinguishes him from the anarchist, who, objectively unfree, starts raging until he is thrust into a more rigorous straitjacket.”
“As an anarch, who acknowledges neither law nor custom, I owe it to myself to get at the very heart of things. I then probe them in terms of their contradictions, like image and mirror image. Either is imperfect – by seeking to unite them, which I practice every morning, I manage to catch a corner of reality.”
“Regarding the need to pray, the anarch is again no different from anyone else. But he does not like to attach himself. He does not squander his best energies. He accepts no substitute for his gold. He knows his freedom, and also what it is worth its weight in. The equation balances when he is offered something credible. The result is ONE.
There can be no doubt that gods have appeared, not only in ancient times but even late in history; they feasted with us and fought at our sides. But what good is the splendor of bygone banquets to a starving man? What good is the clinking of gold that a poor man hears through the wall of time? The gods must be called.
The anarch lets all this be; he can bide his time. He has his ethos, but not morals. He recognizes lawfulness, but not the law; he despises rules. Whenever ethos goes into shalts and shalt-nots, it is already corrupted. Still, it can harmonize with them, depending on location and circumstances, briefly or at length, just as I harmonize here with the tyrant for as long as I like.
One error of the anarchists is their belief that human nature is intrinsically good. They thereby castrate society, just as the theologians ("God is goodness") castrate the Good Lord.”
“I am an anarch – not because I despise authority, but because I need it. Likewise, I am not a nonbeliever, but a man who demands something worth believing in.”
“The anarch knows the rules. He has studied them as a historian and goes along with them as a contemporary. Wherever possible, he plays his own game within their framework; this makes the fewest waves.”
“The anarch is (I am simplifying) on the side of gold: it fascinates him, like everything that eludes society. Gold has its own immeasurable might. It need only show itself, and society with its law and order is in jeopardy.
The anarch is on the side of gold : this is not to be construed as a lust for gold. He recognizes gold as the central and immobile power. He loves it, not like Cortez, but like Montezuma, not like Pizarro but like Atahualpa ....”
“... I, as an anarch, renouncing any bond, any limitation of freedom, also reject compulsory education as nonsense. It was one of the greatest well-springs of misfortune in the world.”
“Man is born violent but is kept in check by the people around him. If he nevertheless manages to throw off his fetters, he can count on applause, for everyone recognizes himself in him. Deeply ingrained, nay, buried dreams come true. The unlimited radiates its magic even upon crime, which, not coincidentally, is the main source of entertainment in Eumeswil. I, as an anarch, not uninterested but disinterested, can understand that. Freedom has a wide range and more facets than a diamond.”
“... I, as an anarch, renouncing any bond, any limitation of freedom, also reject compulsory education as nonsense. It was one of the greatest well-springs of misfortune in the world.
Compulsory schooling is essentially a means of curtailing natural strength and exploiting people. The same is true of military conscription, which developed within the same context. The anarch rejects both of them - just like obligatory vaccination and insurance of all kinds. He has reservations when swearing an oath. He is not a deserter, but a conscientious objector.”
“The anarch differs from the anarchist in that he has a very pronounced sense of the rules. Insofar as and to the extent that he observes them, he feels exempt from thinking.
This is consistent with normal behavior: everyone who boards a train rolls over bridges and through tunnels that engineers have devised for him and on which a hundred thousand hands have labored. This does not darken the passenger’s mood; settling in comfortably, he buries himself in his newspaper, has breakfast, or thinks about his business.
Likewise, the anarch – except that he always remains aware of that relationship, never losing sight of his main theme, freedom, that which also flies outside, past hill and dale. He can get away at any time, not just from the train, but also from any demand made on him by state, society, or church, and also from existence.”
“The egalitarian mania of demagogues is even more dangerous than the brutality of men in gallooned coats. For the anarch, this remains theoretical, because he avoids both sides. Anyone who has been oppressed can get back on his feet if the oppression has not cost him his life. A man who has been equalized is physically and morally ruined. Anyone who is different is not equal; that is one of the reasons why the Jews are so often targeted. Equalization goes downward, like shaving, hedge trimming, or the pecking order of poultry. At times, the world spirit seems to change into monstrous Procrustes – a man has read Rousseau and starts practicing equality by chopping off heads or, as Mimie le Bon called it, 'making the apricots roll.' The guillotinings in Cambrai were an entertainment before dinner. Pygmies shortened the legs of tall Africans in order to cut them down to size; white Negroes flatten the literary languages.”
“A basic theme for the anarch is how man, left to his own devices, can defy superior forces – whether state, society, or the elements – by making use of their rules without submitting to them.
‘It is strange,’ Sir William Parry wrote when describing the igloos on Winter Island, ‘it is strange to think that all these measure are taken against the cold – and in houses of ice.”
“I am an anarch in space, a metahistorian in time. Hence I am committed to neither the political present nor tradition; I am blank and also open and potent in any direction.
Dear old Dad, in contrast, still pours his wine into the same decaying old wineskins, he still believes in a constitution when nothing and no one constitutes anything.”
“Dalin must have whiffed the anarch in me, a man with no ties to state or society. Still, he was unable to sense an autonomy that puts up with these forces as objective facts but without recognizing them. What he lacked was a grounding in history.
Opposition is collaboration; this was something from which Dalin, without realizing it, could not stay free. Basically, he damaged order less than he confirmed it. The emergence of the anarchic nihilist is like a goad that convinces society of its unity.
The anarch, in contrast, not only recognizes society a priori as imperfect, he actually acknowledges it with that limitation. He is more or less repulsed by state and society, yet there are times and places in which the invisible harmony shimmers through the visible harmony. This is obviously chiefly in the work of art. In that case, one serves joyfully.
But the anarchic nihilist thinks the exact opposite. The Temple of Artemis, to cite an example, would inspire him to commit arson. The anarch, however, would have no qualms about entering the temple in order to meditate and to participate with an offering. This is possible in any temple worthy of the name.”
“I consider it poor historical form to make fun of ancestral mistakes without respecting the eros that was linked to them. We are no less in bondage to the Zeitgeist; folly is handed down, we merely don a new cap.”
“The anarch wages his own wars, even when marching in rank and file”
“I begin with the respect that the anarch shows towards the rules. Respectare as an intensive of respicere means: ‘to look back, to think over, to take into account.’ These are traffic rules. The anarchist resembles a pedestrian who refuses to acknowledge them and is promptly run down. Even a passport check is disastrous for him.
‘I never saw a cheerful end,’ as far back as I can look into history. In contrast, I would assume that men who were blessed with happiness – Sulla, for example – were anarchs in disguise.”
“Liberalism is to freedom as anarchism is to anarchy.”
“The populace consists of individuals and free men, while the state is made up of numbers. When the state dominates, killing becomes abstract. Servitude began with the shepherds; in the river valleys it attained perfection with canals and dikes. Its model was the slavery in mines and mills. Since then, the ruses for concealing chains have been refined.”
“I would like to repeat that I do not fancy myself as anything special for being an anarch. My emotions are no different from those of the average man. Perhaps I have pondered this relationship a bit more carefully and am conscious of a freedom to which “basically” everybody is entitled – a freedom that more or less dicates his actions.”
“The (capital punishment) controversy passes the anarch by. For him, the linking of death and punishment is absurd. In this respect, he is closer to the wrongdoer than to the judge, for the high-ranking culprit who is condemned to death is not prepared to acknowledge his sentence as atonement; rather, he sees his guilt in his own inadequacy. Thus, he recognizes himself not as a moral but as a tragic person.”
“Law and custom are becoming the subjects of a new field of learning. The anarch endeavors to judge them ethnographically, historically, and also – I will probably come back to this – morally. The State will be generally satisfied with him; it will scarcely notice him In this respect he bears a certain resemblance to the criminal – say, the master spy – whose gifts are concealed behind a run-of-the-mill occupation.”
“The anarch, as I have expounded elsewhere, is the pendant to the monarch; he is as sovereign as the monarch, and also freer since he does not have to rule.”
“Do you know what it's like to hear those words? To hear the person you love telling you they love you, too? If you don't now, I hope you do one day.”
“The only thing I envy about a cat is its purr," remarked Dr. Blythe once, listening to Doc's resonant melody. "It is the most contented sound in the world.”
“That was the responsibility that went with being human, old Ku’oosh said, the story behind each word must be told so there could be no mistake in the meaning of what had been said; and this demanded great patience and love.”
“if the gospels had been identical to each other, word for word, this would have raised charges that the authors had conspired among themselves to coordinate their stories in advance, and that would have cast doubt on them.”
“I forget who it was that recommended men for their soul's good to do each day two things they disliked: it was a wise man, and it is a precept that I have followed scrupulously; for every day I have got up and I have gone to bed.”
BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.
We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.
Founded in 2018, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.