Thursday, August 16, 2007

Minority Report. HL Mencken. Significant Sentences 03

Significant sentences from HL Mencken's Minority Report, acerbic thoughts on American life and culture.

"As things stand, civil law is so complicated...that it is constantly colliding with human nature." p. 15.

"It is what men esteem that determines their conduct." p. 15.

"No one can ever really avoid doing what he holds to be evil." p. 17.

"The Catholic is fortunate in the fact that the sinner can go to a priest and get rid of his sense of guilt." p. 17.

"The main gain of modern man has been the weakening of governments." p. 17.

"...the only sort of man who is really worth while...the man who practices some useful trade in a competent manner, makes a decent living at it, pays his own way, and asks only to be let alone." p. 17.

The persistence of the belief in immortality is because the majority of men are unable to grasp the concept of annihilation. p. 17. [Paraphrase] "People grasp readily enough the idea of being unconscious for a short time, but they are quite unable to think of being unconscious forever." p. 17.

The writer: "Solitary, lonely, tired of himself, wrought up to an abnormal sensitiveness, he wrestles abominably with intolerable complexities--shadowy notions that refuse to reveal themselves clearly, doubts that torture, hesitations that damn." p. 19.

"Worse, the writer must plod his way through many days when writing is impossible altogether--days of doldrums, of dead centers, of utter mental collapse." p. 19.

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