There’s never been a true war that wasn’t fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe that they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous.”
People believe, thought Shadow. It’s what people do. They believe. And then they will not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjurations. People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe: and it is that belief, that rock-solid belief, that makes things happen.
And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.”
But it was a dream, and in dreams, sometimes, you have no choices: either there are no decisions to be made, or they were made for you long before ever the dream began.
All we have to believe with is our senses: the tools we use to perceive the world, our sight, our touch, our memory. If they lie to us, then nothing can be trusted. And even if we do not believe, then still we cannot travel in any other way than the road our senses show us; and we must walk that road to the end.
Religions are places to stand and look and act, vantage points from which to view the world.
Every hour wounds. The last one kills.
“Think of us as symbols—we’re the dream that humanity creates to make sense of the shadows on the cave wall.
“This isn’t about what is,” said Mr. Nancy. “It’s about what people think is. It’s all imaginary anyway. That’s why it’s important. People only fight over imaginary things.”
“Gods are great,” said Atsula, slowly, as if she were comprehending a great secret. “But the heart is greater. For it is from our hearts they come, and to our hearts they shall return…”
“Now, as all of you will have had reason aplenty to discover for yourselves, there are new gods growing in America, clinging to growing knots of belief: gods of credit-card and freeway, of internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon. Proud gods, fat and foolish creatures, puffed up with their own newness and importance.
“This is the only country in the world,” said Wednesday, into the stillness, “that worries about what it is.” “What?” “The rest of them know what they are. No one ever needs to go searching for the heart of Norway. Or looks for the soul of Mozambique. They know what they are.”
The people had the glazed, beaten look you only see in airports and prisons. If Hell is other people, thought Shadow, then Purgatory is airports.
“How you want your coffee?” she asked her guests. “Here we take it black as night, sweet as sin.”
“Liberty,” boomed Wednesday, as they walked to his car, “is a bitch who must be bedded on a mattress of corpses.”