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Greg Marcus

Some favorite quotes/excerpts..

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Although in these days the "occult" has claimed him, I really like Eliphas Levi:

What is a fool? One who is somewhat more irrational than a dumb animal. He is a man who wants to run before he can crawl; a man who thinks he has mastered a subject as soon as he had made a little progress in it; a mathematician who looks down his nose at poetry; a poet who condemns mathematics; a painter who says that theology and the Qabalah are stuff and nonsense; an uneducated man who repudiates knowledge without taking the trouble to study it; a man who talks without knowing what he is talking about and makes assertions without certainty. Fools are the people who kill men of genius. Galileo was not condemned by the Church, but by the fools who, unfortunately, belonged to the Church. Folly is a wild beast which has the composure of innocence; it assassinates without remorse.

The animal is never a fool, because it openly and naturally plays the role of an animal; but man teaches folly to dogs and intelligent donkeys. The fool is the animal who despises instinct and poses as intelligent.

Progress is a possibility for the animal: it can be broken in, tamed and trained; but it is not a possibility for the fool, because the fool thinks he has nothing to learn. It is his place to dictate to others and put them right, and so it is impossible to reason with him. He will laugh you to scorn in saying that what he does not understand is not a meaningful proposition. 'Why don't I understand it, then?', he asks you, with marvellous impudence. To tell him it is because he is a fool would only be taken as an insult, so there is nothing you can say in reply. Everybody else sees it quite clearly, but he will never realize it.

Here then, at the outset, is a potent secret which is inaccessible to the majority of people; a secret which they will never guess and which it would be useless to tell them: the secret of their own stupidity.
- The Great Secret or Occultism Unveiled by Eliphas Levi
I really like Idries Shah as well. I know I've posted this someplace before. I think you can replace "sufism" with a lot of paths/topics and this would still ring true:

"There is no simplified Sufism; yet it disappears from the area of cognition of such ill-defined minds as may be confident that they can understand it, penetrate anything "spiritual" by virtue of what is truly a woolly, self-assumed perceptiveness. To the Sufi, such a personality, however vocal he may be (and he often is) hardly exists at all. Anyone who says "It is all so indescribable, but I just feel what you mean," is unlikely to be able to profit by Sufism. For Sufis are working, are carrying out an effort to awaken a certain field of consciousness by means of an approach that is specialized, no fortuitious. Sufism does not trade in airy-fairiness, mutual admiration, or lukewarm generalities. When the 'bite' disappears, so, too, does the Sufic element from a situation. The converse is also true. Sufism is not directed to a section of the community - for no such section exists - but to a certain faculty within individuals. Where this faculty is not activated, there is no Sufism. It contains 'hard' as well as 'soft' realities, discord as well as harmony, the sharp brightness of awakening as well as the gentle dark of a lulling to sleep."
- "The Sufis", Idries Shah.
A "random" save:

Masters simply call a spade a spade. Their truth is utterly nude; whether you like it or not is not the point. They cannot compromise with your likings. If they start compromising with your likings they can't be of any help to you. To compromise with you means to compromise with your sleep, your unconsciousness, your mechanicalness. To compromise with you means to stop waking you up. That is not possible.
This next one, I had copy/pasted and saved a long time ago. I had come across it randomly when looking for something else. I didn't bother recording the source or anything else from it. Later on, I realized I had to figure out who it was I was quoting all the time. I can remember unsuccessful searches the first couple of times I was looking for it, and then at some point Google decided to cooperate and I found it again. So this is a bit of a disclaimer. It's from materials published by "Servants of the Light". I have no affiliation with that group, and I am not shilling for them in anyway. I've been back to them several times to see what else they have to say, and was unimpressed - even with the rest of the article that this is from. But I've never seen this expressed better, and I certainly couldn't come up with better myself - so credit where it is due:

"Such gifts of the mind as trained by the methods of the Mysteries are not to be had just for the asking, nor will all who come to the gate pass through to attain the high levels they hope for. We have become too used to the idea that what we want, we are entitled to have.

Unfortunately this is not the way it happens. Some minds are peculiarly adapted to working in such ways, but it is a talent like music, singing, being able to paint or write or sew. It requires certain gifts, an ability to imagine things visually so well that the everyday world seems strangely unreal when you return to it. A lucid and adaptable memory that can supply information rapidly, concisely and cross index items with ease and correctness. A mind that is encyclopaedic in its ability to store information of all kinds, with insatiable curiosity. Total dedication to the study, sometimes to the exclusion of all else. A certain dramatic flair for ritual, a love of silence and loneliness for what it can offer to the still mind."

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