What is a saint? a saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. it is impossible to say what that possibility is. i think it has something to do with the energy of love. contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. a saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. i do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order. it is a kind of balance that is his glory. he rides the drifts like an escaped ski. his course is the caress of the hill. his track is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular arrangement with wind and rock. something in him so loves the world that he gives himself to the laws of gravity and chance. far from flying with the angels, he traces with the fidelity of a seismograph needle the state of the solid bloody landscape. his house is dangerous and finite, but he is at home in the world. he can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. it is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love.
L. Cohen, Beautiful Losers (1966)
I will destroy the existing order of things which divides mankind into hostile nations, into strong and weak, into those with rights and those without, into rich and poor, for this order simply makes wretches of all. I will destroy the order of things which makes millions into slaves of the few, and these few into slaves of their own paper and their own wealth. I will destroy this order of things which divides work from enjoyment, which makes work a burden and enjoyment a vice, and renders one man miserable through want and the other miserable through excess. I will destroy this order of things which consumes men’s strength in the service of the dominion of the dead, of lifeless matter which keeps half of mankind inactive or engaged in useless activity, which compels hundreds of thousands to devote the flower of their youth in busy indolence to the preservation of this damnable state of affairs as soldiers, officials, speculators and financiers, while the other half has to sustain the whole shameful edifice at the cost of the exhaustion of their powers and the sacrifice of any enjoyment of life. I will wipe from the face of the earth every trace of this crazy order of things, this compact of violence, lies, worry, hypocrisy, poverty, misery, suffering, tears, deceit and crime which fathers an occasional burst of impure lust, but almost never a ray of pure joy.
Richard Wagner (German Composer), The Revolution
The truths of mathematics…were established by god and entirely depend on him, as much as do all the rest of his creatures. …you will be told that if god established these truths he would be able to change them, as a king does his laws; to which it is necessary to reply that this is correct…in general we can be quite certain that god can do whatever we are able to understand, but not that he cannot do what we are unable to understand. for it would be presumptuous to think our imagination extends as far as his power.