“Just imagine a number of men in chains, and all condemned to die, some of whom each day have their throats cut before the eyes of others. Those who remain see their own condition in that of their fellows and, observing one another with grief and without hope, await their turn. That is the image of the human condition.” — Blaise Pascal (died 1662)
“Whatever the nightmare, one takes a role in it, one is the protagonist, one is something. It is at night that the disinherited man triumphs. If we were to suppress bad dreams, there would be mass revolutions.” — E.M. Cioran (died 1995)
“I rejoice in the presence of death because I think it’s what makes life brilliant and beautiful. And without it, the world would be ridiculous. I’m interested in it from every point of view. My interest in it has not dimmed with its approach.”
— Orson Welles (died 1985)
“Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger portion of the truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant.” — Edgar Allan Poe, “Doings of Gotham – Letter VI”
“Capital punishment. The criminal is killed because the crime has spent all the capacity for living a man has. He has experienced everything if he has killed. He can die. Murder drains a man.”
— Albert Camus (died 1960)
“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”
– C.S. Lewis (died 1963)
“Could it think, the heart would stop beating.”
— Fernando Pessoa (died 1935)
NOTE: THIS CONTEST IS OFFICIALLY CLOSED. However, you can still post a ‘pithy morbid thought’ — a dark quotable quote from a dead person — if you wish, in the form of a comment to this post. View the winners here.
What is a “Pithy Morbid Thought”?
A brief philosophical quip — often ironic — about death, disease, horror, torment, fear, terror, etc. I collect them for inspiration and uncomfortable moments at dinner parties. They also serve as “curtains” which close out each e-mail issue of The Goreletter. Here’s an example of one of my favorites (from Goreletter 2.7):
“I believe in compulsory cannibalism.
If people were forced to eat what they killed,
there would be no more wars.” — Abbie Hoffman (died 1989)
I want YOUR pith. Give me a good one to use in a future issue of The Goreletter. If I like it a lot, you can win one of five free prizes:
Five different people will win one of these prizes:
a FREE signed copy of PLAY DEAD hardcover
a FREE signed copy of PROVERBS FOR MONSTERS softcover
a FREE signed copy of 100 JOLTS softcover
a FREE signed copy of AUDIOVILE cd
a FREE signed copy of FREAKCIDENTS softcover
The rules are simple:
a) post a comment to this message that includes your favorite “Pithy Morbid Thought” from a dead person. You must include their name, the title of the work you’re drawing it from (if available) and the year they died. You can give it a title if you want (like I did with “Peace Meal” above). For more inspiration, see the previous Pithy Morbid Thoughts in The Goreletter.
b) only ONE entry per contestant, so choose wisely!
c) be sure to include your e-mail address when you enter, so I will be able to contact you for delivery should you win a prize. If you include a link to your website, too, all the better, because I can include that in my newsletter.
d) understand that posting an entry is no guarantee of a prize or publication. I may or may not use your PMT in future issues of The Goreletter. Also submit with the understanding that I will delete any entries that I deem offensive to junior web visitors or legally problematic due to copyright or obscenity law.
Chosen winners will be the TOP FIVE ENTRIES with the pithiest of quotations, in my personal opinion, with one prize going per contestant. CONTEST ENDS JULY 1st AT MIDNIGHT, EST. I will announce winners in the e-mail edition of The Goreletter and in the blog. The winning entries may also be reprinted in The Goreletter blog column by the same name.
[This contest is a substitute for the one that was running last month on The Haunt… they lost their forum pages and the entries that were posted originally there, without a backup. So Haunt members should repost their entries here.]
“Terror is as much a part of the concept of truth as runniness is of the concept of jam. We wouldn’t like jam if it didn’t, by its very nature, ooze. We wouldn’t like truth if it wasn’t sticky, if, from time to time, it didn’t ooze blood.”
— Jean Baudrillard (died 2007)
“Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time.”
— George Carlin (died June 2008)