All the products of one period have something in common; the artists who illustrate the poetry of their generation are the same artists who are employed by the big financial houses. And nothing reminds me so much of the monthly parts of Notre-Dame de Paris, and of various books by Gérard de Nerval, that used to hang outside the grocer's door at Combray, than does, in its rectangular and flowery border, supported by recumbent river-gods, a 'personal share' in the Water Company.
An ironic religion -- one that never claims to be absolutely true but only professes to be relatively beautiful, and never promises salvation but only proposes it as a salubrious idea. A century ago there were people who thought art was the thing that could fuse the terms of this seemingly insuperable oxymoron, and no doubt art is part of the formula. But maybe consumerism also has something to teach us about forging an ironic religion -- a lesson about learning to choose, about learning the power and consequences, for good or ill, of our ever-expanding palette of choices. Perhaps . . . the day will come when the true ironic religion is found, the day when humanity is filled with enough love and imagination and responsibility to become its own god and make a paradise of its world, a paradise of all the right choices.
A pickpocket is obviously a champion of private enterprise. But it would perhaps be an exaggeration to say that a pickpocket is a champion of private property. The point about Capitalism and Commercialism, as conducted of late, is that they have really preached the extension of business rather than the preservation of belongings; and have at best tried to disguise the pickpocket with some of the virtues of the pirate.
Whomsoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce and when you realize that the entire system is very easily controlled, one way or another, by a few powerful men at the top, you will not have to be told how periods of inflation and depression originate.
I have heard your orators speak on many questions. One among them the so-called vital question of money which is above all things the most coveted commodity but I, as a Hindu, as a Jainist, in the name of my countrymen and of my country, would offer you as the medium of the most perfect exchange between us, henceforth and forever, the indestructible, the unchangeable, the universal currency of good will and peace, and this, my brothers and sisters, is a currency that is not interchangeable with silver and gold, it is a currency of the heart, of the good life, of the highest estate on the earth and it is the currency of heaven.
Children, awkward, isolate, their bodies crammed to bursting with caffein and sugar and pop music and cologne and perfume and hairgel and pimple cream and growth hormone-treated hamburger meat and premature sex drives and costly, fleeting, violent sublimations. It's all part of the conspiracy . . . all of it trying to convince them that they're here to be trained for lives of adventure and glamor and heroism, when in fact they're here only to be trained for more of the same, for lives of plunking in the quarters, paying a premium for the never-ending series of shabby fantasies to come, the whole lifelong laser light show of glamorous degradation and habitual novelty and fun-loving murder and global isolation.