Since it is the mind that is the vessel of all good and evil in the world, why is it that we so distrust its strength in opposing violence at large today? Thought is always prior to deed, war, history. Baudelaire said: “Every mind is a weapon loaded to the muzzle with will.”
“Justice,” “beauty,” “moral fervor,” “ideals,” — are these not taboo words out of the unclean and stupid mouths of the unproselytized Gentile, the bourgeoisie? We live today in an age of foolproof certitudes. … We have constructed out of economic theories an Atropos-like dogma, an iron fate, that is as certain to slay our minds and bodies as will the evils it is to correct. Man must eat, but must man eat man to have his loaf of bread? Can a bread and butter culture sustain society? Can idealism be held, historically, in abeyance, while men murder for food — for ideals? Is there not a grim and baleful contradiction here; for there is more than one kind of feeding for mankind. “Woe be to the generation,” wrote Henry David Thoreau, “that lets any higher faculty in its midst go unemployed!” Let us take care that the bread men get may not be the offal from Circe’s sty. For man cannot afford, as he is doing, to neglect the chivalry of ethics in his pursuit of economic salvation. His hunger in the end will be so great, his denial so desperate,that he will break out in more bloody fury than before to reclaim his spirit; for spirit is so good and so evil and so chemic that, if you start it, man will eat the whole world to have it back again!
— Edward Dahlberg, Can These Bones Live