Book Quotes: Life After Death

June 15th 2014

Life After Death

Damien Echols

“Who would have thought you could see the future by reading a book about the past?”
Pg. 56
“Afterward I just wanted to sit and bask in the sense of peace that I felt. I know I will have to be on guard so as not to be completely swept up into devotion, or I won’t be able to remain objective. Aleister Crowley stressed the importance of neither believing nor disbelieving; I have the tendency to become a zealot.”
Pg. 97
The prayer makes you focus. The focus makes you alert enough to notice the crack when it appears.”
Pg. 99
My life has taught me that true spiritual insight can come about only through direct experience, the way a severe burn can be attained only by putting your hand in the fire. Faith is nothing more than a watered-down attempt to accept someone else’s insight as your own. Belief is the psychic equivalent of an article of secondhand clothing, worn-out and passed down. I equate true spiritual insight with wisdom, which is different from knowledge. Knowledge can be obtained through many sources: books, stories, songs, legends, myths, and, in modern times, computers and television programs. On the other hand, there’s only one real source of wisdom—pain. Any experience that provides a person with wisdom will also usually provide them with a scar. The greater the pain, the greater the realization. Faith is spiritual rigor mortis.
Pg. 100
People in places like West Memphis don’t like anything that stands out, including intelligence and beauty. If a woman is smart enough to take care of her body so that she doesn’t become a sexless lump, she will get looks of hatred from the local women. They will cast the evil eye at her as they help themselves to another plate of biscuits and fried pork chops. If a man is a little too intelligent for the taste of the locals, he will soon find himself ostracized. Most don’t have either the self-discipline or the self-respect to better themselves, and they despise anyone who does, because it makes them feel small and inadequate. Unless you want to be the target of resentment you have to keep your head down and shuffle your feet along with the rest of the herd.”
Pg. 208
In this part of the world all shrines are built to honor the great spirit of mediocrity. The celebrations are for mediocre events, and everyone praises a mediocre god. Heads upon pillows dream mediocre dreams and loins all give birth to mediocre offspring. At the end of a pointless life awaits a mediocre death. Love comes wrapped in a bland little package and fulfillment of the biological urge leads to swift decline. There are no monuments to greatness in this land of stupor.
Down here in the deep, dark south we know and live with the real world. Candy-Land idealism is quietly suffocated in the relentless humidity. This is the world where fist meets face. This is where the calluses on a man’s hand are bigger than his conscience, and dreams get drowned in sweat and tears.”
Pg. 209
Most people can’t take being forced to come face-to-face with themselves, so they become loud and mean, like baboons looking for a shiny object to distract themselves.”
Pg. 277
“There was some part of me that always knew I would walk out of prison one day. It wasn’t something I knew on an intellectual level, and it went beyond the level people call instinct. It was something I knew not in my head, or even in my heart, but with my soul. I knew it in the same way that I knew the sun would rise and set. It didn’t occur to me to question it, or even think about it. It simply was.”
Pg. 317
“The trauma of living circles me like a pack of wolves. It waits for the exhaustion to drive me to my knees so that it can devour me at leisure. It lingers over my bones, taking pride in its ghoulish feast. When life eats you, it always starts with your heart. I’ve always sneered at weakness, and at those who need a painkiller to make it through the day. My sneers were caused by false pride. The only thing strong about me is the grip I have on my masks and delusions. Now all I feel is surgery without the anesthetic. All that I know is fear, and I cant find my way out.”
Pg. 329 (Journal Entry)
In a way I’m thankful for all the physical pain and suffering I’ve had to endure in here because it has forced me to keep learning and moving forward. If I didn’t have pain, I’d probably take the day off. And that day could become a week. And that week could turn into months. But as it is I know I have two choices—practice every single day without fail, or hurt so bad that life is a misery. So I keep reminding myself that the pain is a gift from the Divine, and that I should be thankful for it.”
Pg. 340-341 (Journal Entry)
“For me, effort is far more important than belief, and the effort I put forth is to spend every single moment of my life in the presence of the divine. I like to compare spirituality to riding a bicycle. You can believe with every fiber of your being that it’s possible to ride a bicycle, but until you start practicing you won’t be able to do it. Spirituality has to be about action, not belief.”
Pg. 346 (Journal Entry)
Sometimes I think the biggest challenge in life is overcoming the urge to recoil in horror when you see the blackness that lies slightly beneath the skin of the world.”
Pg. 358 (Journal Entry)
“I will not give in to anger. If I do, then they have won. Pythagoras believed numbers held the secret to enlightenment. He devised a mathematical formula for discovering the number that represents your life’s path. Using that formula, my number is eight. In tarot, eight is the “strength” card. It shows a smiling woman gently closing the jaws of a lion while it licks her hand. That lion represents all the harsh, negative aspects of ourselves we must learn to master—our anger, fear, jealousy, greed, et cetera. The woman does not tame the lion with force. She does it with patience, with gentleness, and with perseverance. Pythagoras said that is the lesson to be learned by those whose birth number is eight. Succeed and the lion carries you to heaven on its back. Fail and it swallows you.”
Pg. 366-367 (Journal Entry)
I believe there are only two unstoppable forces in the universe. One is love, the other is intelligence. I also believe that a person’s capacity to love is directly related to their intelligence level, just as hate corresponds to a person’s level of ignorance. The only thing that makes it impossible for the system to destroy you and grind your spirit into nothing is to be more intelligent than it is.”
Pg. 390
                          January 30th 2014