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Chinua Achebe

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In the many years in which he had toiled to bring civilization to different parts of Africa he had learned a number of things. One of them was that a District Commissioner must never attend to such undignified details as cutting a hanged man from the tree. Such attention would give the natives a poor opinion of him. In the book which he planned to write he would stress that point. [...] One could almost write a whole chapter on him. Perhaps not a whole chapter but a reasonable paragraph, at any rate.
Chapter 25 (p. 191)

Chinua Achebe

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John Banville

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The thought has surely occurred to many people throughout the ages: what if there is an afterlife but no god? What if there is a god but no afterlife? As far as I know, the clearest writer to give expression to this problem was Thomas Hobbes in his 1651 masterwork Leviathan. I strongly recommend that you read part III, chapter 38, and part IV, chapter 44, for yourselves, because Hobbe's command of both holy scripture and the English language is quite breathtaking. He also reminds us of how perilous it was, and always has been, even to think about these things. ...Having planted the subversive thought—that forbidding Adam to eat from one tree lest he die and from another lest he live forever, is absurd and contradictory... he acknowledged the process by which people are always free to make up a religion that suits or gratifies or flatters them.

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There is no exercise of the intellect which is not, in the final analysis, useless. A philosophical doctrine begins as a plausible description of the universe; with the passage of the years it becomes a mere chapter — if not a paragraph or a name — in the history of philosophy.

Jorge Luis Borges
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