My advice to myself and to everyone else, particularly young people, is to turn on, tune in and drop out. By drop out, I mean to detach yourself from involvement in secular, external social games. But the dropping out has to occur internally before it can occur externally. I'm not telling kids just to quit school; I'm not telling people to quit their jobs. That is an inevitable development of the process of turning on and tuning in.
Everything understood by the term co-operation is in some sense an evil.
One would expect writers and artists to understand one another better than anyone else and to be more appreciative of one another's works. That, sadly, is not always the case. Writers Rarely say anything positive About each Other.
Puritanism has made life itself impossible. More than art, more than estheticism, life represents beauty in a thousand variations; it is indeed, a gigantic panorama of eternal change. Puritanism, on the other hand, rests on a fixed and immovable conception of life; it is based on the Calvinistic idea that life is a curse, imposed upon man by the wrath of God. In order to redeem himself man must do constant penance, must repudiate every natural and healthy impulse, and turn his back on joy and beauty. Puritanism celebrated its reign of terror in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, destroying and crushing every manifestation of art and culture. It was the spirit of Puritanism which robbed Shelley of his children, because he would not bow to the dicta of religion. It was the same narrow spirit which alienated Byron from his native land, because that great genius rebelled against the monotony, dullness, and pettiness of his country. It was Puritanism, too, that forced some of England's freest women into the conventional lie of marriage: Mary Wollstonecraft and, later, George Eliot. And recently Puritanism has demanded another toll--the life of Oscar Wilde. In fact, Puritanism has never ceased to be the most pernicious factor in the domain of John Bull, acting as censor of the artistic expression of his people, and stamping its approval only on the dullness of middle-class respectability.
There are, however, some potentates I would kill by any and all means at my disposal. They are Ignorance, Superstition, and Bigotry â€” the most sinister and tyrannical rulers on earth.
Woman, essentially a purist, is naturally bigoted and relentless in her effort to make others as good as she thinks they ought to be.
Staying chaste until marriage, a commandment of my faith, was one of the most difficult challenges of my young life. I had a powerful sense that if I did not get a grip on my identity, my ethics, and my religion, I would go off the rails.