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"All the good in the world you can put inside a thimble
—Tom Waits, "Misery Is the River of the World"
Gaz: Good news first: The world's in great shape. We've got a civil war in Russia, government loyalists against Ultranationalist rebels, and 15000 nukes at stake.
Maybe this world is another planet's hell?
Well it's a pretty tough call when all you can see
—Corb Lund, Expectation and the Blues
The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good, and the very gentle, and the very brave, impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure that it will kill you too, but there will be no special hurry.
"All the good people of this world are already dead."
There's a hole in the world like a great black pit,
—Sweeney Todd, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
The Extinction of Virtue: There are few illusions left in the World of Darkness. Centuries of greed and deceit (on the part of humans as well as Kindred) have eroded humanity's innocence. Cynicism and despair permeate everything, from the tags on city walls to the movies in theaters. No one dares to believe in much of anything, because virtues like charity and compassion are just invitations to be victimized. A gentle soul and a loving heart are as rare as diamonds, and as precious.
—Vampire: The Masquerade 3rd Edition, page 256, describing just how much of a crappy world the characters live in.
"Once upon a time there was a poor child who had no father and no mother, everything was dead and no one was left in the world. Everything dead, and the child went out and cried day and night. And since no one was left on earth, it tried to go up to heaven and the moon was giving it such a friendly look, and when it finally got to the moon, the moon was a piece of rotten wood and so it went to the sun and when it got there, the sun was a wilted sunflower and when it got to the stars they were little golden gnats, stuck there like the shrike sticks them on the blackthorn, and when it tried to go back down to earth, the earth was a knocked-over pot and it was all alone and it sat down and cried and it's sitting there still and it's all alone."
"[L]arge squadrons of overstuffed vultures were making feeble attempts to get airborne."
"I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves."
"History...is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind."
—Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,
It did not occur to me, ever, that people were good or that a man was capable of change or that the world could be a better place through one's taking pleasure in a feeling or a look or a gesture, of receiving another person's love or kindness. Nothing was affirmative, the term "generosity of spirit" applied to nothing, was a cliche, was some kind of bad joke. Sex is mathematics. Individuality no longer an issue. What does intelligence signify? Define reason. Desire -- meaningless. Intellect is not a cure. Justice is dead. Fear, recrimination, innocence, sympathy, guilt, waste, failure, grief, were things, emotions, that no one really felt anymore. Reflection is useless, the world is senseless. Evil is its only permanence. God is not alive. Love cannot be trusted. Surface, surface, surface was all that anyone found meaning in... this was civilization as I saw it, colossal and jagged...
—Patrick Bateman, American Psycho
Could not all life be an illusion? Indeed, are there not certain sects of holy men in the East who are convinced that nothing exists outside their minds except for the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station? Could it not be simply that we are alone and aimless, doomed to wander in an indifferent universe, with no hope of salvation, nor any prospect except misery, death, and the empty reality of eternal nothing?
—Woody Allen, Notes from the Overfed
What would happen to us if we could truly sympathize with others, feel with them, suffer for them? The fact that human anguish, fear, and suffering melt away with the death of the individual, that nothing remains of the ascents, the declines, the orgasms, and the agonies, is a praiseworthy gift of evolution, which made us like the animals. If from every unfortunate, from every victim, there remained even a single atom of his feelings, if thus grew the inheritance of the generations, if even a spark could pass from man to man, the world would be full of raw, bowel-torn howling.
Creation is built upon the promise of hope, that things will get better, that tomorrow will be better than the day before. But this isn't true. Cities collapse. Populations expand. Enviroments decay. People get ruder. You can't go to a movie without getting in a fight with the guy in the third row who won't shut up. Filthy streets. Drive-by shootings. Irradiated corn. Permissible amounts of rat-droppings per hot-dog. Bomb blasts and body counts. Terror in the streets, on camera, in your living room. AIDS and Ebola and hepatitis B and you can't touch anyone because you're afraid that you will catch something besides love and nothing tastes as good anymore and Christopher Reeve is in a wheelchair and love is statistically false. Pocket nukes and subway anthrax. You grow up frustrated, you live confused, you age afraid and you die alone. Safe terrain moves from your city to your block to your yard to your home to your living room to the bedroom and all you want is to be allowed to live without somebody breaking in to steal your TV and shove an ice-pick to your ear. That sound like a better world to you? That sound to you like a promise kept?
—Satan, Midnight Nation
Rock, if you think about it, other than this, what do we really value in life? God? Love? Don't make me laugh. When I was a brat, crawling around in that shithole city, it seemed God and Love were always sold out when I went looking. Before I knew better, I clung to God and prayed to Him every single night — yeah, I believed in God right up until that night the cops beat the hell out of me for no reason at all. All they saw when they looked at me was another little ghetto rat. With no power and no God, what's left for a poor little Chinese bitch to rely on? It's money, of course, and guns. Fuckin' A. With these two things, the world's a great place.
You know, sometimes it just feels like I'm wading through a giant sea of shit.
—Mr. Chang, Black Lagoon
The massacre played out exactly how Vittali predicted, but then a half-dozen other massacres happened in Sierra Leone that week. You can't stop them all. In my experience you can't stop any of them. They say "evil prevails when good men fail to act", what they ought to say is "evil prevails".
—Yuri Orlov, Lord of War
This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...
I was like you once, a long time ago. You're all... brand new and perfect, no mistakes, no regrets. People look at you and think of how wonderful your future will be. They want you to be something special, like a doctor or a lawyer. Hate to tell you this, but if you grow up here, you're more likely to wind up selling your bodies on the streets, or shooting dope from dirty needles in a bus stop... And if you're successful, you'll make money selling junk to crackheads. They won't think twice about killing someone's wife, because you won't even know what's wrong in the first place. Maybe you'll end up like me... a hobo with a shotgun.
—Hobo, Hobo with a Shotgun
Eliminating all foes and striving for efficiency, no matter the cost, is the goal of Phyrexia. This plan is, without a doubt, very effective, however it is sentimentally hollow and void of 'human' characteristics. Yawgmoth and his Grand Evolution are without art, emotion, morals, and worst of all, personal thought or freedom. In this, Phyrexia is the polar opposite of Dominaria, with its virtues and culture. Though superior to other approaches, 'Phyresis' and 'Grand Evolution' are really quite nihilistic. Should the race actually succeed in destroying all life, purpose and motivation would be lost.
It's Baltimore, gentlemen. The gods will not save you.
—Commissioner Ervin Burrell, The Wire
Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.
"One day I was a young boy...when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. Even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued... As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and the pink roes spilled out much to the delight of the baby otters. Mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that is when I first learned about evil. It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior."
—Lord Vetinari, Unseen Academicals
"I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!"
—Howard Beale, Network
There's a place so dark you can't see the end
—Linkin Park, Forgotten.