Timely Quotes on Dog and God and Death and Shit

I watched the movie The Unbearable Lightness of Being last night, hoping it included this classic quote found in the original novel by Milan Kundera…

“True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which is deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.”   

Unfortunately, the film version, while still a great flick throughout its 3-hour running time, did not make room for that or these other timely quotes (also found in the book) about dog and god and death and shit, which (aside from shit) have been the topics of some of my recent posts (my emphasis add in bold)…

“Dogs do not have many advantages over people, but one of them is extremely important: euthanasia is not forbidden by law in their case; animals have the right to a merciful death.”

“The very beginning of Genesis tells us that God created man in order to give him dominion over fish and fowl and all creatures. Of course, Genesis was written by a man, not a horse. There is no certainty that God actually did grant man dominion over other creatures. What seems more likely, in fact, is that man invented God to sanctify the dominion that he had usurped for himself over the cow and the horse.”

“…Nietzsche leaving his hotel in Turin. Seeing a horse and a coachman beating it with a whip, Nietzsche went up to the horse and, before the coachman’s very eyes, put his arms around the horse’s neck and burst into tears.

“That took place in 1889, when Nietzsche, too, had removed himself from the world of people. In other words, it was at the time when his mental illness had just erupted. But for that very reason I feel his gesture has broad implications: Nietzsche was trying to apologize to the horse of Descartes. His lunacy (that is, his final break with mankind) began at the very moment he burst into tears over the horse.”

“Spontaneously, without any theological training, I, a child, grasped the incompatibility of God and shit…either man was created in God’s image – and has intestines! – or God lacks intestines and man is not like him.

“The ancient Gnostics felt as I did at the age of five. In the second century, the Great Gnostic master Valentinus resolved the damnable dilemma by claiming that Jesus “ate and drank, but did not defecate.

Shit is a more onerous theological problem than is evil. Since God gave man freedom, we can, if need be, accept the idea that He is not responsible for man’s crimes. The responsibility for shit, however, rests entirely with Him, the creator of man.”

“The river flowed from century to century, and human affairs play themselves out on its banks. Play themselves out to be forgotten the next day, while the river flows on.” ―  Milan KunderaThe Unbearable Lightness of Being

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11 thoughts on “Timely Quotes on Dog and God and Death and Shit

  1. Jim, know it or not, you said exactly what I needed to hear. My brother is arguing via text messages, that my wolves hold me back. He doesn’t understand, he never will. He is a good human but he was adopted and raised by a nice couple and didn’t meet me until he was 47 and our mother had passed on and so had our father. All of my sisters rescue animals although I am the only one with wolves. My mother was the neighborhood crazy cat lady. It’s interesting how we imprint so early in life with animals or not. And I actually have a photo someone took of me as a kid hugging my horse and my horse was half asleep in my arms. I am sending that same kind of hug to a dear one to you to heal your sadness and loss. I, for one, totally get where you are coming from.

  2. I have recorded a somewhat different, though no less perceptive, version of the quote from Kundera: “True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when the recipient has no power. Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply from view), consists of its attitudes towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect man has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.”

  3. You have exhibited amazing ” lightness of being”
    Your heart is very large and becoming light as a feather because your caring is so big … Keep floating out these great messages … We are listening with reverence for all the beings

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