The entire modern deification of survival per se, survival returning to itself, survival naked and abstract, with the denial of any substantive excellence in what survives, except the capacity for more survival still, is surely the strangest intellectual stopping-place ever proposed by one man to another. ~ William James
There walked a lonely man, silent, mute, the only man
Not knowing how, not knowing why was he the sole survivor
Why should he be alive, breathing still while others died
And the only question, why was he the sole survivor?
* Blue Oyster Cult, Sole Survivor, Fire of unknown origin, lyrics by Erik Bloom, John Trivers, and Liz Myers
Most people, it seems, think that Robinson Crusoe, when he landed on his Island, had nothing to keep him from starvation or anything else. As a matter of fact, he had twelve raft loads of supplies that he took off the wrecked ship. He had as much food and furniture as if he had had a delicatessen store and Fifth Avenue outside his hut.
Note: This quote is often cited as “Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival.
The entire modern deification of survival per se, survival returning to itself, survival naked and abstract, with the denial of any substantive excellence in what survives, except the capacity for more survival still, is surely the strangest intellectual stopping-place ever proposed by one man to another.
William James, review of Clifford's Lectures and Essays, Collected Essays and Reviews (1920), p. 143 (1879)
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
During the darkest days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, when Republicans and religious conservatives controlled the federal government and were doing everything in their power to harm the sick and dying, queers organized and protested and volunteered and mourned. We also made music and theater and art. We took care of each other, and we danced and loved and fucked. Embracing joy and art and sex in the face of fear and uncertainty made us feel better—it kept us sane—and it had the added benefit of driving our enemies crazy. They couldn’t understand how we could be anything but miserable, given the challenges we faced—their greed, their indifference, their bigotry—but we created and experienced joy despite their hatred and despite this awful disease. We turned to each other—we turned to our lovers and friends and sometimes strangers—and said, "Fuck them. Now fuck me."