Monday, April 8, 2024

Quote of the Day (William H. Gass, on Anti-Semitism, ‘An Unmitigated Moral Catastrophe’)

“Rationalist philosophers, from the beginning, regarded ignorance and error as the central sources of evil, and the conditions of contemporary life have certainly given their view considerable support. We are as responsible for our beliefs as for our behavior. Indeed, they are usually linked. Our brains respond, as well as our bodies do, to exercise and good diet. One can think of hundreds of beliefs—religious, political, social—which must be as bad for the head as fat is for the heart, and whose loss would lighten and enliven the spirit; but inherently silly ones… nowadays keep their consequences in control and relatively close to home. However, anti-Semitism does not; it is an unmitigated moral catastrophe. One can easily imagine how it might contaminate other areas of one's mental system.”— American novelist, short story writer, essayist, critic, and philosophy professor William H. Gass (1924-2017), “Ezra Pound,” in Finding a Form: Essays (1996)

The image accompanying this post, showing William H. Gass at the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Awards, was taken Mar. 10, 2011, by David Shankbone.

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