Margot (midnight_birth) wrote in margot_quotes,
Margot
midnight_birth
margot_quotes

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

9781401245252-us

Title: Watchmen.
Author: Alan Moore.
Artist: Dave Gibbons.
Genre: Fiction, literature, graphic novel, fantasy, super heroes, super villains, war lit, vietnam war, politics, alternative history, social studies, mental health, philosophical fiction, psychological fiction, adventure, romance.
Country: U.S.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1986-1987.
Summary: Considered the greatest graphic novel in the history of the medium, the story chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin with the backdrop of the Cold War and Doomsday Clock fears.

My rating: 9.5/10.
My review:


♥ Rorschach's Journal. October 12th, 1985:

Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. 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!"... and I'll whisper "no."

They had a choice, all of them. They could have followed in the footsteps of good men like my father, or president Truman. Decent men, who believed in a day's work for a day's pay. Instead they followed the droppings of lechers and communists and didn't realize that the trail led over a precipice until it was too late. Don't tell me they didn't have a choice.

Now the whole world stands on the brink, staring down into bloody hell, all those liberals and intellectuals and smooth-talkers... and all of a sudden, nobody can think of anything to say.

♥ "Well, the tunnel brings you out in a warehouse two blocks north..."

"Yes, I remember. Used to come here often. Back when we were partners."

"Oh. Uh, yeah... Yeah, those were great times, Rorschach! Great times. Whatever happened to them?"

"You quit."

♥ Rorschach's Journal. October 13th, 1985:

Slept all day. Awoken at 4:37. Landlady complaining about smell. She has five children by five different fathers. I am sure she chats on welfare. Soon it will be dark. Beneath me, this awful city, it screams like an abattoir full of retarded children.

New York. On Friday night, a comedian died in New York. Somebody knows why. Down there... somebody knows. The dark reeks of fornication and bad consciences.

I believe I shall take my exercise.

♥ "Take it you're not too concerned about Blake's death."

"A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally, there's no difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts. Why should I be concerned?"

♥ Rorschach's Journal. October 13th 1985. 11.30 P.M.:

On Friday night, a comedian died in New York. Someone threw him out of a window and when he hit the sidewalk his head was driven up into his stomach. Nobody cares. Nobody cares but me. Are they right? Is it futile? Soon there will be war. Millions will burn in sickness and misery. Why does one death matter against so many? Because there is good and there is evil, and evil must be punished. Even in the face of armageddon I shall not compromise in this. But there are so many deserving of retribution... and there is so little time.

♥ When the gap between the world of the city and the world my grandfather had presented to me as right and good became too wide and depressing to tolerate, I'd turn to my other great love, which was pulp adventure fiction. ... The world of Doc Savage and The Shadow was one of absolute values, where what was good was never in the slightest doubt and where what was evil inevitably suffered some fitting punishment. ... For my part, all those brilliant and resourceful sleuths and heroes offered a glimpse of a perfect world where morality worked the way it was meant to. Nobody in Doc Savage's world ever killed themselves except thwarted kamikazee assassins or enemy spies with cyanide capsules. Which world would you rather live in, if you had the choice?

Answering that question, I suppose, was what led me to become a cop. It as also what led me to later become something more than a cop. Bear that in mind and I think the rest of this narrative will be easier to swallow. I know people always have trouble understanding just what brings a person to behave the way that I and people like me behave, what makes us do the sort of things we do. I can't answer for anybody else, and I suspect that all our answers would be different anyway, but in my case it's fairly straightforward: I like the idea of adventure, and I feel bad unless I'm doing good. I've heard all the psychologists' theories, and I've heard all the jokes and the rumors and the innuendo, but what it comes down to for me is that I dressed up like an owl and fought crime because it was fun and because it needed doing and because I goddamn felt like it.

♥ "Laurie, I'm 65. Every day the future looks a little bit darker. But the past, even the grimy parts of it... Well, it just keeps on getting brighter all the time."

♥ "Of course, you realize you're being totally unfair?"

"Yeah? Well, things are tough all over, cupcake, an' it rains on the just an' the unjust alike... Except in California."

♥ "Average Vietnamese don't give a damn who won. It means something to the dinks an' it means plenty to us... I mean, if we'd lost this war... I dunno. I think it might have driven us a little crazy, y'know? As a country. But thanks to you, we didn't, right? Down a hatch."

"You sound bitter. You're a strange man, Blake. You have strange attitudes to life and war."

"Strange? Listen... Once you figure out what a joke everything is, being the Comedian's the only thing makes sense."

"The charred villages, the boys with necklaces of human ears... These are part of the joke?"

"Hey... I never said it was a good joke! I'm just playin' along with the gag."

♥ "Blake, she was pregnant. You gunned her down."

"Yeah. Yeah, that's right. Pregnant woman. Gunned her down. Bang. And y'know what? You watched me. You coulda changed the gun into steam or the bullets into mercury or the bottle into snowflakes! You coulda teleported either of us to goddamn Australia... But you didn't lift a finger! You don't really give a damn about human beings. I've watched you. You never cared about Whatsername, Janey Slater, even before you ditched her. Soon you won't be interested in Sally Jupiter's little gal, either. You're driftin' outta touch, Doc. You're turnin' into a flake. God help us all."

WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN

"Ha! You see this? I seen that written up all over durin' this last two weeks! They don't like us an' they don't trust us.

"This whole situation... it's horrible."

"Well, me, I kinda like it when things get weird, y'know? I like it when all the cards are on the table."

"But the country's disintegrating. What's happened to America? What's happened to the American Dream?

"It came true. You're lookin' at it."

♥ Rorschach's Journal. October 16th, 1985:

42nd Street: women's breasts draped across every billboard, every display, littering the sidewalk. Was offered Swedish love and French love... but not American love. American love; like Coke in green glass bottles... They don't make it anymore. ...

So many questions. Never mind. Answers soon. Nothing is insoluble. Nothing is hopeless. Not while there's life.

In the cemetery, all the white crosses stood in rows, neat chalk marks on a giant scorecard. Paid last respects quietly, without fuss. Edward Morgan Blake. Born in 1924. Forty-five years a comedian, died 1985, buried in the rain. Is that what happens to us? A life of conflict with no time for friends... so that when it's done, only our enemies leave roses. Violent lives, ending violently. Dollar Bill, The Silhouette, Captain Metropolis... We never die in bed. Not allowed. Something in our personalities, perhaps? Some animal urge to fight and struggle, making us what we are? Unimportant. We do what we have to do. Others bury their heads between the swollen teats of indulgence and gratification, piglets squirming beneath a sow for shelter... But there is no shelter... And the future is bearing down like an express train.

Blake understood. Treated it like a joke, but he understood. He saw the cracks in society, saw the little men in masks trying to hold it together... He saw the true face of the twentieth century and chose to become a reflection, a parody of it. No one else saw the joke. That's why he was lonely.

Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says "Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up." Man bursts into tears. Says "But, doctor... I am Pagliacci." Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.

♥ There was Mothman and The Silhouette and The Comedian and there was me, all of us choosing to dress up in gaudy opera costumes and express the notion of good and evil in simple, childish terms, while over in Europe they were turning human beings into soap and lampshades. We were sometimes respected, sometimes analyzed, and most often laughed at, and in spite of all the musings above, I don't think that those of us still surviving today are any closer to understanding just why we really did it all. Some of us did it because we were hired to and some of us did it to gain publicity. Some of us did it out of a sense of childish excitement and some of us, I think, did it for a kind of excitement that was altogether more adult if perhaps less healthy. They've called us fascists and they've called us perverts and while there's an element of truth in both those accusations, neither of them are big enough to take in the whole picture.

... Yes, we were crazy, we were kinky, we were Nazis, all those things that people say. We were also doing something because we believed in it. We were attempting, through our personal efforts, to make our country a safer and better place to live in. Individually, working on our separate patches of turf, we did too much good in our respective communities to be written off as mere aberration, whether social or secxuak or psychological.

♥ Unheeded, I stood in the surf and wept, unable to bear my circumstances. Eventually, tears ceased. My misfortunes were small: I was alive, and I knew that life had no worse news to offer me.

♥ "How's the enn a the world comin' along?"

"It'll happen today. I've seen signs. National Examiner reported a two-headed cat born in Queens. Today for certain. You'll keep my paper for me tomorrow?"

♥ "Jon, I hope you'll forgive me for asking you this, but what's up, Doc?"

"'Up' is a relative concept. It has no intrinsic value."

♥ Crazed with helplessness, I cursed God and wept, wondering if he wept also. But then, what use his tears, if his help was denied me?

♥ I don't know. Real life is messy, inconsistent, and it's seldom when anything ever really gets resolved. It's taken me a long time to realize that.

♥ I retired. To mend cars. Probably for the rest of my life. As I see it, part of the art of being a hero is knowing when you don't need to be one anymore, realizing that the game has changed and that the stakes are different and that there isn't necessarily a place for you in this strange new pantheon of extraordinary people. The world has moved on, and I'm content to watch it from my armchair with a beer by my side and the smell of fresh oil still on my fingers.

♥ It's March. I'm in Saigon, being reintroduced to Edward Blake, the Comedian. He works mostly for the government now. I suppose I do, too. Blake is interesting. I have never met anyone so deliberately amoral. He suits the climate here: the madness, the pointless butchery... As I come to understand Vietnam and what it implies about the human condition, I also realize that few humans will permit themselves such an understanding. Blake's different. He understands perfectly, and he doesn't care.

♥ Through my blue fingers, pink grains are falling, haphazard, random, a disorganized stream of silicone that seems pregnant with the possibility of every conceivable shape, but this is an illusion. Things have their shape in time, not space alone. Some marble blocks have statues within them, embedded in their future.

♥ Saturday the 19th now. My hands encircle Laurie's face... In 1966, the costumed people are arguing. In 1959, I am telling Janey I shall always want her. It's later. Laurie is walking out on me. On a rooftop in the past, I pull her sixteen-year-old body to me, breathing her perfume, never wanting to lose her, knowing that I shall. Later still, and in the crowded T.V. studio, I am being accused of killing those closest to me. I am tired of this world; these people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.

♥ Children starve while boots costing many thousands of dollars leave their mark upon the surface of the moon. We have labored long to build a heaven, only to find it populated with horrors.

♥ On the newsflashes coming over our tvs on that fateful night, one sentence was repeated over and over again: "The superman exists and he's American."

I never said that, although I do recall saying something similar to a persistent reporter who would not leave without a quote. I presume the remark was edited or toned down so as not to offend public sensibilities; in any event, I never said "The superman exists and he's American." What I said was "God exists and he's American." If that statement starts to chill you after a couple of moments' consideration, then don't be alarmed. A feeling of intense and crushing religious terror at the concept indicates only that you are still sane.

♥ To understand the Russian attitude to the possibility of a third world war one must first understand their attitude to the second. In WWII, none of the allied powers fought so bitterly or sustained such losses as did the Russians. It was Hitler's lack of success in his assault upon the Soviet heartland that assured his eventual defeat, and though it was paid for mostly by Soviet lives, the entire world reaped the benefits. In time, the Russian contribution to the war effort has been downplayed and dismissed—most noticeably as our political differences became wider—as we glorified our own contribution while forgetting that of our estranged former allies. The Russians, however, have not forgotten.

♥ Walked home past trashcans stuffed with rumors of war, weighing factors; bodies; motives... Waiting for a flash of enlightenment in all this blood and thunder.

♥ Entering diner, bought coffee, then sat watching my maildrop, immediately across street. Passers-by made various deposits: candy wrappers, newspapers, a pair of keds strangled by own laces, tongues lolling out horribly. This city is an animal, fierce and complicated. To understand it I read its droppings, its scents, the movement of its parasites... I sat watching the trashcan, and New York opened its heart to me.

♥ Truly, whoever we are, wherever we reside, we exist upon the whim of murderers.

♥ The alleyway was cold and deserted. My things were where I'd left them. Waiting for me. Putting them on, I abandoned my disguise and became myself, free from fear or weakness or lust. My coat, my shoes, my spotless gloves. My face. Had three hours before calling on Moloch. Away down alley, heard woman scream, first bubbling note of city's evening chorus. Approached disturbance. An attempted rape/mugging/both. Cleared throat. The man turned and there was something rewarding in his eyes. Sometimes, the night is generous to me.

♥ I tread a lurching timber world; a reeking, salt-caked hell;
And yet, perhaps no worse a world than yours,
Where bishops stroll through charnel yards with pomanders to smell;
Where vile men thrive and love crawls on all fours.

♥ As they dragged him away, Rorschach spoke to the other inmates. He said "None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with you. You're locked up in here with me."

♥ "Except Comedian. Met him in 1966. Forceful personality. Didn't care if people liked him. Uncompromising. Admired that. Of us all, he understood most. About world. About people. About society and what's happening to it. Things everyone knows in gut. Things everyone too scared to face, too polite to talk about. He understood. Understood man's capacity for horrors and never quit. Saw the world's black underbelly and never surrendered. Once a man has seen, he can never turn his back on it. Never pretend it doesn't exist. No matter who orders him to look the other way. We do not do this thing because it is permitted. We do it because we have to. We do it because we are compelled."

♥ "1975. Kidnap case. Perhaps you remember. Blaire Roche. Six years old. Kidnappers believed she was connected to Roche Chemical fortune. Stupid mistake. Father was bus driver. No money at all. Days dragged by. No word from kidnappers. Thought of little child, abused, frightened. Didn't like it. Personal reasons. Decided to intervene. Promised parents I'd return her unharmed. Visited underworld bars and began hurting people. Put fourteen in hospital needlessly. Fifteenth gave me an address. Disused dressmakers in Brooklyn. Bad neighborhood. Smelled of damp plaster and stained mattresses.

"Arrived there at dusk. No lights on in building. Something was making noise in wasteland at rear. Attack dogs. Two german shepherds, fighting over knob of bone. Didn't seem interested in me. Decided not to use rear entrance anyway. Went in through front, like respectable visitor.

"Shock of impact ran along my arm. Jet of warmth spattered on chest, like hot faucet. It was Kovacs who said "Mother" then, muffled under latex. It was Kovacs who closed his eyes.

"...Stood in street. Watched it burn. Imagined limbless felt torsos inside; breasts blackening; bellies smoldering; bursting into flame one by one. Watched for an hour. Nobody got out. Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night. Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever, and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion, hellbound as ourselves; go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence in random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It's us. Only us. Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning its illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world. Was Rorschach."

♥ Why do we argue? Life's so fragile, a successful virus clinging to a speck of mud, suspended in endless nothing. Next week, I could be putting her into a garbage sack, placing her outside for collection. I sat on the bed. I looked at the Rorschach blot. I tried to pretend it looked like a spreading tree, shadows pooled beneath it, but it didn't. It looked more like a dead cat I once found, the fat, glistening grubs writhing blindly, squirming over each other, frantically tunneling away from the light. But even that is avoiding the real horror. The horror is this: in the end, it is simply a picture of empty meaningless blackness. We are alone. There is nothing else.

♥ ...walking back across the shadowy parking lot with my mind reduced to blankness by the various concerns of the day, I suddenly and unexpectedly heard the cry of a hunting owl.

It was a bird advanced in years, its shriek that of a deranged old man, wheeling madly through the dark and freezing sky against the ragged night clouds, and the sound halted me in my footsteps. It is a fallacy to suppose that owls screech to startle their prey from hiding, as some have suggested; the cry of the hunting owl is a voice from Hell, and it turns the scrabbling voles to statues, roots the weasel to the soil. In my instant of paralysis there on the glistening macadam, between the sleeping automobiles, I understood the purpose behind the cry with a biting clarity, the way I'd understood it as a boy, belly against the warm summer earth. In that extended and timeless moment, I felt the kinship of simple animal fear along with all those other creatures much smaller and more vulnerable than I who had heard the scream as I had heard it, were struck motionless as I was. The owl was not attempting to frighten his food into revealing itself. Perched with disconcerting stillness upon its branch for hours, drinking in the darkness through dilated and thirsty pupils, the owl had already spotted its dinner. The screech served merely to transfix the chosen morsel, pinning it to the ground with a shrill nail of blind, helpless terror. Not knowing which of us had been selected, I stood frozen along with the rodents of the field, my heart hammering as it waited for the sudden clutch of sharpened steel fingers that would provide my first and only indication that I was the predetermined victim. The feathers of owls are soft and downy; they make no sound at all as they drop through the dark stratas of the sky. The silence before an owl swoops is a V-Bomb silence, and you never hear the one that hits you.

♥ Nowadays, when I observe some specimen of Carine noctua, I try to look past the fine grey down on the toes, to see beyond the white spots arranged in neat lines, like a firework display across its brow. Instead, I try to see the bird whose image the Greeks carved into their coins, sitting patiently at the ear of the Goddess Pallas Athene, silently sharing her immortal wisdom.

Perhaps, instead of measuring the feathered tufts surmounting its ears, we should speculate on what those ears may have heard. Perhaps when considering the manner in which it grips its branch, with two toes in front and the reversible outer toe clutching from behind, we should allow ourselves to pause for a moment, and acknowledge that these same claws must once have drawn blood from the shoulder of Pallas.

♥ Finally, faced with horrors both intolerable and unavoidable, I chose madness.

♥ "But meeting [Rorschach] recently, it's like he wants to make friends without knowing how. As if the gap between us were narrowing. It's just so hard, reaching him. I mean, all this stuff, this horror and madness, he attracts it. It's his world. This is where he lives, in this sordid, violent twilight zone, under this shadow."

♥ Yet what are laws made for, if not to serve mankind? And if those laws through unforeseen circumstances become no longer applicable, is it not more noble to follow the course of right and justice; to serve the spirit of the law rather than its very dot and comma? In my book, anyone answering that question in the negative is someone without the moral backbone necessary to call himself an American.

♥ "Oh shit. I'm on Mars."

"Of course. It is here on Mars that we debate Earth's destiny."

"Jon, please, I mean, this, just being here, it's giving me problems, okay? I can't take your predestination trip right now."

"Why does my perception of time distress you?"

"Why ask? You already know my answer: it's stupid. When I left you, when Nova Express attacked you, you were surprised. Why, if you knew it would happen?"

"Everything is preordained. Even my responses."

"And you just go through the motions, acting them out? Is that what you are? The most powerful thing in the universe and you're just a puppet following a script?"

"We're all puppets, Laurie. I'm just a puppet who can see the strings."

♥ "Listen, Jon, okay, I'll play it your way... But you have to help me understand. I mean, I can't tell the future..."

"There is no future. There is no past. Do you see? Time is simultaneous, an intricately structured jewel that humans insist on viewing one edge at a time, when the whole design is visible in every facet."

♥ "I said, often, that you were my only link, my only concern with the world. When you left me, I left Earth. Does that not say something? Now you have replaced me, and that link is shattered. Don't you see what that means? Don't you see the futility of asking me to save a world that I no longer have any stake in?"

♥ "I mean, just the existence of life, isn't that significant?"

"In my opinion, it's a highly overrated phenomenon."

♥ "I mean, ordinary people, right? All the things that happen to them... Doesn't that move you more than a bunch of rubble?"

"No. I read atoms, Laurie. I see the ancient spectacle that birthed the rubble. Beside this, human life is brief and mundane."

♥ "Breathtaking? Jon, what about the war? You've got to prevent it! Everyone will die..."

"...and the universe will not even notice."

♥ "But... Listen, you've just been saying life is meaningless, so how can...?"

"I changed my mind."

"But... Why?"

"Thermodynamic miracles... Events with odds so astronomical they're effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. I long to observe such a thing. And yet, in human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multiply those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter, until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged. To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold... That is the crowning unlikelihood. The thermodynamic miracle."

"But... If me, my birth, if that's a thermodynamic miracle... I mean, you could say that about anybody in the world."

"Yes. Anybody in the world. But the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget... I forget. We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another's vantage point, as if new, it may still take the breath away. Come... Dry your eyes, for you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly."

♥ "Future? What future? That's my whole point: we're looking at World War Three within the week! I mean, what do we do? The stakes are so high and humanity is so close to the edge..."

"Some of us have always lived on edge, Daniel. It is possible to survive there if you observe rules! Just hang on by fingernails... and never look down."

♥ At death's approach, all creatures discover an aptitude for violence.

♥ "How do we approach him? What do we say?"

"Nothing. Subdue him first, if possible. May not get second chance. Ask questions later."

"Yeah. I suppose you're right, but it's going to feel awfully strange. He's such a caring, conscientious guy. He's a pacifist, a vegetarian..."

"Hitler was vegetarian. If bothers you, leave Veidt to me."

♥ "Ever heard J.F.K.'s intended speech? 'We in this country, in this generation, are by destiny, rather than choice, the watchmen on the walls of world freedom.' Was he rehearsing it, perhaps, as the motorcade reached the plaza, never suspecting that on the walls of world tyranny, cross-hairs watched him. We all realized then how bad things were. I continued adventuring, but it seemed hollow. I fought only the symptoms, leaving the disease itself unchecked. I despised myself; my sham crusade. Knowing mankind's problems, I'd blinded myself to them. I felt helpless against forces greater than any I'd anticipated. Too cowardly to confront my anxieties, I had life's black comedy explained to me by the Comedian himself at the Crimebusters fiasco in '66. I'm sure you remember. He discussed nuclear war's inevitability; described my future role as "smartest guy on the cinder", and opened my eyes. Only the best comedians accomplish that. I remember the charred map between my fingers; Nelson saying 'Someone's got to save the world', his tremulous, complaining voice... That's when I understood. That's when it hit me. Consoling Nelson, I left. Outside, Blake argued with Laurie and her mother. I swore to deny his kind their last black laugh at earth's expense."

♥ "Gloria, I'm sorry... those people... they're hurting each other..."

"Malcolm? Don't you dare! Don't you dare get involved! Didn't you listen to a word I just said?"

"Gloria, please. I have to. In a world like this... I mean, it's all we can do, try to help each other. It's all that means anything... Please. Please understand."

"Malcolm, I'm warning you! You let yourself get drawn towards another heap of somebody else's grief, I don't want to see you again!"

"Gloria... I'm sorry. It's the world... I can't run from it."

VEIDT: ...To answer your question, you get to be a superhero by believing in the hero within you and summoning him or her forth by an act of will. Believing in yourself and your own potential is the first step to realizing that potential. Alternatively, you could do as Jon did: Fall into a nuclear reactor and hope for the best. On the whole, I think I prefer to stick to my own methods. (Laughter)

NOVA: You'll forgive me for saying so, but isn't that philosophy a little Norman Vincent Peale? That self-realization stuff? How exactly do you exploit that potential to the degree that you obviously have?

VEIDT: The disciplines of physical exercise, meditation and study aren't terribly esoteric. The means to attain a capability far beyond that of the so-called ordinary person are within reach of everyone, if their desire and their will are strong enough. I have studied science, art, religion and a hundred different philosophies. Anyone could do as much. Bu applying what you learn and ordering your thoughts in an intelligent manner it is possible to accomplish almost anything. Possible for the "ordinary person." There's a notion I'd like to see buried: the ordinary person. Ridiculous. There is no ordinary person.

VEIDT: As I said, it all depends on us, on whether we, individually, want Armageddon or a new world of fabulous, limitless potential. That's not such an obvious question as it seems. I believe there are some people who really do want, if only subconsciously, an end to the world. They want to be spared the responsibilities of maintaining that world, to be spared the effort of imagination needed to realize such a future. And of course, there are other people who want very much to live. I see twentieth century society as a sort of race between enlightenment and extinction. In one lane you have the four horsemen of the apocalypse...

NOVA: ...and in the other?

VEIDT: The seventh cavalry. (Laughter)

VEIDT: ...No, we're not great friends. It's largely a political difference. [The Comedian] sees me as an intellectual dilettante dabbling in national affairs that don't concern me. I see him as an amoral mercenary allying himself to whichever political faction seems likely to gran him the greatest license. The difference is as simple and as profound as that.

VEIDT: ...No, no, I don't mind being the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one.

♥ "Jon... I know people think me callous, but I've made myself feel every death. By day I imagine endless faces, by night... Well, I dream, about swimming towards a hideous... No. Never mind. It isn't significant... What's significant is that I know I've struggled across the backs of murdered innocents to save humanity... But someone had to take the weight of that awful, necessary crime. I'd hoped you'd understand, unlike Rorschach..."

"You needn't consider Rorschach. I strongly doubt he'll reach civilization. But yes, I understand, without condoning or condemning. Human affairs cannot be my concern. I'm leaving this galaxy for one less complicated."

"But you'd regained interest in human life..."

"Yes, I have. I think perhaps I'll create some. Goodbye, Adrian."

"Jon, wait, before you leave... I did the right thing, didn't I? It all worked out in the end."

"'In the end?' Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends."
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