“I discovered that confronted by temptation, we will always fall. Given the right circumstances, every human being on this earth would be willing to commit evil.”
“The story of one person is the story of all humanity.”
“Good and Evil have the same face; it all depends when they cross the path of each individual human being.”
“Rich men never waste a penny, only poor people do that.”
“Even the most insignificant of actions, however we intentioned, can destroy everything.”
“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.”
“There are two things that prevent us from achieving our dreams: believing them to be impossible or seeing those dreams made possible by some sudden turn of the wheel of fortune, when you least expected it. For at that moment all our fears suddenly surface. The fear of setting off along a road heading who knows where, the fear of a life full of new challenges, the fear of losing forever everything that is familiar.”
“There are two kinds of idiots –those who don’t take action because they have received a threat, and those who think they are taking action because they have issued a threat.”
“The best way to weaken one’s enemy was to get him to believe that you were on his side.”
“I’m going to ask you a riddle: of all the days in our life, which is the one that never comes? –tomorrow.”
“If even God has a hell, which is his love for mankind, then any man has his hell within easy reach, and that’s his love for his family.”
“If you want to control someone, all you have to do is to make them feel afraid.”
“It was all a matter of Control. And choice, nothing more, nothing less.”
She remembered a man who used to work in a chemist’s in a nearby village and who had been dismissed after twenty years’ service. He hadn’t asked for his redundancy money because –so he said –he considered his employers to be his friends and didn’t want to hurt them, because he knew they had had to dismiss him because of financial difficulties. It was all a lie: the reason the man did not go to court because he was a coward; he wanted at all costs to be liked; he thought his employers would then always think of him as a generous, friendly sort. Some time later, when he went back to them to ask for a loan, they slammed the door in his face, but by then it was too late, for he had signed a letter of resignation and could make no further demands from them.
Very Clever. Playing the part of charitable soul was only for those who were afraid of taking a stand in life. It is always far easier to have in your own goodness than to confront others and fight for your rights. It is always easier to hear an insult and not to retaliate than have the courage to fight back against someone stronger than yourself; we can always say we’re not hurt by the stones other throw at us, and it’s only at night –when we’re alone and our wife or our husband or our school friend is asleep –that we can silently grieve over our own cowardice. pp. 44-45
At that moment, a friendly, companionable voice told him that he was not alone, that everything that had happened to him had a purpose, which was to show that each person’s destiny is preordained. Tragedy always happens, and nothing we do can alter by one jot the evil that awaits us.
“There is no such thing as Good: virtue is simply one of the many faces of terror,” the voice said. “When man understands that, he will realize that this world is just a little joke played on him by God.”
Then the voice –which identified itself as the prince of this world, the only being who really knows what happens on Earth –began to show him people all around him on the beach. The wonderful father who was busy packing things up and helping his children put on some warm clothes and who would love to have an affair with his secretary, but was terrified of his wife’s response. His wife who would like to work and have her independence, but was afraid of her husband’s response. The children who behaved themselves because they were terrified of being punished. The girl who was reading a book all on her own beneath a sunshade, pretending she didn’t care, but inside was terrified of spending the rest of her life alone. The boy running around with a tennis racket, terrified of having to live up to his parent’s expectations. The waiter serving tropical drinks to the rich customers and terrified that he could be sacked at any moment. The young girl who wanted to be a dancer, but who was afraid studying law instead because she was terrified what the neighbors might say. The old man who didn’t smoke or drink and said he felt much better for it, when in truth it was the terror of death that whispered in his ears like the wind. The married couple who ran by, splashing through the surf, with a smile on their face but with terror in their hearts telling them that they would soon be old, boring and useless. The man with the suntan who swept up in his launch in front of everybody and waved and smiled but was terrified because he could lose his money one moment from the next. The hotel owner, watching the whole idyllic scene from his office, trying to keep everyone happy and cheerful, urging his accountants to ever great vigilance, and terrified because he knew that however honest he was, government officials would still find mistakes in his accountants if they wanted to.
There was terror in each and every one of the people on that beach and on that breathtakingly beautiful evening. Terror of being alone, terror of the darkness filling their imagination with devils, terror of doing anything not in the manuals of good behavior, terror of God’s judgment, of what other people would say, of the law punishing any mistake, terror of trying and failing, terror of succeeding and having to live with the envy of other people, terror of loving and being rejected, terror of asking for a raise in salary, of accepting an invitation, of going somewhere new, of not being able to speak a foreign language, of not making the right impression , of growing old of dying, of being pointed out because of one’s defects, of not being pointed out because of one’s merits, of not being noticed either for one’s defects or one’s merits.
Terror, terror, terror. Life was a reign of terror, in the shadow of the guillotine. “I hope this consoles you a little,” he heard the devil say. “They’re all terrified; you’re not alone. The only difference is that you have already been through the most difficult part; your worst fear became reality. You have nothing to lose, whereas these people on the beach live with their terror all the time; some are aware of it; others try to ignore it, but all of them know that it exists and will get them in the end.” pp. 84-86