Random Quote #68 topic: bierce-devil, The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce
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SOUL, n. A spiritual entity concerning which there hath been brave
disputation. Plato held that those souls which in a previous state of
existence (antedating Athens) had obtained the clearest glimpses of
eternal truth entered into the bodies of persons who became
philosophers. Plato himself was a philosopher. The souls that had
least contemplated divine truth animated the bodies of usurpers and
despots. Dionysius I, who had threatened to decapitate the broad-
browed philosopher, was a usurper and a despot. Plato, doubtless, was
not the first to construct a system of philosophy that could be quoted
against his enemies; certainly he was not the last.
"Concerning the nature of the soul," saith the renowned author of
_Diversiones Sanctorum_, "there hath been hardly more argument than
that of its place in the body. Mine own belief is that the soul hath
her seat in the abdomen -- in which faith we may discern and interpret
a truth hitherto unintelligible, namely that the glutton is of all men
most devout. He is said in the Scripture to 'make a god of his belly'

-- why, then, should he not be pious, having ever his Deity with him
to freshen his faith? Who so well as he can know the might and
majesty that he shrines? Truly and soberly, the soul and the stomach
are one Divine Entity; and such was the belief of Promasius, who
nevertheless erred in denying it immortality. He had observed that
its visible and material substance failed and decayed with the rest of
the body after death, but of its immaterial essence he knew nothing.
This is what we call the Appetite, and it survives the wreck and reek
of mortality, to be rewarded or punished in another world, according
to what it hath demanded in the flesh. The Appetite whose coarse
clamoring was for the unwholesome viands of the general market and the
public refectory shall be cast into eternal famine, whilst that which
firmly through civilly insisted on ortolans, caviare, terrapin,
anchovies, _pates de foie gras_ and all such Christian comestibles
shall flesh its spiritual tooth in the souls of them forever and ever,
and wreak its divine thirst upon the immortal parts of the rarest and
richest wines ever quaffed here below. Such is my religious faith,
though I grieve to confess that neither His Holiness the Pope nor His
Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury (whom I equally and profoundly
revere) will assent to its dissemination."



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