Life · Paul Auster

Con men & rascals

-Con men and tricksters run the world. Rascals rule. And do you know why?

-Tell me, Master. I’m all ears.

-Because they’re hungrier than we are. Because they know what they want. Because they believe in life more than we do.

-Speak for yourself, Socrates. If I wasn’t so hungry, I wouldn’t be carrying around this giant gut.

-You love life, Tom, but you don’t believe in it.


Think of Jacob and Esau. Remember them? The bad guy wins, and God doesn’t punish him. It doesn’t seem right. 

-Of course it does. Jacob had the spark of life in him, and Esau was a dumbbell. If you’re going to choose one of them to lead your people, you’ll want the fighter, the one with cunning and wit, the one with the energy to beat the odds and come out on top. You choose the strong and clever over the weak and kind.

-That’s pretty brutal stuff, Nathan. Take your argument one step further, and the next thing you’ll be telling me is that Stalin should be revered as a great man.

– Stalin was a thug, a psychotic murderer. I’m talking about the instinct for survival Tom, the will to live. Give me a wily rascal over a pious sap any day of the week. He might not always play by the rules, but he’s got spirit. And when you find a man with spirit, there’s still some hope for the world.

Paul Auster-The Brooklyn Follies



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