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JONES, James



From Here to Eternity

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“And that’s why you’re like a priest. You got a gospel to preach. The true gospel. The only gospel. That’s all you got, a gospel. Don’t you know life don’t fit no gospels? Life makes gospels—afterwards. Gospels don’t make life. But you, you and all the fucking priests, you gunna make life fit your gospel. And nobody else’s. You wont even admit anything exists but what you say.”

He paused. The brightly lighted revelation was surging up now again, in his mind. He could see it. But how to say it? How to express? How to mold it and make it plain? Life was enough, in itself. All men should see life in itself was enough, was all, because it was there. Why did you climb the mountain, Mr Mallory? Because it was there. Life was there, it had been put there, for a purpose. That was enough. That was everything.

“If that’s courage,” he concluded lamely, subduedly, “maybe you got it, buddy. If that’s courage."

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The Thin Red Line

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When compared to the fact that he might very well be dead by this time tomorrow, whether he was courageous or not today was pointless, empty. When compared to the fact that he might be dead tomorrow, everything was pointless. Life was pointless. Whether he looked at a tree or not was pointless. It just didn't make any difference. It was pointless to the tree, it was pointless to every man in his outfit, pointless to everybody in the whole world. Who cared? It was not pointless only to him; and when he was dead, when he ceased to exist, it would be pointless to him too. More important: Not only would it be pointless, it would have been pointless, all along.

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