Terence Francis Eagleton (born 1943) is a British literary theorist, critic, and public intellectual. He is currently Distinguished Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University.
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For no reason I can explain, I began to discover how little it mattered where you are or what anyone does to you. I was sure that what I had done to get there [imprisoned for draft resistance] was right, and somehow the longer I was there, the better I felt. . . . I felt filled with love for everyone: everyone I knew and everyone I didn't know; for plants, fish, animals; even bankers, generals, prison guards, and lying politicians — everything and everyone. Why did I feel so good? Was it God? Or approaching death? Or just the way life is supposed to be if we weren't so busy trying to make it something else?
Stop thinking this is all there is. . . . Realize that for every ongoing war and religious outrage and environmental devastation and bogus Iraqi attack plan, there are a thousand counter-balancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral. . . . Resist the temptation to drown in fatalism, to shake your head and sigh and just throw in the karmic towel. . . . Realize that this is the perfect moment to change the energy of the world, to step right up and crank your personal volume; right when it all seems dark and bitter and offensive and acrimonious and conflicted and bilious . . . there's your opening. Remember magic. And, finally, believe you are part of a groundswell, a resistance, a seemingly small but actually very, very large impending karmic overhaul, a great shift, the beginning of something important and potent and unstoppable.
Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and this will continue till they have resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they suppress.