Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie


“…you think Creation happens in a rush? So then, neither does revelation…”

“But that was what women did, he thought in those days, they were the vessels into which he could pour himself, and when he moved on, they would understand that it was his nature, and forgive. And it was true that nobody blamed him for leaving,…how many abortions…how many broken hearts. In all those years he was the beneficiary of the infinite generosity of women, but he was it victim, too, because their forgiveness made possible the deepest and sweetest corruption of all, namely the idea that he was doing nothing wrong.”

“…that even the scientists were busily re-inventing God, that once they had proved the existence of a single unified force of which electromagnetism, gravity and the strong and weak forces of the new physics were all merely aspects, avatars, one might say, or angels, then what would we have but the oldest thing of all, a supreme entity controlling all creation… ‘You see, what our friend says is, if you choose between some type of disembodied force-field and the actual living God, which one would you go for? Good point, na? You can’t pray to an electric current. No point asking a wave-form for the key to Paradise.”

"...Gibreel appeared to the Prophet and found himself spouting rules, rules, rules, until the faithful could scarcely bear the prospect of any more revelation,...rules about every damn thing, if a man farts let him turn his face to the wind, a rule about which hand to use for the purpose of cleaning one's behind. It was as if no aspect of human existence was to be left unregulated, free. The revelation...told the faithful how much to eat, how deeply they should sleep, and which sexual positions had received divine sanction, so that they learned that sodomy and the missionary position were approved of by the archangel, whereas forbidden postures included all those in which the female was on top. Gibreel further listed the permitted and forbidden subjects of conversation, and earmarked the parts of the body which could not be scratched no matter how unbearably they might itch. ...required animals to be killed slowly, by bleeding, so that by experiencing their deaths to the full they might arrive at an understanding of the meaning of their lives, for it is only at the moment of death that living creatures understand that life has been real, and not a sort of dream. ...specified the manner in which a man should be buried, and how his property should be divided, so that Salman the Persian got to wondering what manner of God this was that sounded so much like a businessman."

"But in Yathrib the women are different, you don't know, here in Jahilia you're used to ordering your females about but up there they won't put up with it. When a man gets married he goes to live with his wife's people! Imagine! Shocking, isn't it?...Well, our girls were beginning to go for that type of thing, getting who knows what sort of ideas in their [womens] heads, so at once, bang, out comes the rule book, the angel starts pouring out rules about what women mustn't do, he starts forcing them back into the docile attitudes... docile or maternal, walking three steps behind or sitting at home being wise...How the women of Yathrib laughed at the faithful...the faithful women did as he ordered them. They Submitted: he was offering them Paradise, after all."

"...when he sat at the Prophet's feet, writing down rules rules rules , he change things. Little things at first. If Mahound recited a verse in which God was described as all-hearing, all-knowing, I would write, all-knowing, all-wise. Here's the point: Mahound did notice the alterations. So there i was, actually writing the Book, or rewriting, anyway, polluting the word of God with my own profane language. But, good heavens, if my poor words could not be distinguished from the Revelation by God's own Messenger, then what did that mean? What did that say about the quality of the divine poetry?...and now i was writing the Revelation and nobody was noticing, and i didn't have the courage to own up. ...the next time i changed a bigger thing. He said Christian, I wrote down Jew. He'd notice that, surely; how could he not? But when i read him the chapter he nodded and thanked me politely, and i went out of his tent with tears in my eyes."

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