"Drunkards hold forth the trail to Salvation; the recommendation of sycophants is undefined; fraudulent academics provide fake initiations; guileful impostors declare psychic powers; loquacity and eloquence move as knowledge. The conceited raise profanity; the proletariat principles the dominion; kings turn into paupers; the butcher and assassin develop into leaders of guys; unscrupulous self-seekers upward thrust to excessive place. The Masters of the excessive Tantras stray like canines within the streets and their faithless errant scholars roam like lions within the jungle.
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Additional resources for The Legend of the Great Stupa Jarungkhasor
Such an argument fails because it presupposes a correlation between fact, truth and reality on the one hand, and fiction, falsehood and unreality on the other. 61 The fact that neo-Aristotelian critics called this process 'imitation' mimesis gives a satisfying and slightly ironical edge to what is essentially an anti-Platonic stance. - - 44 T H E CASE A G AINST F I C T I O N There was also a second major difficulty to be met by those who attacked fiction for being shadow rather than substance: that of circular self-contradiction.
The bad examples of literature derive their power from the disturbing impression made by great poetry on the mind. The passages which Plato finds most offensive are rejected not because they are not poetic nor because they are not enjoyed by most people, but because the more poetic they are, the greater the reason for keeping them from those who should fear slavery 30 THE CASE AGAINST FICTION more than death. The greater the effect ofthe poetry the more harmful is its example. Plato would by the same token strike out all terrifying epithets 'the very sound of which is enough to make one shiver', the fever consequent upon such shivering being likely to melt the fine tempered spirit of the Guardians ofthe state.
In matters oflanguage the Emperor's clothes are scanty indeed; if there is nothing in a false statement which reveals its falsehood there is equally nothing in a true one which guarantees its truth. From here it is but a short step to the position that any statement may be true if one can persuade people to believe it. One may judge how disturbing these implications might have seemed to the sixteenth-century mind and appreciate how closely writers and thinkers were to examine, in consequence, the grey areas where truth and falsehood overlap.
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