Pasolini - from The Divine Mimesis

“Having relished the fleeting taste of the Volgare, i sank back into the vulgarity of the ‘Language of Hate’: mine – historically mine – that of my time, of my father, my mother, my professors, my shopkeepers, my newspapers, my radio, my television, my balls! And I said: ‘Isn’t this madness?’

I no longer wanted what I had wanted (about this there is no doubt), save with the black, flayed pain of the neurotic. Who sees the end of what he has begun, and, in beginning it, already has the distressing pain of the end: the sense of a goodbye made to things before he has ever known them, a hellish nostalgia for what one barely has: a thing that cuts the throat and chest like a burning point of tears.”

“It wasn’t hard for me to realise that in reality al those people, along the streets of their world of clerks, professionals, workers, political parisites, petty intellectuals, were really running like madmen behind a flag. Through medieval alleys, or along great bureaucratic and liberty-style streets, or, finally, through the new residential or popular districts, they didn’t just drag themselves around – as it seemed – through the frenzy of traffic or of their duties: but ran behind that flag. It was, really, little more than a rag, which flapped and rolled obtusely in the wind. But, like all flags, it had a discoloured symbol drawn in its centre. I looked closer, and didn’t take long to notice that the symbol was nothing other than a shit.”

“‘Those who are condemned here, beneath these signposts’ he explained ‘were only petit bourgeois by birth, by social definition etc. They really had, as is said, the necessary tools for knowing their ‘sin’: they knew how not to be conformists, yet they still were.’

We walked along that beautiful road, high above the marsh: the white metal railings, the narrow little bridge over the slime, the cement ballast on which, below, wild grasses full of nettles pushed upward, thick and invincible.

‘In this place’ the Guide added, laconically, ‘the only punishment is being here.’”

Behind the barrier the road widened into an immense asphalt space, like those that spread in front of stadiums or big swimming pools, for parking thousands upon thousands of automobiles: but in the hours when there is no game; and it is twilight, and, with twilight, emptiness. Nothing but asphalt and immensity, filled with the melancholy of the retreating sun that is nearly blinding as it strikes things nearby, while those in the distance diminish in a spectral glimmer that renders them vague and limitless.”

“His mouth tightened in a smile at the earthly speech, my poor Master, fearless in the assumption of banality at a level of great culture and great passion. And he continued, out of pure kindness, out of disinterested love of knowledge:

‘It is a sin born with the petit bourgeoisie, after the great industrialisation, after the conquest of the colonies… At first, the little people WERE little: the didn’t WANT to be.

In summary, all these people, for fear of greatness, are instinctively lacking in religion.

Reduction, the spirit of reduction, is the lack of religion: this is the great sin of the epoch of hate. And in fact in no other part of Hell will you see such people. The masses, my friend! The masses who have chosen not having any religion as their religion – without knowing it.’”

Pier Paolo Pasolini

The Divine Mimesis