This one was a wild ride: Howling Dark by Christopher Ruocchio.

Highlights

Fear is death to reason.
“And reason death to fear.”

“[…] Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. […]”

We believe our fear destroyed by new bravery. It is not. Fear is never destroyed. It is only made smaller by the courage we find after. It is always there.

I find this to be true even in my own life. My fears never truly go away; I just get better at managing them.

We are not always the authors of our own stories.

We have little control over our ends, and none over what passes beyond them. But if we live well and truly, those who follow on may remember us for our lives and not our deaths.

A man is the sum of his memories—and more—he is the sum of all those others he has met, and what he learned from them. And that is an encouraging thought, for that knowledge and those memories survive and are part of us through every storm, and every little death.

Each of us contains multitudes, but it is not that we are cells in the body of humankind. Rather we are clay, shaped as the mountain is shaped: by the wind, the tramping foot, and the rain. By the world. The mark of other hands is on us, but we are ourselves alone.

There are two sorts of men. One hears an order from his better and obeys. The other sees order in himself and obeys that. All men obey something, even if it is only themselves.

These feel very Stoic to me for some reason.

Lucifer and Prometheus are the same.

This is an interesting comparison to make. In the Bible, Lucifer (Satan) is a fallen angel who “gives” mankind knowledge of good an evil. In Greek mythology, Prometheus is a Titan who steals fire from the gods and gives it mankind in the form of knowledge.

Evil is older than we, other than we—or is greater than, extending back and forward across all of conscious Time. Reader, there are other devils than Man. And by our evolved reason we may be sure of understanding human devils only.

We live in a world where only man has evolved to sentience. Trying to imagine worse evils than those we have perpetrated is a dark and interesting thought experiment.

And know this: every thought had by every philosopher and scholiast, every scientist and priest, is framed by the human mind.

Sometimes two groups can be shaped in ways that make communication fundamentally difficult, if not impossible.

Thus often do we return to those childish things when the weight of responsibility and of trial becomes too much to bear alone.

Escapism as a coping mechanism can be a powerful tool.

Obedience out of fear of pain.
Obedience out of fear of the other.
Obedience out of love for the person of the hierarch.
Obedience out of loyalty to the office of the hierarch.
Obedience out of respect for the laws of men and of heaven.
Obedience out of piety.
Obedience out of compassion.
Obedience out of devotion.

Obedience is a theme that keeps coming up in these books.

Have I said that what we perceive as darkness is only the chaos that came—without light’s order—before Creation itself? That is why we imagine anything might be lurking in the darkness.