Friends are predetermined; friendship takes place between men and women who possess an intellectual and emotional affinity for each other. But comradeship — that ecstatic bliss that comes with belonging to the crowd in wartime — is within our reach. We can all have comrades. The danger of the external threat that comes when we have an enemy does not create friendship; it creates comradeship. And those in wartime are deceived about what they are undergoing. And this is why once the threat is over, once war ends, comrades again become strangers to us. This is why after war we fall into despair.
In friendship there is a deepening of our sense of self. We become, through the friend, more aware of who we are and what we are about; we find ourselves in the eyes of the friend. Friends probe and question and challenge each other to make each of us more complete; with comradeship, the kind that comes to us in patriotic fervor, there is a suppression of self-awareness, self-knowledge, and self-possession. Comrades lose their identities in wartime for the collective rush of a common cause — a common purpose.
In comradeship there are no demands on the self. This is part of its appeal and one of the reasons we miss it and seek to recreate it. Comradeship allows us to escape the demands on the self that is part of friendship. In wartime when we feel threatened, we no longer face death alone but as a group, and this makes death easier to bear. We ennoble self-sacrifice for the other, for the comrade; in short we begin to worship death. And this is what the god of war demands of us.
Think finally of what it means to die for a friend. It is deliberate and painful; there is no ecstasy. For friends, dying is hard and bitter. The dialogue they have and cherish will perhaps never be recreated. Friends do not, the way comrades do, love death and sacrifice. To friends, the prospect of death is frightening. And this is why friendship or, let me say love, is the most potent enemy of war.
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction.
I never joined the army because at ease was never that easy to me. Seemed rather uptight still. I don't relax by parting my legs slightly and putting my hands behind my back. That does not equal ease. At ease was not being in the military. I am at ease, bro, because I am not in the military.
If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.
Only the free have disposition to be truthful,
Only the truthful have the interest to be just,
Only the just possess the will-power to be free.
The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.
Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.
Those who really have power in this society tolerate democracy only so long as it doesn't infringe on their power. If, through the parliamentary system, we ever began to expropriate industry, then the people who have wealth and power would destroy the parliamentary system. In this respect there probably wouldn't be any way within the system. But any revolutionary I've ever heard of must prefer peaceful non-violent means if these are possible. But it's rarely been possible because of the resistance by those who want to preserve their privileges.
Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
It's true that I detest organised, bigtime, major league religions... but I love spiritual individuals, you can see the universe in their eyes, if you're really looking... I love people, I hate crowds, groups, organisations... soon they become zealots, then they start wearing hats... then they have fight songs and come and visit you at 3 am in the morning...
My life's work is not what I've made, it's who I am when I sit in front of a blank file. If I lost everything, I would have lost nothing.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life, which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
Unlimited economic growth has the marvelous quality of stilling discontent while maintaining privilege, a fact that has not gone unnoticed among liberal economists.
What can one say about a country where a museum of science in a great city can feature an exhibit in which people fire machine guns from a helicopter at Vietnamese huts, with a light flashing when a hit is scored? What can one say about a country where such an idea can even be considered? You have to weep for this country."American Power and the New Mandarins" (1969)
The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.
If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.
People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.
There are two kinds of light - the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.