A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.
Deep doubts, deep wisdom; small doubts, little wisdom.
It is the fundamental duty of the citizen to resist and to restrain the violence of the state. Those who choose to disregard this responsibility can justly be accused of complicity in war crimes, which is itself designated as ‘a crime under international law’ in the principles of the Charter of Nuremberg.
Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.
Let no man imagine that he has no influence. Whoever he may be, and wherever he may be placed, the man who thinks becomes a light and a power.
That the poor are invisible is one of the most important things about them. They are not simply neglected and forgotten as in the old rhetoric of reform; what is much worse, they are not seen.
So radiant in certain mornings' light With its roses and its trees Is Earth, or with its grain and olives So suddenly it is radiant on the soul, Which stands then alone and forgetful Though just a moment earlier the soul Wept bloody tears or dwelt in bitterness; So radiant in certain mornings' light Is Earth, and in its silence so expressive This wondrous lump rolling in its skies; Beautiful, tragic in solitude, yet smiling That the soul, unasked, replies, "Yes" replies, "Yes" to the Earth To the indifferent earth, "Yes!" Even though next instant skies Should darken, roses too, Or the effort of life grow heavier still, The act of breathing even more heroic, "Yes" replies the battered soul to Earth, So radiant in the light of certain mornings, Beautiful above all things, and human hope."Yes to the Earth"
Strikingly, no concern was voiced over the glaringly obvious fact that no official reason was ever offered for going to war -- no reason, that is, that could not be instantly refuted by a literate teenager.
Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.
I should say that when people talk about capitalism it's a bit of a joke. There's no such thing. No country, no business class, has ever been willing to subject itself to the free market, free market discipline. Free markets are for others. Like, the Third World is the Third World because they had free markets rammed down their throat. Meanwhile, the enlightened states, England, the United States, others, resorted to massive state intervention to protect private power, and still do. That's right up to the present. I mean, the Reagan administration for example was the most protectionist in post-war American history.
Virtually the entire dynamic economy in the United States is based crucially on state initiative and intervention: computers, the internet, telecommunication, automation, pharmaceutical, you just name it. Run through it, and you find massive ripoffs of the public, meaning, a system in which under one guise or another the public pays the costs and takes the risks, and profit is privatized. That's very remote from a free market. Free market is like what India had to suffer for a couple hundred years, and most of the rest of the Third World.Talk titled "Sovereignty and World Order" at Kansas State University, September 20, 1999
We gotta come to some new ideas about life folks ok? I'm not being blase about abortion, it might be a real issue, it might not, doesn't matter to me. What matters is that if you believe in the sanctity of life then you believe it for life of all ages. That's what I hate about this child-worship syndrome going on. "Save the children! They're killing children! How many children were at Waco? They're killing children!" What does that mean? They reach a certain age and they're off your fucking love-list? Fuck your children, if that's the way you think then fuck you too. You either love all people of all ages or you shut the fuck up.
A tiger catches a mouse with his whole strength. A tiger does not ignore or slight any small animal. The way he catches a mouse and the way he catches and devours a cow is the same. But usually, although you have many problems, you think they are minor, so you don’t think it is necessary to exert yourself... So even though the problems you have in your everyday life are small, unless you know how to solve them you will have big difficulties."Not Always So"
If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.
I learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong.
The Grand Inquisitor explains that you have to create mysteries because otherwise the common people will be able to understand things. They have to be subordinated so you have to make things look mysterious and complicated. That's the test of the intellectual. It's also good for them: then you're an important person, talking big words which nobody can understand. Sometimes it gets kind of comical, say in post-modern discourse. Especially around Paris, it has become a comic strip, I mean it's all gibberish. But it's very inflated, a lot of television cameras, a lot of posturing. They try to decode it and see what is the actual meaning behind it, things that you could explain to an eight-year old child.
There's nothing there. But these are the ways in which contemporary intellectuals, including those on the Left, create great careers for themselves, power for themselves, marginalize people, intimidate people and so on."Chomsky on Anarchism" (2005)
Of course it's extremely easy to say, the heck with it. I'm just going to adapt myself to the structures of power and authority and do the best I can within them. Sure, you can do that. But that's not acting like a decent person. You can walk down the street and be hungry. You see a kid eating an ice cream cone and you notice there's no cop around and you can take the ice cream cone from him because you're bigger and walk away. You can do that. Probably there are people who do. We call them "pathological". On the other hand, if they do it within existing social structures we call them "normal". But it's just as pathological. It's just the pathology of the general society.
...the point of public relations slogans like "Support Our Troops" is that they don't mean anything [...] that's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody is gonna be against and I suppose everybody will be for, because nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. But its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something, do you support our policy? And that's the one you're not allowed to talk about.