So long as you are alive you have a place in all this and you play a role in it. Everyone here -- on the sidewalks, pedaling by on bicycles, looking at us, or not looking at us -- has a part he's playing in this story. Everyone is doing something that relates to us. They may kick sick guys in the belly as much as they like, or kill them, or force guys with the shits to remain closed up inside a church and then shoot them because they shit, or yell Alles Scheiße, alles Scheiße! for the millionth time, between them and us a relationship nevertheless exists that nothing can destroy. They know what they're doing, they know what's being done to us. They know it as well as if they were us. And they are. You are us. One looks at each of these creatures who doesn't know and one would like to get inside their consciousness that only wants to see a piece of striped cloth, a bearded face, a line of men with a martial SS figure at their head. They're going to ignore us; whenever we go through a town, it's a sleep of human beings that passes through a sleep of sleeping persons. That's how it appears. But we know; each group knows about the other, knows everything about it."The Human Race"
I cannot say with certainty which of my motives are the strongest, but I know which of them deserve to be followed. And looking back through my work, I see that it is invariably where I lacked a political purpose that I wrote lifeless books and was betrayed into purple passages, sentences without meaning, decorative adjectives and humbug generally.
I should say a few words here about the curious way the protests are organized. The protesters learned in 2014 that having leaders was a weakness. Once the leadership was arrested, the heart went out of the occupy movement, and it lost momentum. So in 2019, there is no leadership at all. The protests are intentionally decentralized, using a jury-rigged combination of a popular message board, the group chat app Telegram, and in-person huddles at the protests.
This sounds like it shouldn’t possibly work, but the protesters are too young to know that it can’t work, so it works.
Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.
To them, violence, power, cruelty, were the supreme capacities of men who had definitely lost their place in the universe and were much too proud to long for a power theory that would safely bring them back and reintegrate them into the world. They were satisfied with blind partisanship in anything that respectable society had banned, regardless of theory or content, and they elevated cruelty to a major virtue because it contradicted society’s humanitarian and liberal hypocrisy."The Origins of Totalitarianism"
Truth is something so noble that if God could turn aside from it, I could keep the truth and let God go.
At least Dijkstra had sound mathematical reasoning for his arguments and wrote about them eloquently (and with good humor I may add); most of what is peddled in the hipster coding circles is a smooth talk by a gifted social media frontman that has no solid basis in anything besides that the person is popular. I do not even understand how people dare to put their name on complete messes like npm or one line npm packages unless it is a joke. I assume things like leftpad are in fact a joke; if they are not I would have to cry myself to sleep every night. So I just lie and say it is funny.
All naming decisions have several constraints in common. You want names that are as short as possible, so they are easy to type, format, and say. At the same time, you want to convey as much information as possible in each name, so readers will not have to carry as much knowledge in their heads. You want names that are familiar, to take advantage of knowledge readers already have via metaphor or analogy. However, you want names that are unique, so that others who are also choosing names will not accidentally choose names that interfere with yours. The first rule I follow is no abbreviations. Abbreviations optimize typing (a 10–100 times in 20 years task) over reading (a 1000–10000 times in 20 years task). Abbreviations make the interpretation of a name a two step process—what do the letters stand for and then what do those words mean. The class and method naming patterns here will produce names that you should never have to abbreviate. Naming the root class of a large hierarchy is a momentous occasion. People will be using the words you choose in their conversation for the next 20 years. You want to be sure you do it right. Unfortunately, many people get all formal when they go to name a superclass. Just calling it what it is isn’t enough. They have to tack on a flowery, computer science-y, impressive sounding, but ultimately meaningless word, like Object, Thing, Component, Part, Manager, Entity, or Item. You’re creating a vocabulary, not writing a program. Be a poet for a moment. The simple, the punchy, the easily remembered will be far more effective in the long run than some long name that says it all, but in such a way that no one wants to say it at all."Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns"
Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now.
The books I liked became a Bible from which I drew advice and support; I copied out long passages from them; I memorized new canticles and new litanies, psalms, proverbs, and prophecies, and I sanctified every incident in my life by the recital of these sacred texts. My emotions, my tears, and my hopes were no less sincere on account of that; the words and the cadences, the lines and the verses were not aids to make believe: but they rescued from silent oblivion all those intimate adventures of the spirit that I couldn’t speak to anyone about; they created a kind of communion between myself and those twin souls which existed somewhere out of reach; instead of living out my small private existence, I was participating in a great spiritual epic.” ― Simone de Beauvoir, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter"Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter"
The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly.
Every nationalist is haunted by the belief that the past can be altered. He spends part of his time in a fantasy world in which things happen as they should — in which, for example, the Spanish Armada was a success or the Russian Revolution was crushed in 1918 — and he will transfer fragments of this world to the history books whenever possible. Much of the propagandist writing of our time amounts to plain forgery. Material facts are suppressed, dates altered, quotations removed from their context and doctored so as to change their meaning. Events which it is felt ought not to have happened are left unmentioned and ultimately denied."Notes on Nationalism"
The emergence of the stranger and his externalization stands in direct relationship to the degree of impairment of that which is most personal - namely, a person's identity. But how can inner development take place in children if everything that makes up their individuality is rejected and made foreign? Then identity is reduced to adaptation to those external circumstances that insure a child's psychic survival. Children do everything to fulfil their parents' expectations, and the way they do this is to identify with their parents, but then the child's individuality is replaced by a foreign element. That is why the 18th Century English poet Edward Young wrote: "We are born as originals, die as copies".
An identity that develops in this manner is not oriented to its own needs but to the will of an authority.
I want to emphasize that the "stranger" in us is bred by a culture that won't accept the spontaneous expression of children's aliveness and vitality. This aspect of a culture gives rise to violent behavior and is responsible for the development of deficient identities. Personalities formed by the processes producing the inner stranger were never able to develop trust as an underlying component of their personality. Instead, they take on a "false identity" that makes them idealize repressive authorities in the hope that they will be rescued by the very people who are their tormentors.
Under such circumstances there cannot be an interior life that is able to protect us from that "abstract nakedness" of being human which Hannah Arendt (1973) spoke of. This nakedness is exposed when a true identity is prevented from developing and its place is taken by a false identity based on outer achievement, an identity that falls apart when the social context makes such achievement impossible.
The stranger is the real victim within us. The self has been distorted through being obedient, which makes it almost impossible to recognize what is really happening. Obedience, one could say, serves to subordinate oneself to the oppressor but also to disguise his deeds. In other words, obedience reinforces power, making it impossible to direct one's bottled-up rage against those who are responsible for it. But the rage is there as is the hatred for the victim in us, who must be rejected as foreign in order to accommodate those in power.
If a child finds no response in this "dance of the eyes," it is just as fear-inspiring as a physical threat. Murder is therefore not only a physical act but a psychic one as well.
When children are exposed to this kind of inner terror they must do everything possible to survive. This leads to what Ferenczi (1984) described in 1932 as the transformation of anxiety and terror into a feeling of security. This process originates in a social environment that allows adults to exploit children's dependence in order to advance their own feeling of self-worth and leads children to quickly reject their own feelings and perceptions for the sake of preserving their vitally essential bond with the care-giving adult. A child does this by submitting totally to the adult's expectations. Ferenczi puts it as follows:
"Children feel physically and morally helpless; their personality is not sufficiently consolidated for them to be able to protest even in their thoughts. The adult's overwhelming power and authority makes them mute, often robbing them of their senses. Yet their fear, when it reaches a peak of intensity, automatically forces them to submit to the will of the aggressor, to intuit and obey his every wish, to forget themselves entirely, to identify totally with the aggressor."
Such identification not only causes victims to ally themselves with their victimizers but to idealize them as well. In the eyes of the victim the victimizer appears to be a source of security. At the same time the victim begins to feel his or her pain as weakness because the victimizer forbids these feelings. If he were to become aware of his victim's pain, he would feel guilty. That is something the victimizer must avoid by inflicting further violence. Yet the pain and resulting rage persist in the victim, only this time the rage is turned against the self, which is now experienced as foreign. It is part of the normal process of adaptation to direct this rage against the external stranger. The ubiquity of this phenomenon determines the course of human history.
And so one passes on one's own victimization through the act of punishing the stranger out there, the one identified as being everything one has learned to hate in oneself. The result is what we characterize as normal behavior in our culture: the life-long attempt to gain control over the painful part of our nature - the part of us that we have lost and that keeps on making us feel impotent and helpless - by making victims of others in order to punish them for the pain we are not permitted to feel and for the victim in us that we are not allowed to be.
The only people who expect technology to act like a benevolent god are the ones who have replaced their god with it.
Ultimately anyone who feels a personal connection to the victims of the Holocaust has a simple choice: to take “never again” to mean either “never again for anyone,” or “next time, the Nazis will be us.”
FROMM: Like for instance, that we are confronted with the possibility of a war of such destruction that the whole existence of our nation and of the whole world is at stake. And yet, people know it - people read it in the newspapers, people read that at the first attack, a hundred million Americans might be killed.And yet, they talk about it as if they were talking about something being wrong with the carburetor of their car, perhaps.
FROMM: Actually, they have paid more attention to the danger of a flu epidemic than to the danger of the atomic bomb, because...
WALLACE: Don't you think that's a little overstatement, Dr. Fromm?
FROMM: Well, I wish it were, because what I see is relatively few people who experience, who feel, the danger, which we are threatened with, and who feel the responsibility of doing something about it.
WALLACE: Or maybe, when you talk about the responsibility of doing something, maybe it simply is this: that we find it very difficult to make ourselves felt in this amorphous society in which we live. Each individual would want to do something but would find it difficult to make himself felt.
FROMM: Well, I think here you point out to one, really, of the basic defects of our system: that the individual citizen has very little possibility of having any influence - of making his opinion felt in the decision-making. And I think that, in itself, leads to a good deal of political lethargy and stupidity. It is true that one has to think first and then to act -but it's also true that if one has no possibility of acting, one's thinking kind of becomes empty and stupid."The Mike Wallace Interview", 25th of May 1958
If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?
My carrier pigeon just arrived with some TCP/IP/pigeon protocol packets, and I see I've caused someone's head to explode on the Internet.
The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.
The received wisdom in advanced capitalist societies is that there still exists an organic "civil society sector" in which institutions form autonomously and come together to manifest the interests and will of citizens. The fable has it that the boundaries of this sector are respected by actors from government and the "private sector," leaving a safe space for NGOs and nonprofits to advocate for things like human rights, free speech and accountable government.
This sounds like a great idea. But if it was ever true, it has not been for decades. Since at least the 1970s, authentic actors like unions and churches have folded under a sustained assault by free-market statism, transforming "civil society" into a buyer's market for political factions and corporate interests looking to exert influence at arm's length. The last forty years have seen a huge proliferation of think tanks and political NGOs whose purpose, beneath all the verbiage, is to execute political agendas by proxy.
Strephon kissed me in the spring, Robin in the fall, But Colin only looked at me And never kissed at all. Strephon’s kiss was lost in jest, Robin’s lost in play, But the kiss in Colin’s eyes Haunts me night and day.
Yet another circumstance must be mentioned which proves favorable for the Nazis and their immensely powerful apparatus of oppression: the development of modern technology gives the rulers, as has long been insufficiently understood, an advantage over the ruled. The more effective the weapons become and the less you can protect yourself against them, the more the armed is superior to the unarmed. The Bastille could not be successfully stormed in the age of airplanes and tear gas. Rifles equipped with rifles have no chance against motorized police forces; it makes no sense to build barricades against a government that has tanks. And in the event of a revolution, it is not only weapons development that favors those in power, the state over the individual: modern technical development and the associated sophisticated organization work in the same direction. Traffic has led to the countries becoming small and easy to monitor. How many hiding places there were in a country a hundred years ago! At that time, every power hit natural barriers! Today there is no loophole and no hideout for the rebel anymore. Even the thoughts that are able to penetrate the walls have become "controllable" because they are tied to the mass distribution of news, to radio, film and the press. How long will it take before every house has its own microphone and every private word, like every telephone call today, can be heard? The ant state is at hand. It may not be a coincidence that states like Germany and Russia have elevated technology to the status of a religion. Conversely, this development of modern technology makes the preservation of freedom a human task that is more urgent than ever."Germany: Jekyll & Hyde (1939 - Deutschland von innen betrachtet)"
For legends attract the very best in our times, just as ideologies attract the average, and the whispered tales of gruesome secret powers behind the scenes attract the very worst."The Origins of Totalitarianism"
The most profound legacy of the dominance of bureaucratic forms of organization over the last two hundred years is that it has made this intuitive division between rational, technical means and the ultimately irrational ends to which they are put seem like common sense."The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy"
All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.
Too clever is dumb.
You don't wanna hear my message. You spent fifty years evolving a propaganda system that'll take the truth and change it into what you wanna hear. You don't wanna hear shit that's gonna mean you might have to give up something. You don't want it. All you wanna do is sit on your fat, dividend-drawing ass and draw dividends."Punishment Park"
The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.
We will never have a perfect world, but it's not romantic or naïve to work toward a better one.
Nixon was also operating at the height of the Cold War, when there may have been a legitimate right to more control over what the press can and can't say or release.
Obama is operating at the height of what? Asymmetric warfare where we're basically beating third world peasants into submission. Or maybe the War on Drugs where we're basically beating first world peasants into submission and slavery, whilst turning a complete blind eye to what's only comparable to genocide in a country we share a border with.
What our government is trying to do is on par with returning us to serfdom. I keep hearing that things are supposed to get better, but it's important to remember; freedom comes after the blade of a guillotine.