The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
The way to overcome this situation is to create real political parties. To have real political parties, the people must participate and make decisions, not just come together every four years to pull a lever. That is not politics. It is the opposite of politics. If you have mass popular organizations that are functioning all the time - at local, regional, and international levels - then you have at least the basis for democracy. Such organizations existed here in the past.
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.
"Well, it's not really about espionage, it's about the people, and how they interact."
"Yeah, you can't really research a spy drama, because it's secret. I mean that's the one thing that's, you know, not secret."
In capitalist society individuals are controlled by a pitiless law usually beyond their comprehension. The alienated human specimen is tied to society as a whole by an invisible umbilical cord: the law of value. This law acts upon all aspects of one's life, shaping its course and destiny. The laws of capitalism, which are blind and are invisible to ordinary people, act upon the individual without he or she being aware of it. One sees only the vastness of a seemingly infinite horizon ahead. That is how it is painted by capitalist propagandists who purport to draw a lesson from the example of Rockefeller — whether or not it is true — about the possibilities of individual success. The amount of poverty and suffering required for a Rockefeller to emerge, and the amount of depravity entailed in the accumulation of a fortune of such magnitude, are left out of the picture, and it is not always possible for the popular forces to expose this clearly. (A discussion of how the workers in the imperialist countries gradually lose the spirit of working-class internationalism due to a certain degree of complicity in the exploitation of the dependent countries, and how this at the same time weakens the combativity of the masses in the imperialist countries, would be appropriate here, but that is a theme that goes beyond the scope of these notes.)
In any case, the road to success is portrayed as beset with perils — perils that, it would seem, an individual with the proper qualities can overcome to attain the goal. The reward is seen in the distance; the way is lonely. Furthermore, it is a contest among wolves. One can win only at the cost of the failure of others.
The principle that human nature, in its psychological aspects, is nothing more than a product of history and given social relations removes all barriers to coercion and manipulation by the powerful.
It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. But when it is squandered in luxury and carelessness, when it is devoted to no good end, forced at last by the ultimate necessity we perceive that it has passed away before we were aware that it was passing.
But you need to make sure that when you make water quality complaints you have a basis, because federally, if there's no water quality issues, that can be considered under Homeland Security an act of terrorism.
But cast away the thirst after books, that thou mayest not die murmuring, but cheerfully, truly, and from thy heart thankful to the gods.
Remember how long thou hast been putting off these things, and how often thou hast received an opportunity from the gods, and yet dost not use it. Thou must now at last perceive of what universe thou art a part, and of what administrator of the universe thy existence is an efflux, and that a limit of time is fixed for thee, which if thou dost not use for clearing away the clouds from thy mind, it will go and thou wilt go, and it will never return.
If you go to a desert, you will hear this mysterious voice: Be wise, protect your forests!
You can not, without guilt and disgrace, stop where you are. The past and the present call on you to advance. Let what you have gained be an impulse to something higher. Your nature is too great to be crushed. You were not created what you are, merely to toil, eat, drink, and sleep, like the inferior animals. If you will, you can rise.
Man always dies before he is fully born.
Personally, I'm in favor of democracy, which means that the central institutions of society have to be under popular control. Now, under capitalism, we can't have democracy by definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. Thus, a corporation or an industry is, if we were to think of it in political terms, fascist; that is, it has tight control at the top and strict obedience has to be established at every level - there's little bargaining, a little give and take, but the line of authority is perfectly straightforward. Just as I'm opposed to political fascism, I'm opposed to economic fascism. I think that until the major institutions of society are under the popular control of participants and communities, it's pointless to talk about democracy.
I fortunately come from generations past that learnt to think using paper. If I have to cut off my right arm to escape computer addiction, I can do that. Generations now and especially in the future will quite literaly be unable to think straight without an electronic device in their hand. To them, life will be brutually stressful with no inner peace to be found because they will be assaulted non-stop by disingenuous companies who have every kind of life-sapping wares to peddle.
Revolutionaries do not make revolutions! The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and when they can pick it up. Armed uprising by itself has never yet led to revolution.
State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies; and this lie slips from its mouth: "I, the state, am the people.""Thus Spoke Zarathustra"
If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things."Walden"
He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.
Tyranny is content with lawlessness; total terror replaces the fences of law and the lawfully established and orderly channels of human communication with its iron ring, which links everybody so tightly to everybody else that not only the space of freedom, as it exists in constitutional states between citizens, but even the desert of neighbourlessness and mutual suspicion disappears, so that it is as if everybody melted together into giant being of enormous proportions. This too does the for a totalitarian environment so well prepared vernacular express in its own way when it no longer speaks of "the" Russians or "the" French, but tells us what "the" Russian or "the" Frenchman wants."Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft" p. 682
It can be hidden only in complete silence and perfect passivity, but its disclosure can almost never be achieved as a willful purpose, as though one possessed and could dispose of this "who" in the same manner he has and can dispose of his qualities. On the contrary, it is more than likely that the "who," which appears so clearly and unmistakably to others, remains hidden from the person himself, like the daimon in Greek religion which accompanies each man throughout his life, always looking over his shoulder from behind and thus visible only to those he encounters. This revelatory quality of speech and action comes to the fore where people are with others and neither for (the doer of good works) nor against them (the criminal) that is, in sheer human togetherness. Although nobody knows whom he reveals when he discloses himself in deed or word, he must be willing to risk the disclosure."The Human Condition"
Pride ruined the angels,
Their shame them restores;
Lurks the joy that is sweetest
In stings of remorse."The Sphinx"
There is a constant stream of opportunity. Looking back and looking forward can be useful, but not if it stops you looking in the present.
There is no reason to accept the doctrines crafted to sustain power and privilege, or to believe that we are constrained by mysterious and unknown social laws. These are simply decisions made within institutions that are subject to human will and that must face the test of legitimacy. And if they do not meet the test, they can be replaced by other institutions that are more free and more just, as has happened often in the past.
For wisdom, which is the worker of all things, taught me: for in her is an understanding spirit holy, one only, manifold, subtil, lively, clear, undefiled, plain, not subject to hurt, loving the thing that is good quick, which cannot be letted, ready to do good,
Kind to man, steadfast, sure, free from care, having all power, overseeing all things, and going through all understanding, pure, and most subtil, spirits.
For wisdom is more moving than any motion: she passeth and goeth through all things by reason of her pureness.
For she is the breath of the power of God, and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty: therefore can no defiled thing fall into her.
For she is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness.
And being but one, she can do all things: and remaining in herself, she maketh all things new: and in all ages entering into holy souls, she maketh them friends of God, and prophets.
For God loveth none but him that dwelleth with wisdom.
For she is more beautiful than the sun, and above all the order of stars: being compared with the light, she is found before it.
For after this cometh night: but vice shall not prevail against wisdom.Book of Wisdom, 7:22-30
Now what? Now where are we? We’re here at you interrupting me again, you fucking idiot. That’s you. You see, we are here at the same point again where you, the fucking peon masses, can once again ruin anyone who tries to do anything because you don’t know how to do it on your own! That’s where we’re fucking at!
Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did.Statement to the Volksgerichtshof [People's Court] of Judge Roland Freisler (21 February 1943)
I think that we have to look back at history and realize that most rebels don’t succeed. We remember the ones that do, but they’re the exception. Most people who rise up and rebel against monolithic systems of power get crushed. And that doesn’t mitigate the magnificence of their lives and their resistance. That’s just a reality. You know, if you take that path, the odds are against you. And yet I think it’s the path that we have to take, because rebellion, especially when we face this monolith of corporate power we call radical evil, there is a moral imperative to stand up to that power with the realization that in all likelihood, especially in a prolonged act of resistance, that power will crush us.
Hannah Arendt, I think, grasps this when she looks back on her own resistance to the Nazis. I mean, she leaves the University of Heidelberg and she says that she had to unlearn everything she had been taught by Heidegger in the University to become a moral human being. And then she joins—she was not a Zionist, but she joins a Zionist underground movement to smuggle German Jews to Palestine. She’s eventually picked up by the Gestapo, stripped of her German citizenship, becomes stateless—she was almost killed by the Gestapo—and ends up in France as a stateless person.
But she says, number one, I look back on that time period of my life and I say, thank God that I wasn’t innocent, that to be innocent in a time of radical evil is to be complicit, number one. And number two, she says those who are most effective at resisting or not those who say, we shouldn’t do this, this oughtn’t to be done, but those who say, I can’t. And I think there’s something within the DNA—that’s why rebels are very poor—. Once power is attained, rebels very rarely are able to rule, because they have that inability to compromise. You saw it with Che Guevara. I interviewed Ronnie Kasrils in the book, who founded the armed wing of the ANC with Nelson Mandela and becomes the deputy defense minister under Mandela, and he starts criticizing the corruption, the creation of what would be called the new class among the ANC. And then they fire on the miners who are striking—the largest massacre since the Sharpeville massacre—and he denounces his own party, a party that he spent 30 years underground at the risk of his life fighting for. That’s a rebel.
And Kasrils makes an interesting point in the book. He said, I was a rebel, because he’s white, he’s Jewish, he walks out on his own, he actually literally walks into a township—you’re not, as a white person, allowed to be in a township after ten at night—and he doesn’t go back, and he never goes back. And he said, I was a rebel; Mandela was a revolutionary, in the sense that he didn’t rebel against his own. And I think that’s right.
But I think that rebels are absolutely vital. You know, I use that concept from Reinhold Niebuhr about sublime madness. And Niebuhr writes correctly that in moments of extremity, liberals are a dead force. They’re are too ineffectual, too little emotional, too intellectual in order to propel resistance forward, that you need people who are possessed of that sublime madness.
who nobody wants
and everybody used.
They say you’re crazy
cause you not crazy enough
to kneel when told to kneel.
Hey, big woman -
with scars on the head
and scars on the heart
that never seem to heal -
I saw your light
and it was shining.
You gave them love.
They gave you shit.
You gave them you.
they gave you hollywood.
They purr at you
cause you know how to roar
and back it up with realness.
big momma in a little world.
You closed your eyes
and neon spun inside your head
cause it was dark outside.
You read your bible
but god never came.
Your daddy woulda loved you
but what would the neighbors say.
They hate you momma
cause you expose their madness.
And their cruelty.
They can see in your eyes
a thousand nightmares
that they have made come true.
Black woman. Baad woman.
Wear your bigness on your chest like a badge
cause you done earned it.
Strong woman. Amazon.
Wear your scars like jewelry
cause they were bought with blood.
They call you mad.
And almost had you
believing that shit.
They called you ugly.
And you hid yourself
and wallowed in their shame.
Rhinocerous woman -
this world is blind
and slight of mind
and cannot see
how beautiful you are.
I saw your light.
And it was shining.
Remember this. The people you're trying to step on, we're everyone you depend on. We're the people who do your laundry and cook your food and serve your dinner. We make your bed. We guard you while you're asleep. We drive the ambulances. We direct your call. We are cooks and taxi drivers and we know everything about you. We process your insurance claims and credit card charges. We control every part of your life.
We are the middle children of history, raised by television to believe that someday we'll be millionaires and movie stars and rock stars, but we won't. And we're just learning this fact. So don't fuck with us."Fight Club"