node created 2012/06/17
last changed 2013/02/04
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.
Programming is one of the most exciting, flow-inducing, mentally stimulating, mathematically and logically enlightening, rewarding activities I do. Programming is one of the most mind-numbing, soul-sucking, procrastination-inducing, lonely, repetitive, mentally exhausting activities I do.
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
Political language - and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists - is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself.

Just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they'll take root. I don't know. You try. You do what you can. Kill yourself.

Seriously, though. If you are, do. No, really. There's no rationalisation for what you do, and you are Satan's little helpers, okay? Kill yourself. Seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously. No, this is not a joke, if you're going: "There's going to be a joke coming." There's no fucking joke coming. You are Satan's spawn, filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked, and you are fucking us. Kill yourself, it's the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself. Planting seeds.

I know all the marketing people are going: "He's doing a joke." There's no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tail-pipe, fucking hang yourself, borrow a gun from a Yank friend - I don't care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil fucking machinations.

I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now, too. "Oh, you know what Bill's doing? He's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, he's very smart." Oh man. I am not doing that, you fucking evil scumbags! "Oh, you know what Bill's doing now? He's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. Lot of people are feeling that indignation, we've done research. Huge market. He's doing a good thing." God damn it, I'm not doing that, you scumbags. Quit putting a goddamn dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet! "Oh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market, Bill's very bright to do that." God, I'm just caught in a fucking web. "Oh, the trapped dollar. Big dollar, huge dollar. Good market, look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. If we play to that and then separate them into the trapped dollar ..."

How do you live like that? And I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don't you? "What did you do today, honey?" "Oh, we made arsenic childhood food. Now, good night. Yeah, we just said, you know, is your baby really too loud? You know ... yeah, the mums will love it, yeah." Sleep like fucking children, don't you? This is your world, isn't it?
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.
The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them.
If we do not expose the plea of security and separate the parts that are valid from the parts that are not valid, then we are complicit.
Certain backward areas have advanced, and various devices always in some way connected with warfare and police espionage have developed, but experiment and invention have largely stopped.
The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise...
The difference between real material poison and intellectual poison is that most material poison is disgusting to the taste, but intellectual poison, which takes the form of cheap newspapers or bad books, can unfortunately sometimes be attractive.
Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love.
It is very sad then that so many children are hurried along and not given time to think about themselves. People say to them when they think that they have been playing long enough: “You are no longer a child. You must begin to do something.” But although playing is doing nothing, you are really doing something when you play; you are thinking about yourself. Many children play in the wrong way. They make work out of play. They not only seem to be doing something, they really are doing something. They are imitating the grown-ups around them who are always doing as much instead of as little as possible. And they are often encouraged to play in this way by the grown-ups. And they are not learning to be themselves.
Education must provide the opportunities for self-fulfillment; it can at best provide a rich and challenging environment for the individual to explore, in his own way.
So we should, I think, stop trying to fool ourselves when we say that we don't care about things, or that we want to help, but we don't help the things that are obvious and directly in front of our face. We should try to work together, I think, to try to build independent structures to replace the parts of the state that have been dismantled.

This is something which is I think highfallutin and difficult for people to grok, but part of the reason that we loose so much in our societies is because we don't have democratic control over the things that matter to us.

So what we need to do is to try to replace those structures. The structures especially that are missing. And that includes stuff that's not very sexy, like child care or education, as well as, you know, open and free base bands for cell phones. It's all related. So I think we have to move from a world where we act, not just a world where we react.
We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.
Criminals don't actually don't belong in a concentration camp. That they still form a permanent category in all camps is, from the viewpoint of the totalitarian power apparatus, a kind of concession to the prejudices of society, which in this way can be made to get used to their existence the most easily.
"Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft", S. 657
"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."
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them.
A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
Curiosity was framed, ignorance killed the cat.
Modern Western culture seemingly has entered a failure-mode unprecedented in history, where we have nobody willing to go first, to stand out, to do what needs to be done, to enact the changes everyone else wants. We've run out of empathetic iconoclasts—people who see the suffering of distant/distributed others, and for whom that aggregate suffering outweighs the risk that might come to the comfortable-life-in-obscurity of all their closer companions. The people with hearts that bleed for their fellow citizens, but then don't shrivel back at the thought of their companions being the ones who end up bleeding.
What I have most wanted to do throughout the past ten years is to make political writing into an art. My starting point is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice. When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art’. I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing. But I could not do the work of writing a book, or even a long magazine article, if it were not also an aesthetic experience. Anyone who cares to examine my work will see that even when it is downright propaganda it contains much that a full-time politician would consider irrelevant. I am not able, and do not want, completely to abandon the world view that I acquired in childhood. So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take a pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information. It is no use trying to suppress that side of myself. The job is to reconcile my ingrained likes and dislikes with the essentially public, non-individual activities that this age forces on all of us.
The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.
One has to do something in order to not be guilty oneself.
It is possibly the most spectacular moment of resistance that I can think of in the 20th Century... The fact that five little kids, in the mouth of the wolf, where it really counted, had the tremendous courage to do what they did, is spectacular to me. I know that the world is better for them having been there, but I don't know why.
about the White Rose
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.
If, in Récoltes et Semailles I'm addressing anyone besides myself, it isn't what's called a "public". Rather I'm addressing that someone who is prepared to read me as a person, and as a solitary person. It's to that being inside of you who knows how to be alone, it is to this infant that I wish to speak, and no-one else. I'm well aware that this infant has been considerably estranged. It's been through some hard times, and more than once over a long period. It's been dropped off Lord knows where, and it can be very difficult to reach. One swears that it died ages ago, or that it never existed - and yet I am certain it's always there, and very much alive.
"The Life of a Mathematician - Reflections and Bearing Witness" (1986)
Constructive criticism and self-criticism are extremely important for any revolutionary organization. Without them, people tend to drown in their mistakes, not learn from them.