“To discover the unknown is not a prerogative Sinbad, or Eric the Red, or of Copernicus. Each and every man is a discoverer. He begins by discovering bitterness, saltiness, concavity, smoothness, harshness, the seven colors of the rainbow and the twenty-some letters of the alphabet; he goes on to visages, maps, animals and stars. He ends with doubt, or with faith, and the almost total certainty of his own ignorance.”
–Jorge-Luis Borges, Atlas
“The person who says, as almost everyone does say, that human life is of infinite value, not to be measured in mere material terms, is talking palpable, if popular, nonsense. If he believed that of his own life, he would never cross the street, save to visit his doctor or to earn money for things necessary to physical survival. He would eat the cheapest, most nutritious food he could find and live in one small room, saving his income for frequent visits to the best possible doctors. He would take no risks, consume no luxuries, and life a long life. If you call it living.”
–David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom
But I hear on all sides, “Do not argue!” The Officer says: “Do not argue but drill!” The tax collector: “Do not argue but pay!” The cleric: “Do not argue but believe!” Only one prince in the world says, “Argue as much as you will, and about what you will, but obey!” Everywhere there is restriction on freedom.
See the answer here.
The new civilization, which may take centuries or a few thousand years to usher in, will not be another civilization- it will be the open stretch of realization which all the past civilizations have pointed to. The city, which was the birth-place of civilization, such as we know it to be, will exist no more. There will be nuclei of course, but they will be mobile and fluid. The peoples of the earth will no longer be shut off from one another within states but will flow freely over the surface of the earth and intermingle. There will be no fixed constellations of human aggregates. Governments will give way to management, using the word in a broad sense. The politician will become as superannuated as the dodo bird. The machine will never be dominated, as some imagine; it will be scrapped, eventually, but not before men have understood the nature of the mystery which binds them to their creation. The worship, investigation and subjugation of the machine will give way to the lure of all that is truly occult. This problem is bound up with the larger one of power- and of posession. Man will be forced to realize that power must be kept open, fluid and free. His aim will be not to possess power but to radiate it.
-Henry Miller, Sunday After the War
A nihilist is someone who bows to no authority, accepts no principle at face value, no matter in how much respect that principle may be held.
-Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons
The growth of federal power over all the traditional checks and balances is the worst single event of this dying century and I hope it will be reversed in the next century.
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As a wartime assistant secretary of the Navy, he was able to take a tour of the killing-fields in a foreign country during one of the most disastrous battles ever. After witnessing first-hand the horrors of war, he had a vision of his glorious future and gushed to a friend, “It would be wonderful to be a war President of the United States.”
Later he would fulfill that dream.
Click here to find out who he is, and here for the article containing the anecdote.
Once, in the Democratic primary of 1969, I ran for mayor of New York in the hope that a Left-Right coalition could be formed and this Left-Right pincers could make a dent in the entrenched power of the center. The best to be said for that campaign is that it had its charm. I am not so certain, however, that this idea must remain eternally without wings. It may yet take an alchemy of Left and Right to confound the corporate center. Our notion was built on the premise that we did not really know the elements of a good, viable society. We all had our differing ideals, and morals, and political ethics, but rarely found a way to practice them directly. So, we called for Power to the Neighborhoods. We suggested that New York City become a state itself, the fifty-first. Its citizens would then have the power to create a variety of new neighborhoods, new townships, all built on separate concepts, core neighborhoods founded on one or another of our cherished notions from the Left or the Right. One could have egalitarian towns and privileged places, or, for those who did not wish to be bothered with living in so detailed (and demanding) a society, there would be the more familiar and old way of doing things—the City of the State of New York—a government for those who did not care—just like old times.
Who am I? Answer here.
Believe me, my sole purpose is to make as much money as possible; for after good health it is the best thing to have.
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The National Endowment for the Avant-Garde
Some artists fear market exchange, and feel that high culture can only be supported by government. I, however, feel that, although great art can be produced in almost any political environment, a true culture is always the expression of voluntary action and free expression, and the State, that “coldest of all cold monsters“, hates free expression.
Here is a somewhat humorous example, a budding young musician being “protected” by the State. Funny but sad at the same time. Repression of a superior talent- somewhere Ayn Rand is rolling over in her grave!
More serious, yet more inspiring, is the story of the African original, Fela Kuti. Talk about a man versus the State!
Here is English Professor Paul Cantor’s history of how commerce has aided the great art of the west.
People sometimes enquire what form of government it is most suitable for an artist to live under. To this question there is only one answer. The form of government that is most suitable to the artist is no government at all.
-Click here to find out what crazy anarchist said this.