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Life Arts    H3'ed 3/21/18

Daily Inspiration — When Freedom Dies

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He who possesses liberty otherwise than as an aspiration possesses it soulless, dead. One of the qualities of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands still in the midst of the struggle and says, "I have it," merely shows by so doing that he has just lost it.

Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is characteristic of the so-called State, and, as I have said, it is not a good characteristic. No doubt the franchise, self-taxation, etc., are benefits -- but to whom? To the citizen, not to the individual. Now, reason does not imperatively demand that the individual should be a citizen. Far from it. The State is the curse of the individual. With what is Prussia's political strength bought? With the absorption of the individual in the political and geographical idea. The waiter is the best soldier.


--Henrik Ibsen, born this day in 1828

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Ibsen goes on to make a prophesy about the State of Israel. I leave it to you to judge whether it has come true.

And on the other hand, take the Jewish people, the aristocracy of the human race -- how is it they have kept their place apart, their poetical halo, amid surroundings of coarse cruelty? By having no State to burden them. Had they remained in Palestine, they would long ago have lost their individuality in the process of their State's construction, like all other nations.

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Then he proceeds to define anarchism, ahead of his time...but also to make a romantic statement about our untapped potential:

Away with the State! I will take part in that revolution. Undermine the whole conception of a State, declare free choice and spiritual kinship to be the only all-important conditions of any union, and you will have the commencement of a liberty that is worth something. Changes in forms of government are pettifogging affairs -- a degree less or a degree more, mere foolishness. The State has its root in time, and will ripe and rot in time. Greater things than it will fall -- religion, for example. Neither moral conceptions nor art-forms have an eternity before them. How much are we really in duty bound to pin our faith to? Who will guarantee me that on Jupiter two and two do not make five?


Unrelated - here's another side of Ibsen:

I feel myself like God's lost prodigal;
I left Him for the world's delusive charms.
With mild reproof He wooed me to his arms;
And when I come, He lights the vaulted hall,
Prepares a banquet for the son restored,
And makes His noblest creature my reward.
From this time forth I'll never leave that Light, --
But stand its armed defender in the fight;
Nothing shall part us, and our life shall prove
A song of glory to triumphant love!


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Josh Mitteldorf, a senior editor at OpEdNews, blogs on aging at http://JoshMitteldorf.ScienceBlog.com. Read how to stay young at http://AgingAdvice.org.
Educated to be an astrophysicist, he has branched out from there to mathematical (more...)
 

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