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Monthly Archives: November 2005

I’m watching a documentary on Nazi Germany, and it throws into sharp contrast the world of the free and the unfree, the danger of those willing to stay silent in the face of horror, those willing to let evil pass you by, because it doesn’t concern you. The words of Father Martin Niermoller are famous in this context, and I won’t repeat them.

I want to say a little bit about freedom, and how essential it is to our lives. More importantly I wanted to explain what it meant and how it should be properly conceived of by us in the modern day. In the end though, I found this quote that seemed to say more then I could ever say, and perhaps implies in its details more then I properly understood what ought to be included in the concept.

In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again. – Edward Gibbon

Its such a simple injunction, the realisation that true freedom comes in our own willingness to take sovereignty of our soul and then to extend the proper and neccessary compassion to our fellow man, who like me and you, will inevitably slip and fall, and will need a gentle and helping hand to rise again and see them on their way once again. But perhaps more true and equally inevitable, is that this period of freedom will eventually fail. There is a certainty to this, that this democratic modern world will fail. It may keep its dressings and its institutional strucutre, but its substance will be, and currently is, being fundamentally undermined every day through the very nature of its creation and maintainence.

Maybe I read too much into it, that there is a chance that things could persever and not fail as they seem so inevitably determined to do. But I’ve never been a great optimist mind, so you will pardon me if I don’t plan on that being a likely result.

I just want to put up this link and invite you to read it. It is an abolutely fascinating piece about what is hidden in plain site. The moral of the piece is that your face says more then you think it possibly can. There is so much about basic and real knowledge that modern science has only the most peripheral understanding off. It reminds me how vast the sea of knowledge really is. Modern man has barely passed the paddling pool….

http://www.gladwell.com/2002/2002_08_05_a_face.htm