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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.



    • Dom
    • Posted November 20, 2005 at 11:15 pm
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    I’m not sure how relevant this is, but I’d learned some time ago that security and freedom (which you may also loosely interpret as convenience) can never go hand in hand. An example: locks and keys provide security at the cost of sacrificing convenience, as we now need to take time to lock and unlock the door everytime we enter or leave the house. In a world where securing our borders against terrorists takes the highest priority, this most likely means losing some freedom we previously enjoy. Therefore if we really want security over freedom, then in the end there will be no freedom, and trust will be replaced by strict conformity to authentication rules and procedures.

    • Anonymous
    • Posted November 21, 2005 at 9:06 am
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    Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
    Blessed are the lowly, for they will inherit the earth.
    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
    Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.
    Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    — Y’shua the Messiah

    • Anonymous
    • Posted November 23, 2005 at 9:27 pm
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    hey mo,
    sorry i dont have time this time round to read your post but just wanted to say thanks for commenting on my xanga =) you’re pretty cool!
    take care and i plan on returning and putting thought into what youve written =)

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