Aug 26, 2012
|Crisis: Quotes from Orwell and Hazlitt|
1. Introductory remarks
2. Orwell quotations
3. Hazlitt quotation
4. Nederlog and my site
1. Introductory remarks
My eyes keep giving me great trouble, which is the reason there was no Nederlog the last 12 days,. The present one consists only of quotes relating to the crisis.
I do not know when there will be a new Nederlog: With eyes such as I have now for the 4th month it is exceedingly difficiult and painful to use any computerscreen I have in my house.
2. Orwell quotations
The three quotations by Orwell in this Nederlog are all Orwell's own words, and are all quoted from George Orwell - A Life, by Bernard Crick, Penguin Books, 1980 (that has a picture of Orwell with brown eyes on the cover, whereas the text says he had blue eyes: It may have been improved in later editions I never saw).
I provide these quotes because they may help to understand the current crisis:
"I think you overstimate the danger of a 'Brave New World' - i.e. a completely materialistic vulgar civilization based on hedonism. I would says that the danger of that kind of thing is past and that we are in danger of a quite different kind of world, the centralized slave state, ruled over by a small clique who are in effect the new ruling class, though they might be adoptive ["democratically elected", like Hitler - MM] rather than hereditary. Such a state would not be hedonistic, on the contrary its dynamic would come from some kind of rabid nationalism,and leader-worship kept going by literally continuous war ["against terrorism", ironically and very falsely and dishonestly - MM] I see no safeguard against this except (a) war-weariness and distaste for authoritarianism (..), and (b) the survival of democratic values amongst the inteligentsia."
"Tne starting point of the discussion should be regarded as the main functions of the State:
(1) To guarantee a newborn citizien his equality of chance.
(2) To protect him against economic exploitatiob by individuals in groups.
(3) To protect him against the fettering or misappropriation of his creative faculties and achievements.
(4) To fulfil these tasks with maximum efficiency and a minimum of interference."
The first seems true of today, suitably qualified; the second is a very sound set of considerations about "the main functions of the State", that these days are snowed under, "forgotten", or lied about in the propaganda about "tje war on terrorism", that to me seems a ruse to try to introduce an authoritarian slave state - or if it is not that, is the most probable outcome anyway, apart from total economical collapse.
Except Montaigne I do not know a greater essayist than William Hazlitt, but I concede that perhaps only the brilliant and the bright may be able to see this clearly or even at all, also in view of the fact that Hazlitt's English, although excellent, is precisely not the simpleminded journalistic prose addressed at average readers with little education that is so popular these days, even in publications that are nominally addressed at "the academically educated".
In any case, for those with clear minds and a fine appreciation for great English, here is Hazlitt outlining his own political stance, in the first paragraph of his essay "What is the people?", that you can also find in his Political Essays of 1819 (the link is to my site, where I have not finished preparing my edition of that text, that you can also find on archive.org).
If you want some imaginative background, imagine Hazlitt addressing a propagandist or media-whore of the GOP of our days, who are such gross and able liars:
What is the people?
March 7, 1818
And who are yoou to ask the question? One of the people. And yet you would do something! Then you would not have the People nothing. For what is the People? Milions of men, like you, with hearts beating in their bosoms, with thoughts stirring in their minds, with the blood circulating in their veins, with wants and appetites, and passions and anxious cares, and busy purposes and affections for others and respect for themselves, and a desire for happiness, and a right to freedom, and a will to be free. And yet you would tear out this mighty heart of a nation, and lay it bare and bleeding at the foot of despotism: you would slay the mind of a country to fill up the dreary aching void with the old obscene, drivelling prejudices of superstition and tyranny: you would tread out the eye of Liberty (the light of nations) like 'a vile jelly', that mankind may be led to about darling to its endless drudgery, lie the Hebrew Samson (shorn of strength and blind), by his insulting taskmasters: you would make the throne [that is these days: the government, its bureaucracy, its police, its military - MM] every thing, and the people nothing, to be yourself less than nothing, a very slave, a retile, a creeping, cringing sycophant, a court favourite, a pander to Legitimacy, - that detestable fiction which would make you and me and all mankind its slaves or victims; which would, of right and with all the sanction of religion and morality, sacrifice the lives of millions to the least of caprices; which subjects the rights, the happiness, and liberty of nations, to the will of some of the lowest of the species; which rears its bloated hideous form to brave the will of the whole people; that claims mankind as its property, and allows human nature to exist only upon sufferance; that haunts the understanding like a frightful spectre, and oppresses the very air with a weight that is not to be borne; that like a witch's spell covers the earth with a dire and envious mist, and makes us turn our eyes from the light of heaven, which we have no right to look at without its leave; robs us of 'the unbought grace of life', the pure delight and conscious pride in works of art or nature; leaves us no thought or feeling that we dare call our own; makes genius its lackey; and virtue its easy prey; sports with human happiness, and mocks at human misery; suspends the breath of liberty, and almost of life; exenterates us of our affections, blinds our understandings, debases our imaginations, converts the very hope of emancipation from its yoke into sacrilege, binds the successive countless generations of men together in chains like a string of felons or galley-slaves, lest they should 'resemble the flies of a summer', considers any remission of its absolute claims as a gracious boon, an act of royal clemency and favour, and confounds all sense of justice, reason, truth, liberty, humanity, in one low, servile deathlike dread of power without limit and without remorse!*
* This passage is nearly a repetition of what was said before; but as it contains
the sum and substance of all I have ever said on such subjects I let it stand.
This was in fact quoted from p. 67-8 of: William Hazlitt : On the Pleasure of Hating - Penguin Books- Great Ideas, that may still be in print, and that contains a small number of his essays. The one in the title is also on my site by way of the last link, and very well worth reading.
4. Nederlog and my site
It is exceedingly difficult with the sore eyes that I have at present, and in fact since May, up and down, but painful all days at least part of the day to look at a computer screen, at least at one of those that I have presently available in my house. It feels as if they have been sandpapered, on bad days, of which I have meanwhile had many: see keratoconjunctivitis sicca, if you are interested, for that it the diagnosis, and it is quite unpleasant an affliction.
Apart from that, my condition is fair, even with little sleep because of the pain, which I can only explain by reference to the mB12 protocol I follow.
So I won't make predictions: You'll have to find out yourself how the site is or is not developing, which should not be a difficult task, since there is a lot of it worth reading, also outside the Nederlog sections.
Indeed, it pleases me to report that during the last 10 days without additions the site has not been less read.
I do hope to be able to surpass the present problems, for there is still a lot I would like to write and write about.
As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):
Short descriptions of the above:
1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understa, but nds ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
7. A space- and
computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.
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