I wanted to briefly share a few interesting quotes from different sources I’ve come across over the past week or so.
From Yes! magazine:
Attaching our values of freedom to the market is not just dehumanizing. It also fails to recognize how one person’s ‘freedom’ of economic choice is another’s imprisonment in a life of exploitation and deprivation. There is no possibility for true freedom until we are all free, and this will only come through a much richer and deeper conception of human freedom than the one that consists of going to a grocery store and ‘choosing’ between 5,000 variations of processed corn.
I thought this was a wonderfully articulate snippet regarding the importance of shifting our views on freedom and capitalism. When we commit ourselves entirely to the idea of unbridled free market capitalism as the surest guarantee of personal freedom, we loose freedom in other ways, such as the freedom to live in a world with clean air and water and healthy plants and animals and ecosystems, among other things.
I read this in a copy of Yes! magazine I stumbled across– an exciting publication that “empowers people with the vision and tools to create a healthy planet and vibrant communities.” From the same edition I highly recommend the article, Get Apocalyptic: Why Radical is the New Normal.
From Woody Allen’s short story “The Condemned”:
Now Cloquet stepped closer to Brisseau’s sleeping hulk and again cocked the pistol. A feeling of nausea swept over him as he contemplated the implications of his action. This was an existential nausea, caused by his intense awareness of the contingency of life, and could not be relieved with an ordinary Alka-Seltzer. What was required was an Existential Alka- Seltzer—a product sold in many Left Bank drugstores. It was an enormous pill, the size of an automobile hubcap, that, dissolved in water, took away the queasy feeling induced by too much awareness of life. Cloquet had also found it helpful after eating Mexican food.
Just a snippet. Maybe it made you smile. Maybe not. I love Woody Allen and find almost all of his work hilarious. I have a book of his short stories and random comedic writings that this quote is from, and which I thoroughly enjoy. The comedic writings of Woody Allen inspired me to start a comedy blog, “The Tongue in the Typewriter,” (the name of which is a reference to one of his works,) and while I could never hope to replicate the wit of the master, I enjoy writing nonetheless.
From Michael Crichton’s fictional novel Jurassic Park:
[Malcolm, a sharp and cynical mathematician, goes on a rant about the destructive nature of science and how we would be better off without it. Ellie, another character, says “But then we’d lose all the advances-“]
“What advances?” Malcolm said irritably. “The number of hours women devote to housework has not changed since 1930, despite all the advances. All the vacuum cleaners, washer-dryers, trash compactors, garbage disposals, wash-and-wear fabrics . . . Why does it still take as long to clean the house as it did in 1930?”
Ellie said nothing.
“Because there haven’t been any advances,” Malcolm said. “Not really. Thirty thousand years ago, when men were doing cave paintings at Lascaux, they worked twenty hours a week to provide themselves with food and shelter and clothing. The rest of the time, they could play, or sleep, or do whatever they wanted. And they lived in a natural world, with clean air, clean water, beautiful trees and sunsets. Think about it. Twenty hours a week. Thirty thousand years ago.”
Interesting to think that since the start of human history we have been on a quest to solve problems and improve the quality of life, but instead we have simply wound up polluting the world and making things harder for ourselves. I do not believe it is possible or ultimately even desirable for everyone to cast away the progress of mankind and return to the stone age, but I think we must take time to rethink our priorities and attempt to structure the future accordingly.