Essay On Terrorism With Quotes

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Conquer the world by intelligence, and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it.
Bertrand Russell (Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects)
Diversity is an aspect of human existence that cannot be eradicated by terrorism or war or self-consuming hatred. It can only be conquered by recognizing and claiming the wealth of values it represents for all.
Aberjhani (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
If the idea of loving those whom you have been taught to recognize as your enemies is too overwhelming, consider more deeply the observation that we are all much more alike than we are unalike.
Aberjhani (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
The theology of the average colored church is basing itself far too much upon 'Hell and Damnation'—upon an attempt to scare people into being decent and threatening them with the terrors of death and punishment. We are still trained to believe a good deal that is simply childish in theology. The outward and visible punishment of every wrong deed that men do, the repeated declaration that anything can be gotten by anyone at any time by prayer. [Essay entitled 'On Christianity', published posthumously]
W.E.B. Du Bois (Writings: The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade / The Souls of Black Folk / Dusk of Dawn / Essays and Articles)
Religion is based primarily upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly as the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things. In this world we can now begin a little to understand things, and a little to master them by help of science, which has forced its way step by step against the opposition of all the old precepts. Science can help us to get over this craven fear in which mankind has lived for so many generations. Science can teach us, and I think our own hearts can teach us, no longer to look around for imaginary supports, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make this world a fit place to live in, instead of the place that the churches in all these centuries have made it.
Bertrand Russell (Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects)
The glorification of hatred is predicated on a foundation of fear-induced ignorance venomous to haters and those they believe they hate.
Aberjhani (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
You can’t see the future coming—not the terrors, for sure, but you also can’t see the wonders that are coming, the moments of light-soaked joy that await each of us.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
Sorrow, terror, anguish, despair itself are often the chosen expressions of an approximation to the highest good. Our sympathy in tragic fiction depends on this principle; tragedy delights by affording a shadow of the pleasure which exists in pain. This is the source also of the melancholy which is inseparable from the sweetest melody. The pleasure that is in sorrow is sweeter than the pleasure of pleasure itself.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (A Defence of Poetry and Other Essays)
The acknowledgement of a single possibility can change everything.
Aberjhani (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
Individuals often turn to poetry, not only to glean strength and perspective from the words of others, but to give birth to their own poetic voices and to hold history accountable for the catastrophes rearranging their lives.
Aberjhani (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
The surest way to prevent seditions...is to take away the matter of them.
Francis Bacon (The Essays)
We want to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world - its good facts, its bad facts, its beauties, and its ugliness; see the world as it is and not be afraid of it. Conquer the world by intelligence and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it. The whole conception of God is a conception derived from the ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men. When you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self-respecting human beings. We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face. We ought to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better than what these others have made of it in all these ages. A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by words uttered long ago by ignorant men. It needs a fearless outlook and free intelligence. It needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time toward a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.
Bertrand Russell (Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects)
On either side of a potentially violent conflict, an opportunity exists to exercise compassion and diminish fear based on recognition of each other's humanity. Without such recognition, fear fueled by uninformed assumptions, cultural prejudice, desperation to meet basic human needs, or the panicked uncertainty of the moment explodes into violence.
Aberjhani (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
I think the world divides neatly into those who are excited by the managed induction of terror and those who are not. I do not find terror exciting. I find it terrifying. One of my basic goals is to subject my nervous system to as little total terror as possible. The cruel paradox of course is that this kind of makeup usually goes hand in hand with a delicate nervous system that's extremely easy to terrify.
David Foster Wallace (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments)
We can gain a lot more striving for harmonious coexistence than we can by giving in to hate-filled rage and fear-driven ignorance.
Aberjhani (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
There is nothing sane, merciful, heroic, devout, redemptive, wise, holy, loving, peaceful, joyous, righteous, gracious, remotely spiritual, or worthy of praise where mass murder is concerned. We have been in this world long enough to know that by now and to understand that nonviolent conflict resolution informed by mutual compassion is the far better option.
Aberjhani (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
War is insanity magnified, feeding off toxic madness which then excretes chaos completely indifferent to the slaughtered rhymes and screaming reasons of human beings.
Aberjhani (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
It still would be years before I understood the seriousness of my change of view. Much later, I recognized it in "Revolution," the essay of Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski, who describes the moment when a man on the edge of a crowd looks back defiantly at a policeman — and when that policeman senses a sudden refusal to accept his defining gaze — as the imperceptible moment in which rebellion is born. "All books about all revolutions begin with a chapter that describes the decay of tottering authority or the misery and sufferings of the people," Kapuscinski writes. "They should begin with a psychological chapter — one that shows how a harassed, terrified man suddenly breaks his terror, stops being afraid. This unusual process — sometimes accomplished in an instant, like a shock — demands to be illustrated. Man gets rid of fear and feel free. Without that, there would be no revolution.
Gloria Steinem (Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem)
The question of identity is a question involving the most profound panic—a terror as primary as the nightmare of the mortal fall.
James Baldwin (The Devil Finds Work: Essays)
There is a germ of religion in human nature so strong that whenever an order of men can persuade the people by flattery or terror that they have salvation at their disposal, there can be no end to fraud, violence, or usurpation.
Christopher Hitchens (Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens)
Enemies are somewhere else, as the fighting is almost always “over there,” with Islamic fundamentalism now replacing Russian and Chinese communism as the implacable, furtive menace. And “terrorist” is a more flexible word than “communist.” It can unify a larger number of quite different struggles and interests. What this may mean is that the war will be endless---since there will always be some terrorism.
Susan Sontag (At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches)
I think the world divides neatly into those who are excited by the managed induction of terror and those who are not. I do not find terror exciting. I find it terrifying.
David Foster Wallace (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments)
For human community life cannot long endure on a basis of crude force, brutality, terror, and hate.
Albert Einstein (Essays in Humanism)
Order derived through submission and maintained by terror is not much of a safe guaranty; yet that is the only 'order' that governments have ever maintained.
Emma Goldman (Anarchism and Other Essays)
Beauty belongs to the beloved who returns the gaze, in whose eyes we see the sun. But in this . . . beauty, in the mutual gaze, also lies the beginning of terror --awe, idealization, overstimulation, violation, loss.
Jessica Benjamin (Like Subjects, Love Objects: Essays on Recognition and Sexual Difference)
I have no children of my own, but I love a lot of kids and love a lot of people with kids, who, it seems to me, are in constant communion with terror, and that terror exists immediately beside . . . let’s here call it delight—different from pleasure, connected to joy, Zadie Smith’s joy, somehow—terror and delight sitting next to each other, their feet dangling off the side of a bridge very high up.
Ross Gay (The Book of Delights: Essays)
They validate perceptions that need validating, especially in adolescence--ie, under the bland, forced optimism of American life terrible forces are at work, things are not what they seem, and if you feel lonely, persecuted, a misfit, and in terror, you aren't crazy. You're right.
Joanna Russ (To Write Like a Woman: Essays in Feminism and Science Fiction)
Violence is the common origin of all regimes. Life, discussion, and political choice occur only against a background of violence.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
The beauty and strangeness of the world may fill the eyes with its cordial refreshment. Equally it may offer the heart a dish of terror. On one side is radiance; on another is the abyss.
Mary Oliver (Upstream: Selected Essays)
human community life cannot long endure on a basis of crude force, brutality, terror, and hate. Only understanding for our neighbors, justice in our dealings, and willingness to help our fellow men can give human society permanence and assure security for the individual.
Albert Einstein (Essays in Humanism)
...Puritanism has made life itself impossible. More than art, more than estheticism, life represents beauty in a thousand variations; it is indeed, a gigantic panorama of eternal change. Puritanism, on the other hand, rests on a fixed and immovable conception of life; it is based on the Calvinistic idea that life is a curse, imposed upon man by the wrath of God. In order to redeem himself man must do constant penance, must repudiate every natural and healthy impulse, and turn his back on joy and beauty. Puritanism celebrated its reign of terror in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, destroying and crushing every manifestation of art and culture. It was the spirit of Puritanism which robbed Shelley of his children, because he would not bow to the dicta of religion. It was the same narrow spirit which alienated Byron from his native land, because that great genius rebelled against the monotony, dullness, and pettiness of his country. It was Puritanism, too, that forced some of England's freest women into the conventional lie of marriage: Mary Wollstonecraft and, later, George Eliot. And recently Puritanism has demanded another toll--the life of Oscar Wilde. In fact, Puritanism has never ceased to be the most pernicious factor in the domain of John Bull, acting as censor of the artistic expression of his people, and stamping its approval only on the dullness of middle-class respectability.
Emma Goldman (Anarchism and Other Essays)
The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word because the eyes of others have no data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance: An Excerpt from Collected Essays, First Series)
True art, when it happens to us, challenges the 'I' that we are. A love-parallel would be just; falling in love challenges the reality to which we lay claim, part of the pleasure of love and part of its terror, is the world turned upside down. We want and we don't want, the cutting edge, the upset, the new views. Mostly we work hard at taming our emotional environment just as we work hard at taming our aesthetic environment. We already have tamed our physical environment. And are we happy with all this tameness? Are you?
Jeanette Winterson (Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery)
Fascism talks ideology, but it is really just marketing—marketing for power. It is recognizable by its need to purge, by the strategies it uses to purge, and by its terror of truly democratic agendas. It is recognizable by its determination to convert all public services to private entrepreneurship, all nonprofit organizations to profit-making ones—so that the narrow but protective chasm between governance and business disappears. It changes citizens into taxpayers—so individuals become angry at even the notion of the public good. It changes neighbors into consumers—so the measure of our value as humans is not our humanity or our compassion or our generosity but what we own. It changes parenting into panicking—so that we vote against the interests of our own children; against their health care, their education, their safety from weapons. And in effecting these changes it produces the perfect capitalist, one who is willing to kill a human being for a product (a pair of sneakers, a jacket, a car) or kill generations for control of products (oil, drugs, fruit, gold).
Toni Morrison (The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations)
In advocating nonviolence one reinforces established violence.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
Love connects one irreplaceable being to another: the payment is terror of death, since if each person is unique, each death is singular, an eternal isolation.
Louise Glück (Proofs & Theories: Essays on Poetry)
Recently someone asked, for whom does one write? That is a profound question. One should always dedicate a book. Not that one alters one's thoughts with a change of interlocutor, but because every word, whether we know it or not, is always a word with someone, which presupposes a certain degree of esteem or friendship, the resolution of a certain number of misunderstandings, the transcendence of a certain latent content and, finally the appearance of a part of the truth in the encounters we live.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
This is, perhaps, a very subtle argument, but black men do not have the same reason to hate white men as white men have to hate blacks. The root of the white man's hatred is terror, a bottomless and nameless terror, which focuses on the black, surfacing, and concentrating on this dread figure, an entity which lives only in his mind. But the root of the black man's hatred is rage, and he does not so much hate white men as simply want them out his way, and, more than that, out of his children's way.
James Baldwin (The Devil Finds Work: Essays)
New Rule: Just because a country elects a smart president doesn't make it a smart country. A couple of weeks ago, I was asked on CNN if I thought Sarah Palin could get elected president, and I said I hope not, but I wouldn't put anything past this stupid country. Well, the station was flooded with emails, and the twits hit the fan. And you could tell that these people were really mad, because they wrote entirely in CAPITAL LETTERS!!! Worst of all, Bill O'Reilly refuted my contention that this is a stupid country by calling me a pinhead, which (a) proves my point, and (b) is really funny coming from a doody-face like him. Now, before I go about demonstration how, sadly, easy it is to prove the dumbness that's dragging us down, let me just say that ignorance has life-and-death consequences. On the eve of the Iraq War, seventy percent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11. Six years later, thirty-four percent still do. Or look at the health-care debate: At a recent town hall meeting in South Carolina, a man stood up and told his congressman to "keep your government hands off my Medicare," which is kind of like driving cross-country to protest highways. This country is like a college chick after two Long Island iced teas: We can be talked into anything, like wars, and we can be talked out of anything, like health care. We should forget the town halls, and replace them with study halls. Listen to some of these stats: A majority of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, or explain what the Bill of Rights is. Twenty-four percent could not name the country America fought in the Revolutionary War. More than two-thirds of Americans don't know what's in Roe v. Wade. Two-thirds don't know what the Food and Drug Administration does. Some of this stuff you should be able to pick up simply by being alive. You know, like the way the Slumdog kid knew about cricket. Not here. Nearly half of Americans don't know that states have two senators, and more than half can't name their congressman. And among Republican governors, only three got their wife's name right on the first try. People bitch and moan about taxes and spending, but they have no idea what their government spends money on. The average voter thinks foreign aid consumes more twenty-four percent of our budget. It's actually less than one percent. A third of Republicans believe Obama is not a citizen ad a third of Democrats believe that George Bush had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, which is an absurd sentence, because it contains the words "Bush" and "knowledge." Sarah Palin says she would never apologize for America. Even though a Gallup poll say eighteen percent of us think the sun revolves around the earth. No, they're not stupid. They're interplanetary mavericks. And I haven't even brought up religion. But here's one fun fact I'll leave you with: Did you know only about half of Americans are aware that Judaism is an older religion than Christianity? That's right, half of America looks at books called the Old Testament and the New Testament and cannot figure out which came first. I rest my case.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
So many men murder their partners and former partners that we have well over a thousand homicides of that kind a year—meaning that every three years the death toll tops 9/11’s casualties, though no one declares a war on this particular kind of terror. (Another way to put it: the more than 11,766 corpses from domestic-violence homicides between 9/11 and 2012 exceed the number of deaths of victims on that day and all American soldiers killed in the “war on terror.”)
Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me: And Other Essays)
I come by my alarmism honestly. I have learned this custom over the years as I have settled into being a true New Yorker. This is how we welcome foreigners to our shores. Because we are so often frightened by living here, we are annoyed and offended when visitors fail to show the proper signs of terror. So we try to scare the living daylights out of them.
David Rakoff (Fraud: Essays)
This, then, is the truth of the discourse of universal human rights: the Wall separating those covered by the umbrella of Human Rights and those excluded from its protective cover. Any reference to universal human rights as an 'unfinished project' to be gradually extended to all people is here a vain ideological chimera - and, faced with this prospect, do we, in the West, have any right to condemn the excluded when they use any means, inclusive of terror, to fight their exclusion?
Slavoj Žižek (Welcome to the Desert of the Real: Five Essays on September 11 and Related Dates)
But above all, I am terrified of making my mother the villain in my life rather than showing how she has been a victim. Will I be betraying her in this essay for her early disloyalty to me? With terror as my companion, I dip into my life and begin work on myself.
Gloria E. Anzaldúa (Prietita and the Ghost Woman: Prietita y La Llorona)
One of the paradoxes of our time is that the War on Terror has served mainly to reinforce a collective belief that maintaining the right amount of fear and suspicion will earn one safety. Fear is promoted by the government as a kind of policy. Fear is accepted, even among the best-educated people in this country, even among the professors with whom I work, as a kind of intelligence. And inspiring fear in others is often seen as neighborly and kindly, instead of being regarded as what my cousin recognized it for - a violence.
Eula Biss (Notes from No Man's Land)
A regime which is nominally liberal can be oppressive in reality. A regime which acknowledges its violence might have in it more genuine humanity.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
I smelled war on the horizon, with more deaths and trouble to come" Bombing of the Twin Towers From Rape of a Nation by Sara Niles
Sara Niles
People who believe their god loves them unconditionally are less able to be controlled through divine terrorism.
Thomm Quackenbush (Pagan Standard Times: Essays on the Craft)
To abstain from violence toward the violent is to become their accomplice.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
CONQUER THE WORLD BY INTELLIGENCE and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it.
Bertrand Russell (Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects)
Good fortune comes to common men and even to those of inferior talent; but only a great man is able to triumph over the disasters and terrors afflicting mortal life.
Seneca (Dialogues and Essays)
Here, we are saying that we will tear your country apart, we will give birth to the terror within, and then we will leave you to drown in it.
Hanif Abdurraqib (They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us)
Man may behold what ugliness he likes if he is sure that he will not worship it; but there are some so weak that they will worship a thing only because it is ugly. These must be chained to the beautiful. It is not always wrong even to go, like Dante, to the brink of the lowest promontory and look down at hell. It is when you look up at hell that a serious miscalculation has probably been made.
G.K. Chesterton
Considering these limitations, it is quite astonishing how irreligious the Founders actually were. You might not easily guess, for example, who was the author of the following words: Oh! Lord! Do you think that a Protestant Popedom is annihilated in America? Do you recollect, or have you ever attended to the ecclesiastical Strifes in Maryland Pensilvania [sic], New York, and every part of New England? What a mercy it is that these People cannot whip and crop, and pillory and roast, as yet in the U.S.! If they could they would…. There is a germ of religion in human nature so strong that whenever an order of men can persuade the people by flattery or terror that they have salvation at their disposal, there can be no end to fraud, violence, or usurpation. That was John Adams, in relatively mild form.
Christopher Hitchens (Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens)
Yet the nineteenth-century images, so benign, so full of promise for mankind, underlie the national minds of each country. To all men of good will it is a duty ti probe far down bellow the terrors and hates and reveal what is most fundamental.
Perry D. Westbrook (The greatness of man;: An essay on Dostoyevsky and Whitman,)
From the essay on Love, in which he describes as a wilderness experience his daily visits with his wife to a hospital 3,000 miles from home in a strange city, where someone he loves is in danger of dying. “When the worst finally happens, or almost happens, a kind of peace comes. I had passed beyond grief, beyond terror, all but beyond hope, and it was thee, in that wilderness, that for the first time in my life I caught sight of something of what it must be like to love God truly. It was only a glimpse, but it was like stumbling on fresh water in the desert, like remembering something so huge and extraordinary that my memory had been unable to contain it. Though God was nowhere to be clearly seen, nowhere to be clearly heard, I had to be near him—even in the elevator riding up to her floor, even walking down the corridor to the one door among all those doors that had her name taped on it. I loved him because there was nothing else left. I loved him because he seemed to have made himself as helpless in his might as I was in my helplessness. I loved him not so much in spite of there being nothing in it for me but almost because there was nothing in it for me. For the first time in my life, there in that wilderness, I caught a glimpse of what it must be like to love God truly, for his own sake, to love him no matter what. If I loved him with less than all my heart, soul, and will, I loved him with at least as much of them as I had left for loving anything… I did not love God, God knows, because I was some sort of saint or hero. I did not love him because I suddenly saw the light (there was almost no light at all) or because I hoped by loving him to persuade him to heal the young woman I loved. I loved him because I couldn’t help myself. I loved him because the one who commands us to love is the one who also empowers us to love, as there in the wilderness of that dark and terrible time I was, through no doing of my own, empowered to love him at least a little, at least enough to survive. And in the midst of it, these small things happened that were as big as heaven and earth because through them a hope beyond hopelessness happened. “O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and for evermore.”… The final secret, I think, is this: that the words “You shall love the Lord your God” become in the end less a command than a promise.
Frederick Buechner (A Room Called Remember: Uncollected Pieces)
One of the paradoxes of our time is that the War on Terror has served mainly to reinforce a collective belief that maintaining the right amount of fear and suspicion will earn one safety. Fear is promoted by the government as a kind of policy. Fear is accepted, even among the best-educated people in this country, even among the professors with whom I work, as a kind of intelligence. And inspiring fear in others is often seen as neighborly and kindly, instead of being regarded as what my cousin recognized it for—a violence.
Eula Biss (Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays)
That’s the wonder and terror of computer-generated images for me: If they look real, my brain isn’t nearly sophisticated enough to understand they are not. We’ve long known that images are unreliable—Kafka wrote that “nothing is as deceptive as a photograph”—and yet I still can’t help but believe them.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them. But why should you keep your head over your shoulder? Why drag about this corpse of your memory, lest you contradict somewhat you have stated in this or that public place? Suppose you should contradict yourself; what then? It seems to be a rule of wisdom never to rely on your memory alone, scarcely even in acts of pure memory, but to bring the past for judgment into the thousand-eyed present, and live ever in a new day. In
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
All we seem to be left with now is paranoid gibberish about a War on Terror whose whole purpose is to expand the War, increase the Terror, and obfuscate the fact that the wars of today are not aberrations but systemic, logical exercises to preserve a way of life whose delicate pleasures and exquisite comforts can only be delivered to the chosen few by a continuous, protracted war for hegemony--Lifestyle Wars.
Arundhati Roy (Things that Can and Cannot Be Said: Essays and Conversations)
the essays written by Améry at this time about his personal past and present contain insights, based on the most direct experience, into the irreparable condition of those victims, and it is from such insights alone that the true nature of the terror visited on them can be extrapolated with some precision. It is part of the psychic and social condition of the victim that he cannot receive compensation for what was done to him.
W.G. Sebald (On the Natural History of Destruction)
Gorgons and Hydras, and Chimaeras—dire stories of Celaeno and the Harpies—may reproduce themselves in the brain of superstition—but they were there before. They are transcripts, types—the archetypes are in us, and eternal. How else should the recital of that which we know in a waking sense to be false come to affect us at all? Is it that we naturally conceive terror from such objects, considered in their capacity of being able to inflict upon us bodily injury? O, least of all! These terrors are of older standing. They date beyond body—or without the body, they would have been the same… That the kind of fear here treated is purely spiritual—that it is strong in proportion as it is objectless on earth, that it predominates in the period of our sinless infancy—are difficulties the solution of which might afford some probable insight into our ante-mundane condition, and a peep at least into the shadowland of pre-existence.
Charles Lamb (Essays of Elia and Last Essays of Elia)
I don't believe this shift from conquering problems to experiencing life is a one-generational shot or a single investment. I believe it's a whole signature which you try to set in motion and have some input into. But I'm not saying that women don't think or analyze. Or that white does not feel. I'm saying that we must never close our eyes to the terror, to the chaos which is Black which is creative which is female which is dark which is rejected which is messy...
Audre Lorde (Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches)
The construct of a new, fictional 'Balkans' [is] a result of linguistic violence beginning with the verb 'to balkanize,' which most of the world's dictionaries define primarily as 'to divide.' Linguistic terrorism is only one part of the larger process of stigmatization that aims to establish social control and the imposition of silence upon the Balkan peoples so as to allow others to speak in their name. Thus, everyone can speak about the Balkans but the Balkanites themselves.
Andrej Grubačić (Don't Mourn, Balkanize!: Essays after Yugoslavia)
Secondo me la religione si basa, essenzialmente, sulla paura. In parte è il terrore dell’ignoto, in parte, come ho già detto, il bisogno istintivo di immaginare qualcuno che ci aiuti e ci protegga nei pericoli: suppergiù una specie di fratello maggiore. In principio, dunque, fu la paura: paura dell’occulto, paura dell’insuccesso, paura della morte. La paura porta alla crudeltà, ed è per questo che crudeltà e religione stanno bene insieme. Oggi, tanti fenomeni non sono più misteriosi grazie alla scienza, che si è opposta alla religione cristiana, alle Chiese, e a tutti i princìpi anacronistici. La scienza può aiutare l’umanità a superare questa vile paura, nella quale ha vissuto per tante generazioni. Con l’aiuto della scienza e del nostro cuore, impareremo a non cercare aiuti immaginari, a non inventare alleati in Cielo, ma piuttosto a valerci delle nostre forze per rendere questo mondo più piacevole e diverso da quello che è divenuto, in questi secoli, sotto l’influsso delle Chiese.
Bertrand Russell (Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects)
That is, I fancy, the true doctrine on the subject of Tales of Terror and such things, which unless a man of letters do well and truly believe, without doubt he will end by blowing his brains out or by writing badly. Man, the central pillar of the world must be upright and straight; around him all the trees and beasts and elements and devils may crook and curl like smoke if they choose. All really imaginative literature is only the contrast between the weird curves of Nature and the straightness of the soul.
G.K. Chesterton
Damn! What did Ansermet, that most faithful friend, know about Stravinsky's poverty of heart? What did he, that most devoted friend, know about Stravinsky's capacity to love? And where did he get his utter certainty that the heart is ethically superior to the brain? Are not vile acts committed as often with the heart's help as without it? Can't fanatics, with their bloody hands, boast of a high degree of "affective activity"? Will we ever be done with this imbecile sentimental Inquisition, the heart's Reign of Terror?
Milan Kundera (Testaments Betrayed: An Essay in Nine Parts)
Penises and ejaculate and prostate glands occur in nature, but the notion that these anatomical traits comprise a sex—a discrete class, separate and distinct, metaphysically divisible from some other sex, the “other sex” —is simply that: a notion, an idea. The penises exist; the male sex does not. The male sex is socially constructed. It is a political entity that flourishes only through acts of force and sexual terrorism. Apart from the global inferiorization and subordination of those who are defined as “nonmale,” the idea of personal membership in the male sex class would have no recognizable meaning. It would make no sense. No one could be a member of it and no one would think they should be a member of it. There would be no male sex to belong to. That doesn’t mean there wouldn’t still be penises and ejaculate and prostate glands and such. It simply means that the center of our selfhood would not be required to reside inside an utterly fictitious category—a category that only seems real to the extent that those outside it are put down.
John Stoltenberg (Refusing to be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice)
With his story in one’s mind he can almost see his benignant countenance moving calmly among the haggard faces of Milan in the days when the plague swept the city, brave where all others were cowards, full of compassion where pity had been crushed out of all other breasts by the instinct of self-preservation gone mad with terror, cheering all, praying with all, helping all, with hand and brain and purse, at a time when parents forsook their children, the friend deserted the friend, and the brother turned away from the sister while her pleadings were still wailing in his ears.
Mark Twain (The Complete Works of Mark Twain: The Novels, Short Stories, Essays and Satires, Travel Writing, Non-Fiction, the Complete Letters, the Complete Speeches, and the Autobiography of Mark Twain)
Depression is the opposite of anxiety. It numbs you from your head to your toes and makes you feel like nothing matters. You don’t care about anything or anyone, including yourself. Anxiety, on the other hand, makes you feel everything. You care about everything and everyone, especially yourself. Depression has always been the only cure for my anxiety. Deep down, there’s a relief in it. It takes all of the terror I feel about everything away, and although the misery is excruciating, and I no longer value myself or my life, that state of mind is almost preferable to the constant panic and fear that will slowly kill me while I panic about being killed.
Cazzie David (No One Asked for This: Essays)
Let us consider some of the most important Anarchist acts within the last two decades. Strange as it may seem, one of the most significant deeds of political violence occurred here in America, in connection with the Homestead strike of 1892. During that memorable time the Carnegie Steel Company organized a conspiracy to crush the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. Henry Clay Frick, then Chairman of the Company, was intrusted with that democratic task. He lost no time in carrying out the policy of breaking the Union, the policy which he had so successfully practiced during his reign of terror in the coke regions. Secretly, and while peace negotiations were being purposely prolonged, Frick supervised the military preparations, the fortification of the Homestead Steel Works, the erection of a high board fence, capped with barbed wire and provided with loopholes for sharpshooters. And then, in the dead of night, he attempted to smuggle his army of hired Pinkerton thugs into Homestead, which act precipitated the terrible carnage of the steel workers. Not content with the death of eleven victims, killed in the Pinkerton skirmish, Henry Clay Frick, good Christian and free American, straightway began the hounding down of the helpless wives and orphans, by ordering them out of the wretched Company houses.
Emma Goldman (Anarchism and Other Essays)
Wherever exchange is impossible, what we encounter is terror. Any radical otherness at all is thus the epicentre of a terror: the terror that such otherness holds, by virtue of its very existence, for the normal world. And the terror that this world exercises upon that otherness in order to annihilate it. Over recent centuries all forms of violent otherness have been incorporated, willingly or under threat of force, into a discourse of difference which simultaneously implies inclusion and exclusion, recognition and discrimination. Childhood, lunacy, death, primitive societies - all have been categorized, integrated and absorbed as parts of a universal harmony. Madness, once its exclusionary status had been revoked, was caught up in the far subtler toils of psychology. The dead, as soon as they were recognized in their identity as such, were banished to outlying cemeteries - kept at such a distance that the face of death itself was lost. As for Indians, their right to exist was no sooner accorded them than they were confined to reservations. These are the vicissitudes of a logic of difference. Racism does not exist so long as the other remains Other, so long as the Stranger remains foreign. It comes into existence when the other becomes merely different - that is to say, dangerously similar. This is the moment when the inclination to keep the other at a distance comes into being.
Jean Baudrillard (The Transparency of Evil: Essays in Extreme Phenomena)
In 1907, Pope Pius X declared modernism a heresy, had its exponents within the church excommunicated, and put all critical studies of the Bible on the Index of proscribed books. Authors similarly distinguished include Descartes (selected works), Montaigne (Essais), Locke (Essay on Human Understanding), Swift (Tale of a Tub), Swedenborg (Principia), Voltaire (Lettres philosophiques), Diderot (Encyclopédie), Rousseau (Du contrat social), Gibbon (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire), Paine (The Rights of Man), Sterne (A Sentimental Journey), Kant (Critique of Pure Reason), Flaubert (Madame Bovary), and Darwin (On the Origin of Species). As a censorious afterthought, Descartes’ Meditations was added to the Index in 1948.
Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason)
The trick here is arbitrary word assignment: that is, any violence engaged in by ourselves or our friends is ipso facto retaliation and counter-terrorism; whatever the enemy does is terrorism, irrespective of facts.’10 We might say, then, that the golden rule of state violence is: terrorism is what they do, and counter-terrorism is what we do. As Orwell himself observed in his essay, ‘Notes on Nationalism’: ‘Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage – torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians – which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by “our” side.
David Cromwell (Why Are We The Good Guys?: Reclaiming Your Mind From The Delusions Of Propaganda)
Apart from a few explanations that are not the subject of this essay, the strange and terrifying growth of the modern State can be considered as the logical conclusion of inordinate technical and philosophical ambitions, foreign to the true spirit of rebellion, but which nevertheless gave birth to the revolutionary spirit of our time. The prophetic dream of Marx and the over-inspired predictions of Hegel or of Nietzsche ended by conjuring up, after the city of God had been razed to the ground, a rational or irrational State, which in both cases, however, was founded on terror. In actual fact, the Fascist revolutions of the twentieth century do not merit the title of revolution. They lacked the ambition of universality. Mussolini and Hitler, of course, tried to build an empire, and the National Socialist ideologists were bent, explicitly, on world domination. But the difference between them and the classic revolutionary movement is that, of the nihilist inheritance, they chose to deify the irrational, and the irrational alone, instead of deifying reason. In this way they renounced their claim to universality. And yet Mussolini makes use of Hegel, and Hitler of Nietzsche; and both illustrate, historically, some of the prophecies of German ideology. In this respect they belong to the history of rebellion and of nihilism. They were the first to construct a State on the concept that everything is meaningless and that history is only written in terms of the hazards of force. The consequences were not long in appearing.
Albert Camus (The Rebel)
Those who do not think about their own sins make up for it by thinking incessantly about the sins of others. It is healthier to think of one’s own. It is the reverse of morbid. It is not even, in the long run, very gloomy. A serious attempt to repent and really to know one’s own sins is in the long run a lightening and relieving process. Of course, there is bound to be a first dismay and often terror and later great pain, yet that is much less in the long run than the anguish of a mass of unrepented and unexamined sins, lurking in the background of our minds. It is the difference between the pain of the tooth about which you should go to the dentist, and the simple straight-forward pain which you know is getting less and less every moment when you have had the tooth out.
C.S. Lewis (God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics)
In the present state of the world, not only are many people destitute but the majority of those who are not being haunted by a perfectly reasonable fear that they may become so at any moment. Wage-earners have the constant danger of unemployment; salaried employees know that their firm may go bankrupt or find it necessary to cut down its staff; businessmen, even those who are reputed to be very rich, know that the loss of all their money is by no means improbable. Professional men have a very hard struggle. After making great sacrifices for the education of their sons and daughters, they find that there are not the openings that there used to be for those who have the kinds of skills that their children have acquired. If they are lawyers, they find that people can no longer afford to go to law, although serious injustices remain unremedied; if they are doctors, they find that their formerly lucrative hypochondriac patients can no longer afford to be ill, while many genuine sufferers have to forgo much-needed medical treatment. One finds men and women of university education serving behind the counters in shops, which may save them from destitution, but only at the expense of those who would formerly have been so employed. In all classes, from the lowest to almost the highest, economic fear governs men’s thoughts by day and their dreams at night, making their work nerve-wracking and their leisure unrefreshing. This ever-present terror is, I think, the main cause of the mood of madness which has swept over great parts of the civilized world.
Bertrand Russell (In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays)
If you’re black in this country you’re presumed guilty. Or, to come back to Abdel, who’s a schoolteacher and thinks a lot about children, you’re not allowed to be innocent. The eyes and heart of a nation are not avoidable things. The imagination of a country is not an avoidable thing. And the negreeting, back home, where we are mostly never seen, is a way of witnessing each other’s innocence—a way of saying, “I see your innocence.” And my brother-not-brother ignoring me in his nice red kicks? Maybe he’s going a step further. Maybe he’s imagining a world—this one a street in Bloomington, Indiana—where his unions are not based on deprivation and terror. Not a huddling together. Maybe he’s refusing the premise of our un-innocence entirely and so feels no need to negreet. And in this way proclaims our innocence. Maybe.
Ross Gay (The Book of Delights: Essays)
The “United States” does not exist as a nation, because the ruling class of the U.S./Europe exploits the world without regard to borders and nationality.  For instance, multinational or global corporations rule the world.  They make their own laws by buying politicians– Democrats and Republicans, and white politicians in England and in the rest of Europe.  We are ruled by a European power which disregards even the hypocritical U.S. Constitution.  If it doesn’t like the laws of the U.S., as they are created, interpreted and enforced, the European power simply moves its base of management and labor to some other part of the world.   Today the European power most often rules through neocolonial regimes in the so-called “Third World.”  Through political leaders who are loyal only to the European power, not to their people and the interests of their nation, the European power sets up shop in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  By further exploiting the people and stealing the resources of these nations on every continent outside Europe, the European power enhances its domination.  Every institution and organization within the European power has the purpose of adding to its global domination: NATO, the IMF, the World Bank, the military, and the police.   The European power lies to the people within each “nation” about national pride or patriotism.  We foolishly stand with our hands over our hearts during the “National Anthem” at football games while the somber servicemen in their uniforms hold the red, white and blue flag, then a military jet flies over and we cheer.  This show obscures the real purpose of the military, which is to increase European power through intimidation and the ongoing invasion of the globe.  We are cheering for imperialist forces.  We are standing on Native land celebrating the symbols of de-humanizing terrorism.  Why would we do this unless we were being lied to?   The European imperialist power lies to us about its imperialism.  It’s safe to say, most “Americans” do not recognize that we are part of an empire.  When we think of an empire we think of ancient Rome or the British Empire.  Yet the ongoing attack against the Native peoples of “North America” is imperialism.  When we made the “Louisiana Purchase” (somehow the French thought Native land was theirs to sell, and the U.S. thought it was ours to buy) this was imperialism.  When we stole the land from Mexico, this was imperialism (the Mexican people having been previously invaded by the European imperialist power).  Imperialism is everywhere.  Only the lies of capitalism could so effectively lead us to believe that we are not part of an empire.
Samantha Foster (Center Africa / and Other Essays To Raise Reparations for African Liberation)
The terror of this condition is that it has lost the power to yearn, while remembering a time when this was not so. It yearns only for respite, meaning release from hopelessness; it can imagine no more specific objective. Moreover, such confinement represents itself not as a tunnel, a darkness being passed through, but as a well; it is a place time cannot reach. Because response to the world is no longer actively felt, change--which is inherently active--seems impossible to imagine. This profound sense of having nothing, of being incapable of thought or response, this desolate emptiness runs contrary to every hope we have for ourselves; its atmosphere of finality reproduces the sensation of arrival that characterizes triumph, and mocks that sensation. At the same time, interior paralysis magnifies external vitality: all around, other people seem enviably caught up in, animated by feeling.
Louise Glück (Proofs & Theories: Essays on Poetry)
All of these examples make clear that touched often also means exuberant or enthusiastic, both of which qualities can provoke in us, when we are feeling small and hurtable, something like embarrassment, which again maybe points to the terror at our own lurking touchedness. When I watched the child doing his wonky, unselfconscious moonwalk, I had a feeling that I might have then identified as embarrassment, aware of this kid’s obliviousness, his immersion—his delight. But I am coming to identify that feeling of embarrassment as something akin to tenderness, because in witnessing someone’s being touched, we are also witnessing someone’s being moved, the absence of which in ourselves is a sorrow, and a sacrifice. And witnessing the absence of movement in ourselves by witnessing its abundance in another, moonwalking toward the half and half, or ringing his bell on Cass Street, can hurt. Until it becomes, if we are lucky, an opening.
Ross Gay (The Book of Delights: Essays)
Imagine the daughter of a narcissistic father as an example. She grows up chronically violated and abused at home, perhaps bullied by her peers as well. Her burgeoning low self-esteem, disruptions in identity and problems with emotional regulation causes her to live a life filled with terror. This is a terror that is stored in the body and literally shapes her brain. It is also what makes her brain extra vulnerable and susceptible to the effects of trauma in adulthood.                              Being verbally, emotionally and sometimes even physically beaten down, the child of a narcissistic parent learns that there is no safe place for her in the world. The symptoms of trauma emerge: disassociation to survive and escape her day-to-day existence, addictions that cause her to self-sabotage, maybe even self-harm to cope with the pain of being unloved, neglected and mistreated. Her pervasive sense of worthlessness and toxic shame, as well as subconscious programming, then cause her to become more easily attached to emotional predators in adulthood. In her repeated search for a rescuer, she instead finds those who chronically diminish her just like her earliest abusers. Of course, her resilience, adept skill set in adapting to chaotic environments and ability to “bounce back” was also birthed in early childhood. This is also seen as an “asset” to toxic partners because it means she will be more likely to stay within the abuse cycle in order to attempt to make things “work.” She then suffers not just from early childhood trauma, but from multiple re-victimizations in adulthood until, with the right support, she addresses her core wounds and begins to break the cycle step by step. Before she can break the cycle, she must first give herself the space and time to recover. A break from establishing new relationships is often essential during this time; No Contact (or Low Contact from her abusers in more complicated situations such as co-parenting) is also vital to the healing journey, to prevent compounding any existing traumas.
Shahida Arabi (Healing the Adult Children of Narcissists: Essays on The Invisible War Zone and Exercises for Recovery)
I have shown [the categorial imperative] to be a futile assumption so clearly and irrefutably, that no one with a spark of judgment can possibly believe any longer in this fiction. - "well, and so [the Kantian professors have probably engaged with your critique of the categorial imperative]." - Oh no! They take good care not to venture on such slippery ground! Their ability consists in holding their tongues; silence is all they have to oppose to intelligence, earnestness, and truth. In not one of the products of their useless scribblings that have appeared since 1841, has the slightest notice been taken of my Ethics - undoubtedly the most important work on Moral Philosophy that has been published for the last sixty years - nay, their terror of me and of my truth is so great, that none of the literary journals issued by Academies or Universities has so much as mentioned [my] book. Zitto, zitto, lest the public should perceive anything: in this consists the whole of their policy. The instinct of self-preservation may, no doubt, be at the bottom of these artful tactics.
Arthur Schopenhauer (Essay on the Freedom of the Will)
Can Religion Cure Our Troubles: Mankind is in mortal peril, and fear now, as in the past, is inclining men to seek refuge in God. Throughout the West there is a very general revival of religion. Nazis and Communists dismissed Christianity and did things which we deplore. It is easy to conclude that the repudiation of Christianity by Hitler and the Soviet Government is at least in part the cause of our troubles and that if the world returned to Christianity, our international problems would be solved. I believe this to be a complete delusion born of terror. And I think it is a dangerous delusion because it misleads men whose thinking might otherwise be fruitful and thus stands in the way of a valid solution. The question involved is not concerned only with the present state of the world. It is a much more general question, and one which has been debated for many centuries. It is the question whether societies can practise a sufficient modicum of morality if they are not helped by dogmatic religion. I do not myself think that the dependence of morals upon religion is nearly as close as religious people believe it to be. I even think that some very important virtues are more likely to be found among those who reject religious dogmas than among those who accept them. I think this applies especially to the virtue of truthfulness or intellectual integrity. I mean by intellectual integrity the habit of deciding vexed questions in accordance with the evidence, or of leaving them undecided where the evidence is inconclusive. This virtue, though it is underestimated by almost all adherents of any system of dogma, is to my mind of the very greatest social importance and far more likely to benefit the world than Christianity or any other system of organised beliefs.
Bertrand Russell
There is a fearful moment of reckoning before us should it ever chance that when all our trees shall have been sacrificed on the altar of the patron-fiend of news, the newspaper supply shall suddenly be cut off and we find ourselves some fine morning minus our tidbits of shame and failure and disaster, left to the companionship of our own thoughts. Dante never imagined a terror like this.
Adeline Knapp (This then is upland pastures: being some out-door essays dealing with the beautiful things that the spring and summer bring)
Horror is terror that stayed the night.
Sarah Manguso (300 Arguments: Essays)
Cato Lose not a thought on me, I’m out of danger. Heaven will not leave me in the victor’s hand. Caesar shall never say, I conquered Cato. But, oh! my friends, your safety fills my heart With anxious thoughts: a thousand secret terrors 115 Rise in my soul: how shall I save my friends! ’Tis now, O Caesar, I begin to fear thee.
Joseph Addison (Cato: A Tragedy and Selected Essays)
It [facism] is recognizable by its need to purge, by the strategies it uses to purge, and by its terror of truly democratic agendas. It is recognizable by its determination to convert all public services to private entrepreneurship, all nonprofit organizations to profit making ones- so that the narrow but protective chasm between governance and business disappears. It changes citizens into taxpayers- so individuals become angry at even the notion of the public good. It changes neighbors into consumers- so the measure of our value as humans is not our humanity or our compassion or our generosity but what we own. It changes parenting into panicking- so we vote against the interests of our own children; against their healthcare, their education, their safety from weapons. And in effecting these changes it produces the perfect capitalist, one who is willing to kill a human being for a product (a pair of sneakers, a jacket, a car) or kill generations for control of products (oil, drugs, fruit, gold).
Toni Morrison (The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations)
Those who resisted were neither madmen nor wise men; they were heroes—men in whom passion and reason were identical, who in the obscurity of desire did what history expected and what was later to appear as the truth of the moment. We cannot remove the element of reason in their choice any more than the element of audacity and risk of failure.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
Marxism does not offer us a Utopia, a future known ahead of time, nor any philosophy of history. However, it deciphers events, discovers in them a common meaning and thereby grasps a leading thread which, without dispensing us from fresh analysis at every stage, allows us to orient ourselves toward events. Marxism is as foreign to a dogmatic philosophy of history which seeks to impose by fire and sword a visionary future of mankind as it is to a terrorism lacking all perspective. It seeks, rather, to offer men a perception of history which would continuously clarify the lines of force and vectors of the present.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
Marxism rested on the profound idea that human perspetives, however relative, are absolute because there is nothing else and no destiny. We grasp the absolute through our total praxis, if not through our knowledge—or, rather, men's mutual praxis is the absolute.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
We are not accusing liberalism of being a system of violence; we reproach it with not seeing its own face in violence, with veiling the pact upon which it rests while rejecting as barbarous that other source of freedom—revolutionary freedom which is the origin of all social pacts.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
There is a sort of maleficence in history: it solicits men, tempts them so that they believe they are moving in its direction, and then suddenly it unmasks, and events change and prove that there was another possibility. The men whom history abandons in this way and who see themselves simply as accomplices suddenly find themselves the instigators of a crime to which history has inspired them. And they are unable to look for excuses or to excuse themselves from even a part of the responsibility.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
The decline of proletarian humanism is not a crucial experience which invalidates the whole of Marxism. It is still valid as a critique of the present world and alternative humanisms. In this respect, at least, it cannot be surpassed. Even if it is incapable of shaping world history, it remains powerful enough to discredit other solutions. On close consideration, Marxism is not just any hypothesis that might be replaced tomorrow by some other. It is the simple statement of those conditions without which there would be neither any humanism, in the sense of a mutual relation between men, nor any rationality in history. In this sense Marxism is not a philosophy of history; it is the philosophy of history and to renounce it is to dig the grave of Reason in history. After that there remain only dreams or adventures... History has a meaning only if there is a logic of human coexistence which does not make any event impossible, butat least through a kind of natural selection eliminates in the long run those events which diverge from the permanent needs of men. Thus any philosophy of history will postulate something like what is called historical materialism—namely, the idea that morals, concepts of law and reality, modes of production and work, are internally related and clarify each other. In a genuine philosophy of history all human activities form a system in which at any moment no problem is separable from the rest, in which economic and other problems are part of a larger problem, where, finally, the productive forces of the economy are of cultural significance just as, inversely, ideologies are of economic significance... It is possible to deny that the proletariat will ever be in a position to fulfill its historical mission, or that the condition of the proletariat as described by Marx is sufficient to set a proletarian revolution on the path to a concrete humanism. One may doubt that all history's violence stems from the capitalist system. But it is difficult to deny that as long as the proletariat remains a proletariat, humanity, or the recognition of man by man, remains a dream or a mystification. Marxism perhaps does not have the power to convince us that one day, and in the way it expects, man will be the supreme being for man, but it still makes us understand that humanity is humanity only in name as long as most of mankind lives by selling itself, while some are masters and others slaves.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
The contingency of the future, which accounts for the violent acts of those in power, by the same token deprives these acts of all legitimacy, or equally legitimates the violence of their opponents. The right of the opposition is exactly equal to the right of those in power.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
The paradox of history...is that a contingent future, once it enters the present, appears real and even necessary.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
History is not made in advance...It depends on the will and audacity of men upon occasion, and...it contains an element of contingency and risk.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
We are not spectators of a closed history; we are actors in an open history, our praxis introduces the element of construction rather than knowledge as an ingredient of the world, making the world not simply an object of contemplation but something to be transformed. What we cannot imagine is a consciousness without a future and a history with an end. Thus, as long as there are men, the future will be open and there will only be a probabilistic calculation and no absolute knowledge.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
The future is only probable but it is not any empty zone in which we can construct gratuitous projects; it is sketched before us like the beginning of the day's end, and its outline is ourselves. The objects of perception are likewise only probable since we are far from having a complete analysis of them; that does not mean that in their very nature and existence they appear to be absolutely under our control. For us the probability that characterizes objects is what is real and one can only devalue it with reference to the chimera of an apodictic certainty which has no grounds. What should be said is not that "everything is relative," but that "everything is absolute"; the simple fact that man perceives an historical situation as meaningful in a way he believes true introduces a phenomenon of truth of which skepticism has no account and which challenges its conclusions. The contingency of history is only a shadow at the edge of a view of the future from which we can no more refrain than we can from breathing...Even if every historical choice is subjective, every subjectivity nevertheless reaches through its phantasms to things themselves and aims at the truth. Any description of history as the confrontation of choices that cannot be justified omits the fact that every conscience experiences itself engaged with others in a common history, argues in order to convince them, weighs and compares its own chances and those of others, and in seeing itself bound to others through external circumstances establishes the grounds of a presumptive rationality upon which their argument can take place and acquire a meaning.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
Marxism, rather than an affirmation of a future that is necessary, is much more a judgment of the present as contradictory and intolerable.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)
Consciousness is not a good judge of what we are doing since we are involved in the struggle of history and in this we achieve more, less, or something else than we thought we were doing.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem)