Archive for the 'Freedom' Category

January 2, 2017

“We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return; prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only, as relics to our desolate kingdoms. If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again; if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man; then you are ready for a walk.”

“Of course, it is of no use to direct our steps to the woods, if they do not carry us thither. I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit. In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations, and my obligations to society. But it sometimes happens that I cannot easily shake off the village. The thought of some work will run in my head, and I am not where my body is; I am out of my senses. In my walks I would fain return to my senses. What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?”

~ Thoreau

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Let America be America again

December 28, 2016

“Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!”

~ Langston Hughes

December 26, 2016

“I have se thee — says the creator to Adam — in the midst of the world, that thou mayst the more easily behold and see all that is therein. I created thee a being neither heavenly nor earthly, neither mortal nor immortal only, that thou mightest be free to shape and to overcome thyself. Thou mayst sink into a beast, and be born anew to the divine likeness. The brutes bring from their mother’s body what they will carry with them as long as they live; the higher spirits are from the beginning, or soon after, what they will be for ever. To thee alone is given a growth and a development depending on thine own free will. Thou bearest in thee the germs of a universal life.”

~ “Speech on the dignity of man”, Pico della Mirandola.

December 26, 2016

Leonardo, “passing the places where birds were sold, he would price asked for them, take them from their cages, and let them fly off into the air, giving them back their lost freedom”. ~ Vasari

“Leonardo loved animals so much, it seems, that he had turned vegetarian. He asked with horror how nature could permit her creatures to live by the death of their fellows; he would not let his body become “tomb for other animals, an inn of the dead… a container of corruption”. In 1515, the traveler Andrea Corsali wrote to Giuliano de’ Medici that  the Hindus respected all animate creatures, even insects, “like our Leonardo da Vinci”. There cannot have been many vegetarians in Renaissance Italy.”

“This sense of the marvelous in fact dictated Leonardo’s moral philosophy, which was based on a single axiom: respect all life.”

~ “Leonardo. The artist and the man”, Serge Bramly.

Dilettanti

December 26, 2016

“Il Seicento e il Settecento segnarono l’apogeo della scienza amatoriale. In quei due secoli scienziati di professione come Isaac Newton furono l’eccezione e gentiluomini che praticavano la scienza a livello amatoriale come il suo rivale Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz furono la regola. Gli scienziati dilettanti avevano la liberta’ di saltare da un’area della scienza a un’altra e di iniziare nuove attivita’ di ricerca senza attendere un’approvazione ufficiale. […] I musicisti dilettanti creano la cultura nella quale potranno fiorire i musicisti di professione. Gli atleti dilettanti, gli attori dilettanti e gli ambientalisti dilettanti migliorano la qualita’ della vita, propria e altrui. Scrittori dilettanti come Jane Austen e Samuel Pepys non fanno meno degli scrittori di professione come Charles Dickens e Fedor Dostoevskij per scandagliare le altezze e le profondita’ dell’esperienza umana. […] In quasi tutti i ceti sociali, sono i dilettanti ad avere piu’ liberta’ di sperimentare e di innovare. La frazione della popolazione formata da dilettanti e’ una buona misura della liberta’ di una societa’.”
~ “Lo scienziato come ribelle”, Dyson.

“Even the simple dilettante of a science diffuse just that sort of general interest in the subject which prepares for new pioneers the indispensable groundwork of a favorable predisposition in the public mind. True discoverers in any science know well what they owe to such mediation.”
~ Burkhardt

December 25, 2016

“It should not be denied […] that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations, with absolute freedom, and the road has always led west.”
~ “The American west as living space”, Stegner.

December 17, 2016

“The charm of the vagrant kind of life which I led for some years in Syria, is inconceivable; its constant variety, its perfect independence, the excitement of difficulty, the apprehension of danger, were so many powerful but agreeable stimulants. My wants were but few and easily supplied; my bed was the ground, my covering a cloak, and my canopy the heavens.”
~ Charles Colville Frankland

November 15, 2016

My heart’s in the highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the highlands a-chasing the deer —
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe;
My heart’s in the highlands, wherever i go.

Farewell to the highlands, farewell to the North —
The birthplace of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wonder, wherever i rove,
The hills of the highlands for ever I love.

Farewell to the mountains high cover’d with snow;
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

My heart’s in the highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the highlands a-chasing the deer —
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe;
My heart’s in the highlands, wherever I go.

~ Robert Burns

October 9, 2016

“I have a plan. Let’s head for the woods. To hell with this jangling world. […] Far from the ways of the world and its ill-tempered people. That’s been my plan for many years.”

“… the dark sea of the wilderness looms all around.”

“… the solemn gloom of the northern swamps.”

“… a broad, calm, forested world shading into blue in the distance surrounded him, and the setting sun in the west shed a glow of russet and gold on the old bearded spruce on the ridge top.”

“… there in the glow of the fire and the twinkling of stars, they all rested, while around them the frost cracked in the dry spruce trees and the cold breeze sighed a dirge in the deep woods.”

~ Seitsemän veljestä

September 24, 2016

“Not such the sons of Lapland; wisely they  \ despise the insensate barbarous trade of war; \ they ask no more than simple Nature gives, \ they love their mountains and enjoy their storms. \ No false desires, no pride-crated wants, \ disturb the peaceful current of their time, \ and through the restless ever-tortured maze \ of pleasure or ambition bid it rage.” ~ “Winter”, Thomson.