Threat

901 – Wisława Szymborska on Knowledge

“Rozmaici oprawcy, dyktatorzy, fanatycy, demagodzy walczący o władzę przy pomocy kilku byle głośno wykrzykiwanych haseł, także lubią swoją pracę i także wykonują ją z gorliwą pomysłowością. No tak, ale oni “wiedzą”. Wiedzą, a to, co wiedzą, wystarcza im raz na zawsze. Niczego ponad to nie są ciekawi, bo to mogłoby osłabić siłę ich argumentów. A wszelka wiedza, która nie wyłania z siebie nowych pytań, staje się w szybkim czasie martwa, traci temperaturę sprzyjającą życiu. W najskrajniejszych przypadkach, o czym dobrze wiadomo z historii dawnej i współczesnej, potrafi być nawet śmiertelnie groźna dla społeczeństw”.

“All sorts of torturers, dictators, fanatics, and demagogues struggling for power by way of a few loudly shouted slogans also enjoy their jobs, and they too perform their duties with inventive fervor. Well, yes, but they “know.” They know, and whatever they know is enough for them once and for all. They don’t want to find out about anything else, since that might diminish their arguments’ force. And any knowledge that doesn’t lead to new questions quickly dies out: it fails to maintain the temperature required for sustaining life. In the most extreme cases, cases well known from ancient and modern history, it even poses a lethal threat to society.”

-Wisława Szymborska

(more…)

888 – Roger Ebert on the 1950s from Pleasantville Review

“Nothing creates fascists like the threat of freedom. Pleasantville [(1998)] is the kind of parable that encourages us to re-evaluate the good old days and take a fresh look at the new world we so easily dismiss as decadent. Yes, we have more problems. But also more solutions, more opportunities and more freedom. I grew up in the ’50s. … My house had a picket fence, and dinner was always on the table at a quarter to six, but things were wrong that I didn’t even know the words for.”

–Roger Ebert [See Source Notes for full context] (more…)

728 – “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

–Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America

(more…)

“Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own – indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. This will happen if we see the need to revive our sense of belonging to a larger family of life, with which we have shared our evolutionary process. In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.”

–Wangari Maathai

(more…)