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As The King of France says in “All’s Well that ends well” “… on our quick’st decrees The inaudible and noiseless foot of Time Steals ere we can effect them” That is, “… despite our determinations, The silent and stealthy foot of time Intervenes before we can put our decrees into action.” Since its inception, Read More
By and large, for an ideology to take root among a people or a nation it is necessary to transform the individual into the mass man. For masses are – before in time and now often in the impalpable ether – what crowds are in space. Namely a large quantity of people unable to express their human qualities – for members of masses are not connected to each other either as individuals or as parts of a community. In fact they are only linked through some impersonal, abstract, crystallizing and often de-humanizing factor. Continue reading
Comparisons are often like bikinis, what they reveal is suggestive, what they conceal is vital. The principle equally applies when comparing the history of nations, as implied in the title, which echoes Gibbon’s 6-book, monumental “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”.
Indeed, in a possible contest of titles, quotes or witticisms, a winner would be uncertain. For, implied in that ‘decline and fall’ is the idea that the decline could have been reversed and the fall avoided – that is, the fall of the Roman Empire and the decline of the Western World. Whereas it is equally true that “all that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity(1) Continue reading
All that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity, (1) and from this point of view Gorbachev’s life is no different. Especially when equally remembering that all the world is a stage and all men and women merely players (2).
However, men who visibly walked on the stage of history offer great opportunities for experts, pundits, historians, biographers, chroniclers, storytellers, blabbers and certified politicians to pass certified judgments and certified sentences on the life of the men in question. Continue reading
Does art imitate nature or is nature herself inherently artistic? The debate has engaged the minds and pens of many critics and philosophers. But, given that comedy is equally a form of art, when man becomes unintentionally comic, is his comicity attributable to art or nature?
The question may seem irrelevant or one among the children of an idle brain (1), but I jumped onto this train of thought after connecting recent events to an actual earlier observation made by a US senator on the latest federal budget. Continue reading
Words being arbitrary, they owe their power to association, and have the influence which custom has given them – for language is the dress of thought. Therefore on hearing the words “Democracy in America,” some will think of Alexis de Tocqueville’s book by the same title. Others, not having read the book (an enterprise of no mean feat), will think that it took a Frenchman to appreciate American democracy, as it existed nowhere else.
Still others may think that the concept of democracy and America are indissolubly and maybe exclusively linked, just as America is the obamanesque exceptional nation. But as there is a history in all men’s lives (1), so there is one in all men’s words. In the instance, it may interest some to know the curious and fortuitous circumstances that caused the book to be written. Continue reading
The mythical average citizen probably believes that the universe is under the perpetual superintendence of uncontrollable forces. And that the hallucinating social changes currently occurring – and of which he is sometimes the victim – are akin to a force of nature.
Meaning that the slings and arrows of outrageous prevarication, of crime, of political choices and of plans hatched behind his back, are but the outcome of an incumbent and inevitable destiny.
An Eastern monarch, of whom we know the existence but not the name, kept an officer in his house whose employment it was to remind him of his mortality, by calling out every morning at a stated hour, “Remember prince that thou shalt die.
Indeed, the contemplation of the frailness of our present state appeared of so much importance to the famous legislator Solon of Athens, that he left this precept to future ages, ”Keep thine eyes fixed upon the end of life.” Continue reading
“One, no-one, one hundred thousand” is the title of a novel by Italian author Luigi Pirandello.
‘One’ refers to the image that everyone has of himself, ‘no one’ refers to what the protagonist decides to be at the end of the novel. ‘One hundred thousand’ refers to the images that others have of us.
As the plot of the novel unfolds, the protagonist discovers that he does not know who he really is, leading him to realize that he is an instinctive intellectual chameleon, one person wearing a thousand masks, one for each person he knows. Continue reading