Sunday, July 18, 2004

People and power - two passages I noticed today

L E Modesitt Jr., The Ecolitan Operation, Chapter IV:
A man who believes in nothing will support the status quo, not oppose it.
A man who believes in himself first can be trained to support his society.
The true believer will place his ideals above action, because no action can attain the perfection of his ideals.
These are the people who compose most of society.

Mark Bowden, Tales of the the Tyrant, Atlantic Monthly, May 2002, reprinted in The Best American Non-required Reading, 2003:
A young man without power or money is completely free. He has nothing, but he also has everything. He can travel, he can drift. He can make new acquaintances every day, and try to soak up the infinite variety of life. He can seduce and be seduced, start an enterprise and abandon it, join an army or flee a nation, fight to preserve an existing system or plot a revolution. He can reinvent himself daily, according to the discoveries he makes about the world and himself. But if he prospers through the choices he makes, if he acquires a wife, children, wealth, land, and power, his options gradually and inevitably diminish. Responsibility and commitment limit his moves. One might think that the powerful man has the most choices, but in reality he has the fewest.

No comments: