„The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even — if you will — eccentricity.“

— Joseph Brodsky, Context: The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even — if you will — eccentricity. That is, something that can't be feigned, faked, imitated; something even a seasoned imposter couldn't be happy with. Something, in other words, that can't be shared, like your own skin: not even by a minority. Evil is a sucker for solidity. It always goes for big numbers, for confident granite, for ideological purity, for drilled armies and balanced sheets. Its proclivity for such things has to do with its innate insecurity, but this realization, again, is of small comfort when Evil triumphs. "A Commencement Address" (1984), delivered at Williams College; As quoted in: Robert Inchausti (2014) Thinking through Thomas Merton. p. 110
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Joseph Brodsky2
1940 - 1996
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— Christopher Isherwood English novelist 1904 - 1986
Context: To live sanely in Los Angeles (or, I suppose, in any other large American city) you have to cultivate the art of staying awake. You must learn to resist (firmly but not tensely) the unceasing hypnotic suggestions of the radio, the billboards, the movies and the newspapers; those demon voices which are forever whispering in your ear what you should desire, what you should fear, what you should wear and eat and drink and enjoy, what you should think and do and be. They have planned a life for you – from the cradle to the grave and beyond – which it would be easy, fatally easy, to accept. The least wandering of the attention, the least relaxation of your awareness, and already the eyelids begin to droop, the eyes grow vacant, the body starts to move in obedience to the hypnotist’s command. Wake up, wake up – before you sign that seven-year contract, buy that house you don’t really want, marry that girl you secretly despise. Don’t reach for the whisky, that won’t help you. You’ve got to think, to discriminate, to exercise your own free will and judgment. And you must do this, I repeat, without tension, quite rationally and calmly. For if you give way to fury against the hypnotists, if you smash the radio and tear the newspapers to shreds, you will only rush to the other extreme and fossilize into defiant eccentricity. "Los Angeles", p. 161

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„I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.“

— Karl Hess American journalist 1923 - 1994
Context: I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. Barry Goldwater's speech http://www.c-span.org/video/?4018-1/goldwater-1964-acceptance-speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination, written by Karl Hess, delivered 16 July 1964, San Francisco.

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