Civil society requires civil thought and action. While there are those in the world who protect freedom of speech, and freedom of the press, there are others who seek to limit access to these freedoms. How humans live in the 21st century, and how they act, is a by-product of education, social bias, political and religious beliefs.
Having the freedom to act, and speak freely is an essential component for any civil society, and without the protection of these freedoms, chaos, anarchy, and suffering prevail.
Studying the recent murders in Paris gives us a clue to the complex nature of words, images, and human communication. How we, as human beings respond to these murders will ultimately guide our own thoughts. Anyone with even a glimmer of altruism, empathy, and concern for the lives of others will be saddened by this wanton act of violence.
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Pondering the past, wondering about who we are as human beings, and attempting to decipher the code of human heritage are all components of the research found at human journey. We live in a time unprecedented in human history when, and where we are able to use science as a tool to refine our understanding of the past, unlocking the code of human evolution.
Werner Herzog, and his recent film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams points to an earlier time in human history, a time when humans had a capacity for art, long before most of us think of human beings as the artists we have become in the twenty first century. www.wernerherzog.com
Thank you to all who put these ideas into the ethers, and for all of the great educators who continue to propel our understanding of things.
In a Better World (Original Danish title: Hævnen) is a 2010 Danish-Swedish drama thriller film written by Anders Thomas Jensen and directed by Susanne Bier. The film stars Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, and Ulrich Thomsen in a story which takes place in small-town Denmark and a refugee camp in Africa. Its original Danish title is Hævnen, which means “The Revenge”.
A Danish majority production with co-producers in Sweden, In a Better World won the 2011 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards.
Director Susanne Bier said: “Our experiment in this film is about looking at how little it really takes before a child – or an adult – thinks something is deeply unjust. It really doesn’t take much, and I find that profoundly interesting. And scary.”
I see no good in having several lords;
Let one alone be master, let one alone be king.
These words Homer puts in the mouth of Ulysses, as he addresses the people. If he had said nothing further than “I see no good in having several lords,” it would have been well spoken. For the sake of logic he should have maintained that the rule of several could not be good since the power of one man alone, as soon as he acquires the title of master, becomes abusive and unreasonable. Instead he declared what seems preposterous: “Let one alone be master, let one alone be king.” We must not be critical of Ulysses, who at the moment was perhaps obliged to speak these words in order to quell a mutiny in the army, for this reason, in my opinion, choosing language to meet the emergency rather than the truth. Yet, in the light of reason, it is a great misfortune to be at the beck and call of one master, for it is impossible to be sure that he is going to be kind, since it is always in his power to be cruel whenever he pleases. As for having several masters, according to the number one has, it amounts to being that many times unfortunate. Although I do not wish at this time to discuss this much debated question, namely whether other types of government are preferable to monarchy, still I should like to know, before casting doubt on the place that monarchy should occupy among commonwealths, whether or not it belongs to such a group, since it is hard to believe that there is anything of common wealth in a country where everything belongs to one master. This question, however, can remain for another time and would really require a separate treatment involving by its very nature all sorts of political discussion.
For the present I should like merely to understand how it happens that so many men, so many villages, so many cities, so many nations, sometimes suffer under a single tyrant who has no other power than the power they give him; who is able to harm them only to the extent to which they have the willingness to bear with him; who could do them absolutely no injury unless they preferred to put up with him rather than contradict him. Surely a striking situation! Yet it is so common that one must grieve the more and wonder the less at the spectacle of a million men serving in wretchedness, their necks under the yoke, not constrained by a greater multitude than they, but simply, it would seem, delighted and charmed by the name of one man alone whose power they need not fear, for he is evidently the one person whose qualities they cannot admire because of his inhumanity and brutality toward them. A weakness characteristic of human kind is that we often have to obey force; we have to make concessions; we ourselves cannot always be the stronger. Therefore, when a nation is constrained by the fortune of war to serve a single clique, as happened when the city of Athens served the thirty Tyrants, one should not be amazed that the nation obeys, but simply be grieved by the situation; or rather, instead of being amazed or saddened, consider patiently the evil and look forward hopefully toward a happier future.
OBSERVATION: Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, Etienne de la Boetie 1546-48 This introductory excerpt to the discourse introduces the premise: human behavior within the social context of servant, and the served. In the mid 1500’s La Boetie examined the need to understand how social hierarchy and organization fell into place, elaborating these ideas in the full discourse. The relevance of this essay remains intact, questioning how authority is distributed throughout human social hierarchy.