Peasants are generally known as shrewd and cunning; political candidates, very often, as stupid. People have written novels, farces, even sociologicalPeasants are generally known as shrewd and cunning; political candidates, very often, as stupid. People have written novels, farces, even sociological treatises about this, all of which confirm these two fundamental truths. Now, it happens that some of these stupid candidates always manage to swindle the shrewd peasants in the end. They have an infallible method for doing this, which requires no intelligence, no preparatory research, no personal magnetism, nothing that you might expect from even the most lowly menial worker or the most senile civil servant. This method can be summed up in two words: make promises ... In order to win, a candidate need do nothing more than exploit- and ruthlessly exploit -the most persistent, stubborn, dogged mania of mankind: hope. Through hope, he can evoke and control the things that matter most in people's lives: their passions, vices, financial interests. Indeed, you could pose the following axiom as an iron law: "That candidate is always elected, who, during a given election campaign, utters the greatest number of promises and issues the greatest number of opinions-even, to some extent, opinions which he actually holds-no matter that these opinions, and the extent to which he holds them, are diametrically opposed to the voter's better interests." The form of surgery known as "pulling teeth"- demonstrated daily on the public squares, with less finesse, it's true, and certainly less rhetoric-goes by other names in the political arena: the constituents call it "voicing our will,", and the politician, "listening to the will of the people..." And the newspaper writers use even more hallowed, burnished, glowing names for this same process... And such are the amazing workings of the political machine in all "democratic societies" that for several thousand years now, the will of the people has been continuously voiced yet never heard, while the machinery itself turns and turns without the tiniest crack in their gears, or the slightest pause in their smooth operation. Everyone is happy, and things appear to run smoothly. What is most amazing about the workings of universal suffrage is this: because the people believe themselves to be sovereign, not subject to the authority of any masters above them, you can promise them benefits they will never enjoy, and you never have to keep promises which, anyway, are beyond your power to deliver. In a perfect world, you might think it would be better to never make such promises in the first place, since it violates the democratic and supremely human rights belonging inalienably (or so we are told) to these poor voters, who spend their entire lives chasing after these promises the way gamblers chase windfalls or lovers chase heartbreak. But we are all like that, whether we vote or not... When we get something we want, we lose the euphoria that comes from desiring it... And we love nothing so much as the dream itself, the eternal, vain aspiration toward a nirvana that we rationally know is unattainable. Therefore, the essential thing in any election is to promise the world, to promise far and wide, promise more than any of the other candidates do. The more impossible these promises are to deliver, and the more profoundly they speak to what the voters really need, the more effective they will be. The peasant wants nothing more than to cast his vote- which is to say, to surrender his power of choice, his freedom, and his life savings into the hands of the first moron or the first crook who comes along- and again and again he demands only that the promises he is given, in exchange for these things, are worthy of all the pain that he suffers. What he gets from those promises is, finally, the ultimate certainty that he is destined to be swindled, a duped pawn on the chessboard of life.
published in 1901, Paris from, Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic by Octave Mirbeau...more
true love never regrets, it never holds resentments, it believes in the eternal flux of life, it knows that everytthis is what i thought of said book:
true love never regrets, it never holds resentments, it believes in the eternal flux of life, it knows that everything, everywhere, into infinity and out changes- that nothing is ever the same, therefore nothing can remain except that which has never remained before. yes, i understand. one of my favorite activities to perform nowadays is that of 'staring into space', and i would do it all the more if it wasn't for the public who condemn such things as 'wastefull'....more
This was an incredible story that turned me into myself. Because in the end- it's only thoughts, our ideas, that are worth the actual trouble of breatThis was an incredible story that turned me into myself. Because in the end- it's only thoughts, our ideas, that are worth the actual trouble of breathing ergo thinking....more
this book made me cry when I first read it because I had finally identified with a women- she had written my life up to that point, she knew me too wethis book made me cry when I first read it because I had finally identified with a women- she had written my life up to that point, she knew me too well....more