The freedom to err, fall and get up again

I’m a fruit eaten away by a worm. And I await the orgasmic apocalypse. A dissonant throng of insects surrounds me, light of an oil lamp that I am. I then go too far in order to be. I’m in a trance. I penetrate the surrounding air. What a fever: I can’t stop living. In this dense jungle of words that thickly wrap around whatever I feel and think and live and transform everything I am into something of mine that remains entirely outside me. I’m watching myself think. What I wonder is: who is it in me who is even outside of thinking? I’m writing you all this because it’s a challenge which I have to accept with humility. I’m haunted by my ghosts, by whatever is mythic and fantastical—life is supernatural. And I walk on a tightrope up to the edge of my dream. Guts tortured by voluptuousness guide me, fury of impulses. Before I organize myself, I must disorganize myself internally. To experience that first and fleeting primary state of freedom. Of the freedom to err, fall and get up again.

Clarice Lispector,  Água Viva


Men exercise only the power that they are allowed to exercise by other men, whom, when their clothes are off, they much resemble; so that the strong are rarely as powerful as they are thought by the weak, or the weak as powerless as they are thought by themselves. Its ultimate seat is—to use an unfashionable word—the soul. It rests on hope and fear, the belief of those who submit to it that its agents can confer upon them benefits, from food to spiritual peace, and inflict evils, from hunger to misery of mind… To destroy it, nothing more is required than to be indifferent to its threats, and to prefer other goods to those which it promises. Nothing less, however, is required also.

-R. H. Tawney

Pride and Fear

The sage who defines his Utopia as a society in which any man can say to any other, “Go to hell,” but no man wants to say it, and no man need go when it is said, may have been crude in expression, but he was sound in substance. Pride and fear are the attitudes least becoming human beings, and a people which is a people, not a mob, will be intolerant of both. It will respect all men and feel awe of none. It will give short shrift to all forms of authority, whether political or economic, which breed arrogance in this class and servility in that.

– R. H. Tawney