Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Quote of the week

The convoluted wording of legalisms grew up around the necessity to hide from ourselves the violence we intend toward each other. Between depriving a man of one hour from his life and depriving him of his life there exists only a difference of degree. You have done violence to him, consumed his energy. Elaborate euphemisms may conceal your intent to kill, but behind any use of power over another the ultimate assumption remains: "I feed on your energy."
That's from Frank Herbert's Dune Messiah. Reflecting on it, I would make sure to emphasize an additional distinction between truly involuntary restrictions on freedom and the voluntary sort that people willingly enter into on a daily basis. Voluntarily restricting your own freedom is a natural and crucial institutional hack that bridges the divide between immediate emotional desire and longer-term goals and commitments.

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