Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How to find our way.

Last night I was the luckiest man alive.  I was able to sleep in my warm bed with my warm and beautiful wife after a days work.  I was able to read a book written 150 years, or so, ago and here the wisdom of another who lived in times of great moral and ethical forgetting, questioning, heroism and all the ingredients that are necessary to make such times...

This is what he said.

"...never, since the beginning of history have princes been so blind in the presence of facts, and of the portion of divine authority which facts contain and promulgate.  Never had that earthly pretension which is called the right of kings, denied the divine right to such an extent...What they called their concessions were our conquests; what they called our encroachments were our rights."

Hugo is thick, thick with words and intelligence, difficult to read, but when he makes a point, more accurately, when I get a point he is trying to make it's like the clear ring of a bell, cutting through and above every other distraction or sound.

Above he is speaking of the 1830's in France, the French Revolution, Restoration and, again, Revolution.  And how perfectly fit for today.  There are no "princes" today in the US, only those that act like it.  And seemingly there are no "facts" either; just conjecture and grandstanding and misguided hope that spawns from the desire to rid oneself of the fear one feels.  

This is what Hugo says about the Restoration - a time in France after the defeat of Napolean, when the old system, the system Napolean was fighting against but had been defeated by.  It applies today perfectly and I think you will understand why...

"One morning it (The Restoration) rose in the face of France, and, lifting up it's voice, it denied the collective title and the individual title, sovereignty to the nation, liberty to the citizen.  In other words, it denied the nation what made it a nation, and to the citizen what made him a citizen...The Restoration fell."

The Restoration, as I understand it, in France in the early 1830's was the attempt of the victors of the first Revolution to stand up and run the country as victory demanded.  I am not a student of history but a fan of Hugo, and Hugo says the Restoration fell and below he talks about the second Revolution...this is what he says...

"The Revolution of July is the triumph of the RIGHT prostrating the FACT.  A thing full of splendor.  The RIGHT prostrating the FACT...the RIGHT when it triumphs has no need to be violent"

So that's my Victor Hugo for today.  I picked up Les Miserables, a massive 1200 page book and read last night full of questions about our situations today, the bailout, the vote, the courage and the lack of it, the fear and the fear mongering.  I was thinking about why we leave to those that follow us and why it's important to have a base of beliefs that are not compromised because to compromise them would be a worse penalty than any other possibility.

I picked up the book and happened on these three of four magnificent pages.  They were the next ones for me to read.  And this man, from more than a century ago speaks to our day today.

Where are the Facts.
Where is the RIGHT
what happens when you substitute for both the right, and the facts...

what then are you left with

How do you find your way from there.

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