Are You Informed?

images.jpgThe moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed? If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie—a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days—but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows. And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.

— Hannah Arendt

Sarraute: Microcosms of the Self

imgres.jpgHannah Arendt in her review of Sarraute’s Tropisms for The New York Review of Books wrote:

Sarraute has cracked open the ‘smooth and hard’ surface of the traditional characters in order to discover the endless vibrations of moods and sentiments, the tremors of a never-ending series of earthquakes in the microcosm of the self.

Here is a good example of an entry from Tropisms of those “endless vibrations of moods and sentiments”:

On the outskirts of London, in a little cottage with percale curtains, its little back lawn sunny and all wet with rain.

The big, wisteria-framed window in the studio, opens on to this lawn.

A cat with its eyes closed, is seated quite erect on the warm stone.

A spinster lady with white hair, and pink cheeks that tend towards purple, is reading an English magazine in front of the door.

Continue reading