To be left alone on the tightrope of youthful unknowing is to experience the excruciating beauty of full freedom and the threat of eternal indecision. Few, if any, survive their teens. Most surrender to the vague but murderous pressure of adult conformity. It becomes easier to die and avoid conflict than to maintain a constant battle with the superior forces of maturity.
Freedom is a rare and delicate plant. Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power. Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is necessary to preserve our freedom. It is an instrument through which we can exercise our political freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom.
The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country. He will ask rather "What can I and my compatriots do through government" to help us discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all, to protect our freedom? And he will accompany this question with another: How can we keep the government we create from becoming a Frankenstein that will destroy the very freedom we establish it to protect? Freedom is a rare and delicate plant. Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power. Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is an instrument through which we can exercise our freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom. Even though the men who wield this power initially be of good will and even though they be not corrupted by the power they exercise, the power will both attract and form men of a different stamp.
Along the Syria border there were no farms and no refugee camps — there was only the Syrian army... The kibbutzim saw the good agricultural land ... and they dreamed about it... They didn't even try to hide their greed for the land... We would send a tractor to plow some area where it wasn't possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn't shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance further, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that's how it was...The Syrians, on the fourth day of the war, were not a threat to us.
These timeless ways of being human are threatened by global forces that do not consider people’s deepest longings... For most people, to understand something new requires a cognitive antecedent... What we already know frames what we see, and what we see frames what we understand... ideas question and liberate, while ideologies justify and dictate.
Ecologists and biologists know that systems achieve stability and health through diversity, not uniformity. Ideologues take the opposite view. Neoconservatives believe that ordinary citizens cannot be entrusted with the reins of power, that a small group of superior individuals should rule over the majority of inferiors, using religion and the perpetual threat of war to create a Potemkin village of populism.
Anxiety may consist of the loss of psychological or spiritual meaning which is identified with one’s existence as a self, i.e., the threat of meaninglessness.
The basic anxiety, the anxiety of a finite being about the threat of non-being, cannot be eliminated. It belongs to existence itself.
Certain people, in their eagerness to construct a world no external threat can penetrate build exaggeratedly high defense against the outside world, against new people, new places, different experiences and leave their own world stripped bare. It is there that bitterness begins irrevocable work… Close cycles. Not because of pride or arrogance, but because that no longer fits your life… Close some doors today. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere.
No one should let themselves get used to anything… No one wants their life thrown into chaos at all. That's why many people holding back the threat level under control, and that's the way they are able to prop up a house or structure has rotted. They are the architects of innovation. Others think the opposite: they surrender themselves without a second thought; they hope to find in the passion that the method solves all their problems. They force people to take responsibility for their happiness, and blame those people because they were not happy. They are in an excited state because of the magic has happened or depressed because things just do not expect the destruction of all. Alkali keep the passion, or surrender it blindly-way, less destructive The most extreme? I do not know.
Up until then, travel and the idea of going far away had just been a dream, and dreaming is very pleasant as long as you are not forced to put your dreams into practice. That way, we avoid all the risks, frustrations and difficulties, and when we are old, we can always blame other people--preferably our parents, our spouses or our children--for our failure to realize our dreams… Usually the threat of death makes people a lot more aware of their lives… We become imprisoned by our memories, and that makes our lives wretched… We can assume many mistakes in my life, except one: the one that will destroy us.
While both humanization and dehumanization are real alternatives [today], only the first is man’s vocation. This vocation is constantly negated, yet it is affirmed by that very negation. It is thwarted by injustice, exploitation, oppression and the violence of the oppressors; it is affirmed by the yearning of the oppressed for freedom and justice, and by their struggle to recover their lost humanity... This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves. Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both. Any attempt to “soften” the power of the oppressor in deference to the weakness of the oppressed almost always manifests itself in the form of false generosity; indeed, the attempt never goes beyond this. In order to have the continued opportunity to express their “generosity,” the oppressors must perpetuate injustice as well. An unjust social order is the permanent fount of this “generosity,” which is nourished by death, despair, and poverty. This is why the dispensers of false generosity become desperate at the slightest threat to its source.
It would be simplistic to say that Divine Providence caused the fall of Communism. In a certain sense Communism as a system fell by itself. It fell as a consequence of its own mistakes and abuses. It proved to be a medicine more dangerous than the disease itself. It did not bring about true social reform, yet it did become a powerful threat and challenge to the entire world. But it fell by itself, because of its own inherent weakness.
The quintessential revolution is that of the spirit, born of an intellectual conviction of the need for change in those mental attitudes and values which shape the course of a nation's development. A revolution which aims merely at changing official policies and institutions with a view to an improvement in material conditions has little chance of genuine success. Without a revolution of the spirit, the forces which produced the iniquities of the old order would continue to be operative, posing a constant threat to the process of reform and regeneration. It is not enough merely to call for freedom, democracy and human rights. There has to be a united determination to persevere in the struggle, to make sacrifices in the name of enduring truths, to resist the corrupting influences of desire, ill will, ignorance and fear.
I am convinced that some political and social activities and practices of the Catholic organizations are detrimental and even dangerous for the community as a whole, here and everywhere. I mention here only the fight against birth control at a time when overpopulation in various countries has become a serious threat to the health of people and a grave obstacle to any attempt to organize peace on this planet.
We must learn the difficult lesson that the future of Mankind will only be tolerable when our course, in world affairs as in others, is based upon justice and law rather than the threat of naked power.
It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself.
Today is a time of turbulence and stagnation, of threat and promise from a competitor: the magic, omnivorous videocassette recorder (VCR). In other words, it is business as usual.
It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, mad cow disease, and many others, but I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.
Violence or the threat of violence [must] never be permitted to influence the actions or judgments of the university community. Once it does, the community, almost by definition, ceases to be a university. It is for this reason that from time immemorial expulsion has been the primary instrument of university discipline.
For We have every confidence that the Church, in the light of this Council, will gain in spiritual riches. New sources of energy will be opened to her, enabling her to face the future without fear. By introducing timely changes and a prudent system of mutual cooperation, We intend that the Church shall really succeed in bringing men, families and nations to the appreciation of supernatural values.