Rebellion

A society – the product of socialization – is made of spontaneous nurturing and love, while culture can be quiet hate, which can lead, sooner or later, to a child’s subtle or flagrant rebellion.

Many a time I have made a comparison between nobility of sacrifice and happiness of rebellion to find out which one is nobler and more beautiful; but until now I have distilled only one truth out of the whole matter, and this truth is sincerity, which makes all our deeds beautiful and honorable.

Disobedience, in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.

In life as in art the mood of rebellion closes up the channels of the soul, and shuts out the airs of heaven.

Freedom lies beyond conformity or rebellion.

The Declaration of Independence . . . is much more than a political document. It constitutes a spiritual manifesto—revelation, if you will—declaring not for this nation only, but for all nations, the source of man's rights. Nephi, a Book of Mormon prophet, foresaw over 2,300 years ago that this event would transpire. The colonies he saw would break with Great Britain and that 'the power of the Lord was with [the colonists],' that they 'were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations' (1 Nephi 13:16, 19). "The Declaration of Independence was to set forth the moral justification of a rebellion against a long-recognized political tradition—the divine right of kings. At issue was the fundamental question of whether men's rights were God-given or whether these rights were to be dispensed by governments to their subjects. This document proclaimed that all men have certain inalienable rights. In other words, these rights came from God.

There is no such thing as a unique scientific vision, any more than there is a unique poetic vision. Science is a mosaic of partial and conflicting visions. But there is one common element in these visions. The common element is rebellion against the restrictions imposed by the locally prevailing culture, Western or Eastern as the case may be. It is no more Western than it is Arab or Indian or Japanese or Chinese. Arabs and Indians and Japanese and Chinese had a big share in the development of modern science. And two thousand years earlier, the beginnings of science were as much Babylonian and Egyptian as Greek. One of the central facts about science is that it pays no attention to East and West and North and South and black and yellow and white. It belongs to everybody who is willing to make the effort to learn it.

Poetry is man's rebellion against being what he is.

A status not freely chosen or entered into by an individual or a group is necessarily one of oppression and the oppressed are by their nature (i.e., oppressed) forever in ferment and agitation against their condition and what they understand to be their oppressors. If not by overt rebellion or revolution, then in the thousand and one ways they will devise with and without consciousness to alter their condition.

Today so much rebellion is aimless and demoralizing precisely because children have no values to challenge. Teenage rebellion is a testing process in which young people try out various values in order to make them their own. But during those years of trial, error, embarrassment, a child needs family standards to fall back on, reliable habits of thought and feeling that provide security and protection.

How did it happen that a republic born of a rebellion against a king and parliament we did not elect has fallen under a tyranny of judges we did not elect?

The communists and fascists in politics are the analogues of the modernists in the fine arts. Both groups are in rebellion against the dominant sensate politico-economic and art systems; but both are essentially sensate. Accordingly, neither group can constitute the politico-economic or art system of the future. They are mainly destroyers and rebels - not constructive builders. They flourish only under the conditions peculiar to a period of transition. Being charged with destructive force, the modernists are too chaotic and distorted to serve as bearers of a permanent art culture.

The Biblical view of the law, the courts, and the state is profoundly radical. The Bible looks upon the state as a kind of rebellious artifice; it is spurious, a human creation in rebellion against God.

In the Old Testament, when the first state is proposed in the person of Saul, the first King of Israel, God tells the prophet Samuel that this project spells rejection of God. The state and its legislature are in rebellion against, or rejection of, God. Its courts are a human fabrication, cannot promote justice and peace; they are founded in violence, and legalize violence.

Men must be capable of imagining and executing and insisting on social change if they are to reform or even maintain civilization, and capable too of furnishing the rebellion which is sometimes necessary if society is not to perish of immobility.

Such rebellion is too deep and too constant to express itself in picketing, marching, sitting-in or freaking out; it is the serious, unresting protest of serious people. It is 24-hours-a-day rebellion, not intermittent, showy, status-seeking public uproar. It is rebellion as a way of life.

A lively and lasting sense of filial duty is more effectually impressed on the mind of a son or daughter by reading King Lear, than by all the dry volumes of ethics, and divinity, that ever were written.

I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom. And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessities and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes; have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow suffers. Our land-holders, too, like theirs, retaining indeed the title and stewardship of estates called theirs but held really in trust for the treasury, must wander, like theirs, in foreign countries, and be contented with penury, obscurity, exile, and the glory of the nation. This example reads to us the salutary lesson, that private fortunes are destroyed by public as well as by private extravagances. And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for the second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering. Then begins, indeed, the bellum omnium in omnia, which some philosophers observing to be so general in this world, have mistaken for the natural, instead of the abusive state of man. And the fore horse on this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.

You and I have formerly seen warm debates and high political passions. But gentlemen of different politics would then speak to each other and separate the business of the Senate from that of society. It is not so now. Men who have been intimate all their lives, cross the streets to avoid meeting, and turn their heads another way, lest they should be obliged to touch their hats. This may do for young men with whom passion is enjoyment. But it is afflicting to peaceable minds. Tranquility is the old man's milk.