Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Genji's choice

I have been re-reading Mr. Genji's poignant letters. The crux of the matter, for me, lies in this:

3-3. The issue at hand has nothing to do with heroism. The issue is the following: An individual has been thrown in jail for years due to his dissenting opinions and views, but they haven't stopped at this unfair, unjust and illegitimate act, and have forbidden him communication by telephone and medical treatment; they say: "you must write letters of repentance and criticize and reject all your previous beliefs, otherwise not only will there be no improvement in your conditions, but after the current sentence is over we will keep you in prison for many years to come by setting up new trials." Is resisting this unfair process heroism? Do my critics invite me to write letters of repentance? The goal of the system is to break and destroy me. Although I have been broken physically during these years, I have been trying not to break mentally and spiritually, and to say "no" to the ruling tyrants. A "no" that is costing me my life. This body is on the verge of complete deterioration, but since I believe in the conjectures I have made (all my opinions), I see no reason to deny their truth. It is a trivial fact that all these conjectures must be tested with the sword of falsification. Commitment to "critical rationality" is different from "giving up our beliefs by force of prison."
[…]Prison has not trapped me in illusions. Dejection, hopelessness, despair, isolation, escape from politics and abandoning public arena, going after life and its pleasures, all have become prevalent in our society today. I have never been under the illusion that someone (people) will be awaiting me outside of prison. Not only that, but my closest friends do not accept my thoughts, talks, writings and attitudes. But none of these facts obliges me to bow before the tyrants so that they may release me from prison. Life in slavery is not worth a dime in my eyes. In the same way that some allow themselves the option to cooperate with tyrants, or to remain silent before human rights violations, I too have the option to oppose the tyrants and to say "no", in a loud voice, to them and to their attitudes….
Socratic death is a style of living, a style of living that men of wisdom have not ceased to praise throughout history. The choice of death, if one is forced to deny one's individuality, and is deprived of the opportunity to think freely, talk freely and live freely, is a choice, against which reason has no objection left to present….

To better appreciate the nobility of this uniquely audacious soul, you must understand his profound revulsion with the prevailing social alternative of living with a mask: "a life so artificial, no smell, no color, no beauty."

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