1. Walden by Henry David Thoreau (Stanza 16 of Chapter 2- Where I Lived, and What I Lived For)
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
(I bolded my favorite parts.)
2. Temporary Autonomous Zones by Hakim Bey, pg 97
By failing to follow this curve, the up-rising suggests the possibility of a movement outside and beyond the Hegelian spiral of that “progress” which is secretly nothing more than a vicious circle. Surgo – rise up, surge. Insurgo – rise up, raise oneself up. A bootstrap operation. A goodbye to that wretched parody of the karmic round, historical revolutionary futility. The slogan “Revolution!” has mutated from tocsin to toxin, a malign pseudo-Gnostic fate-trap, a nightmare where no matter how we struggle we never escape that evil Aeon, that incubus the State, one State after another, every “heaven” ruled by yet one more evil angel.
3. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin, pg 238 &239 (Chapter 9)
It is our suffering that brings us together. It is not love. Love does not obey the mind, and turns to hate when forced. The bond that binds us is beyond choice. We are brothers. We are brothers in what we share. In pain, which each of us must suffer alone, in hunger, in poverty, in hope, we know our brotherhood. We know it, because we have had to learn it. We know that there is no help for us but from one another, that no hand will save us if we do not reach out our hand. And the hand that you reach out is empty, as mine is. You have nothing. You possess nothing. You own nothing. You are free. All you have is what you are, and what you give… You cannot buy the Revolution. You cannot make the Revolution. You can only be the Revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.
That first part is very Machiavellian.
4. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, pg 173 (Record 31)
And as for happiness… Really? After all, desire is torturous, isn’t it? And so it’s clear that happiness happens when there are no more desires, not one… What a mistake, what ridiculous prejudice, that until now, we have been putting a plus sign in front of absolute happiness. It is, of course, a minus sign – a divine minus.
If true happiness (true utopia) is the removal of desire, would anybody be willing to give up that desire that is so fundamental to our lives?