Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Speech is civilization

I'll finish The Magic Mountain tonight, so more to follow, but for now here is another fine quote from the mouth of Herr Settembrini:

"You are silent... You do not love the Word, or you have it not, or you are chary with it to unfriendliness. The articulate world does not know where it is with you. My friend, that is perilous. Speech is civilization itself. The word, even the most contradictious word, prserves contact - it is silence which isolates. The suspicion lies to hand that you will seek to break your silence with deeds."

And in just this way, every tyrannical power, from the first, seeks to control speech, to limit dialogue, to ensure that debate is only ever held under the conditions of its own choosings. 'We are the way,' they say. 'Our interpretation is correct; you must only follow our guide.'

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