Quotes from The Great Tradition: Oscar Wilde

Starting an occasional series of quotes from what I call the Great Tradition, a tradition of anti-authoritarianism and freedom-seeking that gives me sustenance and that runs right through all cultures and times.

All quotes below are from the English gay playwright and libertine Oscar Wilde’s magnificent The Soul of Man Under Socialism (1891).

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

‘A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realization of Utopias.’

‘The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible.’

‘There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor. The poor can think of nothing else. That is the misery of being poor.’

‘Private property has crushed true Individualism, and set up an Individualism that is false. It has debarred one part of the community from being individual by starving them. It has debarred the other part of the community from being individual by putting them on the wrong road, and encumbering them. […] With the abolition of private property, then, we shall have true, beautiful, healthy Individualism. Nobody will waste his life in accumulating things, and the symbols of things. One will live. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.’

‘Now Art should never try to be popular. The public should try to make itself artistic.’

‘We have been able to have fine poetry in England because the public do not read it, and consequently do not influence it.’

‘But the past is of no importance. The present is of no importance. It is with the future that we have to deal. For the past is what man should not have been. The present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are.’

Advertisements

~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on April 10, 2011.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: