History and Utopia

After having denounced the absurdities of utopia, let us deal with its merits, and, since men accommodate
social arrangements so well and scarcely distinguish from them the evils immanent within them, let us do
as they do, let us unite ourselves with their unconsciousness.
We shall never praise the utopias sufficiently for having denounced the crimes of ownership, the
horror property represents, the calamities it causes. Great or small, the owner is corrupted, sullied in his essence: his corruption is projected onto the merest object he touches or appropriates. Whether his
“fortune” is threatened or stripped from him, he will be compelled to a consciousness of which he is
normally incapable. In order to reassume a human appearance, in order to regain his “soul,” he must be
ruined and must consent to his ruin. In this, the revolution will help him. By restoring him to his primal
nakedness, it annihilates him in the immediate future and saves him in the absolute, for it liberates—
inwardly, it is understood—those whom it strikes first: the haves; it reclassifies them, it restores to them
their former dimension and leads them back to the values they have betrayed. But even before having the
means or the occasion to strike them, the revolution sustains in them a salutary fear: it troubles their sleep,
nourishes their nightmares, and nightmare is the beginning of a metaphysical awakening. Hence it is as an
agent of destruction that the revolution is seen to be useful; however deadly, one thing always redeems it:
it alone knows what kind of terror to use in order to shake up this world of owners, the crudest of all
possible worlds. Every form of possession, let us not hesitate to insist, degrades, debases, flatters the
monster sleeping deep within each of us. To own even a broom, to count anything at all as our property, is
to participate in the general infamy. What pride to discover that nothing belongs to you—what a
revelation! You took yourself for the last of men, and now, suddenly, astonished and virtually enlightened
by your destitution, you no longer suffer from it; quite the contrary, you pride yourself in it. And all you
still desire is to be as indigent as a saint or a madman.

If a man has not, by the time he is thirty, yielded to the fascination of every form of extremism—I don't know whether he is to be admired or scorned, regarded as a saint or a corpse.

L’uomo attenderà sempre l’avvento della giustizia; e, affinché trionfi, rinuncerà alla libertà, per poi rimpiangerla.

To live in any true sense of the word is to reject others; to accept them, one must be able to renounce, to do oneself violence, to act against one's own nature, to weaken oneself; we conceive freedom only for ourselves - we extend it to our neighbours only at the cost of exhausting efforts; whence the precariousness of liberalism, a defiance of our instincts, a brief and miraculous success, a state of exception, at the antipodes of our deepest imperatives.

When every man has realized that his birth is a defeat, existence, endurable at last, will seem like the day after a surrender, like the relief and the repose of the conquered.