A social group can, indeed must, already exercise 'leadership' before winning governmental power (this is indeed one of the principal conditions for the winning of such power); it subsequently becomes dominant when it exercises power, but even if it holds it firmly in its grasp, it must continue to 'lead' as well.
Possibility means "freedom". The measure of freedom enters into the concept of man. That the objective possibilities exist for people not to die of hunder and that people do die of hunger, has its importance, or so one would have thought. But the existence of the objective conditions, of possibilities or of freedom is not yet enough: it is necessary to "know" them, and know how to use them.
The crisis creates situations which are dangerous in the short run, since the various strata of the population are not all capable of orienting themselves equally swiftly, or of reorganizing with the same rhythm. The traditional ruling class, which has numerous trained cadres, changes men and programmes and, with greater speed than is achieved by the subordinate classes, reabsorbs the control that was slipping from its grasp. Perhaps it may make sacrifices, and expose itself to an uncertain future by demagogic promises; but it retains power, reinforces it for the time being, and uses it to crush its adversary and disperse his leading cadres, who cannot be be very numerous or highly trained.
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A man of politics writes about philosophy: it could be that his "true" philosophy should be looked for rather in his writings on politics. In every personality there is one dominant and predominant activity: it is here that his thought must be looked for, in a form that is more often than not implicit and at times even in contradiction with what is professly expressed.
Ideas and opinions are not spontaneously "born" in each individual brain: they have had a centre of formation, or irradiation, of dissemination, of persuasion-a group of men, or a single individual even, which has developed them and presented them in the political form of current reality.
At the limit it could be said that every speaking being has a personal language of his own, that is his own particular way of thinking and feeling. Culture, at its various levels, unifies in a series of strata, to the extent that they come into contact with each other, a greater or lesser number of individuals who understand each other's mode of expression to varying degrees, etc.
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Is it better to work out consciously and critically one's own conception of the world and thus, in connection with the labours of one's own brain, choose one's sphere of activity, take an active part in the creation of the history of the world, be one's own guide, refusing to accept passively and supinely from outside the moulding of one' own personality?
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Common sense is not a single unique conception, identical in time and space. It is the "folklore" of philosophy, and, like folklore, it takes countless different forms. Its most fundamental character is that it is a conception which, even in the brain of one individual, is fragmentary, incoherent and inconsequential.
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In the life of children there are two very clear-cut phases, before and after puberty. Before puberty the child's personality has not yet formed and it is easier to guide its life and make it acquire specific habits of order, discipline, and work: after puberty the personality develops impetuously and all extraneous intervention becomes odious, tyrannical, insufferable. Now it so happens that parents feel the responsibility towards their children precisely during this second period, when it is too late: then of course the stick and violence enter the scene and yield very few results indeed. Why not instead take an interest in the child during the first period?
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It indicates a person who has not only good manners but who possesses a sense of balance, a sure mastery of himself, a moral discipline that permits him to subordinate voluntarily his own selfish interest to the wider interests of the society in which he lives. The gentleman, therefore is a cultural person in the noblest sense of the word, if by culture we mean not simply wealth of intellectual knowledge but also the ability to fulfil one's duty and understand one's fellow man by respecting / every principle, every opinion, every faith that is sincerely professed.
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If you think about it seriously, all the questions about the soul and the immortality of the soul and paradise and hell are at bottom only a way of seeing this very simple fact: that every action of ours is passed on to others according to its value, of good or evil, it passes from father to son, from one generation to the next, in a perpetual movement.
Common sense is not something rigid and stationary, but is in continuous transformation, becoming enriched with scientific notions and philosophical opinions that have entered into common circulation. 'Common sense' is the folklore of philosophy and always stands midway between folklore proper (folklore as it is normally understood) and the philosophy, science, and economics of the scientists. Common sense creates the folklore of the future, a relatively rigidified phase of popular knowledge in a given time and place.
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This is really the common mentality of prisoners: they read with great attention all the articles that deal with illnesses and send away for treatises and "be your own doctor" or "emergency treatments" and end up by discovering that they have at least 300 or 400 illnesses, whose symptoms they are experiencing.
I would like you to understand completely, also emotionally, that I'm a political detainee and will be a political prisoner, that I have nothing now or in the future to be ashamed of in this situation. That, at bottom, I myself have in a certain sense asked for this detention and this sentence, because I've always refused to change my opinion, for which I would be willing to give my life and not just remain in prison. That therefore I can only be tranquil and content with myself.
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From the moment when a subordinate class becomes really independent and dominant, calling into being a new type of State, the need arises concretely, of building a new intellectual and moral order, i.e. a new type of society, and hence the need to elaborate the most universal concepts, the most refined and decisive ideological weapons.
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The philosophy of praxis does not aim at the peaceful resolution of existing contradictions in history and society, but is the very theory of these contradictions. It is not the instrument of government of the dominant groups in order to gain the consent and exercise hegemony over the subaltern classes. It is the expression of subaltern classes who want to educate themselves in the art of government and who have an interest in knowing all truths, even the unpleasant ones, and in avoiding the impossible deceptions of the upper class, and even more their own.
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