Oscar Wilde

Disobedience is Humanity's Original Virtue says Oscar Wilde

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'Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue' - Oscar Wilde.

However, there is a prevalent perception counter to Wilde's view which considers conformity and compliance to be virtuous traits. This perception is quite clearly held by most of those at the top our society's hierarchies - be they politicians, top business people, or religious leaders - or at least they want us to embody these passive 'virtues'.

But as Wilde points out, a reading of history clearly shows that it has been disobedience, rebellion, and heresy, which have driven progress over the millennia. It seems almost too obvious to say, because the absence of resistance will obviously lead to nothing changing for the better.
 

Did you know Oscar Wilde was an anarchist?

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Happy Birthday to Oscar Wilde! Born this date - the 16th of October - in 1854 in Dublin, he studied at Trinity, then Oxford, moved to London, living mostly there, and died in penury in Paris 1900. He was a very successful playwright (as well as a journalist, poet, and lecturer), a London celebrity, and is most famous for his play 'The Importance of Being Earnest', novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', epigrams, and, sadly, his persecution for being gay which was his ruination.
 

Though eminently quotable, there was more to Wilde than his turn of phrase and artistic flair. Many know his remark that 'to live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all', but few know its proper context. It is quoted from an essay entitled 'The Soul of Man Under Socialism' in which Wilde espouses his politics - those of libertarian socialism. Commonly understood as an apolitical aesthete, Wilde's radical political views are quite a well kept secret - like George Bernard Shaw's socialism, and to a lesser extent George Orwell's socialism. In fact, he signed Shaw's petition for a pardon of the anarchists arrested, and later executed, after the Haymarket Affair in Chicago, 1886. Wilde was a huge admirer of the famous Russian anarchist communist Peter Kropotkin, describing him in De Profundis as 'a man with a soul of that beautiful white Christ which seems coming out of Russia'.

The Soul of Man under Socialism - Oscar Wilde 1891

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The chief advantage that would result from the establishment of Socialism is, undoubtedly, the fact that Socialism would relieve us from that sordid necessity of living for others which, in the present condition of things, presses so hardly upon almost everybody. In fact, scarcely anyone at all escapes.

Oscar Wilde's socialism

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Paris has had its fair share of famous people die in it. Most of them have ended up in the Pere La Chaise cemetery and Oscar Wilde is one of them. Of all the people buried there, that was the one grave I had to see when I entered that cemetery on a brisk March morning. I admire him because he was the master of that Irish pastime of extracting the Michael.

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