– Emma Goldman (1869-1940)
brings to man the consciousness of himself
Real wealth consists in things of utility and beauty, in things that help to create strong, beautiful bodies and surroundings inspiring to live in. But if man is doomed to wind cotton around a spool, or dig coal, or build roads for thirty years of his life, there can be no talk of wealth. What he gives to the world is only gray and hideous things, reflecting a dull and hideous existence, --too weak to live, too cowardly to die. Strange to say, there are people who extol this deadening method of centralized production as the proudest achievement of our age. They fail utterly to realize that if we are to continue in machine subservience, our slavery is more complete than was our bondage to the King. They do not want to know that centralization is not only the death-knell of liberty, but also of healthy and beauty, of art and science, all these beings impossible in a clock-like, mechanical atmosphere...Anarchism cannot but repudiate such a method of production: its goal is the freest possible expression of all he latent powers of the individual. Oscar Wilde defines a perfect personality as “one who develops under perfect conditions, who is not wounded, maimed, or in danger.” A perfect personality, then, is only possible in a state of society where man is free to choose the mode of work, the conditions of work, and the freedom to work. One to whom the making of a table, the building of a house, or the tiling of the soil, is what the painting is to the artist and the discovery to the scientist, --the result of inspiration, of intense longing, and deep interest in work as a creative force.