Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey the thing you think everyone is saying. Make an effort to separate yourself from the internet. Read books.
If we ignore that little thing about “separate yourself from the internet”, because I do want you to continue to read this and other blogs, I couldn’t agree more. Even though On tyranny twenty lessons from the twentieth century is written with an American audience in mind, what Snyder has written is relevant for everyone. And since it is so easy to read ( just over 100 small pages) there are no excuses not to.
He does give some great recommendations for what to read as an act of resistance, to sharpen the mind and to be able to articulate our thoughts. And he points out, as did Levitin in his book; it is a chance to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and foster empathy. These seven struck a note with me.
- The plot against America by Philip Roth. I actually have this in my TBR-pile and it’s high time I got around to it.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J.K Rowling. I have Harry Potter on the brain right now, I feel a reread might be in the near future. That Snyder uses it an example of “an account of tyranny and resistance” is just another argument.
- The origins of Totalitarianism by Hanna Arendt. I should read this. I recommend her book Eichmann in Jerusalem to people all the time.
- Nothing is true and everything is possible by Peter Pomerantsev. I’ve seen this on the shelves and heard people speak well of it. Feels like a relevant read. I’ve made a note.
- The Bible. I’ve actually tried reading this once. Got through the Old Testament at least but the New testament might be more what Snyder has in mind. Jesus was all about freedom and kindness. The old testament is more about vengeance and several reminders not to sleep with your sister.
- Politics and the English language by George Orwell. This is a brilliant essay, I read it last year and I probably should make a point of reading it now and again to immunize myself towards populist rhetoric.
- The unbearable lightness of being by Milan Kundera. I read this when I was younger and I thought it remarkable even though I was probably to young and naive to really understand.