#Books – Hello Freedom
“Ever since the French Revolution, people throughout the world have gradually come to see both equality and individual freedom as fundamental values. Yet the two values contradict each other. Equality can be ensured only by curtailing the freedoms of those who are better off. Guaranteeing that every individual will be free to do as he wishes inevitably short-changes equality. The entire political history of the world since 1789 can be seen as a series of attempts to reconcile this contradiction.” Yuval Noah Harari in Sapiens: a Brief History of Humankind.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
I have never watched Milos Forman’s adaptation, but this novel is clearly one of my favorite books. I discovered Kesey and the Merry Pranksters reading Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe’s texts, and I was shocked realizing how brilliant One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was. This novel is all about the control of individuals by authorities, and the coercive methods used for that, with an epic psychological battle between the inmate McMurphy and Nurse Ratched. One could have cited Kerouac’s On the Road to talk about freedom, but One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is much better in my opinion and definitely a must read.
Homage to Catalonia – George Orwell
Everyone knows Orwell as the writer of masterpieces such as 1984 or Animal Farm. But few people know Homage to Catalonia, a deep dive into the Spanish Civil War, when Orwell fought against Franco’s troops with the militias of the POUM. This passionate (and sometimes naive) ode to freedom leads to a darker conclusion, as the Communist party took control over Catalonia and operated a political purge. An experience that dramatically influenced the rest of his writing career. Indeed, inside every utopia is a dystopia.
The World Inside – Robert Silverberg
A great sci-fi novel that takes place in 2381. The Earth is overpopulated, and most humans live in massive city towers called “urban monads”, while a minority of people still work and live in agricultural zones all around. Each monad hosts an inside world where all people are happy, healthy… and young. Maybe because this locked utopian society is actually an anthropological nightmare, pushing all of its members to finally jump into the void.