On the anniversary of Bakunin's birth on May 18th

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May 17 2012 17:27
On the anniversary of Bakunin's birth on May 18th

A letter of Bakunin to his brother Pavel
Paris, March 29th 1845.
“… I am the same as before- a confirmed enemy of the existing state of affairs, with this difference only, that I have finally conquered the metaphysics and philosophy in myself and have thrown myself entirely, with all my soul, into the practical world, the world of the real act. Believe me, friend, life is beautiful; now I have a complete right to say that, because I have stopped making a great thing out of looking at it through theoretical constructions and of not knowing it except in fantasy, because I have actually experienced much of its bitterness, have suffered much and have as many times fallen into despair.
I am in love, Pavel, I am passionately in love: I do not know if I am able to be loved as I would desire to be loved, but I do not give up hope:- I know at least that she has much tender feeling towards me:-I ought to want to merit the love of her whom I love, loving her reverently, that is passionate:-she is subject to the most terrible and infamous subjections:- I must free her, fighting her oppressors and kindling in her heart the feeling of her own dignity- inciting in her the love and need for freedom, the instincts of rebellion and independence- making her remind herself again of the feeling of her strength and her rights.
To love is to desire the freedom, the complete independence of the other:- the first act of true love is the complete emancipation of the object that is loved:- one cannot truly love unless one is perfectly free, independent, not only of others but even and above all of the one you love and who is in love with you.
There, that is my profession of political, social and religious faith, - that is my deepest feeling, not only about my activities and my political leanings, but also to the extent that I am able in my particular and individual existence- because the time in which these two kinds of action could be separated is very distant from us;- now man wants freedom in all the meanings and applications of that word, or he doesn’t want it at all. To wish, in loving, the dependence of the person whom one loves, is to love an object and to be unhuman, because nothing distinguishes a human being from an object more than liberty; and if love also implied dependence, it would be the most dangerous and infamous thing in the world, because it would be a never-ending source of slavery and brutalisation to humanity.
All that frees men, all that makes them return to their own selves, arouses in them the principle of their original and really independent activity, all that gives them the strength to be themselves- that is true- all the rest is false, freedom killing, absurd…To emancipate man—that is the only legitimate and beneficial use of one’s forces… Under all the religious and philosophical dogmas—there is nothing but lies; the truth is not a theory but a fact, it is life itself—it is the community of free and independent men—it is the holy unity of love that bursts forth from the mysterious and infinite depths of indivual liberty…”