“Human beings, those at least who reflect on their situation in this world, may be divided into three kinds. The first kind includes all who maintain that there is nothing beyond the prison walls, and that the prison itself could be transformed into a paradise under an improved system of heating and lighting and with a more equitable distribution of floor space and the products of the kitchen garden.
To the second kind belong those who from chance glimpses, from leaves and scents blown over the walls, and landscapes seen in dreams, have formed an idea of another world, happy and unconfined, into which they hope one day to be liberated, but when they do not know, and under what conditions they rather apprehend than are able clearly to define.
The third kind, which in temperament bears some resemblance to the first, takes over the hints and glimpses of the second, constructs out of them a detailed account of the world beyond the prison walls, its system of government and its immigration laws, and on the strength of this special knowledge, of unique value if correct, claims a general jurisdiction over the conduct and the thoughts of the prison inmates-a claim which is naturally disputed by the first kind, for whom the prison is a self-contained and self-dependent phenomenon.”
- Hugh Kingsmill (an English writer)
From the 'Pub philosophy' group, Philosophy For All