Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

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There are 3 entries for this date: Milan Kundera , Abraham H. Maslow and Vladimir Pozner
Milan Kundera

Milan Kundera

On this date in 1929, novelist Milan Kundera was born in Brno, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic). He grew up in a cultured, middle-class family, and graduated from the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, in 1952. Kundera was expelled from the communist party in 1950, then readmitted in 1956, and expelled again in 1970. He became an assistant, then a professor, at the Film Faculty at Prague's Academy of Performing Arts. His first book was published in 1953, and he continued publishing poetry and short stories, until his novel, The Joke, was published in 1967. During the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), Kundera became a leader of the resistance, lost his teaching post, and saw his books banned. He lost his citizenship in 1979 for writing The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1979). Since 1975 he has lived in France with his wife Vera, and became a French citizen in 1981. His other books include Life is Elsewhere (1969), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984), The Art of the Novel (1988, in which he discusses his lack of religion), Slowness (1994) and Identity (1998). Unbearable Lightness was turned into a movie in 1987. Kundera cites as one of his literary icons Diderot.

“Totalitarianism is neither left nor right, and within its empire both will perish.

I was never a believer, but after seeing Czech Catholics persecuted during the Stalinist terror, I felt the deepest solidarity with them. What separated us, the belief in God, was secondary to what united us. In Prague, they hanged the Socialists and the priests. Thus a fraternity of the hanged was born.”

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Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Abraham H. Maslow

Abraham H. Maslow

On this date in 1908, Abraham H. Maslow was born, the first of seven children, to immigrant Russian Jewish parents, in New York City. He received his BA in 1930, his MA in 1931 and his Ph.D in 1934, all in psychology, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Maslow taught fulltime at Brooklyn College, then at Brandeis, where he was named Chair of Psychology in 1951. Maslow, a humanist-based psychologist, is known for proposing the "hierarchy of needs" to be met so an individual can achieve "self-actualization." In analysing achievers, Maslow found they were reality-centered. Among his many books was Religion, Values and Peak-Experiences, which is not a freethought treatise, but which did not limit "peak experiences" to the religious or necessarily ascribe such phenomena to supernaturalism. In the book's introduction, Maslow warned that mystics may become "not only selfish but also evil," in single-mindedly pursuing personal salvation, often at the expense of others. Maslow was named Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association in 1967. D. 1970.

“We need not take refuge in supernatural gods to explain our saints and sages and heroes and statesmen, as if to explain our disbelief that mere unaided human beings could be that good or wise.”

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Vladimir Pozner

Vladimir Pozner

On this date in 1934, Vladimir Pozner was born in Paris, France, to Russian parents. They lived in New York City from 1940 to 1948, then moved to Soviet-occupied Berlin and Moscow. Pozner graduated in 1958 with a Master's in biology. In 1961, he joined Novosty Press Agency. Pozner became editor of Soviet Life and Sputnik magazines. He was a commentator on Radio Moscow from 1970-1986. Pozner was permitted to travel abroad from 1977-1980, then his passport was revoked for criticizing Russia's military incursions into Afghanistan. In the late 1980s, he began appearing regularly on ABC's "Nightline," the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC and other TV networks in the United States and abroad--all by satellite hookup because Pozner was not allowed to travel. In 1985-1986, he co-hosted two shows, also by satellite, with Phil Donahue, which brought glasnost to Soviet TV. In 1989, Pozner resigned from the Communist Party. He moved to New York City in 1991 to work with Donahue. Parting with Illusions (1990) became a national besteller, which was followed by Eyewitness (1991). In 1997, Pozner returned to Moscow to host two TV shows. He is president of the Academy of Russian Television and dean of the Pozner School of Television Journalism. He has often identified himself as an atheist on TV talkshows. He has won two Emmy certificates and many other awards for his journalism.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

If you would like to be placed on the "Daily Freethought" e-mail list to automatically receive the calendar notice, log in and edit your email settings (My Membership). Or, email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and include your first and last name with your request for verification purposes. This email service is limited to members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation or subscribers to Freethought Today. To become an FFRF member, click here.


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