“It’s much better to imagine men in some smoky room somewhere, made mad and cynical by privilege and power, plotting over the brandy.
You had to cling to this sort of image, because if you didn’t then you might have to face the fact that bad things happened because ordinary people, the kind who brushed their dog and told their children bedtime stories, were capable of then going out and doing horrible things to other ordinary people.
It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think They were Us. If it was Us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No-one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us.
It’s Them that do the bad things.”
On The Ink, I try and share the insights, ideas and implementation of some of the best, brightest, wisest minds on the planet. A lot of my posts are based off the work of philosophers and scientists (although I’ll admit the odd comedian and Navy SEAL may have snuck in it).
The world of fiction is equally (if not more) powerful than the entire ‘self-help’ genre that’s become increasingly popular in recent years.
Because the lessons aren’t explicit (as in a book like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), there’s more room for personal interpretation – every reading is different.
I’ve learned so much about love, and life, and progress, and decency, from authors like Jack London, John Steinbeck, and Terry Pratchett (who wrote the incredible passage above in his fantastic Discworld novel, Jingo).
So – don’t block yourself off from a world of wisdom.
Open your eyes (and your mind) to the valuable lessons great works of fiction have to teach.
Coming soon: an exhaustive list of everything decent I’ve read recently – including Bukowski, Eckhart Tolle and 50 Cent).