Saturday, 11 July 2009

The perils of indignation.

You read a totally irrelevant comment on some link posted somewhere in the World Wide Web and feel a need to react. The fact that the author of the comment is a simple-minded moron so self-absorbed in his (yes, it had to be the male species) insignificant little existence that he rushes where angels fear to tread and ends up defending something that is not even being attacked. He may choose to worship false gods and chase hollow ideals but why does he feel the need to impose his stupidity on everyone? What makes him think that he is so smart that he can challenge well-established facts? And with every word typed one grows angrier and ones thoughts build up to add to the raging bonfire and everything is on the verge of burning to ashes.

But then just in the nick of time one recollects Virginia Woolf and is reminded of the perils of writing in indignation. As she notes when discussing the fate of women writers in general and Charlotte Bronte in particular, “She will never get her genius expressed whole and entire. She will write in a rage where she should write calmly. She will write foolishly where she should write wisely. She will write of herself where she should write of her characters. She is at war with her lot. How could she help but die young, cramped and thwarted?” All characteristics exhibited in the opening paragraph.

So instead one does the sensible thing and picks up A Room of One’s Own and makes peace by accepting the fact that “Life for both sexes—and I look at them, shouldering their way along the pavement—is arduous, difficult, a perpetual struggle. It calls for gigantic courage and strength. More than anything, perhaps, creatures of illusion that we are, it calls for confidence in oneself.”

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