When I look back on four of the recent posts, I find myself drawn to the post, “Craft, A Life You Love”. The reason this gets my attention, again, is that the idea of it has real appeal. Wouldn’t it be great to love your work?
Both the posts on “Growth of the Author: Memoirs” (Why We Write About Ourselves) and on “The Gifts of Imperfection” also have interesting and helpful things to say about the motives for our work.
We heard from some writers who told us why they wrote about themselves. Ishmael Beah said he wrote to prove his existence. Kate Christensen said she wrote to explore the existence of others. Kelly Corrian wanted her readers to know more about her. Jesmyn Ward wanted the world to know more about her readers.
The “Gifts of Imperfection” counseled us to let go of who we think we are supposed to be and own our own story and embrace who we are.
These books seem to complement each other. They suggest a core value of sincere desire to be ourselves and not try to be something that isn’t us. They truly are about the individual.
Connected events do matter and these books and their messages do connect. The other post I reviewed left me with real concerns and it didn’t connect well with the messages of the other posts. I think the reason for this had a lot to do with the assumptions about what motivates the individual.
In the post about the book “How Bad Writing Almost Destroyed the World” it did talk about how the individual behaves, but it was more of an economic philosophy. The motives of the individual are suggested to be the overall cause of what the society becomes. It was written back in 1863. The original writings were considered at the time to be very poorly done.
This book’s assumptions were embraced by Ayn Rand and later by Alan Greenspan. Even today the ideas have an ongoing influence in government. The real question is whether the motivations presented are really part of what motivates the individual?
One phrase in the book jumps out and I would take issue with it. That phrase is the statement that “The rational pursuit of selfish gain on the part of each individual must give rise to the ideal form of society”.
I think that is largely “bunk”. Ayn Rand loved the idea. She thought that since the market place was free, that if some didn’t succeed, then that was too bad. She even added that they deserved it. Greenspan was surprised when the banks failed not expecting greed to be the cause. Today government is again leaning towards the rich and assuming everyone else has their chance so “ho hum” if they fail.