The writer can’t help it.

“Anyone who writes is beset by all kinds of dangers. The list is extensive, it’s not difficult to guess what traps it holds. The intellectual dangers are particularly unpleasant, though. Very briefly speaking, the writer cannot think, he can’t help but participate in the intellectual life of his age to some degree. He cannot, he must not, take refuge in absolute, childish innocence, since with time this becomes stupidity.

“But what’s to be done, since an abundance of theories, beliefs, and even, in relatively recent times, ideologies proliferates on all fronts? Absolutely accepting any single theory means losing all freedom of thought. The greatest misfortune is — was — embracing some fashionable or dominant ideology. But we can’t escape at least partial asphyxiation, the era poisons us all. Poisons and redeems, since we can’t live outside time.”

-Adam Zagajewski, in Slight Exaggeration


6 thoughts on “The writer can’t help it.

  1. I can identify with this. There is a real danger in some university departments in particular of becoming asphyxiated by a slavish adherence to a particular theory – only to drop it (and pretend you never were a part of it) when the next one becomes fashionable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For me, the last few words hint that he understands something of how we have to “work out our salvation” with fear and trembling, in whatever particular era we are living. Lord, have mercy!


  2. I had nothing worthy enough with which to respond to all these beautiful posts, so here I am about to lower your tone utterly by telling you that the jammy stars are jammy because you layer two of them together with jam in the middle. They are delicious. Not as delicious as your words. Jammy, you might or probably might not be interested to know, in NI speak also means something or someone who gets away with something a bit sneaky but much to their advantage. My stars are jammy but not jammy, unless you sneak the last one out of the tin…

    Liked by 1 person

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