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Do You Think It's Possible That Some People Are Just Born For One Special Reason, A Task To Accomplish?

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6 days ago in Society & Culture by Virginia (4,094 points)

Thinking for example of Anna Sewell (1820-1878), the author of Black Beauty. If I recall correctly, she spend much of her adulthood working on the book, and died soon after its completion. And it changed our attitude forever toward horses; more compassion (in addition to becoming one of the best-selling children's books ever).

I thought of others too, including George Orwell, whose life caused me to ponder this idea of a purpose to some lives. I just learned about Orwell's tragedy couple days ago...he had TB. But he not only gave us ANIMAL FARM, the great metaphor for the Communism catastrophe, but also 1984 - a great warning for humankind (and you prolly know I am thinking of this kind of thing a lot now). 

Anyway, George Orwell completed the final draft of the novel 1984 typing in his bed, while chain-smoking, which is NOT the thing to do when you have a bleeding lesion of tuberculosis in your lung! And then he never left his bed again, dying age only 46. Orwell talked about his book in 1950 shortly before his death; “This is the direction the world is going in at the present time…always there will be the intoxication of power…the intoxication of trampling on the enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”

* * *

The second part of this question is that sometimes also I wonder if there is something protecting us, protecting humankind...people like Orwell giving their lives for a book that helps us SO much...???

Here is another photo of Orwell...I am thinking of him a something of a hero now...

image

3 Answers

TheOtherTink 6 days ago

I think there are indeed people that devote themselves to one purpose, and yes, they can serve as guardian angels for humanity.

In Orwells' case, I think he was more concerned with radical, revolutionary totalitarianism, having just lived through the rise and fall of Nazism and the continuing evils of Communism.  But his warnings are also valid for a totalitarianism of of a gentler but perhaps more insidious, Fabian sort, where freedoms are lost so gradually that few are aware of it.  And of course the corrupt elites are just as corrupt, if not as violent, as in the former systems.

Virginia TheOtherTink 5 days ago

A very thoughtful response, ty Other Tink...I hope you are not losing your own belief in the ability of the US gov't. to self-correct, as I seem to be losing my own belief. It is a desolate feeling, but as you know I am not giving up, just doing all I can now to intercept the US decline, whatever I can to prevent more violence.

One hopeful note for me is that the USA has been through horrendous crises, such as the ones you so rightly pointed out as affecting Orwell - very likely shaping his profound but pessimistic insights. And yes, something I have seen with the YouTube documentaries is the concern over the gradual loss of our freedoms. 

But the USA has emerged okay through some really really awful awful stuff, so I have not quite totally given up hope for our capacity for self-correction!

I learned about Fabian socialism from you, had never heard of it...whew!!!

Marianne 6 days ago

There are many stories and books which contributed to the evolution of general attitudes toward people and animals. But also superstitions, "traditions" and abusive practices went on - with economic or religious arguments.

Regarding books and their sacrificed authors, I have been thinking of Olympe de Gouges, who was guillotined for her political engagement and for defending the rights of women, "forgotten" by the French Revolution:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympe_de_Gouges

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_the_Rights_of_Woman_and_of_the_Female_Citizen

Sadly enough, the change of attitudes was prevented with violence.


Further, may I cite Tolstoy's "Kholstomer", Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables", Emile Zola's "Germinal", Erich Maria Remarque's "All Quiet in the West", Ernest Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" - there are too many ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kholstomer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Twist

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Mis%C3%A9rables

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germinal_(novel)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Quiet_on_the_Western_Front

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_Whom_the_Bell_Tolls

or, long before, Erasmus or Rotterdam, Thomas More, or the Holy Bible, though too often misinterpreted, misused and distorted:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Education_of_a_Christian_Prince

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia_(book)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible


Yes, there are many people who are devoting themselves to one or several causes, but very few are noticed on a broader level, while fanatism caused too often conflicts and disasters.

"Sauce for the goose is (not) sauce for the gander" is an ancient principle:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Sauce_for_the_goose_is_(not)_sauce_for_the_gander

but it was rarely respected, as the struggle for surviving in "hostile environments" - or the quest for power, wealth and control - caused too often the sacrifice of the weaker or less aggressive persons or creatures.

Compassion, empathy, loyalty, respect, altruism and solidarity are too often silenced by immoderation, injustices, greed, false principles and hate - or superstitions and "fashion trends".

image


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sacrifice

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_martyrs

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_violence





Virginia Marianne 5 days ago

Marianne I will pick just one of your fine links...Olympe de Gouges, because I had never heard of her, and SO glad to learn of her life! So I also ended up reading about the Girondins...did not know of them, either.

Marianne, don't you think it is strange how a revolution with the motto of Liberté, égalité, fraternité, could end so badly?They all turned on each other, slaughter/execution/murder, arguable worse than the aristocracy they overthrew! France eventually came out okay, of course...perhaps one of the best governments now...

But for Olympe de Gouges to do what she did, I honor her, a life of pure courage.

btw, I thought I had either read or at least knew of most of the writing of Tolstoy, as I admire him; but Kholstomer is new to me. I hope to learn more.

Marianne Marianne 5 days ago

Virginia, here's the story of Kholstomer, the Strider (it is a short story):

http://www.lrgaf.org/training/kholstomer.htm


Sadly enough, most revolutions led and still lead to blood baths, vendettas, corruption, further conflicts and oppression.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleonic_Wars_casualties


Factions:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girondins

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mountain

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sans-culottes

....


Fuzzy Corona 2 days ago

No, people choose their purposes, believing otherwise seems dehumanizing to me

Virginia Fuzzy Corona 2 days ago

Thank you Fuzzy Corona, a concise and powerful point!

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