Thursday, October 20, 2005

Quality, not Quantity

I was reading John Stuart Mill today, and he really made some good points. He spoke about over-
population, and how the individual is being lost in society. I have to agree. I am an extensive writer, putting something to words at least once a day, not counting required writing for school, etc. I write for the pure enjoyment of it. Actually, I should probably say I write for the pure necessity of it. The choice isn't really mine to make...I don't think I could NOT write.

However, lately, I've been pursuing it more. I've been trying to get my writing out into the world more. There are a number of competitions and publishing events that have received pieces by me. I haven't heard back from any of them yet, but should by the end of the year probably.

In any case, I've thought recently about what it would have been like for me two hundred years ago. During that time, there were few writers. My imagination says that I would have been able to be successful in those days, as there would have been fewer voices screaming out from the masses. However, the thought then strikes me that perhaps this is because there was less literacy. In actuality, that "perhaps" should probably not be in that last sentence as I am sure that is the reason. With this logic, I have to continue and realize that chances are that literacy would not have befallen me. The case is most likely that many people are writers, but up until the last few decades the opportunity to write has evaded many.

John Stuart Mill writes about solitude, and the fact that it is becoming extinct to us. As our society expands, crushing every flower underfoot as a weed (to paraphrase him), we gain a larger support for a large, but less important expanse of culture. We have grown at such a pace, doing everything in our power to support more and more and more people, while none of our efforts have gone to increasing the quality of these people. Mill thinks there is a lot to be said for being locked away in solitude at the feet of nature's majesty. I would agree...spending a few months (years?) locked away from society out in a tent, at the roots of a mountain, its streams bubbling by as the icy winter hibernates the flora, waiting for spring's grace to coax them back to the surface, sure sounds nice to me.

"If the earth must lose that great portion of its pleasantness which it owes to things that the unlimited increase of wealth and population would extirpate from it, for the mere purpose of enabling it to support a larger, but not a better or happier population, I sincerely hope, for the sake of posterity, that they will be content to be stationary, long before necessity compels them to it." - John Stuart Mill in "Principles of Political Economy (1848).

Picture taken from "It's a Beautiful World..." email,

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