Books, Ideas & Lofty Goals
We hear the word Tolerance a lot. It’s revered as the pinnacle of policies, the mark of a civilised society. But when I think about the verb, Tolerate, it brings negative connotations to mind. We merely tolerate things that we don’t particularly like.
Is this the best a society has to offer: to grit our teeth and endure those who hold different beliefs or propagate different ideas to us? It hardly seems like a lofty goal!
Yet, to quote Marilynne Robinson, “History could make a stone weep”. We stand in the dark shadow cast down the ages through wars and crusades that have divided humanity over worldviews. Perhaps Tolerance is a lofty goal.
Our politicians think so. But politicians are not cultural leaders, they are culture followers. It is those in the Arts who are cultural leaders, forging new ideas in creative ways that appeal to the masses. My book club has found that 90% of the novels we read have something to say about worldviews.
With this in mind, I have decided to interview authors about their books and their worldviews. There’s something for everyone; memoir, fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, horror, romance, mystery, crime, literary. I hope a few of the featured books might inspire you to read more than you normally would.
My aim is to encourage inquiry and break down the taboo of talking about worldviews. The best method I can think of to do this is Socrates’ approach to philosophy. He would go to the city square not to preach or lecture or instruct, but to ask questions and nurture discussion.
So I invite you and your friends to consider Galvanize Press the city square where you can come and listen to what others have to say, to join the discussion if you have a question or insight to share, or even better, to continue the discussion in person.
Maybe then we will come to see worldviews for what they really are: a set of presuppositions, of beliefs and doubts that help us to make sense of the joys and sorrows of life. In our pursuit to make sense of life humanity is united, even if in our conclusions we are divided.
Of course the risk of being open to what others have to say is that we may be forced to defend, amend, or abandon the worldview which we hold dear. And if my experiment should fail, I only hope the good people of the blogosphere will spare me the Hemlock Socrates was forced to drink.
It’s only fair that I should be first to answer the type of questions I will put to the willing authors.
1. What was the impetus for writing your novel? I started writing as a way of working through the grief of my young brother-in-law being killed. The very first thing I wrote was a funeral scene. I eventually moved away from real-life events and started writing fiction, but the premise is the same: learning to live and laugh again after tragedy and patching up your ruptured worldview. (Said novel is still a work in progress).
2. If you were the only person with 25 hours in your day, what would you do with your secret extra hour? Go for a walk on the beach if I felt energetic, or lay in the hammock with a good book.
3. In terms of worldview, what do you believe? I believe that grace is the most beautiful, mysterious, necessary and difficult thing in the world. Beautiful: as anyone who has had grace extended to them can attest. Mysterious: because the ability to extend grace is often contrary to our natural instinct. Necessary: because at some point everyone in the world needs grace extended to them. Difficult: because although we might need grace, it is very humbling to receive. Also because I have the most difficulty mustering grace at precisely the moment it’s needed.
4. What do you doubt? That we will ever find a permanent solution to poverty, considering all the politics involved. But I live in hope and still believe in action.
5. How is your current worldview different from the one you were brought up with? Only in the particulars.
6. What’s in your “too hard” basket? Once you start substituting letters for numbers, maths just doesn’t make sense to me. I remember saying to the teacher, How can x have a value? It’s a letter! And he would say, That’s what you’ve got to work out: the value of x. Anything trickier than long division is beyond me. OK, anything trickier than multiplication. Thank goodness for calculators!
7. Belinda’s Favourite:
Book: Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson
Film: The Painted Veil
Music: At the moment, Jason Mraz
Motto: Your weakness may be strong, but your strength is never weak.
Charity: Kiva because it aims to break the poverty cycle.
Each new author interview is posted on a Monday morning at http://galvanizepress.typepad.com and a discussion thread is posted on the Galvanize Press facebook page https://www.facebook.com/GalvanizePress
Think. Write. Share.
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