Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
|Print List Price:||£9.99|
Save £8.50 (85%)
|Price set by seller.|
Prisons We Choose to Live Inside Kindle Edition
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Doris Lessing has faith in the power of writers to stay detached from these mass emotions and "enable us to see ourselves as others see us." I like the image she gives of writers as a collective organism, constantly evolving but always providing this same crucial function of detached examination of the human condition.
It's refreshing to hear Lessing's account of how often majority opinion has been completely wrong, and the most seemingly unchangeable opinions have changed completely - for example the white minority in the Rhodesia of her childhood thought that their racist regime would last forever, but it didn't. Also in World War Two, Britons revered friendly, pipe-smoking Uncle Joe Stalin, their ally against Hitler, but then a couple of years later he was their worst enemy (I remember my grandmother talking about this as well).
This book was written in 1987, before the arrival of technologies like the internet. The methods of control and manipulation are surely stronger now than in 1987, but so are the possibilities for resistance. It's easier now to find the information that undercuts official propaganda, or to publish your own individual views, or to connect with other people who dissent from the majority opinion. Not following the herd is a challenge at any time, but, as Lessing says, it's vital:
"Of course, there are original minds, people who do take their own line, who do not fall victim to the need to say, or do, what everyone else does. But they are few. Very few. On them depends the health, the vitality of all our institutions."
The prisons that we chose to live inside, for Lessing, are our thought patterns: our conviction that we are right and that others are wrong, and this may be in politics, religion, philosophy or anything else. She is not frightened to suggest that some people enjoy fighting wars, even if they are in the minority. She points out that many people of the left have the same thought patterns as those on the right, though they may deny this. She also adds that a person fighting for a just cause may still be a rabble rouser and dangerous for that reason.
Essentially these essays are about the real nature of freedom. Lessing suggests that, though people don't always know it, the future may point out that the twentieth century provided people with the means to observe their own prejudices, and may in the end prove to be liberating. Her solution to this is the cultivation of individuals able to take responsibility for themselves. In this find parallels with Jung's essay The Undiscovered Self: which also argued that the fate of the world depended on individuals. But as both would agree there are many resistances to this, not least political, educational and business institutions.
Lessing fearlessly independent all her life. She points out near the end that people saying writers should do one thing or another are wrong. A writer should only write what they are given to write. In these essays we get a taste of what that meant to her.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this book is ageless, its like she writes with what is happening now. its one of the best books ive ever read.Published 12 months ago by kieran joshua beeston