“What literature needs most to tell and investigate today are humanity’s basic fears: the fear of being left outside, and the fear of counting for nothing, and the feelings of worthlessness that come with such fears; the collective humiliations, vulnerabilities, slights, grievances, sensitivities, and imagined insults, and the nationalist boasts and inflations that are their next of kin … Whenever I am confronted by such sentiments, and by the irrational, overstated language in which they are usually expressed, I know they touch on a darkness inside me. We have often witnessed peoples, societies and nations outside the Western world–and I can identify with them easily–succumbing to fears that sometimes lead them to commit stupidities, all because of their fears of humiliation and their sensitivities. I also know that in the West–a world with which I can identify with the same ease–nations and peoples taking an excessive pride in their wealth, and in their having brought us the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and Modernism, have, from time to time, succumbed to a self-satisfaction that is almost as stupid.”
—Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Lecture (translation by Maureen Freely), 2006
Michael Watson‘s once said in a post, “. . . we seem to be caught up in the Bardo, spinning endless fantasies derived from fear, greed, and anger” … and we would add “hubris.”
Priscilla Galasso shared these wise thoughts with us: “These fears and the overcompensation for them seem to be part of the shame spiral. The ego is vulnerable to shame, and manipulating that dynamic is common in our culture. If we were better able to be aware, responsible, but unattached to ego and ‘immune’ to shame, then perhaps these fears and stupidities would fade. Shame is useful for manipulation, but it is detrimental to enlightenment, I think.”
A bit of meat for us to chew on as poets and writers, artists and musicians, therapists, clerics and bloggers … and simply as humans beings.
So what do you thing? Is Orhan Pamuk’s statement fair?