Doris Lessing on Abstraction and Idealism in War and Ideology

Doris Lessing, in addition to being a novelist and poet, is a skeptic and thinker. Born in 1919, she won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2007 and is still alive today. In the below clip, she discusses abstraction and idealism, and how they can get us into trouble. I especially like the following exchange:

Interviewer: Is there an ‘ism’ or ideology that you hold to now?

Lessing: Well, the only one I hold to is that people should think before they shout slogans. That’s all. You think that might be a small demand, but it isn’t.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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