“The idea of putting literature in second place, after politics, is an enormous mistake, because politics almost never achieves its ideals. Literature, on the other hand, in its own field can achieve something and in the very long run can also have some practical effect. By now I have come to believe that important things are achieved only through very slow processes.”
I like Ezra Pound’s perspective, too. This is from ABC of Reading.
If a nation’s literature declines, the nation atrophies and decays.
Your legislators can’t legislate for the public good, your commander can’t command, your populace (if you be a democratic country) can’t instruct it’s ‘representatives’ save by language.
“Henry David Thoreau wrote books that not many people read when they were published. … But a South African lawyer of Indian descent named Mohandas Gandhi read Thoreau on civil disobedience and found ideas that helped him fight discrimination in Africa and then liberate his own country from British rule. Martin Luther King studied Thoreau and Gandhi and put their ideas to work in the United States, while in 1952 the African National Congress and the young Nelson Mandela were collaborating with the South African Indian Congress on civil disobedience campaigns. You wish you could write Thoreau a letter about all this. He had no way of knowing that what he planted would still be bearing fruit 151 years after his death. But the past doesn’t need us. The past guides us; the future needs us.”
so someone once called my old english teacher immature (because at this point he was spinning around on a wheely chair) and he said:
"Yeah, but the truth is we never really grow up. We just masquerade as adults because that’s what we’re expected to do."
and to this day that is the single most profound thing i have ever heard uttered by someone dicking around on a swivel chair