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|Fostering the Moral Imagination - Page 2|
I came to writing as person with a psychology and anthropology background who was interested in social change. My topic was always the same--how does culture affect mental health? For example, with Reviving Ophelia, the question was how our culture impacts teenaged girls. I asked of my writing not just whether it was good, but what it was good for. I wanted to help people understand the point of view of others, to genuinely care about them, and to act on their behalf.
Of course, learning how to accomplish this took years of hard work. As Cather said, "Nobody is good at the beginning." Writing is a skill, like playing violin or practicing medicine, that a bright, dedicated person can learn in about 10 years. Writing to Change the World is my seventh book, and I'm working on my eighth. My life after 59 years seems governed by happenstance, and yet somehow, in retrospect, it feels like it was inevitable, as all good stories are.
Our skills as writers and therapists have never been more essential. The survival of the human race, not to mention democracy in America, is at stake. I've never seen people more stressed and fearful. We all seem to require a great deal of alone time and inner architecture to stay calm, clear, and focused. The great cultural interest in meditation, yoga, tai chi, and retreats is about our yearning for inside scaffolding as the outside world becomes more overwhelming.
"More than at any time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we'll have the wisdom to choose correctly." Woody Allen
Lily Tomlin: "No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up."