Am I toxified by the things I write about?

Konstantin writes:

For the past six years that I have been educating myself about the decline of Western Civilization through your articles and comments on VFR, I noticed that you have devoted a great amount of time into research and developments of ideas and thoughts. That is obvious considering the almost daily publication of linked articles and comments from you and your readers.

I have been wondering: Have there been days when all the articles portraying a negative picture and bleak future were too much for you to handle, so that you committed yourself into taking a break for a few days from information acquisition to go outside and breathe some fresh air?

I used to visit websites dedicated to the exposure of crimes and insanities committed by large-scale nonwhite immigration and liberalism quite frequently, but lately I have found myself not wanting to pay too much attention to these articles, as they have consumed too much of my thoughts and worries in the past. I also think that it makes a difference whether you are young, like me who still has lots of years to live and to endure the consequences, or older, thinking that you won’t get to witness the expected fall of the once splendid Western society. Or it could be that after so much “drill, ” your mind gets numbed and any new articles that were once upsetting simply don’t shock you the same way any longer.

I noticed on myself that the Internet can be a blessing on the one hand because it has revealed the truth to me in many aspects of our society, but sometimes it is a curse that enslaves my mind and to some extent my life. Some people spend their days in front of their computers at the workplace and at home gathering information, some of which is toxic. I think it is a good idea to shut off the computer sometimes and engage in activities that provide exercise or relaxation instead. So I hope you do yourself a favor occasionally by switching your thoughts to something more pleasant (which I know can be hard).

LA replies:

In general, I don’t think I’m toxified by what I’m writing. The center of my writing is a sense of wonder at the truth and excitement at articulating the truth. Even a very negative truth is still true.

At the same time, the general problem you are describing is of course a real problem, and I suppose it affects me as much as anyone. If one finds oneself becoming too negative as a result of reading about the negative and disturbing developments in our society, one needs to take a break. I do that with particular types of stories when they start to bother me too much.

Indeed, I suffered from a version of this problem even before I began my career as a writer. During the 1980s, I was so traumatized by what I saw mass Third-World immigration doing to America that I dreaded plunging into the subject seriously and writing about it, though I felt compelled by duty to do so. Ultimately an inner change occurred in me that enabled me to write about it. And by doing so, I became in part immunized. Today I no longer experience the paralyzing feeling of horror that I felt in the 1980s at the thought of the de-Europeanization of America. I am still horrified by it, but not as viscerally as before. Because I faced the horror by writing about it, it doesn’t traumatize me personally as much as it used to do. I’m able to look at it more objectively. Which, again, does not lessen the objective horror and the objective tragedy of what is happening.

I have been intending for a couple of years to write an article on how I came to write The Path to National Suicide—the paralyzing dread that made me shy away from writing it, and the spiritual experience that finally liberated me to write it. While I’ve told the story to some friends, the physical difficulty I have in writing anything longer than a blog entry or comment has kept me from writing the story. This exchange reminds me of the need to write it.

- end of initial entry -

January 3

Paul K. writes:

You wrote: “I have been intending for a couple of years to write an article on how I came to write The Path to National Suicide—the dread that made me shy away from writing it, and the spiritual experience that finally liberated me to write it. While I’ve told the story to some friends, the physical difficulty I have in writing anything longer than a blog entry or a comment has kept me from writing the story. This exchange reminds me of the need to write it.”

I’m certain this would be interesting and useful. Your 1995 article, “The Evolution of One Person’s Views on Racial Differences in Intelligence,” provides a human element to your outlook and the almost reluctant, step-by-step evolution of it is one with which many people can relate. I imagine the article you are proposing would have a similar effect.

Ed H. writes:

The Path to National Suicide is a seminal work and will prove to be even more so in coming years as the immigration catastrophe unfolds. Future generations of young white men will wonder how it all got so bad, and will ask was it possible for it ever to be any different. They will wonder if anyone alive in the late 20th century had any sense of what was being created. To many of your contemporaries PNS seems to come miraculously out of nowhere. But, of course, you know differently. In the midst of near total and totalitarian liberalism an understanding arose of what was happening, and what was wrong, which allowed you to write this essay. Was the essay commissioned? [LA replies: No. I was totally on my own when I wrote the first draft. I was part of no intellectual community or support group. I knew no one who shared my outlook or with whom I discussed my ideas.] When you wrote it did you have an audience in mind? What did you think would come of it? How did you get the courage to face the magnitude of the problem when everyone else was living in a world of denial and platitudes?

You were a product of the public schools, and presumably 20th century universal liberalism was inculcated from an early age, and yet you came to the position from which you could look at it all from the outside. And all of this while living in the heart of liberalism, New York City. This is a remarkable feat and some record needs to be made of it. Perhaps just a recording of the most salient personal and intellectual milestones might be possible. This need not be a Thomas Mann style bildungsroman, but we do have a photo of the young Lawrence Auster living as a hippie in Colorado in the 1970’s but by October 1987 you are watching the Bork hearings disgusted by Teddy Kennedy. What happened? You have the intellectual credentials, which in normal course of affairs, would have you teaching in a college. Did what was happening in higher education repel you even so far back as the 1970s? [LA replies: I had considered going into graduate studies in English, to be an English teacher; but I became convinced that the field of English literature studies was in a negative place.] Your cousin is the novelist Paul Auster, which makes your family far from average. Did you have a sense that high intellectual expression was normal and expected in life? [LA replies: The fact that my cousin was a standard, pro-Communist, anti-American leftist who wrote obscure poetry in the 1970s (some of which I liked), and then began writing post-modern novels in the ’80s (which I detested), had nothing to do with my intellectual development. The worlds we inhabited were so far apart they had nothing to do with each other. While we had been friendly in our youth and in our twenties, I had no personal communication with my cousin after 1981 after he wrote a book in which he sensationalized and exploited, for his own self-aggrandizing purposes, the event which had taken place in our family in Wisconsin in 1919 and I criticized him harshly for it.]

David B. writes:

Every day I pray for you to get better. It has been nearly a dozen years since we first started exchanging emails. Even though we have not met face to face, I think of you as one of my best friends. I’ve used some of your arguments on liberal friends and they are speechless.

It doesn’t change them, however.

I was somewhat hesitant about writing you the last few days. Back in November 2011, I had a freak accident, falling down the stairs (trying to take the last two steps as one) in my basement. I broke a bone in my left shoulder as I fell on concrete. It was painful and I couldn’t move my arm and had to wear a sling, which isn’t as comfortable as it looks in the movies. I couldn’t lie down and had to sleep in a chair for several weeks.

During this time, people asked, “How are your feeling?” or “Is it any better?” For a while it was not, but I would say it was. Anyhow, it made me a little uncomfortable answering questions about the injury. Maybe its just a quirk of mine.

After 5 months or so, the broken bone in my shoulder healed. I was fortunate it didn’t require surgery, just exercise and some rehab. Over a year later, I just have to exercise my left arm and shoulder every few hours. I’m all right now, but it was a lesson. I had the presence of mind while falling to take the blow on my shoulder instead of my head.

Again, I can’t express how much you have meant to me. I’ve learned so much from you and your readers.

Terry Morris writes:

Yes; writing can be very therapeutic, even for those of us who have no gift for writing, or are otherwise intellectually hamstrung to one degree or another.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 02, 2013 10:09 PM | Send

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