I’m out of the city, and out of the country. No 4G, 3G, wifi, social media, apps, no newspaper or TV. All we have is the ocean, each other, the books we brought and an old fashioned radio. Cut off from the world. Cut off from our daily life.
It took almost 20 hours until the news of the French terrorist attack in Nice, and then the Turkish military coup reached me. Almost like in the old days when you were reached by the news the day after they happened.
I’m reading Stefan Zweig’s memoir ‘The world of yesterday’. Even though his life covered the years of 1881-1941 – the effect of the industrialization, and the first and second world wars – his reflections couldn’t be more to the point of the world of today. The fast-paced life we live today, how we choose to live, the need for reflection, how the terror from both outside our countries, as well as from within, ie the nationalistic movements many western countries see today. It’s an artist’s point of view. It’s an humanitarian’s point of view. It’s an important piece of work I’d love everyone to read.
Stefan Zweig had been traveling a lot before the First World War started. He had friends and dear colleagues all over Europe. Overnight they officially became his enemies.
To Zweig they couldn’t be. They were his allies, his friends, his art companions. The Europe Zweig saw was united, not divided. He saw potential freedom (if they’d change their perspective) where people built trenches, and it hurt him. Two quotes from the book about the writer’s obligation won’t leave me (here very freely translated from the Swedish translation of Zweig’s book):
“When it comes to it, the heroic action, is not for me – I won’t shy away from stating this weakness publicly. In dangerous situations it has always been natural for me to take a stand for what’s different.”
“When it came down to it, I was a writer, I had access to the words, and therefor it was my duty to express my conviction, as much as I possibly could despite this time of censorship.”
Stefan Zweig made it his life, to stand for unity, for people, for the weak. His words, sentiment and legacy speak to me. It makes me think about kindness. To not do what’s easy, but what’s right/kind. And too often in our fast-paced life we tend to rush and loose the ability to see the world, situations, big or small, for what they really are. People who feel they have been unfairly treated choose, more often than not, revenge as payback instead of choosing to rise above it. That’s what an unbalanced heart does. I get it, that hurt people choose anger and resentment, but I refuse to accept it as a way to live in this world. We have to change this. And it starts with us.
To CHOOSE acceptance, understanding and love is the only way forward. Anger leads to more anger, which leads to terror and war.
What if everyone started to ask only this one question before taking any action (big or small) – what’s the most loving response to this?
Tags: Johanna Ginstmark, Stefan Zweig, The bead movement