J. K. Rowling

  • Dec. 27th, 2012 at 12:01 AM
beth_shulman: (book: meg powers)
Books are like mirrors: if a fool looks in, you cannot expect a genius to look out.

J. K. Rowling

  • Aug. 11th, 2010 at 2:47 PM
beth_shulman: (wizard heir)
I just write what I wanted to write. I write what amuses me. It's totally for myself.
beth_shulman: (book: wizard heir)
Though I personally will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.

Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places.

Of course, this is a power, like my brand of fictional magic, that is morally neutral. One might use such an ability to manipulate, or control, just as much as to understand or sympathize.

And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.

I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do. Choosing to live in narrow spaces leads to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the willfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.

What is more, those who choose not to empathize enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it, through our own apathy.

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J. K. Rowling

  • May. 23rd, 2010 at 11:30 PM
beth_shulman: (Default)
"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."

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