Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Jane Austen and Other Disobedient People

I have long harbored a passion for the nineteenth century authors.  There is something very powerful and beautiful about a group of people who for the most part have something rather profoundly in common.  Many of them lay aside what might have been easily acceptable by society and followed their own hearts.  Austen was a writer when women were generally treated as harlots for entering such an activity.  Dickens is another of my favorites and starkly discussed with soul splitting beauty the faults of his society, reaching toward others to correct them and embrace a greater depth of common humanity.  The same century gives us Harriet Beecher Stowe who dared preach in literary rivers of blood and in great measure inspired the Civil War.  Emerson fathered the transcendentalists and inspired a purer, cleaner way of life.

That is my kind of disobedience.  I am sitting here in a public library gazing at the stacks of borderline pornographic covers of trashy romances and mind numbing "fluffy" reads.  Is this really how we want to spend our time, our focus, and eventually our lives?  Thoreau went to live in the woods to discover what was real about life and to teach what is necessary for survival.  The whole of his work teaches us to focus on those things that matter most.  What are we on this earth to do if not to progress and learn the greatest truths we can? 

The nineteenth century was filled with minds who looked beyond the obvious.  Austen, the ultimate romantic writer, looked past the momentary frivolousness of lust and described passionate, undying, selfless love.  How do we spend our time?  Do we look beyond what is immediately before us?  Do we search a little further?  Do we put away our momentary inclinations in pursuit of higher laws and ways of life?  Join with me and our beloved friends of the past in proving wildly and rightly disobedient. 

1 comment:

  1. Your lovely post reminded me of one of my favorite verses:

    "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."

    I make an effort to not dwell on negative thoughts or watch and read negative things. You are right, we should learn the greatest truths we can.