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Prisons We Choose to Live Inside

Year First Published: 1987
First Published by:Harper & Row
a Cornelia & Michael Bessie Book
This Edition:American first edition

From the book jacket:

One of the world's most extraordinary writers addresses directly the prime questions before us all: how to think for ourselves, how to understand what we know, how to pick a path in a world deluged with opinions and information, how to look at our society and ourselves with fresh eyes.

This book is written with the kind of clarity and simplicity only a great writer can achieve, but its messages are profound and far-reaching. Lessing says, in effect, that we have the tools to operate on our predicaments, but that for some reason we choose not to do so. She then looks at a few of these reasons, with splended symbolic stories from her own adventuresome life.

"This is a time when it is frightening to be alive, when it is hard to think of human beings as rational creatures. Everywhere we look we see brutality, stupidity, until it seems that there is nothing else to be seen but that - a descent into barbarism, everywhere, which we are unable to check. But I think that while it is true there is a general worsening, it is precisely because things are so frightening we become hypnotized, and do not notice - or if we notice, belittle - equally strong forces on the other side, the forces, in short, of reason, sanity and civilization..."
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