We spend our lives fighting to get people very slightly more stupid than ourselves to accept truths that the great men have always known. They have known for thousands of years that to lock a sick person into solitary confinement makes him worse. They have known for thousands of years that a poor man who is frightened of his landlord and of the police is a slave. They have known it. We know it. But do the great enlightened mass of the British people know it? No. It is our task, Ella, yours and mine, to tell them. Because the great men are too great to be bothered. They are already discovering how to colonise Venus and to irrigate the moon. That is what is important for our time. You and I are the boulder-pushers. All our lives, you and I, we’ll put all our energies, all our talents into pushing a great boulder up a mountain. The boulder is the truth that the great men know by instinct, and the mountain is the stupidity of mankind. — Doris Lessing, in The Golden Notebook
Author of more than 50 novels, feminist inspiration and 2007 Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature, writer Doris Lessing has died at age 94. Born in Iran and raised in Zimbabwe, she had lived for the past half-century in Britain.
Catch up on her wide body of work here. And remember …
Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible. — Doris Lessing
Photo of Doris Lessing in 2006 by Elke Wetzig, from Wikimedia Commons