“Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can’t vent any anger against them; I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence.”
I have one reason for writing. Writing is probably the most underrated but crucially important creative activity known to the human race. I’m biased, admittedly.
While cave pictures have been found and their meaning discerned and were perfectly adequate for recording the successful hunt or finding a new way to use a familiar weapon, the written word has the power to express the depth and breadth of human experience in a way that is unambiguous unless, as one poet was heard to say: “I am a difficult poet. I don’t expect my readers to understand what I’m saying” obscurity is your goal.
Languages that use images are less subject to interpretation but words have concrete meanings for those who are able to read that language. Ancient texts, though subject to the manipulation of scholars with a particular agenda, can be understood centuries later, either in the original language or in translation.
“The pen is mightier than the sword” isn’t an empty platitude. Writers in all epochs and circumstances have been admired and despised, lauded and imprisoned for their words. A sword can take a life. A pen can change the world.
Every writer approaches a blank page. How we fill that blank is our individual choice. A writer who presumes the right to dictate to another what can or cannot be written is censorious, an enemy of the essential right of a human being to their voice and their fundamental right to express their own personal truth.
“Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads.”
The same condemnation goes for any writers’ organization that censors its members in the name of what is perceived by a few to be correct speech or makes disapproval or discouragement of diversity of thought so obvious as to be intimidating. No organization dependent on membership for its income can afford to alienate a section of its income source.
And yet, some of these organizations, and individuals, are so committed to their sense of “moral superiority,” they believe the power of censorship is more than a right but an obligation to silence opposing views.
Regardless of what is written—what genre, what context, factual or fiction, reportage or opinion—every writer must be free to express, in their own words and in their own way, whatever is in their heart and mind to say. Without this right to freedom of expression, only the loudest, most powerful voices will be heard. Only the “approved” thoughts will be expressed. Fascism takes deep root in such censorship.
The motivation for any act to curtail or silence the voice of opposition is to gain or retain influence and power. These are not admirable qualities. They are the qualities of desperation, lack of intellectual processes and any ability for social interaction. No enlightenment can be gained by totalitarian insistence on agreement of thought.
Our minds do not expand, our ability to solve problems is decreased, our dreams and fantasies that fuel our imagination are shuttered and locked away—all of which are the intended outcome.
Writers who are restricted by the “correct” and “accepted” are of neither use nor threat to anyone.
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche