‘Civilization is a blessing not sufficiently estimated by those who have not traced its progress.’ – Mary Wollstonecraft
It may or may not be (a) Good Friday today; it’s not over yet and I am lying under a bunch of 18th century philosophic ramblings which use the letter ‘f’ instead of ‘s’, but only sometimes. It could go either way. This week has involved far too many decisions for my star-sign-assigned ‘capricious’ nature; procrastination rewards you with many enlightening websites. Having spent far too many days, hours and minutes focusing on the Enlightenment, the dissertation led me to Mcdonalds. Twice. Cutting up my gluten-free roll to shift the contents of my burger into was amongst the more elegant moments of my week, and sleep-deprivation ensured this was only for starters. Tripping-up whilst attempting to jog around Clifton had to happen in front of a very handsome man, and the realization that bright purple lycra leggings are probably not fabulous, came shortly after. In finding it difficult to make any decisions aside of knowing that I really must buy new running leggings, I learnt I am not alone. Whilst in a supermarket I encountered a man smelling several shower gels before making a purchase; with a bank-holiday weekend approaching this is probably wise. Is it wise to put all of your eggs in one basket?
In eighteenth-century pamphlets, writers were very quick to put their eggs in one basket; they had rationalized life to produce their own conclusion. Presumably these were not the ‘Easter’ Cadbury’s versions, but the philosophical 59025963 pages-long help civilization version. These philosophical eggs, laid by the likes of Wollstonecraft, Rousseau and Paine, were limited by their shells; the French Revolution ensured that the eggs in Britain were temporarily thrown out of their baskets altogether. Whilst reading Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s advice to women; that beauty is more important than cultivation of mind, as this is what men appreciate in wives, I wondered how far we have come, and decided that I will never get married. Well, unless my future-husband listens to all of my cultivated-mind-thoughts; not for the faint-hearted. Mary Wollstonecraft called for a revolution in the education of women, alongside correcting Rousseau’s vanity, with her Vindication of women’s rights. This laid the foundations for the current modern system of education in Britain. Combined with Paine’s Rights of Man, Civilization is sorted; right? Wrong. Although Wollstonecraft addressed the eggshells of society, these are trodden on daily. Prejudices and thoughtlessness ensure society remains stuck in its’ ways. It suits the Hierarchy (and in many cases Patriarchy) to tell society to ‘be yourself’. The culture of the individual is on every street corner, and with free Wi-Fi, it’s gone viral. Self-publishing allows a voice for everyone, unmonitored, unlimited; free? Despite individual freedoms, are we truly free from old judgments? All citizens of society can be themselves, but the media spoon-feeds your ‘self’ to you; successfully. Is ‘lifestyle’ for the lazy, or do we really think for ourselves? When time is of the essence, remember to rationalize your eggs, before you put them in baskets.
Due to my capricious nature, extra reasoning is needed when making decisions. In learning that a girl of fourteen got arrested for joking to American Airlines about terrorism, I realized that there are many clumsy people out there. In returning to dissertation-mode, my bottle of Sauvignon and I do hope to come out on the other side; hopefully without needing Botox injections under my eyes. In attempting to R.S.V.P. to my good friend’s wedding invitation, I can only hope to mature at some point next week (editing my dissertation will presumably help with aging). Aside of waiting on funding responses, this week’s library sessions are not particularly inviting; I welcome any procrastination opportunities. I live in hope that producing 10,000 words does not provide writer’s block for next week’s column. I must not resort to explaining the entire life-cycle of my dissertation, once again. I blame Rousseau.