Following the theme of the last few posts, writers experience stressors from society if they don't directly represent or promote social values. These stressors range from overt to obscure, fleeting to enduring. At least that's how this civilization has progressed. No matter what the stressor is, it drains the writer's energy by sheer nature of being a stressor.
Writing as a principal occupation is a goal for many writers, however that's not the goal for all writers. Many are happy writing as a part-time release, content with making a few extra dollars or even making nothing. Does this effect the proportion of stressors levied upon them? The amount and severity of the stressors placed upon them is in direct proportion to their critiques of social issues and fundaments, no matter their time at the desk. As I said in previous essays, Popular literature fulfills society's drive for socialization and indoctrination: the writer's literary representation of what is "true" and "right" aligns with society. As Foucault discovered, society's power mechanisms are intricately related to what it deems true and right, making power a fluid triangle, rather than a mere linear bullying paradigm. Individual writers are generally aware of this, and social writers are generally unaware and thus, compliant.
In terms of writing energy, Orwell prescribes that if writers need to take a part-time job to feed and clothe themselves, it therefore shouldn't have anything to do with writing because that additional writing will sap their writing energy. I understand that quantitative energy is a part of this issue, and writers need to be vigilant where they expend their energy, however what Orwell underplays is how the writing ability gets stronger the more one practices it. So a writing activity you did a year ago will be easier today, while producing comparable--maybe even better--results. This strengthening allows more energy to be conserved, thus allowing the writer to channel it toward the primary writing task. It's a muscle, that's the basic point.
His view of energy embodied the extremity of his social milieu: WWII. During WWII, propaganda comprised much of the for-hire writing. Sure, newspapers and books existed, but we're fooling ourselves if we think political critiques were far away from literature during the 1940's. It should go without saying that the Nazis weren't the only ones to create propaganda; it was a widespread tool to energize both soldiers and civilians, and, to highlight a less popular point, to prevent treason or emigration.
The problem with propaganda, is that it sensationalizes negative attributes for the purpose of modifying people's behavior into alignment with, or further into alignment with, the established body in power. People become tools; harvesters of socially-weaponized energy. When writers put a lot of energy into propaganda, the product is nothing intellectually substantive, it saps their energy, and makes them stronger at emotional games rather than valid, objective critiques. Clearly he believes artists--especially writers--are good for mankind, so long as they direct their tool toward individual facets of the society, rather than shape it into a rhetorical megaphone for the established body in power. This is not to prescribe artists to be individual anarchists, but as free thinkers who have the ability and energy to see the tenets of society, and be allowed to express them so that maybe the society can shore up some of its shortcomings before it becomes a victim to them. Thus, writers aren't just therapeutic, but a necessary salve for the analysis and understanding of our human affairs.
"The usual line was that it is better for the artist to be a responsible member of a community than an anarchic individualist. The issue, however, is not between irresponsible 'self-expression' and discipline; it is between truth and lies." (762) Whether or not one lives within society and strives to write individually, or to write Popularly, is not the primary concern of artistry because these issues are simply general points of origin for their perspective and their content. What's more significant is whether their substance are truth, or lies, because the truth allows thems and others to be in reality and see more clearly, and lies are simply propaganda which have nothing to do with reality-in-itself, but with mechanisms that help a certain group exploit, make more money, or dominate others. Truth and lies thus trumps the varying social vocations and stressors that exist, because they cut to the heart of the social functions and the power mechanisms at play.
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