On the go is your weekly innovation story inspired from elsewhere.
I happen to live where Georges Sand was born and spent most of her life. I just finished reading her novel “Mauprat”, which takes place just a few kilometres away from me, but 200 years ago. How did this place look like at that time? Honestly, I presume pretty much the same as today… “a savage sadness” as Georges Sand puts it, landscapes which will not necessarily be beautiful to most people but hold a specific beauty to you.
“A savage sadness” would perfectly describe the novel “Mauprat”. It is the very long story of a once outlaw who was granted freedom, security and love for saving a young lady from his fellow thieves, and being educated by this young lady. I say it’s very long because it’s written in 19th Century style, which I do appreciate, but seriously, it’s a lot of words.
Nevertheless, the very last page, on top of a handful of passages in the second half of the novel, is full of philosophic, religious, social, political, revolutionary thoughts from the author (bear in mind Georges Sand was a woman writing under a man nickname). It brings a complete different view to the story and actually propulses it centuries ahead.
“Education can and must find a solution for everything; that is the core issue, defining an education that answers individual and specific needs. General and common education seems necessary, does-it necessarily mean it should be the same for all?” (…) “Until the problem of defining an education common to all of us, while adapted to each of us, make sure you correct each other. You ask me how, my answer will be short: by loving each other”.
She also has this interesting thought a few pages earlier in the voice of the main character, Bernard, who has now become an old man telling long stories about his life close to a fireplace.
“Seek to find a honest, severe friend; and don’t love the one who flatters you, but the one who corrects you.”
I believe this is somehow a good way of living while accepting others imperfections. Maybe there’s something we need to change in ourselves, maybe the fact that others challenge us with a different standpoint isn’t negative, but pushing us further. Bernard Mauprat symbolizes this society I suppose Georges Sand would have liked to live in, where people would share knowledge and evolve because they care for each other, because they learn from differences, and eventually leave “savage sadness” to create some sort of beauty of their own, but together.
While I’m not sure whether we managed to build such a society two centuries later, I am definitely certain her thoughts are still inspiring. At least I hope they were for you.
Have a nice week-end.