The Human Need for Heroism, Glory, and Renown

Many people suffer a lack of meaning in their lives, especially in the prosperous countries where the hardships of surviving on a day-by-day basis are not pressing. Decent incomes and the modern social safety net provide leisure time and security while removing the need for the incessant life-sustaining, highly significant activity demanded by dire necessity. For most people in the developed nations, only casual pastimes, meaningless entertainments, or sporadic volunteer work (which someone else could do) remain to fill the void. This situation is regarded as wonderful, yet in reality, it exposes the comfortably well-off to the serious risks of boredom and lack of purpose. It is no accident that suicide and depression rates are high in wealthy nations.

Beowulf with Raised Sword

A perceived lack of meaning in life may indicate a desire for a more heroic and glorious way of living. (Image: public domain)

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Lifestyles of Writers and Other Creative People

George Orwell's Country Retreat in the Hebrides

Cheap rural retreats such as George Orwell’s remote home in the Scottish Hebrides are a staple in the lives of creative people. (Image: public domain.)

High-level creativity takes time, lots of it. It also needs peace and quiet. To secure the requisite time and tranquility, creators of all kinds have traditionally turned away from mainstream lifestyles and embraced less conventional ways of life. The taste among intelligent middle-class English writers for living quietly – and inexpensively – in the unsophisticated countryside is the stuff of literary legend. The goal is always the same: liberate as much time as possible for the creative work while ensuring congenial conditions for getting it done.

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