I have come across many 19th Century passages where writers are wary of books that are "too" intellectual. One passage depicts false writers as taking the long train ride through history, getting tired and then mistaking rural stations for big town fairs. Their boredom becomes pleasurable, and through their vanity, they create colourful lies - I'm wont to add, like the beads unfairly traded for native wealth. In the exchange of communication, are the ideas one is given of equal value as the ideas one may not have known how best to showcase?
Too much education can make one gruff towards plebeians. Blind to life. As a child, I would watch politicians take the obligatory junk ride round the magnificent island, and never venture on deck to take a look; nor would they inquire about local ways - they preferred to speak of what they already knew. And I can understand that, in some ways, it is natural. A folk saying explains: The full belly does not believe in hunger. Usually, it is suffering that makes us receptive.
The other day, I heard someone unknowingly paraphrase the Babylonian Theodicy, saying they were leading a pious life, but: "A fool is ahead of me,/ Rogues are in the ascendant, I am demoted."
The point of this didactic text moves from the sufferer being scolded for his blaspheme to the 'friend' accepting that man is susceptible to suffering. The turning point? The sufferer's point, put in my own words: the full belly has resources to a banquet table of arguments that will outwit the starving soul. The intellect can rationalise the experience of seeing a morning flower out of existence.
I will say openly that I was a child raised in the outdoor "character building camps" of Kurt Hahn, and cannot shake the conviction that suffering can bring priceless lessons, if we are calm enough to receive them. But, again, I must stop myself from the zeal of the 'friend': it is unfair to expect everyone to be comfortable in crumpled camp clothes, bereft of make-up. There are still times when I reject it. "There was a foreign magazine called Ideal Home. It carried photos of everything a home needed, from cutlery.. to fur coats... As I sat crying on top of the mountain, I thought about that magazine again. I wanted the food shown in it... to spray myself all over with French perfume... Oh, the city, they city!" (source).
Who doesn't like riding the high horse? But I maintain that compassion for the footmen and the strength of character to walk on foot where necessary is a sign of true nobility. And thus, to make an educated guess, as we do most of the time given our limited experience, compassion and nobility are key.