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Young Iris Murdoch
: [to John
] You know more about me than anyone. You are my world.
Young John Bayley
: I could get in trouble, having women in my room. Young Iris Murdoch
: I wouldn't say you'd had me, just yet.
Young Iris Murdoch
: Yes, of course, there's something fishy about describing people's feelings. You try hard to be accurate, but as soon as you start to define such and such a feeling, language lets you down. It's really a machine for making falsehoods. When we really speak the truth, words are insufficient. Almost everything except things like "pass the gravy" is a lie of a sort. And that being the case, I shall shut up. Oh, and... pass the gravy.
: There is only one freedom of any importance, freedom of the mind.
: I... wrote? John Bayley
: Yes, my darling, clever cat! You wrote books. Iris Murdoch
: Books... I wrote? John Bayley
: You wrote novels. Wonderful novels. Iris Murdoch
: I... wrote... John Bayley
: Such things you wrote. Special things. Secret things.
: Education doesn't make you happy. And what is freedom? We don't become happy just because we are free, if we are. Or because we have been educated, if we have. But because education may be the means by which we realize we are happy. It opens our eyes, our ears. Tells use where delights are lurking. Convinces us that there is only one freedom of any importance whatsoever: that of the mind. And give us the assurance, the confidence, to walk the path our mind, our educated mind, offers.
: People have obsessions and fears and passions which they don't admit to. I think every character is interesting and has extremes. It's the novelist privilege to see how odd everyone is.
: Reading and writing and the preservation of language and its forms and the kind of eloquence and the kind of beauty which the language is capable of is terribly important to the human beings because this is connected to thought.
: Every human soul has seen, perhaps before their birth, pure forms such as justice, temperance, beauty and all the great moral qualities which we hold in honour. We are moved towards what is good by the faint memory of these forms, simple and calm and blessed, which we saw once in a pure, clear light, being pure ourselves.
: We all worry about going mad, don't we? How would we know? Those of us who live in our minds, anyway. Other people would tell us. Would they John?
: [pep-talking herself
] Keep working, keep talking, keep the words coming. John Bayley
: Keep at it. Iris Murdoch
: I should feel like a deprived animal if I can't write. I'm like a starved dog. John Bayley
: No, keep at it. I'll keep you at it.
[turns on the desk lamp
] Iris Murdoch
: I feel... as if I'm sailing into darkness.