What Is To Be Done

I have said that I never considered myself responsible for the world’s ills, not for causing them, not for curing them. The world was in my view a jungle overrun with savages, just as it had always been. Most of its problems were insoluble.

I have said I regard any quiet corner of it, such as Honeybrook, to be a haven wrested from the jaws of hell. I therefore found it discourteous in a guest when he brought to it such a catalogue of miseries.

I have said that I have always been, and would continue to be, prepared to make sacrifices for my neighbours, compatriots, and friends. But when it came to saving barbarians from one another in countries no bigger than a letter on the map, I failed to see why I should throw myself into a burning house to rescue a dog I had never cared for in the first place.

I have said all this with brio, but my heart is in none of it, though I refuse to let this show.

—John Le Carre, Our Game


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When I Worked

November 2012
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