Three Guineas – by Virginia Woolf

[Intro comment by   ~burning woman~  ]
My Italian blogger friend Shera made me aware again today of Virginia Woolf’s novel length essay, Three Guineas, on how wars may be prevented. I was reminded of my own claim that if ways haven’t worked in the past there is little point in going back to them to seek answers to repeating problems.  What is desperately needed is open minds that are not afraid to seek for new solutions and new answers to old problems.  Yes such thinking defies the Establishment, the Matrix set-up, the Patriarchy and dethrones the old dogs of war, but hello, isn’t it high time? Speaking for women in particular, how long are women expected to, and willing, to send their own children to be slaughtered in old men’s wars? How long before we all, women and men, realize that the war-makers are now fully engaged in war not just against people but against the very environment that makes it possible to exist on planet earth? How long “must” we support these psychopathic predatory monsters who run governments, banks, militaries, exploitative corporations? If we don’t stop them, we can be sure of one thing: nature will, and it will not differentiate between them and us – we will be eradicated as the virus we have become. Is that then our choice, deliberate self-imposed genocide? Is that our sign that we possess a superior intelligence?

From the source:

Three Guineas is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf. Published in 1938 alongside the building world political tensions that would become World War II, it is structured as a letter-form dialogue in a series of questions and answers with a man who starts by asking her how one might prevent war. Woolf wrote Three Guineas in response to three questions that were lingering at the forefront of her mind. The first is the question of how war should be prevented; the second is why there is little government funding for the education of women; and the third is why women are prohibited from doing professional work. Woolf’s dialogue creates the effect of privacy in which truth can be more fully disclosed. It ties together the subjects of war and feminism, stemming mainly from Woolf’s visits to Nazi Germany and Fascist controlled Italy in the early 1930’s.

See the rest of this summary at:

13 thoughts on “Three Guineas – by Virginia Woolf

  1. katharineotto

    I went through a Virginia Woolf phase many years ago but never read “Three Guineas.” The summary is interesting. I have been interested for a long time myself in the perennial question of how to stop war and find in reading philosophy that most of the famous philosophers were opposed to it. Albert Einstein opposed it until the Nazis ransacked his Berlin apartment and confiscated his sailboat at his summer home. I learned Einstein was the first to propose the atomic bomb to FDR, so this is how shallow pacifism can be.

    World War I broke (spiritually) Andrew Carnegie, but he profited mightily from government contracts for steel plates for warships. Bertrand Russell hated war and was ostracized from his social circles by his outspoken resistance. He turned to communism but was soon disillusioned by that, too.

    It struck me while reading “The Story of Philosophy” that there was no hint of female influence. In fact, author Durant notes that most of the noted philosophers were bachelors, and had a very low opinion of women.

    But women themselves have contributed to the false assumption that there is something honorable about war. A female friend of mine comes from a military family, was determined to marry a West Point graduate, which she did, and told me she would be glad to send her son off to fight the post 9/11 wars to “defend our country.” Fortunately, her son is smarter than his mother and refused to join the military.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      It is my understanding now after basically a lifetime of searching for solutions to man’s greatest psychological problems that no kind of ‘ism’ is ever going to resolve any of those problems because each ‘ism’ is specific to a perceived problem and inherently ‘designed’ to never delve deep enough to find the actual source of all these problems – and there is but one source, whatever people call it, and therefore there is but on solution, and that is for all and sundry, but individually, to choose to become compassionate and act accordingly. Until that happens, the process of social and environmental entropy will continue until it all ends. That’s not a prediction, that’s a guarantee.

    2. sherazade

      Ecco forse la risposta sta non certo Nel venti di guerra ma nella capacità di trovare strade diverse ma convergenti in un pensiero di comunità.

  2. mcaimbeul

    Indeed Sha indeed. Your lifetime of searching wasn’t for naught it brought you to what I know to be true and your profound insights always reinforce this old hermits convictions.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you for commenting. Although we may seem to be “preaching to the choir” it’s always good to realize that others, however few, walk their own similar razor-edge path of understanding.

  3. sherazade

    Sono lieta che tu abbia conosciuto e apprezzato questo saggio di Virginia Woolf.
    Sono pensieri che lei viveva in prima persona e che purtroppo oggi sono diventati i nostri perché nulla è cambiato nelle guerre e nell’arroganza della umanità priva di umanità.
    Buonanotte cara amica .

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Caro Shera, It could never be overstated, we, as individuals, need to engage the great and terrible task of changing our own nature, thus creating a new mindset in one’s community. Until now it is all backward. It is taught that changing the community changes how the individual will see things. On the very, very long term, speaking in thousands of years, perhaps that can happen but for the kind of results we are hoping to get, it’s the individual who must change her, or his, mind about the System and how it affects the community. That is a very difficult thing to do.
      Caro Shera, Non potrebbe mai essere sopravvalutato, noi, come individui, abbiamo bisogno di impegnarci nel grande e terribile compito di cambiare la nostra natura, creando così una nuova mentalità nella propria comunità. Fino ad ora è tutto indietro. Viene insegnato che cambiare la comunità cambia il modo in cui l’individuo vedrà le cose. A lungo, molto a lungo termine, parlando in migliaia di anni, forse ciò può accadere, ma per il tipo di risultati che speriamo di ottenere, è l’individuo che deve cambiare lei o la sua mente riguardo al Sistema e come influenza il Comunità. Questa è una cosa molto difficile da fare.

  4. Phil Huston

    Anything by Virginai Woolf is masterful artistry. One need no phase as is often put forward for the Rosettis or theByron/Shelley lineage females. Austen IS a phase. But Woolf, if you take the time not only rolls off the tongue and mind but is, by construction freaking remarkable. Like Beethoven or Mozart for lit. Woolf is one of those writers who, regardless of who you are, will send you to the woodshed in tears.

  5. Hyperion

    I think the collective voice against conflict is as old as humanity. To me it isn’t how a young man or woman can choose to join or not join in a conflict but how we come to realize how there are easier ways to maintain peace and international well being than the current continuous 19th century failure revisited in the 20th century and now the 21st century. 220 years of failure would almost certainly beg the question, should we try something different? Maybe we should revisit all those masterful voices against conflict and give it a try. Or, like naughty children, spank world leaders on their belligerent booties by a well trained dominatrix every time a stupid idea pops out of their mouth. 😁

      1. Hyperion

        No better plan can be hatched in our discordant minds. I’m quite slow on the uptake, but don’t get discouraged. I’m convinced you are the True Mua D’ib or as my 8 year old grand daughter says, the ‘Cuisenart Hatrack’ of Dune fame. (She is too cute to try to correct at this time.)

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