Writer Bjornstjerne Bjornson (1832-1910) in his acceptance speech for the 1903 Nobel Prize in Literature passionately talks about what he considers to be human progress.
"...whenever I think of human progress, I see it as an endless procession in which men and women move steadily along. The line they follow is not invariably straight but it does take them forward. They are urged by an irresistible force, purely instinctive at first but eventually more and more conscious. Not that human progress is even a matter of conscious effort, and no man has ever been able to make it so."
"He has lit many a beacon along our Norwegian coast to guide the mariner, to warn him of the danger that lies ahead."
Of Tolstoy, the other writer whom he considered great, Bjornson says,
"...his light shines forth and gives happiness to many. Their spirit, their many years of work, were lit by a purpose that was even brighter, like a flame in the evening wind...Of the two great writers I have mentioned, it may well be that the former's warnings are so severe as to be frightening. And the latter may lure us with the charms of an ideal that passes human understanding, and therefore frightens too. But what is necessary is that our courage to live is strengthened, not weakened.Fear should not turn us back from the paths which open before us. The procession must go on. We must be confident that life is fundamentally good, that even after frightening disasters and the most tragic events, the earth is bathed in a flood of strength whose source is eternal. Our belief in it is its proof."
"Victor Hugo has been my hero." continued Bjorstjerne Bjornson in his 1903 Nobel Prize acceptance speech."At the bottom of his brilliant imagination lies the conviction that life is good... His joie de vivre. Our instinct of self preservation insists on this, for if life did not have more good than evil to offer us, it would have come to an end long ago. Any picture of life that does not allow for this fact is a distorted picture. It is wrong to imagine, as some do, that it is the dark aspects of life what are bad for us. That is not true."
HAUNTEDThere are no promises to be made,For the times that have not yet unfolded.So, sleep,My love.