BTC: Stephen Fry and “The Greatness of Kindness”

Whether he’s performing as Wilde or Melchett or Jeeves, or penning feisty novels, or visiting a whorehouse, or hanging out with bunker hippies, or encouraging kakapo/human interbreeding, discussing AIDS, or calling out the Catholics, Stephen Fry is never anything less than a powerhouse. A 21st century Renaissance Man. Wise-yet-vulnerable, gentle-but-firm, he’s the all-too-human elder so many of us wish we’d had to confide in growing up.

And just when we think this man can’t up the endearment ante any more than he already has, he goes and does it again:

via Sarah, thanks!

This is a recent interview Fry granted SPLASHLIFE, a new international youth volunteer/activist organization. It’s titled “What I Wish I’d Known at 18”.  Geared toward the concerns of young adults today, his discourse is consistently insightful and reassuring with a final summation that knocks it out of the park:

“I suppose the thing I’d most would have like to have known or be reassured about is that in the world is what counts more than talent, what counts more than energy or concentration or commitment or anything else is kindness. And the more in the world you encounter kindness, and cheerfulness (which is kind of its amiable uncle or aunt), just the better the world always is – and all the big words: virtue, justice, truth, are dwarfed by the greatness of kindness.”

Vonnegut would approve.

8 Responses to “BTC: Stephen Fry and “The Greatness of Kindness””

  1. Karen Says:

    He’s contributing a host of treasures to the world. It’s a peculiarity of Fry’s charm that not only do I love his work and adore his gigantic brain… but when I think of him, I find myself hoping that he’s happy. He really is just the dearest man.

  2. Heather Says:

    thank you! what a great way to spend my afternoon. <3

  3. Dave C Says:

    Fry’s a funny guy alright, but he ain’t no renaissance man. When I lived in Oxford, people as witty and informed as him were ten a penny. He’s styled as the British media’s idea of what a clever person is supposed to be. All those ‘off the cuff’ nuggets of wisdom you see on his TV shows are researched and scripted well in advance.

    While generally he seems like a nice person, what annoys me about him is his sneering and arrogant knee-jerk reactions to any hint of religious or supernatural belief. Sure we all think we’re right Stephen, but being rude doesn’t do you any favours.

  4. Walter Says:

    @Dave C: ***ALL*** magical thinking (read: sloppy thinking) is a pernicious drag on the common good, precipitating often tragic consequences, and must be confronted and summarily shut down whenever possible.

    When Fry derides magical thinking, he’s being more than “nice.” He’s being KIND.

  5. Dave C Says:

    Walter: I’m an atheist, it’s his arrogance and rudeness I object to.

  6. Mer Says:

    @Dave I can’t speak on other examples of him sneering (haven’t seen them), but I will say that I thought his speech during the The Intelligence² Debate w/the Catholics was pretty darn kind, all things considered! Far more well-heeled and moderate than Hitchins (whose arrogance and rudeness has always been objectionable to me).

  7. octopod Says:

    Ah, so it’s not his atheism you object to, it’s the fact that he doesn’t feel bad about it. I’ve heard this line before.

  8. Jerem Morrow Says:

    This is a wonderfully charming and insightful vid. Thanks, M.

    Per comments: It’s unfortunate that a non-religious person isn’t allowed, per common etiquette, to voice questions of and against religion, both organized and un, without being labeled arrogant. Given, Hitchens *is* a shining example of rudeness, but he’s become the unofficial poster child of non-believers, simply because those who oppose his delivery, like his being so in-your-face because it’s an easy out when it makes one uncomfortable. I’d never once fit Fry in with that approach.