This I Believe

Bonham Carter, Violet
1952-08-29

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Violet Bonham Carter describes her Prime Minister father's influence on her life; and states her belief in the "absolute value of truth," in the diverse means (religion, philosophy, poetry, nature) of arriving at that truth, and in the courage to think honestly.

Subjects
Character
Women politicians
Truth
Beauty
UncertaintyReligious aspects
Brotherliness
Fortitude
Great Britain
Liberal Party (Great Britain)
Permanent URL
http://hdl.handle.net/10427/75705
ID: tufts:MS025.006.004.00009.00001
To Cite: DCA Citation Guide
Usage: Detailed Rights
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Lady Violet Bonham Carter is the daughter of the famous liberal Prime Minister of England, Herbert Henry Asquith. She emerged as a politician when she figured importantly in the success of her father’s comeback into politics. A persistent member of the liberal party, she is now its vice president. Here is Lady Violet.
Well, first and foremost, I believe in life. It’s not only that I feel a passionate joy in living, but I have faith in life. I have no dogmatic certainties which tell me where I came from, or where I’m going to, or why. But like a stream which doesn’t know the source from which it sprang or the sea to which it flows, I trust the current in my being.
And I believe if I am true to it, I shall not lose my way. And though I cannot chart the pattern of my course nor guess its purpose, yet I’m sure beyond a doubt that both exist.
The greatest single influence in my life has been my father. He opened my eyes a wide horizon, and through him I learned the meaning of the words, “greatness,” and “goodness.” He was an active politician, for 8 years Prime Minister. And thus I felt from earliest childhood, the impact of vast, impersonal events in an intimately personal way.
I can never remember being unconscious of what was happening in the world, and I accepted as a matter of course that it was our business, that of every one of us, to do something about it.
I believe that the lives and fate of human beings I’d never seen or known were as real and actual as our own; that they mattered; and that they were our concern.
My life has been a crowded one, thronged with all sorts and conditions of men and women—the great, the humble, the famous, the obscure, the dazzling, and the dull. I’m thankful to have known them all and to have been close to many. I have found in human beings my greatest adventures and my deepest happiness, and I’ve learned that through love we have the power to create and recreate each other.
Above all, I believe in the absolute value of truth. Each one of us may reach it by a different path; some find it in religion; some in philosophy; for some it is revealed in poetry, that shortcut to the soul of things; some find it in the natural beauty of the world; some in their children. Each one of us has his own private revelation which is incommunicable and which is yet the surest thing we know.
And lastly, I believe in courage. No generation has ever stood in greater need of it than ours does. Dickens once said, “Life is given to us on the understanding that we defend it to the last.” It’s not our lives alone we must defend today but every value that to us makes life worth living.
But just because it is a time of earthquake, of convulsion, of great possibilities both for evil and for good, I believe that it is also a time of greatest opportunity for those who are not afraid to look the present in the face and yet have faith in themselves and in the future. As it was said by Pericles, “Surely the bravest are those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and who yet, not withstanding, go out to meet it.” Courage means honest thought and a refusal ever to despair.”
That was Lady Violet Bonham Carter of England. At sixty-five she is a brilliant and formidable figure whose shattering wit plays havoc with her political opponents.