On Magnanimity by C. P. Snow

On Magnanimity by C. P. Snow
            C. P. Snow is one of the great thinkers of our time.  In his essay “On Magnanimity” he defines the virtue  “Magnanimity” and illustrates it with so many examples of magnanimous men.
  A magnanimous man sees himself and the other person as they really are.  Then he tries to get the best out of the other person.  In doing so, a person tries to get the best out of himself.
            The author gives the example of Isaac Barrow, the famous English mathematician and professor at Cambridge in 1663.  He resigned his post in favour of his pupil, Sir Isaac Newton because he saw that his pupil was a better mathematician than himself.   The author says that it is a pleasant thought to imagine the state of affairs if all the politicians, academics, administrators, artists and businessmen follow Barrow’s example.  It is not only that the older men should give place to the better young men, but also the young men should give place to the older, more experienced men.
The author brings other examples of magnanimity.  Sir. Walter Scott, a famous novelist and poet was a personification of magnanimity.  There was no limit to his goodness, and his attitude towards “enormous triumph and fantastic disaster” was highly appreciable.  According to C. P. Snow, if a fraction of the world’s intellectuals came anywhere near the goodness of Sir. Walter Scott, the world would be a better place.

Then the author talks about the distinguished Russian novelist, Turgenev.  This attitude towards Tolstoy, another famous Russian novelist was magnanimous.  Though Turgenev was ten years older than Tolstoy, he admitted that Tolstoy was the first novelist not only of Russia, but of the world.  On his deathbed Turgenev called Tolstoy the “ greatest writer of the Russian land.“  G. H. Hardy, one of the best – known pure mathematicians in England is another example of magnanimous men.  He was generous enough to recognize the natural talents for pure mathematics in Srinivasa Ramanujam, a poor clerk in Madras and encourage him to come our with his original contributions.  He also helped him to get the proper honours, Fellowship of Trinity, and Fellowship of the Royal society.  In his biography, “A Mathematician’s Apology”, G. H. Hardy mentions that he collaborated with Ramanujam on equal terms.  That was his magnanimous nature.
In conclusion, C. P. Snow says that all of is should he magnanimous or generous towards one another.  One third of the word is rich and two thirds of it is poor.  The rich people have plenty to eat and don’t die before their time.  The poor don’t get enough to eat.  C. P. Snow says that magnanimity demands caring for such poor people and seeing that they have enough to eat, using our knowledge in science and Technology.  Though it is not an easy task, it is the major social task of all time. 

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