Dame Jean Iris Murdoch was an Irish and British novelist and philosopher. Her skills as a writer allow her to portray moral and philosophical questions within accessible storylines.
Murdoch is best known for her novels about good and evil, sexual relationships, morality, and the power of the unconscious.
Big idea: Self-Imposed Attention to Detail
Through her work, Iris Murdoch wanted to provoke more people to start paying attention. But not the type of attention we usually encounter - on our job, or when working on a design project. Paying more attention to the people around you and giving them a second chance, so we can see them as they are.
In her famous work, The Idea of Perfection, she explains how a mother called M changes her opinion of her daughter-in-law called D.
Firstly, M calls D "unpolished and lacking in dignity and refinement." Then, after paying attention to her quick and harsh conclusions, M decided to revisit her initial statement until her view of D gradually alters: "D is discovered to be not vulgar but refreshingly simple, not undignified but spontaneous, not noisy but gay, not tiresomely juvenile but delightfully youthful."
The idea here is to confront your first thoughts on how you see others. To pay more attention to what's happening and see things, and people, as they really are.