Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Orwell, virtuous man

In L. Trilling's foreword of "Homage to Catalonia" in the Harcourt edition Orwell is described as a virtuous man. And indeed, he is. Of an old fashioned breed even at the time of writing that perfect piece of report from the madness of Spanish war, back in 1937.

I was reading the book before, long time ago as a teenager, and remember appreciating it then. Now, many years later, and having myself an experience of war (as a citizen in a country at war, in Croatia during the Balkan war), I appreciate it even more. I know how it is hard to keep the record straight, and my guts tell me Orwell did it fair.

I understand well his frustrations, and exasperation of having to deal with lies, misleading information, corrupt political parties and government. Everything he was speaking about in that book sounds so familiar. It is everyday bread in country in war.

One thing which is making me wonder is why people in the West became so passive nowadays? Is there a vacuum of ideas, "they" convinced us that politics is corrupt and nobody honest will go into it? We accept such a crooked democracy and do not even get enraged enough by jeopardy of our own rights, money, and in fact, future of our children? Example of Iceland proves that it is not the case in general, they expunged their corrupt politicians and "magi" of dirty finances. Why in other countries nowadays it so often seems as if people would surrender to the worst scums in society, and allow them to enrich and empower on sheer passivity of their fellow citizens?

In my previous post I commented on Huxley, I find he and Orwell have a kind of clear vision, which enabled them to feel a taste of the world in the future. And they were not delighted. What is needed for such a vision? To be aware of miss-perceptions stem from ignorance, wishful thinking and sheer lack of ideas. To be aware that it is we, ourselves, who ought to see things around ourselves and process them and come to conclusions. Not daily paper or, more often today, our bookmarked internet news. Especially not those! It is so easy to trumpet stupidities, but it is less easy to deal with real problems, and deal correctly.

Reading of those authors is definitely a sobering thing to do in those days of general ignorance. And...back to classics. Interpreters obviously miss-interpreted, philosophiers (to use that word of R.M. Pirsig from "Lila" which so well describes that kind of worthless gnawing of words and thoughts which is so often called "philosophy" today) misled... time to go on, children! Use your own brain!

Recently I went back to Caesar; lecture of his Gallic and Civil wars reminded me that Europe is playing this game since time immemorial. Reading Marx' "Capital" reminded me that there is a science in Marxism, of the same kind as Maxwell's or Darwin's theories, which survived well until today, in a bit modernized versions.

Use it! Do not be ignorant of our own present and, in the end, future.


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