20 December 2011

Always looking backwards, vol3

Two very interesting thinkers passed away this week.  One was very interesting, got a ton of press, and will likely be forgotten within a generation.  The other was very interesting, went through long periods of being largely ignored, and will likely be read and reread for the next several centuries.  The first was Christopher Hitchens, the second was Vaclav Havel.

Havel believed in "living in truth" and Hitchens tried desperately to find out what the truth was and force others to see it.  They both seemed to work in the vein of Orwell, believing in the powers that come attached with language, and striving to make sure that their thoughts, words, and deeds aligned themselves.  This article from 1993 (which is excellent once you get past the introduction) explicitly puts the mantle of Orwell onto the shoulders of Havel.  Two great minds, two passions for exposing and living the truth.  I have little to say about Hitchens, and a great deal to say about Havel, and nothing good to say about the other famous death of this week, so I'll say nothing of it.

Why speak about Havel?  Here's a little video about him to get some basic ideas.

In the next week or so I want to explore some of the ideas that he wrote about, and hopefully come to a bit of a better understanding of the good life by way of his experiences.  If you want to check some of his writings out first on your own, his works can be accessed here.

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