Wednesday, September 14, 2005

More on Arthur Koestler

  • Christopher Hitchens champions Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon at Slate.
Koestler's political seesawing would make a great book in and of itself. Hitchens, of course, is more concerned with Koestler's political writings, in particular his essay in The God That Failed, in which Koestler struck out against Communism as practiced by the Stalinist regime. Towards the end of his life Koestler attempted to blur the line between "hard" science and metaphysics, which led some to believe that he'd simply gone off his rocker (not a surprise, since he was also experimenting with LSD, telepathy, levitation and parapsychology). The thing that's attractive about those later writings, though, is the Thoreau-esque sense that spirituality and science need not exist in strict separation; Koestler believed that the processes of each were reflective of the other, and he had the ability to walk you through his ideas without making you feel like you were being talked down to. That, or he bluffed awfully well. In either case, Hitchens makes an interesting case for Koestler's early writing career and how it was defined by his ever-evolving political beliefs. (See my profile of Koestler from August.)

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