Saturday, May 15, 2021

Darkness at Noon

In Koestler's novel, (set in 1936 USSR) the old revolutionary Rubashov is turned over to the young interrogator Gletkin, who has no understanding for the earlier struggles, dangers, and idealism, and is much more physical and demanding. Rubashov wonders how all his sacrifice and life work became so irrelevant so soon.  I was very much reminded of young wokesters who cannot imagine the world that anyone lived in before twenty years ago. Their great grandfathers, and everyone before that, worried if the harvest was going to be good enough that they would have food come March, and mothers prayed for the safety of their children not to die or become disabled in factories, leaving their grandchildren with no source of support or place too live. 

On a longer time scale, Oh I hope we are not invaded and sold into servitude, or I hope the plague that killed 70% of our family in two years doesn't return. This is why they compare the current ills of society, real and imagined, to lynching or The Handmaid's Tale, or "food insecurity" to hunger.  They so want to have something to crusade against, but unfortunately reality doesn't provide it for them.

They could go abroad, of course, to places where they could be helpful. But going abroad largely means junior year at University of Exeter.  You know, to have a broadening experience. For all the pride of internationalism, it is the more the conservatives, in business, in the military, on foreign missions, have a clearer understanding that can also be applied retroactively to American history.

They fight over frosting now that the cake has been made by those who once though white flour to be dear.


james said...

On the lighter side of ignorance: from Remarks

From later in the book "We need statesmen and orators and artists very much; but the world at this moment also needs several athletic parties with the horse-sense adequate to produce flour and other vegetables necessary to feed the aforesaid statesmen, orators, etc., etc. "

David Foster said...

"They so want to have something to crusade against, but unfortunately reality doesn't provide it for them"...Koestler also wrote about what he called the Tragic and the Trivial planes of life. As explained by his friend, the writer and fighter pilot Richard Hillary:

"K has a theory for this. He believes there are two planes of existence which he calls vie tragique and vie triviale. Usually we move on the trivial plane, but occasionally in moments of elation or danger, we find ourselves transferred to the plane of the vie tragique, with its non-commonsense, cosmic perspective. When we are on the trivial plane, the realities of the other appear as nonsense–as overstrung nerves and so on. When we live on the tragic plane, the realities of the other are shallow, frivolous, frivolous, trifling. But in exceptional circumstances, for instance if someone has to live through a long stretch of time in physical danger, one is placed, as it were, on the intersection line of the two planes; a curious situation which is a kind of tightrope-walking on one’s nerves…I think he is right."

I think much Woke behavior is an effort by people to get more Vie Tragique in their lives.