Monday, 9 January 2012

"The Arab Spring and the Imperialistic Counter Attack" i have not read but did see exactly this on my trip to Egypt.

Darness at Noon

In this short book (211 pages)by Arthur Koestler, translated by Daphne Hardy, the psychology of a jailed revolutionary is explored. The prisoner Rubashov, who has a toothache, is arrested on charges of acting as an agent for the counter revolution. In jail Comrade Ivanov, from the old school interrogates him first, and then he passed on to the new guard Gletkin who is not so kind.
He communicates in code, day dreams forward and the only time he feels scared is when he runs out of cigarettes…he does more of course but you should read the book.
Some quotes:
“But who will be proved right? It will only be known later. Meanwhile he is bound to act on credit and to sell his soul to the devil, in the hope of history’s absolution.” from Rubashov’s diary page 81
“ After a life of sin, he has turned to God--to a God with a double chin of industrial liberalism and the charity of Salvation Army soups.” Ivanov on page 122 debating the merits of an imagined conscience…
“Satan on the other hand, is thin ascetic and fanatical devotee of logic. He reads Machiavelli, Ignatius of Loyola, Marx and Hegel; he is cold and unmerciful to mankind, out of a kind of mathematical mercifulness.” page 122
“Our greatest poets destroyed themselves with this poison. Up to forty, fifty they were revolutionary—then they became consumed by pity and the world announced them holy.” page 124
And I will leave it here as I finish with one last comment from his long argument,
“My point is this on may not regard the world as a sort of metaphysical brothel for emotions…sympathy, conscience, disgust, despair, repentance and atonement are for us repellent debauchery. To sit down and let oneself be hypnotized by one’s own navel…something personal to you, something unprecendented…that is the easy solution…the greatest temptation for the likes of us; is to renounce violence, to repent, to make peace with oneself…the temptation of God is always more dangerous for mankind than those of Satan…when the accursed inner voice speaks to you, hold your hands over your ears…to sell oneself for thirty pieces of silver is an honest transaction, but to sell oneself to one’s own conscience is to abandon mankind. ..history is a priori; it has no conscience…you know the stakes in this game.” page 124-125