TeeJaw Blog

Arthur Koestler On Writing

Posted in Uncategorized by TeeJaw on Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 3: 13 PM

“One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up.”

— Arthur Koestler

This quote is the substitle for The Other McCain blog. The advice here is good for being honest but not for being popular, at least not in some places. Generally, but not always, one writes a blog for the chance to be honest rather than popular. If both can be had, all the better.

Arthur Koestler (1905-1983) was an essayist and novelist [Darkness at Noon; The God That Failed; The Ghost in the Machine; Bricks to Babel].  He should be on everyone’s reading list. Koestler was born in Budapest, had an early career in journalism before joining the Communist Party of Germany in 1931. Disillusioned by Stalinist atrocities, he resigned from it in 1938 and in 1940 published a devastating anti-totalitarian novel, Darkness at Noon, which propelled him to international fame. The novel tells the tale of an Old Bolshevik and October Revolutionary who is cast out, imprisoned, and tried for treason against the very Soviet Union he once helped to create. The novel is set in 1938 during the Stalinist purges and Moscow show trials. It reflects Koestler’s personal disillusionment with Communism.

His essay in the introduction of The God That Failed explores the path by which one may become enmeshed in a pure utopian dream prompted by revulsion of a flawed society. The tension between the two poles of attraction to an ideal and repulsion from a deformed social environment causes the militant reformer to forget that hatred, even of the objectively hateful, does not create the charity and justice necessary to sustain a utopian society.

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