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This 1940 political novel Darkness at Noon, the only novel written by the Hungarian expat Arthur Koestler (1905-1983), was once considered one of the more important political novels of the Twentieth Century, at par with work by, for example, George Orwell. The novel has as a theme the dissident trials of Nikolai Bukharin and others in Russia.
Arthur Koestler, journalist, philosopher, political activist and author lived half of his life in England. He arrived in England after escaping from the clutches of the Spanish Fascist Regime, and was on the run from the German onslaught during World War II.
Perhaps there are good reasons why we love “intellectuals” less today than in earlier generations. Could it be we are better “educated” with more degrees, but caught in social networks that are not conducive to deep thinking? Have we instead become a light weight species of visually oriented skimmers of popular culture?
This link to the Guardian newspaper might answer some of these sort of questions. Could it be that the battles of the previous generation no longer interest us when we are connected to the entire world in a minute, and we can turn it off with the pretext of now being “well informed”?
Perhaps this is because we are asked to have “understanding” and “compassion” for every Tom, Dick and Harry’s cause. Could it be that we are living with “politically correct phrases” introduced into a changeable sort of language, promoted by the dumber media? You know who!
Could it be that we no longer as a society value the intellectual stimuli provided by real questioning? The article in the Guardian does provide some answers about these topics found in Koestler’s work.
More insight is provided in a relatively new biography of Koestler with a link here to an article, as well as, a YouTube interview with the author Michael Scammell below.
We are in an age where being silent when it comes to controversy is the status quo. Do we “feel” less involved with the “bigger issues” after we tweet our “two cents”?
I believe that we can still learn the lessons imparted in the works of great authors like Koestler.
When dictatorial powers in the form of new “unions” or “correct thinking only please” mantras and an ever larger State Security Apparatus accompanies you on your proverbial intellectual walk throughout the internet, perhaps it is now precisely the time to read those old novels again.
For the “dreamers” of show trials, there is no chance that there will be a real trial soon for the current White House Occupant and the current Criminally Operating Party Machines. Or will there be?