Without trying to come across as too pompous – yet doing just that – I would like to share a section from the introduction to a “Condensation of Animal Farm” published by World Digest in January 1946 and in reference to the writings of George Orwell. It goes a little like this:
(Mr Orwell) does not hesitate to criticize persons and things of which he disapproves, He censures injustice, humbug, and falsification of ideals; gibes at appeasement, popular eulogy of the second-best, and the bleating in unison of the yes-men.
Orwell’s approach to understanding and interpreting the world forms the core of what I’ve always wanted to achieve in my own writing. That is, a searching and critical approach to that with which one is presented as opposed to a complacency towards the trivial and an acceptance of the ephemeral. I was once told that being critical of everything will only deny a person the wonders of life. I politely disagree. A great many people, I have noticed, often confuse being critical with being cynical. To be critical is to be driven towards the truth; to the refinement of thought, to a clearer understanding of the world. Cynicism, however, is to shy away from reason; it’s a poison to curiosity that will only lead to prejudice and arrogance commanding your worldview. Advice I think any reader/writer would do well to consider comes from the pen of Christopher Hitchens, who wrote:
Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.
I write because I’m compelled to do so. As I would wager most of the writers using WordPress – or any of the other blogging platforms – do. To communicate, to connect, to inform, to educate, to entertain, to let the world know I lived. That I didn’t follow the crowd, that I thought for myself and was able to share those thoughts with others.