Mental Hitchhiking

I’ve been dueling with the worst cold I’ve had in years since Saturday. It seems to be wearing down now. I’m not entirely congested, and I don’t feel weary to the bone as I did all last night and through most of today. It seems this cold will be as swift leaving as it was arriving, and I’ll be thankful if that is the case.
Before the cold hit me, I spent Saturday cleaning around the apartment. It’s rather rustrating my roommates do no work around the apartment at all. They’re decent fellows, but not the cleanest cats.
Saturday night I found myself unable to sleep because of the discomfort of the cold, so I curled up in bed and made my way through a couple books I’d been meaning to experience. The two were rather divergent works, but I enjoyed them equally well.
George Orwell‘s 1984 has long been one of those novels “I’ll get around to reading someday”. In my sickened state, I finally sat down to read it. 1984 is an exposition of what Orwell perceived as the worst aspects of society. Facism was the most obvious of these evils, and the focus of the warning given in the novel. However, lawlessness, globalization and misplaced hatred are all warned against. In today’s world it’s not hard to imagine Orwell’s vision of the future coming into reality. Already facism and the other negatives we were warned against fester in all our societies.
Though Orwell is well known for 1984 and Animal Farm, his other works and life story are equally as important to me. Orwell was a professed democratic socialist who lived through the world wars, and was exposed to both Brittish imperialism and communist Russia, both which he opposed. His essays ranged through various areas he was passionate about, and I found them to be facinating reads that shed a lot of light upon his fictional works.
Can Socialists Be Happy?” is an exploration of various forms of Utopias and their flaws in contrast with what Mr. Orwell saw as the central goal of socialism, “a society in which ‘charity’ would be unnecessary,” a “human brotherhood”. I found it parallelled some of my own thinking on socialism, and helped to shed light upon some areas I had not thought about. The look at Utopias was very interesting, and highlighted some of the great flaws I see in classical and much of post-classical thought.
Why I Write” looked at the motives writers have for writing. I found Orwell’s points to be highly accurate for all cases I’ve experienced, and myself. He theorized that, aside from the need to earn a living, sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse and political purpose are the motivations that exist in all writers to varying degrees. For myself, historical impulse (to discover true facts and record them for posterity), political purpose (“desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after”) and aesthetic enthusiasm (“perception of beauty in the external world” and a “desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable”) hold a higher place in my writing than egoism (“to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death”, etc.), though all vary depending on the work I am focusing on and my temperment at the time. Overall, I think Orwell was very correct throughout this essay, though I think his emphasis on a writer’s early development was a bit too strong.
The second book I delved into was Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s a proven classic in the genres of science fiction and satire, and is remarkably funny. It’s a story of improbable events coming together in the most humorous ways, and also a candid, laugh-filtered look at humanity and our flaws. It’s a great book for a good time, but don’t be surprised if it makes you think.
Reading Orwell’s essay reminded me of my plan to write of my vision of utopia. I’ll not have time tonight because I need to sleep and be prepared for job hunting and hanging out with my disciples Wanda and April. Perhaps sometime this week I can find it.

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