Small Streams

In Front of Your Nose
December 6, 2009, 11:13 am
Filed under: awareness, meta, politics

I just finished reading George Orwell’s collected essays, journalism, and letters. Four volumes, five months, a great number of subjects, surprising really, when I recall what turned up in Orwell’s life that illuminated mine.

It’s hard at times to locate his point of view. He was at times objective, but not Olympian. He was at times inflamed, especially on the issue of unfettered speech. But he always took more pains than nearly any writer I know of to understand another’s point of view.

To some extent Orwell has been unneccessarily beatified, and he is probably more quoted than read (in fact, I have tried and failed twice to re-read 1984). But the more I’ve read Orwell, the greater the payoff has been.

Andrew Sullivan has the following Orwell quote stuck on his masthead: “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

Here’s the rest of the paragraph. . .

One thing that helps towards it is to keep a diary, or at any rate, to keep some record of one’s opinions about important events. Otherwise, when some particularly absurd belief is exploded by events, one may simply forget that one ever held it. Political predictions are usually wrong, but even when one makes a correct one, to discover why one is right can be very illuminating.

Inspiring, don’t you think?

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