Although I think Theodore Dalrymple ideological sympathies cramp an otherwise nimble intelligence, I do find his prose unusually compelling.
Thank you, Dr. Dalrymple. Well done, as always.
One question: How can you be so confident that your dog does not know that he will die some day?
Horowitz is a Jew. Therefore he has two possibilities. One is to deny his Judaism and die a lonely man whose past and present are as significant as the average Joe, or to die as a member of a culture which has been around 4000 years, where each thinking person is a link in the chain of human redemption from idolatry.
Excellent review and articulately expressed as usual by the good doctor.
The last statement that “to die well we must first know what we have lived for”, though thought inspiring & valid can lead to inner conflict with some, my thoughts are as follows:
Self-assessed value to our lives normally gained by a feeling of worth, most commonly secured by meaningful participation in one’s greater society is not always a true indicator of our condition as humans, true inner peace can only be assessed by one’s own criteria of a life worth lived not subject to interpretations of fickle society and it’s temporal often flawed values.
Seek your own solutions & find your own truths, that is the path of a conscious life with an unshaken value.
Death. Judgment. Heaven. Purgatory. Hell. I would be remiss in the extreme should I not be including the most elementary considerations of the question of death, which seem to have escaped the notice of our illustrious and learned author, subject and patrons. Having had the exceptional misfortune and simultaneously All Loving Grace of having been introduced to the demon who had been plaguing me all my life one night in NYC while praying, very earnestly, the Holy Rosary, you'll pardon me if I make a complete ass out of myself by broaching the subject. I will say little more on it, other than by directing your collective attention to the following URL: http://olrl.org/doctrine/came_back.shtml Please pay particular attention to the episode concerning Josepha Menendez and try to muster a novena to her in your private time. The effort, in fact, just might be worth your eternity. Unabashedly, I close wishing God bless you all.
"But we humans must live on a human scale and measure things accordingly." So true - but not the whole truth. We may attempt to live on an eternal scale, and likewise attempt to measure things accordingly. We may - must? - fail in that effort to see our lives sub specie aeternitatis. But the attempt can be a laudable way to "know first what we have lived for."
"Socialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion." -- Richard John Neuhaus
Good to see Dalrymple move on from the petty foilbles of British health bureaucracies and ill-mannered yoof to a contemplation of the biggies. Lovely stuff from a commentator able to temper a healthy cynicism with hope.
I wonder if his quest for endgame meaning will in time take him, a la Koestler, into the world of the parapsychological; now, that would make for interesting reading. Where'er his curious mind wanders, may his writing continue to delight.
Reminds me of Kafka’s parable "Before the Law" (in The Trial) about the man seeking entrance, and being denied ALL his life by the gatekeeper posted there; as he dies the guard comes over and says to him “ it was always there for you to enter”…Having read a fair deal of Dalrymple (and Roger Scruton, to whom this applies even more) the logic of their conservatism leads them to the threshold of faith in the Author of reason, but they do not enter.
In the words of the author of the blog Cliffsnotes, “In Kafka's parable, his hero wants to enter the first gate of the palace — that is, "the law" — but he dies because he does not exert sufficient will to enter and leaves all possible decisions to the gatekeeper; Kafka's searching man has no divine guidance to show him the way, and the situation he faces is one of total uncertainty and despair. Antithetically, Kierkegaard's radical skepticism results in faith. There is tragedy here, in a sense the ultimate tragedy of the victory of humanism in the West - which has left wise men like Dalrymple and Scruton clinging to the values inherent in the Judeo-Christian worldview, but impotent to counter the weight of its rejection of God.
I love reading your pieces. They are always very interesting.
Curious that David Horowitz does not think of the Bible. Far more profound than Dostoyevsky. Far more interesting than Marcus Aurelius,
I'm not a believer in a personal God or an impersonal God. It seems that all people have a desire to have a meaningful life. That desire which it appears only Man possesses, would seem a sign that perhaps there is a personal God. Otherwise, why do we care? I am glad that Mr. Horowitz and I shared the earth together and that his life has been of significance to me. I am guided by his thinking and writing.
I am so happy to wake up early on a Saturday morning and read this lovely review with my coffee and my cat, Marcel Proust. Thank you.
Beautiful prose supported by piercing logic and life learned philosophy ... Now I have more to ponder about as I walk my Beagle hound.
The bigger truth is that to live well we must know what we would die for, like accuracy.
Le soleil ni la mort ne se peuvent regarder fixement is La Rochefoucauld.
Héraclite is: Ni le soleil ni la mort ne peuvent se regarder en face.
Dr. Dalrymple is lucid, logical, and able. Horowitz is and was, as one read, a piece of work, a wouldbe revolutionary in Oakland, CA, until he fell or was kicked from his horse on the road to, well, Damascus? I read him, of course, and am entertained. I would suggest that the Doctor's review if full of what Horowitz's whole life and that of many others manifests: binary thought, the either/or. And so, from Left to Right, and Right to Left, leaving at the end the sad longing for meaning, which is not available, as transcendence is not. For your readers, I offer a short essay of my own, published in 2010, I think, by www.calitreview.com. Title: "Whatever? — Whatever!" What it describes and shows with one photograph happened. What it means? Ask my title.
I am an octogenarian, i.e. in the last phase of life.
I don't want to die without being conscious of being alive.
Heidegger was concerned that, absorbed in "doing", we lose "being."
The Buddhist teach us to breathe consciously,
to be awake. One can do that while being
compassionate with all sentient beings, including the dog.
The emphasis is on immanence, not transcendence.
I am one of David Horowitz's votaries. His account of his journey from "Red diaper baby" to reasoning human being is an object lesson for those who cling to that old-time religion: Marxism. I will now rush out and buy his book.
I have read many of David's books and enjoyed all of them.David is a great thinker and writer and has a lot of guts to say whats true against all the leftists that have tried to keep him quiet all these years.His web sites are a must for people wanting to know whats going on in this country.