April 18, 2011

Being Christopher Hitchens

My debt of gratitude to Mr. Hitchens continues to grow. Not on a daily basis but every time I see an interview with him, I come out wiser after watching it.


As a polemicist, Christopher has chosen to take on many individuals who have become larger than life. Mr. Hitchens has been a scathing critic of the false piousness of Mother Teresa. He has also been critical of the people's princess business with respect to Diana.


Above all, Bill Clinton has been portrayed as a consummate and perhaps congenital smooth liar. That is where I came out with a lesson after watching Mr. Hitchens' interview yesterday.


Mr. Clinton, it must be axiomatic, has to be narcissistic. So, why am I rooting for him? Why are so many? Indeed. Quite a point.


It is perhaps yet another instance of how dangerously flawed we can be in our perceptions. We are perhaps giving a lot of leeway to Mr. Clinton because of his good looks. We may be doing this subconsciously without even realizing it. Perhaps, if Mr. Hitler was better looking with a better choice of style of mustache and perhaps a taller build, he might well have had a better chance of winning the Second World War.


Are humans designed to look for leaders? Do we have some sort of a herd mentality or a tribe mentality? Are we wired to follow charismatic leaders?


If the answers are yes, then it's quite a dangerous evolutionary baggage in today's world. I think, sadly the answer is yes. Hence, Al Qaida and Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi and all the dictators of the world.


How important it is then to have the power of education! And how important to have thinkers who can put things clearly!


We all owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Hitchens for taking the blinkers off our eyes.


And so about that quote from Horace Mann where he challenges everyone to do something for mankind, to win some victory for mankind.


As we judge our own lives on that yardstick when the time comes, I want to say to Mr. Christopher Hitchens that he can rest assured that he need not be ashamed at all.

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