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  1. says:

    EVERYTHING OLD HAS SHAPE SHIFTEDArrow in the Blue The Invisible WritingBy Arthur Koestler1954Darkness at Noon may not be required reading any in universities, because Koestler is a dead white male who left the Communist Party But The Invisible Writing, a 400 page volume of his four part autobiography Arrow in the Blue, is still worth reading because it explains so much about the origins of the political culture is there any other kind of the United States today out of Alinsky by the C.P You will find this history from three quarters of a century ago surprisingly familiar today.Koestler was from Hungary but spent much of the first half of the 20th century as a refugee, including some years as a political prisoner, when the Communist movement travelled from the era of the Apostles to that of the Borgias in three short generations Why and how He writes that this closed system of thought, called the dialectical method or dialectical materialism, which inexplicably means talking about communism, is self contained My attitudes to art, literature and human relations became reconditioned and moulded to the pattern My vocabulary, grammar, syntax, gradually changed I learnt to avoid any original form of expression, any individual turn of phrase pp 26 27 Then he lists acceptable and unacceptable vocabulary decadent for the capitalist bourgeoisie petit bourgeois for humanitarian scruples and many Scare quotes were used in writing to identify unacceptable political views Today, instead of an original turn of phrase, a literary or traditional expression can also be unacceptable or at least a waste of time as deconstructionists discern the real meaning of what seems to be a straightforward declarative sentence only they have the key to the real meanings Now this technique can also be found, for instance, in the detection of covert racism in everyday interactions Scare quotes added Micro aggressions may be undetectable to the racist perpetrator or the oblivious receiver Today we have universities with speech codes so someone can tell you what you mean.Koestler wrote that every single educated Communist has his own private and secret philosophy whose purpose is not to explain the facts, but to explain them away, or in Orwell s word, doublethink A literary example was the idea discussed in a party meeting that to regard poetry as a special talent some men possess and other don t is bourgeois metaphysics Poetry, like every other skill, is acquired by learning and practice p 30 Thus sources of inspiration, literary or religious, other than Party spawned, were not acknowledged As a literary man, Koestler rationalized this nonsense For a while Till his friends were killed one by one Rationalization was harder about the intentional starvation of millions of people under Stalin but not impossible People did it for decades.The resentment against bosses, whoever they are, has shifted slightly it would merely change from partial enslavement by landlords, tax collectors and money lenders, to total enslavement by the State, which is landlord, tax collector and money lender all in one p 117 Today in the West corporations are considered the enslavers but the State is posed as the antidote to corporate rule Generally speaking, however, the State is armed Corporations usually are not.Regarding the Nazi threat It is doubly painful to write about these seven years at a time when the mood of Western Europe is bent on repeating the same suicidal errors that price of survival is the sacrifice of a distressingly large part of the national income over a distressingly long period and that appeasement, however seductive and plausible its arguments sound, is not a substitute for military strength but an invitation to war p 189 More than half a century after Koestler s book was published, the Nazi threat is replaced by a renewed Russian threat and a new Islamic immigration threat in the form of jihadism overt aggression and sharia pressure to change Western culture gradually Relying on the United States for security since World War II, Europe poured its money into unsustainable welfare programs Now we are doing the same but we don t have anything like the United States to back up the United States, whose leader is an appeaser The enemy, and there s always an enemy, is redefined to suit the political winds It is so much easier to stand up in manly way to French militarism in 1936, and to American Imperialism in 1953, than to the Nazi and Soviet Empires p 191 Now many Americans love to say the enemy is us and ignore the barbarians at the gate The Pogo, the swamp dwelling possum, should be an icon for many Americans We have met the enemy and he is us In the old days, everybody who was not on our side was a Fascist The Socialists were Social Fascists , the Catholics were Clerical Fascists, the Trotskyists were Trotsky Fascists, and so on p 244 The word fascism or fascist is thrown about in media today but it s not quite clear what it means other than Mussolini, Franco, and Hitler non Communist tyrants Who remembers them anyway So the all purpose attack word now is racism or racist.In the 30s Koestler began writing a book about Spartacus and the slave revolt in Rome The causes which led to these upheavals had an equally familiar ring the breakdown of traditional values, a rapid transformation of the economic system, mass unemployment caused by the importation of slave labour and of cheap corn from the colonies, the ruin of the farmers and the growth of large latifundia large farms worked by slave labor , a corrupt administration and a decadent ruling class, a falling birth rate and a spectacular rise in divorces and abortions p 263 Substitute illegal migrant labor for slave labor, cheap imports from overseas factories whether owned by Americans or not the rest needs no substitutes.One of the most important lessons in Koestler s book is the description of the People s Front policy or the Popular Front In 1935 the European Communist parties were relatively small and not part of mainstream parties These Front organizations represented the war front and also the Communist Party fa ade The boards might be seeded with non Communists, as in the Committee for Spanish Relief for instance p 324 The names of these groups then and now sound benign, using words like Freedom, Relief, Labor, People the definition of people always excluding human beings like the Kulaks who could be killed in good conscience, or aristocrats as in the French Revolution , and so on Pierre Laval of the Vichy government once asked Stalin what to do if the Communists continued to make trouble for the Nazis Stalin said Hang them p 325 In the United States, anyone who suspected anti war organizations or student groups during the Vietnam war of being infiltrated or controlled by the U.S Communist Party was considered paranoid, but in fact Joseph McCarthy was correct, however crude he may have been This was and is the Communist technique Citizens of goodwill may or may not have solid moral principles and will defend them against perceived encroachers, but if the fa ade, the name, the associations are incorrect, they will ascribe evil to the wrong side In Europe, Communists and Fascists were both evil yet people wanted to choose one side When the Russian Communists, i.e the International C.P., was with Hitler, so were the party members When they were at odds, some members got confused but many went along with whatever Stalin said The men of goodwill of that era fought clearsightedly and devotedly against one type of totalitarian threat to civilization, and were blind or indifferent to the other p 365 Perhaps the most important lesson to come out of this history is the attempt to crush objective truth, which is evident in today s universities and churches With our training in dialectical acrobatics it was not even difficult to prove that all truth was historically class conditioned, that so called objective truth was a bourgeois myth, and that to write the truth meant to select and emphasise those items and aspects of a given situation which served the proletarian revolution, and were therefore historically correct p 387 Today practitioners of relative truth are cruder, though, when they preach relativity for me but not for thee, and if they are unconvincing, they ll hire lawyers Everyone has his own truth, except people they disagree with Who are you to judge, since you re not them Deconstruction is political flim flam, not intellectual subtlety One of the grossest perversions of its own original aims has developed in the feminist movement Now feminists always leftists have abandoned human principles of protecting women and children and gays against abuses such as are seen in the Islamic world, even when they are imported to the West And it should go without saying that insistence on unlimited abortion protects neither the defenseless nor women, ignoring the obvious fact that half of the aborted are female.The Soviet Union represented our last and only hope on a planet in rapid decay p 389 No one could say this with a straight face any, but they can say it about, say, the Green movement Radical solutions to problems and non problems are the daily scare quotes in all conversation and discussions on climate and other topics are closed until further notice, or until dissidents shut up Hardly a scientific point of view In his novel Darkness at Noon, Koestler writes, It is necessary to hammer every sentence into the head of the masses by repetition and simplification What is presented as right must shine like gold what is presented as wrong must be black as pitch p 396 People who question the cause of, or existence of, global warming are compared to Holocaust deniers, or even to Nazis.We expect that people in power would have better sources of information than the average person has, secret information, greater understanding But after World War II, when the Soviets ruled one third of the world, it was hard for people to believe that it was the most inhuman regime in human history This is still true even after the disclosures about Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and so on The difficulty is almost the same for the illiterate Italian peasant as for a highly literate French novelist like Sartre, or for a highly realistic politician like the late President Roosevelt who sincerely believed that the only threat to post war peace would come from Britain s imperialistic designs in spite of all the available evidence about Communist theory and Soviet practice That experienced democratic politicians all over the world could believe this, not to mention scientists, scholars and intellectuals of every variety, is an indication of the deep, myth producing forces that were and still are at work p 390 Nowadays, the same myth psychology keeps leaders today from admitting that the Muslim Brotherhood meant what it said a century or so ago when it declared war against the world An experienced politician like Obama is either na ve or at some level is a Popular Front in himself.At last, Koestler knew himself Yet hope that in spite of all this the Socialist Sixth of the Earth would in the end justify their expectations, unwillingness to part with a cherished illusion, and intellectual pride which would not admit that they had been fooled, made them remain silent about the horrors of which they knew, and by their silence endorse them The same is true of thousands of Communist or vaguely sympathizing writers, painters, actors, journalists, academic teachers, including myself p 412 Despite the fall of the Berlin wall, Communism is not dead It has shape shifted.

  2. says:

    La afiliaci n de Koestler al partido comunista provoca su despido de la agencia Ullstein, la poderosa cadena de diarios en la que trabaja Auspiciado por el Comintern, de cuyo Apparat ya es miembro activo, viaja por la Uni n Sovi tica y Asia Central Vuelve a Par s donde colabora activamente con Willy Muenzenberg, otro importante agente del Comintern, en campa as de propaganda antifascista Viaja a Espa a en dos ocasiones, con la intenci n de obtener pruebas que confirmen la colaboraci n nazi en la sublevaci n del 36 En su segundo viaje es detenido y condenado a muerte, sentencia que nunca ser ejecutada gracias, en gran medida, a una campa a de presi n internacional promovida por Dorothy, la ltima compa era sentimental de esa poca de su vida, de la que ya se hab a separado amistosamente En la c rcel espa ola reflexiona intensa y detenidamente sobre sus ideas pol ticas y, una vez liberado, decide abandonar el partido defraudado por completo por el comunismo y, m s concretamente, por el estalinismo Comienza entonces a escribir sus primeras obras Al evidente inter s hist rico de los hechos en los que estuvo involucrado, hay que sumar la tambi n interesante evoluci n de su pensamiento pol tico Una evoluci n marcada, en muchos casos, por una cobarde , seg n palabras del propio Koestler, acci n de quemar las naves , a la que recurre inconscientemente cuando la duda y el hast o se hacen insufribles y su inseguridad le paraliza Una inseguridad que revela, por otro lado, su permanente contacto con la realidad, a la par que unas loables tolerancia y amplitud de miras La habilidad narrativa de este periodista novelista ensayista queda patente desde las primeras p ginas del libro Koestler nos sorprende comenzando su autobiograf a con una visita a una hemeroteca a la que asistimos obligados por la propia lectura All no hace otra cosa que consultar los peri dicos correspondientes al d a de su nacimiento, intentando trazar lo que l llama su hor scopo secular As , citando textualmente el contenido de ciertas noticias y anuncios de los peri dicos de aquella poca recurso que en su momento debi resultar hasta innovador , a trav s de la lectura de una lectura aspecto, por otro, lado presente desde el Quijote en la historia de la literatura , nos introduce de forma solapada y amena en el decorado donde comienza la historia de sus antepasados m s inmediatos.Con la intenci n de ilustrar muchas de esas reflexiones literarias no duda en hacer referencia a sus propias obras, citando incluso algunos p rrafos de las mismas, lo cual no es una mala introducci n para un ne fito de su obra literaria En este aspecto resultan tanto o m s interesantes las observaciones que hace sobre otros literatos h ngaros, escritores europeos relacionados de una forma u otra con el comunismo, memorialistas ex miembros del Apparat o supervivientes de campos de concentraci n estalinistas y nazis Seria encomiable que m s editoriales se dedicaran a recuperar algunos de esos libros La lista es larga Alex Weissberg Conspiracy of silence , Manes Sperber, Alexander Foote Manual para esp as , Walter Krivitsky Fui un agente de Stalin , Greta Neumann Buber Under two dictators , Bruno Heiling Hombres crucuficados y otros m s conocidos como Bertolt Brecht, Anna Seghers o Ignazio Silone Es m s, probablemente algunos de ellos no vieron nunca la luz en Espa a, debido a la censura franquista, y considero espero no ser yo s lo que no deben ser olvidados o ignorados, principalmente por razones hist ricas y por ser muchos de ellos testimonio de algo que nunca deber a volver a pasar, aunque esta ultima consideraci n resulte un tanto t pica.A pesar de su extensi n, el estilo predominantemente llano y conciso, sembrado de agudas y sarc sticas apreciaciones de este inestimable observador cr tico de s mismo y del mundo que le rodea, sumado a la variedad de escenarios geogr ficos en que se desarrolla la obra, hacen que la lectura de estas memorias resulte fluida, ligera y francamente entretenida.

  3. says:

    What a life could really be the three word review of this amazing autobiography installment by Koestler This is second part in the three part autobiography and probably the meatiest I say probably, as I still haven t read the third, but considering that this covers historically the most interesting time in the life of modern Europe, I doubt his life could have been eventful in the latter years I ve been an unabashed fan of Koestler since I first read The Sleepwalkers It got better with Darkness at Noon Koestler is an amazing writer not because of style, but content That pretty much holds good for his autobiography as well Koestler s life is a like a miniature version of Europe in the pre and post communist wave And he seems to have been everywhere at the right time in the context of history although not in terms of personal safety for sure Palestine, Russia, France, Spain, England Koestler would, obviously, have it no other way After being saved from a possible execution in Spain, and being interned in France as enemy alien, Koestler still didn t want to take a safe exit out of Europe And I also knew that my roots were in Europe, that I belonged to Europe, and that if Europe went down, survival became pointless, and I would rather go down with her than take refuge in a country which no longer meant anything but a refuge This resolution was actually put to the test when France fell, and when, instead of heading for Palestine or still neutral America, I made my escape to England which led to another stretch of solitary confinement in a London prison during the blitz Yet even that prison cell in Pentonville meant Europe, my home.It s a truly remarkable life And yet what binds the book together is not the action, but the intellectual journey that begun in Arrow In The Blue the chronicles of his growing disillusionment with the Communist party and politics, to his eventual break with the party As is so typical of the book, the restless narrator tells the story of his life, and the life of restless Europe, and of his ideological journey, through the politically intellectually divided Europe There is so much to take in in Koestler that it s a shame that he is so hard to find in bookshops, online or offline NB It s interesting that I started this book on the even of the last new year and finished it on the eve of this.

  4. says:

    I would devide my life to before and after reading Koestler He changed me to a different person He was a man of a generation who witnessed final disaster of civil war in Spain and descending and demolishing of hope by communism in Soviet, while confronting the invasion of Fashism in Europe He explained his generation s pain and frustration as a most brave looser, not sophisticated but very simple The best description of the time is when he says The sun of the age of reason was setting down Arrow in the Blue together with The Invisible Writing are kind of autobiography of first 35 years of Koestler s life .

  5. says:

    Recently while sorting through my bookshelves I came across a battered copy of Arthur Koestler s most famous novel Darkness at Noon , which tells the story of a Bolshevik, Rubashov who undergoes imprisonment, torture and execution as part of Stalin s most notorious purge in the late 1930 s I picked it up and started reading but hours later found I could not put it down, which on reminiscing was the feeling that I had when I first read it over thirty years ago.This time however, the book did not feel like a historical document, or a prophecy about the future of Socialism, it felt instead like a news bulletin Written nearly eighty years ago after Koestler s break with the Communist party, of which he had been a member from 1931 to 1938 and capturing his disillusionment with the party, the broken promise of socialism and his own experiences in Spanish and French prisons, where he faced the very real possibility of death it outlined the arguments that had led people like Rubashov to break all laws of humanity and in effect live a lie There are only two conceptions of human ethics, and they are at opposite poles One of them is Christian and humane, declares the individual to be sacrosanct, and asserts that the rules of arithmetic are not to be applied to human units The other starts from the basic principal that a collective aim justifies all means, and not only allows, but demands, that the individual should in every way be subordinated and scarified to the community which may dispose of it as an experimental rabbit or a sacrificial lamb Darkness at Noon.How was such a twisted system possible What Koestler outlines in his novel and in the second volume of his autobiography The Invisible Writing , which is primarily a retelling of his communist party years between 1931 to 1938, and then his experiences in the early days of World War Two and his eventual escape to safety in England, is how the truth was manipulated and twisted, which has frightening similarity with our own times and fake news and the use and abuse of social media We should be in an era where propaganda and misinformation is all but eradicated, instead is prevalent than ever.The twisting of facts to fit a desired outcome is nothing new, as Koestler reminds his readers with a timely quote from Machiavelli in his novel Occasionally words must serve to veil the facts But this must happen in such a way that no one becomes aware of it or, if it should be noticed, excuses must be at hand, to be produced immediately How often do we see this technique used in the modern day But the precedents are numerous.So, Koestler may be a dead white Hungarian Jewish intellectual, who has gone out of fashion after being widely read from the forties to the early eighties, but on picking up his works again and particularly tracing his journey through the major political upheavals of the twentieth century, it is clear he still has much to offer, both as a guide and a prophet.

  6. says:

    Remarkably honest, well written, and incredibly frustrating While it is impossible to fully understand the dilemma of liberal thought in the second quarter of the 20th century in Europe, you would have to be similarly neurotic to understand Koestler s attraction to Communism with the knowledge he possessed during much of the period of his infatuation He manfully explains the pathology of the intellectual progressives of his era influenced by the Great War, Depression, the rise of totalitarian governments in Europe, anti Semitism, causing an attraction to the flawed promise of Communism However, trying to carry this explanation to the dysfunction of the contemporary progressive does not make a smooth transition Perhaps it is the lack of intellectuals, no dialectic theory, and not enough to be angry about The difference between rebels and revolutionaries

  7. says:

    In giovent l universo mi era apparso come un libro aperto, stampato nel linguaggio delle equazioni fisiche e delle determinanti sociali, mentre ora mi pare un testo scritto con inchiostro invisibile, di cui, nei nostri rari momenti di grazia, siamo in grado di decifrare un piccolo frammento Questo volume, quindi, il resoconto del viaggio da una chiarezza speciosa a un brancolare nel buio p 13

  8. says:

    This book taught me that there are much better ways to spend my time than on the pages of the latest pop science fad books A gripping, beautifully written, honest account of what it was like to be a fervent believer in Communism.

  9. says:

    20th Century history at its best And he advocated a United States of Europe as early as 1940 After WW2 it should have happened, and up to a point it did with the European Union, but today the British are intent on destroying it Koestler would have seen this coming

  10. says:

    The last chapter of Koestler s autobiography covers the years 1932 1940 and encompasses his break with Communism, and his flight from Europe and residence in England.

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download The Invisible Writing , read online The Invisible Writing , kindle ebook The Invisible Writing , The Invisible Writing 0c1fa6f924d0 Taken Together, Arthur Koestler S Volumes Of Autobiography Constitute An Unrivalled Study Of Twentieth Century Man And His Dilemma Arrow In The Blue Ended With His Joining The Communist Party And The Invisible Writing Covers Some Of The Most Important Experiences In His LifeThis Book Tells Of Koestler S Travels Through Russia And Remote Parts Of Soviet Central Asia And Of His Life As An Exile It Puts In Perspective His Experiences In Franco S Prisons Under Sentence Of Death And In Concentration Camps In Occupied France And Ends With His Escape InTo England, Where He Found Stability And A New Home