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Last Minute Solipsism – “Why Orwell Matters” – Christopher Hitchens

July 3rd, 2011 · No Comments · History, Human Rights, Philosophy

This instant of last-minute solipsism — observing the practical etiquette of life while hurtling towards death — recalls the superbly observed irrelevance of the condemned Burmese convict’s gesture in Orwell’s essay ‘A Hanging’:

“And once, in spite of the men who gripped him by each shoulder, he stepped slightly aside to avoid a puddle on the path. It is curious, but till that moment I had never realised what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man. When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle, I saw the mystery, the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide.”

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