Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christopher Hitchens: I Will Miss You.

I haven't posted anything in over a year. With the death of Christopher Hitchens, I have been inspired to again watch all the videos I can find of him on youtube and other sites. It is powerfully clear to me that the world is now, without him, greatly diminished. Luckily, his writings and spoken words remain, and many people can still benefit from them. He has played an important role in my life, and I will miss him immensely.

I thought I would include a transcript of his closing remarks in a debate he had with William Dembski in 2010, as I think his words here are especially poignant.

"The discussion about what is good, what is beautiful, what is noble, what is pure, and what is true could always go on. Why is that important, why would I like to do that? Because that's the only conversation worth having. And whether it goes on or not after I die, I don't know.  But I do know that it's the conversation I want to have while I'm still alive. Which means that to me, the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can't give way, is an offer of something not worth having.
I want to live my life taking the risk all the time that I don't know anything like enough yet. That I haven't understood enough, that I can't know enough, that I'm always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom - I wouldn't have it any other way. And I'd urge you to look at those of you who tell you - those people who tell you, at your age, that you're dead till you believe as they do - what a terrible thing to be telling to children.  And that you can only live by accepting an absolute authority.  Don't think of that as a gift - think of it of a poisoned chalice, push it aside however tempting it is, take the risk of thinking for yourself.  Much more happiness, truth, beauty and wisdom will come to you that way.  Thank you."
If you want to watch this bit, click here.
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