Saturday, December 17, 2011

To Do Death in the Active Sense

Christopher Hitchens age 62 died Thursday 15 2011.

In his last essay in Vanity Fair he wrote, “So far, I have decided to take whatever my disease can throw at me, and to stay combative even while taking the measure of my inevitable decline”.

An antitheist, Hitchens was unwavering in his belief in rational thinking by describing organized religion as the main source of hatred and tyranny in the world. Hitchens argued that faith was the surrender of reason, surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other mammals.

Even after being diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus in 2010, Hitchens said he would not turn to religion for comfort. He made it clear that if anyone ever claimed he had converted at the end of his life,” the entity making such a remark might be a raving, terrified person whose cancer has spread to the brain, but no one recognizable as myself would ever make such a remark”.

Christopher Hitchens enlightened and enraged many. He proffered penetrating insight on a broad range of issues of deep public interest, from politics to religion and his own mortality. Before he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer Hitchens said, “I wanted to be fully conscious and awake, in order to “do” death in the active and not the passive sense”.

He is best known perhaps for lambasting Mother Teresa. Hitchens claimed that Mother Teresa was not a friend of the poor but rather a friend of poverty.

Christopher Hitchens wrote penned two dozen books, including "Letters To A Young Contrarian," "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" "Hitch-22: A Memoir" and last but not least, “Arguably. In September 2005 he was named one of the “Top 100 Public Intellectuals by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines

In his last book, Arguably, Christopher Hitchens writes, ” I was informed by a doctor that I have as little as another year to live. In consequence, some of the articles were written with the full consciousness that they might be my very last. But it has given me a more vivid idea of what makes life worth living, and defending and I hope very much that some of this may infect those of you who have been generous enough to read me this far.”

I think Christopher Hitchens was one of the most effective and accessible public intellectuals of our time.

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