Wednesday, October 7, 2015

George Orwell on the Modern Age

"On April 6, 1940—coincidentally, the same day the first papal plot against Hitler failed—Orwell published an essay containing an insight that could stand as an epitaph for the whole modern age. He recalled a cruel trick he once played on a wasp that was sucking jam on his plate. Orwell cut him in half. The wasp paid no mind, merely went on with his meal, while jam trickled out of his severed esophagus. Only when he tried to fly away did he grasp the dreadful thing that had happened to him. 'It is the same with modern man,' Orwell wrote. 'The thing that has been cut away is his soul.' We’ve sawed off the moral branch on which we sat—divine sanction for absolute ethics—and then we’ve fallen into a cesspool, and we’re surprised. "

-Mark Riebling, author of Church of Spies: The Pope's Secret War Against Hitler.