”Obviously, modern mechanized life becomes dreary if you let it” (Orwell)

Bland det mest fascinerande med att läsa Orwell är att stöta på små fragment av livsfilosofiska resonemang, ofta uppblandade med sociologiska insikter.

Ett sådant stycke, om än inte så sociologiskt, återfinns i hans recension av Cyril Connolly’s bok The Rock Pool. Boken handlar om en dekadent skara konstnärer i Paris. Förutom att detta slags berättelse gjort bättre av Aldous Huxley så anmärker Orwell i sin recension i New English Weekly (23 july 1936) också att:

A more serious objection is that even to want to write about so-called artist who spend on sodomy what they have gained by sponging [snylta, ”åka snålskjuts”] betrays a kind of spiritual inadequacy. For it is clear that Mr. Connolly rather admires the disgusting beasts he depicts, and certainly he prefers them to the polite and sheeplike Englishman; he even compares them, in their ceaseless war against decency, to heroic savage tribes struggling against Western civilization. But this, you see, only amounts to a distaste for normal life and common decency, and one might equally well express it, as so many do, by scuffling [kivas, gnabbas] beneath the moulting wing of Mother Church. Obviously, modern mechanized life becomes dreary if you let it. The awful thralldom of money is upon everyone and there are only three immediately obvious escapes. One is religion, another is unending work, the third is the kind of sluttish antinomianism — lying in bed till four in the afternoon, drinking Pernod — that Mr. Connolly seems to admire. The third is certainly the worst, but in any case the essential evil is to think in terms of escape. The fact to which we have got to cling, as to a lifebelt, is that it is possible to be a normal decent person and yet be fully alive. Mr Connolly seems to suggest that there are only two alternatives: lie in bed till four in the afternoon, drinking Pernod, or you will infallibly surrender to the gods of Success and become a London social-cum-literary backstairs-crawler. The orthodox Christian tries to pitchfork you with a very similar dilemma. But both dilemmas are false and unnecessarily depressing.

(Jag länkade till wikipedia ovan när det gällde begreppet antinomianism. Intressant nog nämns Orwell, och ironiskt nog med en felaktighet: under rubriken The use of the antinomian idea in a secular context, kan man nämligen läsa att ”George Orwell was a frequent user of ‘antinomian’ in a secular (and always approving) sense”.)

A Kind of Compulsion, The Complete Works of George Orwell, vol. X (1903–1936), art. 321, s. 491.


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