Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself. That is the first principle of existentialism
Jean-Paul Sartre, whom I studied at university and whose work has interested me ever since, introduces us to the idea of our absolute freedom. While he admits that we are limited by some physical and social circumstances, he places us utterly in charge of ourselves.
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According to Open Culture, Orwell's Animal Farm was almost never published. The manuscript barely survived the Nazi bombing of London during World War II, and then initially T.S. Eliot (an important editor at Faber & Faber) and other publishers rejected the book. It eventually came to see the light of day but, reportedly, Animal Farm still can’t be legally read in China, Burma and North Korea, or across large parts of the Islamic world.
However, the Internet Archive offers free access to audio versions of Animal Farm and Orwell’s other major classic, 1984.
Imagine that we could build "start-up countries" and escape limiting, outdated forms of governance that hold people back. "Seasteading", according to its advocates, has the promise to do this, creating new "spaces for human freedom".
In the last months of his life, a physically weakened Christopher Hitchens travelled to the Texas Freethought Convention and while there, an eight-year-old girl asked Hitchens what books she should consider reading. Intrigued, Hitchens spent 15 minutes chatting with the youngster and sketching out a reading list (below). His last words to her? "Lots of love...remember the love bit..."
Sad to read of the passing of Colin Wilson, a truly open-minded polymath, whose books, exhaustive range of interests, freedom of expression and seemingly boundless productivity I long found inspiring.