The lake of reason ripples; Hitchens gone at 62

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Friday, December 16, 2011

“The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.”

Christopher Hitchens, a voice of reason and advocate of free thought, passed away at the age of 62 on Thursday after a battle with cancer. An extraordinary writer, exquisite speaker and thought-provoking man, Hitchens leaves this world with less like him when we desperately need more.

Hitchens was a man who asked you to think. Who made you challenge your deepest beliefs. We, as humans, have the extraordinary ability to question and philosophize. To use our minds and reason to understand the world around us instead of falling into ignorance.

When I read a Hitchens piece, I find myself exploring my own thought patterns. Asking myself questions that I had never asked before. While I didn't always agree with what he said, Hitchens' work always came through honest and sincere. I respect that, in writing, more than anything.

He didn't try to beat a new way of thinking into your skull with no supporting argument. Hitchens painted a mural and asked you to actively partake in it. To ask him as many questions as he was asking you and to deduce your own conclusion.

What people should learn from Hitchens and what they should remember is not how controversial he was, but how we all should question our world. That we should use our minds to explore and ponder. That only through the exchange of ideas and thought, not bullets and bombs, will we understand one another as one human race and not multiple, feuding teams.

And we should always remember that, as Hitchens' words speak above, life is to be lived intensely and fully. There are no second chances. This single clock is all we're given and, when it winds down, it is over.

Pick up a book from Hitchens and read it. You don't have to agree with him. You don't have to like him. You just have to think. 

Photo by John Huba, Vanity Fair

Christopher Hitchens 1949 - 2011

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