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N perspective his experiences in Franco's prisons under sentence of death and in concentration camps in Occupied France and ends with his escape in 1940 to England where he found stability and a new hom This book details The Rebellion new hom This book details

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The Invisible Writing

Taken together Arthur Koestler's volumes of autobiography constitute an unrivalled study of twentieth century man and his dilemma Arrow in the Blue ended with his joining the Communist Party and The Inv What a life could

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Isible Writing covers some of the most important experiences in his lifeThis book tells of Koestler's travels through Russia and remote parts of Soviet Central Asia and of his life as an exile It puts i Recently while so


10 thoughts on “The Invisible Writing

  1. says:

    EVERYTHING OLD HAS SHAPE SHIFTEDArrow in the Blue The Invisible WritingBy Arthur Koestler1954Darkness at Noon may not be reuired reading any in universities because Koestler is a dead white male who left the Communist Party But The Invisible Writing a 400 page volume of his four part autobiography Arrow in the Blue is still worth reading because it explains so much about the origins of the political culture is there any other kind? of the United States today — out of Alinsky by the CP You will find this history from three uarters of a century ago surprisingly familiar todayKoestler was from Hungary but spent much of the first half of the 20th century as a refugee including some years as a political prisoner when the Communist movement “travelled from the era of the Apostles to that of the Borgias” in three short generations Why and how?He writes that this closed system of thought called the dialectical method or dialectical materialism which inexplicably means talking about communism is self contained “My attitudes to art literature and human relations became reconditioned and moulded to the pattern My vocabulary grammar syntax gradually changed I learnt to avoid any original form of expression any individual turn of phrase” pp 26 27 Then he lists acceptable and unacceptable vocabulary decadent for the capitalist bourgeoisie; petit bourgeois for humanitarian scruples; and many Scare uotes were used in writing to identify unacceptable political views Today instead of an original turn of phrase a literary or traditional expression can also be unacceptable or at least a waste of time as deconstructionists discern the “real” meaning of what seems to be a straightforward declarative sentence only they have the key to the real meanings Now this techniue can also be found for instance in the detection of “covert racism” in everyday interactions Scare uotes added “Micro aggressions” may be undetectable to the racist perpetrator or the oblivious receiver Today we have universities with speech codes so someone can tell you what you meanKoestler wrote that “every single educated Communist has his own private and secret philosophy whose purpose is not to explain the facts but to explain them away” or in Orwell’s word doublethink A literary example was the idea discussed in a party meeting that “to regard poetry as a special talent some men possess and other don’t is bourgeois metaphysics Poetry like every other skill is acuired by learning and practice” p 30 Thus sources of inspiration literary or religious other than Party spawned were not acknowledged As a literary man Koestler rationalized this nonsense For a while Till his friends were killed one by one Rationalization was harder about the intentional starvation of millions of people under Stalin — but not impossible People did it for decadesThe resentment against bosses whoever they are has shifted slightly “ it would merely change from partial enslavement by landlords tax collectors and money lenders to total enslavement by the State which is landlord tax collector and money lender all in one” p 117 Today in the West corporations are considered the enslavers but the State is posed as the antidote to corporate rule Generally speaking however the State is armed Corporations usually are notRegarding the Nazi threat “It is doubly painful to write about these seven years at a time when the mood of Western Europe is bent on repeating the same suicidal errors that price of survival is the sacrifice of a distressingly large part of the national income over a distressingly long period; and that appeasement however seductive and plausible its arguments sound is not a substitute for military strength but an invitation to war” p 189More than half a century after Koestler’s book was published the Nazi threat is replaced by a renewed Russian threat and a new Islamic immigration threat in the form of jihadism overt aggression and sharia pressure to change Western culture gradually Relying on the United States for security since World War II Europe poured its money into unsustainable welfare programs Now we are doing the same but we don’t have anything like the United States to back up the United States whose leader is an appeaser The enemy and there’s always an enemy is redefined to suit the political winds “It is so much easier to stand up in manly way to ‘French militarism in 1936 and to ‘American Imperialism’ in 1953 than to the Nazi and Soviet Empires” p 191 Now many Americans love to say the enemy is us and ignore the barbarians at the gate The Pogo the swamp dwelling possum should be an icon for many Americans “We have met the enemy and he is us”In the old days “everybody who was not on our side was a Fascist The Socialists were ‘Social Fascists’ the Catholics were ‘Clerical Fascists’ the Trotskyists were ‘Trotsky Fascists’ and so on” p 244 The word fascism or fascist is thrown about in media today but it’s not uite clear what it means other than Mussolini Franco and Hitler non Communist tyrants? Who remembers them anyway? So the all purpose attack word now is racism or racistIn the ‘30s Koestler began writing a book about Spartacus and the slave revolt in Rome “The causes which led to these upheavals had an eually familiar ring the breakdown of traditional values a rapid transformation of the economic system mass unemployment caused by the importation of slave labour and of cheap corn from the colonies the ruin of the farmers and the growth of large latifundia large farms worked by slave labor a corrupt administration and a decadent ruling class a falling birth rate and a spectacular rise in divorces and abortions” p 263Substitute illegal migrant labor for slave labor cheap imports from overseas factories whether owned by Americans or not — the rest needs no substitutesOne of the most important lessons in Koestler’s book is the description of the “People’s Front” policy or the Popular Front In 1935 the European Communist parties were relatively small and not part of mainstream parties These Front organizations represented the war “front” and also the Communist Party façade The boards might be seeded with non Communists as in the Committee for Spanish Relief for instance p 324 The names of these groups then and now sound benign using words like Freedom Relief Labor People the definition of “people” always excluding human beings like the Kulaks who could be killed in good conscience or aristocrats as in the French Revolution and so on Pierre Laval of the Vichy government once asked Stalin what to do if the Communists continued to make trouble for the Nazis Stalin said “Hang them” p 325 In the United States anyone who suspected anti war organizations or student groups during the Vietnam war of being infiltrated or controlled by the US Communist Party was considered paranoid but in fact Joseph McCarthy was correct however crude he may have been This was and is the Communist techniue Citizens of goodwill may or may not have solid moral principles and will defend them against perceived encroachers but if the façade the name the associations are incorrect they will ascribe evil to the wrong side In Europe Communists and Fascists were both evil yet people wanted to choose one side When the Russian Communists ie the International CP was with Hitler so were the party members When they were at odds some members got confused but many went along with whatever Stalin said “The men of goodwill of that era fought clearsightedly and devotedly against one type of totalitarian threat to civilization and were blind or indifferent to the other” p 365Perhaps the most important lesson to come out of this history is the attempt to crush objective truth which is evident in today’s universities and churches “With our training in dialectical acrobatics it was not even difficult to prove that all truth was historically class conditioned that so called objective truth was a bourgeois myth and that ‘to write the truth’ meant to select and emphasise those items and aspects of a given situation which served the proletarian revolution and were therefore ‘historically correct’” p 387 Today practitioners of relative truth are cruder though when they preach relativity for me but not for thee and if they are unconvincing they’ll hire lawyers Everyone has his own truth except people they disagree with Who are you to judge since you’re not them?Deconstruction is political flim flam not intellectual subtlety One of the grossest perversions of its own original aims has developed in the feminist movement Now feminists always leftists have abandoned human principles of protecting women and children and gays against abuses such as are seen in the Islamic world even when they are imported to the West And it should go without saying that insistence on unlimited abortion protects neither the defenseless nor women ignoring the obvious fact that half of the aborted are femaleThe Soviet Union “represented ‘our last and only hope on a planet in rapid decay’” p 389 No one could say this with a straight face any but they can say it about say the Green movement Radical solutions to problems and non problems are the daily scare uotes in all conversation — and discussions on climate and other topics are closed until further notice or until dissidents shut up Hardly a scientific point of view In his novel Darkness at Noon Koestler writes “It is necessary to hammer every sentence into the head of the masses by repetition and simplification What is presented as right must shine like gold; what is presented as wrong must be black as pitch” p 396 People who uestion the cause of or existence of global warming are compared to Holocaust deniers or even to NazisWe expect that people in power would have better sources of information than the average person has secret information greater understanding But after World War II when the Soviets ruled one third of the world it was hard for people to believe that it was the most inhuman regime in human history This is still true even after the disclosures about Stalin Mao Pol Pot and so on “The difficulty is almost the same for the illiterate Italian peasant as for a highly literate French novelist like Sartre or for a highly realistic politician like the late President Roosevelt — who sincerely believed that the only threat to post war peace would come from Britain’s imperialistic designs in spite of all the available evidence about Communist theory and Soviet practice That experienced democratic politicians all over the world could believe this not to mention scientists scholars and intellectuals of every variety is an indication of the deep myth producing forces that were and still are at work” p 390 Nowadays the same myth psychology keeps leaders today from admitting that the Muslim Brotherhood meant what it said a century or so ago when it declared war against the world An experienced politician like Obama is either naïve or at some level is a Popular Front in himselfAt last Koestler knew himself “Yet hope that in spite of all this the Socialist Sixth of the Earth would in the end justify their expectations unwillingness to part with a cherished illusion and intellectual pride which would not admit that they had been fooled made them remain silent about the horrors of which they knew and by their silence endorse them The same is true of thousands of Communist or vaguely sympathizing writers painters actors journalists academic teachers including myself” p 412Despite the fall of the Berlin wall Communism is not dead It has shape shifted


  2. says:

    What a life could really be the three word review of this amazing autobiography installment by Koestler This is second part in the three part autobiography and probably the meatiest I say probably as I still haven't read the third but considering that this covers historically the most interesting time in the life of modern Europe I doubt his life could have been eventful in the latter years I've been an unabashed fan of Koestler since I first read The Sleepwalkers It got better with Darkness at Noon Koestler is an amazing writer not because of style but content That pretty much holds good for his autobiography as well Koestler's life is a like a miniature version of Europe in the pre and post communist wave And he seems to have been everywhere at the right time in the context of history although not in terms of personal safety for sure Palestine Russia France Spain England Koestler would obviously have it no other way After being saved from a possible execution in Spain and being interned in France as enemy alien Koestler still didn't want to take a safe exit out of EuropeAnd I also knew that my roots were in Europe that I belonged to Europe and that if Europe went down survival became pointless and I would rather go down with her than take refuge in a country which no longer meant anything but a refuge This resolution was actually put to the test when France fell and when instead of heading for Palestine or still neutral America I made my escape to England—which led to another stretch of solitary confinement in a London prison during the blitz Yet even that prison cell in Pentonville meant Europe my homeIt's a truly remarkable life And yet what binds the book together is not the action but the intellectual journey that begun in Arrow In The Blue the chronicles of his growing disillusionment with the Communist party and politics to his eventual break with the party As is so typical of the book the restless narrator tells the story of his life and the life of restless Europe and of his ideological journey through the politicallyintellectually divided Europe There is so much to take in in Koestler that it's a shame that he is so hard to find in bookshops online or offline NB It's interesting that I started this book on the even of the last new year and finished it on the eve of this


  3. says:

    I would devide my life to before and after reading Koestler He changed me to a different person He was a man of a generation who witnessed final disaster of civil war in Spain and descending and demolishing of hope by communism in Soviet while confronting the invasion of Fashism in Europe He explained his generation’s pain and frustration as a most brave looser not sophisticated but very simple The best description of the time is when he says; The sun of the age of reason was setting down Arrow in the Blue together with The Invisible Writing are kind of autobiography of first 35 years of Koestler's life تصور می کنم بخش هایی از این دو کتاب در یک کتاب به نام سرگذشت من با ترجمه ی ناصرقلی نوذری در اوایل دهه ی سی شمسی چاپ و منتشر شده باشد


  4. says:

    Recently while sorting through my bookshelves I came across a battered copy of Arthur Koestler’s most famous novel ‘ Darkness at Noon’ which tells the story of a Bolshevik Rubashov who undergoes imprisonment torture and execution as part of Stalin’s most notorious purge in the late 1930’s I picked it up and started reading but hours later found I could not put it down which on reminiscing was the feeling that I had when I first read it over thirty years agoThis time however the book did not feel like a historical document or a prophecy about the future of Socialism it felt instead like a news bulletin Written nearly eighty years ago after Koestler’s break with the Communist party of which he had been a member from 1931 to 1938 and capturing his disillusionment with the party the broken promise of socialism and his own experiences in Spanish and French prisons where he faced the very real possibility of death; it outlined the arguments that had led people like Rubashov to break all laws of humanity and in effect live a lie‘There are only two conceptions of human ethics and they are at opposite poles One of them is Christian and humane declares the individual to be sacrosanct and asserts that the rules of arithmetic are not to be applied to human units The other starts from the basic principal that a collective aim justifies all means and not only allows but demands that the individual should in every way be subordinated and scarified to the community which may dispose of it as an experimental rabbit or a sacrificial lamb’ – Darkness at NoonHow was such a twisted system possible? What Koestler outlines in his novel and in the second volume of his autobiography ‘The Invisible Writing’ which is primarily a retelling of his communist party years between 1931 to 1938 and then his experiences in the early days of World War Two and his eventual escape to safety in England is how the truth was manipulated and twisted which has frightening similarity with our own times and ‘fake news’ and the use and abuse of social media We should be in an era where propaganda and misinformation is all but eradicated instead is prevalent than everThe twisting of facts to fit a desired outcome is nothing new as Koestler reminds his readers with a timely uote from Machiavelli in his novel ‘Occasionally words must serve to veil the facts But this must happen in such a way that no one becomes aware of it; or if it should be noticed excuses must be at hand to be produced immediately’ How often do we see this techniue used in the modern day? But the precedents are numerousSo Koestler may be a dead white Hungarian Jewish intellectual who has gone out of fashion after being widely read from the forties to the early eighties but on picking up his works again and particularly tracing his journey through the major political upheavals of the twentieth century it is clear he still has much to offer both as a guide and a prophet


  5. says:

    Remarkably honest well written and incredibly frustrating While it is impossible to fully understand the dilemma of liberal thought in the second uarter of the 20th century in Europe you would have to be similarly neurotic to understand Koestler's attraction to Communism with the knowledge he possessed during much of the period of his infatuation He manfully explains the pathology of the intellectual progressives of his era influenced by the Great War Depression the rise of totalitarian governments in Europe anti Semitism causing an attraction to the flawed promise of Communism However trying to carry this explanation to the dysfunction of the contemporary progressive does not make a smooth transition Perhaps it is the lack of intellectuals no dialectic theory and not enough to be angry about The difference between rebels and revolutionaries?


  6. says:

    20th Century history at its best And he advocated a United States of Europe as early as 1940 After WW2 it should have happened and up to a point it did with the European Union but today the British are intent on destroying it Koestler would have seen this coming


  7. says:

    The last chapter of Koestler's autobiography covers the years 1932 1940 and encompasses his break with Communism and his flight from Europe and residence in England


  8. says:

    I can't 'recommend' this as such its misogyny cruelty and self regard are incessant but grimly compelling on the Comintern intelligentsia of the thirties


  9. says:

    This book details Koestler's experiences as a member of the Communist party in Europe before the Second World War including his experiences of the Party itself the Communist struggle against the rise of Nazism Koestler's travels in the early Soviet Union and his eventual westward before from the crushing inexorable advance of the Third Reich which would certainly have murdered him in its death camps It is a lucid and intensely personal document of life between the wars and a ruthless dissection of the rise of totalitarianismMost of all this book is the story of Koestler's involvement with the pre war Communist movement It's the story of how Communism became a doctrine then a cult that trammelled and suppressed free thought He describes how he himself this most original and lucid of thinkers became almost religiously converted to Communism He details how the Communist party developed a culture of stifling its own dissent He explains how he began to censor his own criticisms of Communism developing complicated mental filters that eventually allowed him to justify even the most obvious and horrific failings of the Soviet systemCommunism itself is barely involved The merits and failings of the political system are irrelevant to the story This is the story of how an idea was corrupted by its own believers first exalted then made inviolable whereupon it stagnated and was perverted into a monstrous evil caricature of its original selfI whole heartedly recommend this book to students of early twentieth century history; to people who've read Koestler's other books and appreciate his lucidness and insight; to students of the human condition; and to those interested in Communism or in cult psychologyMost of all I recommend it to anyone who's got an idea they think can change the world


  10. says:

    koestler was famous euro man of letters widely and wildly misinterpreted because he was so out of the box embraced by the right for his expose of the central european show trials in what is considered his masterpiece the novel darkness at noon actually mediocre compared to the great memoirs that appeared after survivors of the trial were released after stalin died szasz loebl londonuality aside it made an enormous splash at the time comparable to solzhenitsyn 20 years later exposing to the west the sheer diabolism of the soviet maneuvers to brand the east european communist heroes of wwII as cia spies in order to attain russian control he was so disgusted by his embrace by the right that he turned away from politics to science writing and explorations of history and consciousness was especially good at restoring the reputations of hungarian geniuses slandered by historythe thirteenth tribe is his demonstration that east european jews did not migrate from spain after the expulsion by the inuisition but rather from the east through the caucasus in the 8th and 9th centuries after the emperor of the khazars decided to institute a state religion by inviting christian muslim and jewish theologians to make competitive presentations the jews wonthere's a killer novel by the slav milorad pavic dictionary of the khazars that goes into imaginative detail about said competitionthe very great koestler book shunned by left and right is the second volume of his autobiography called the invisible writing and which tells the story of his transformation from one on the communist international's chief propagandists to with orwell the chief theoretician of ethical opposition to stalinism


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