Feeling melancholy on hearing that writer and critic Christopher Hitchens died yesterday. He was a formidable intellectual who I didn’t always agree with, but I will miss seeing him stumble onto talk shows in a rumpled jacket with a cigarette, a glass of whisky, and an attitude. In recent years, he has been known mostly for his staunch atheism-- a complicated thing to write about, especially in America-- but no matter what your religious views are, there’s something everyone can take away from this Hitchens quote I saw today:
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.
Whatever your religious views, let us all be as unflinching as Hitchens is about life. Use it. Do not go gently. Find that thing you’re passionate about, whether it’s soccer or stamp collecting, and be unrelenting in your pursuit of it.
And finally, if that thing you’re passionate about is soccer:
We have all the time in the world, until we don’t.
6 months ago