Fainter all the time, like ghosts

Apropos of nothing, as London and the 2012 Olympics hurtle towards each other like two unstoppable meteorites of clunking great chaotic rock, I feel I should share these two excerpts from George Orwell’s little-known novel, Coming Up for Air:

Because in this life we lead – I don’t mean human life in general, I mean life in this particular age and this particular country – we don’t do the things we want to do. It isn’t because we’re always working.

It’s because there’s some devil in us that drives us to and fro on everlasting idiocies. There’s time for everything except the things worth doing.

And:

It struck me that perhaps a lot of the people you see walking about are dead. We say that a man’s dead when his heart stops and not before. It seems a bit arbitrary.

Perhaps a man really dies when his brain stops, when he loses the power to take in a new idea. Old Porteous is like that. Wonderfully learned, wonderfully good taste – but he’s not capable of change. Just says the same things and thinks the same thoughts over and over again. There are a lot of people like that. Dead minds, stopped inside. Just keep moving backwards and forwards on the same little track, getting fainter all the time, like ghosts.

Food for thought. Enjoy the games.

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