Monday, October 12, 2020

A lifelong pilgrim …

 Remembering Malcolm Muggeridge: Marked by Mobility and a Search for Morality | National Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Among Muggeridge’s contemporaries it was the idealistic, impecunious writer Hugh Kingsmill (1889–1949) who meant most to him. The Poisoned Crown (1944), in which Kingsmill criticized the corruption and cruelty of power-worshipers, was central to his vision of things, and he wrote an introduction to Michael Holroyd’s 1964 biography of Kingsmill. Kingsmill argued a mystical Shakespearean-Blakean view that there were perennial human conflicts between lovingkindness and power and between imagination and will, and that the modern era particularly had seen the satanic hunger for Blake’s “poisoned crown,” the lust for amoral power, in humankind’s technological rape of nature and in totalitarian power maniacs such as Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao Tse-tung, and that against this post-moral Nietzschean will-to-power—Saint Augustine’s libido dominandi—only lovingkindness and imagination could ultimately triumph, though not necessarily visibly or in this life. Kingsmill was a fellow traveler with Christians, as was Muggeridge for the first part of his life; and Muggeridge took Simone Weil to be making the same argument in her reflections on gravity and grace.

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