A Point in Time: The Search for Redemption in This Life and the Next
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New York Times bestselling author David Horowitz is famous for his conversion from 1960s radicalism. In A Point in Time, his lyrical yet startling new book, he offers meditations on an even deeper conversion, one which touches on the very essence of every human life.
Part memoir and part philosophical reflection, A Point in Time focuses on man’s inevitable search for meaning—and how for those without religious belief, that search often leads to a faith in historical progress, one that is bound to disappoint. Horowitz agrees with Marcus Aurelius, whose stoic philosophy provides a focal point for the book, “He who has seen present things has seen all, both everything that has taken place from all eternity and everything that will be for time without end.…”
Horowitz remembers his father, a political radical who put his faith in just such a redemptive future. He examines this hope through the other great figure who organizes these reflections, the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, whose writings foreshadowed the great tragedies of the social revolutions to come. Horowitz draws on eternal themes: the need we have to make sense out of the lives we have been given, our desire to repair the injustices we encounter, and the consequences of our mortality.
Interweaving episodes of his own life with the writings of the philosopher and the novelist, Horowitz explores how we provide meaning to an apparently senseless existence and the dire consequences that follow from seeking to redeem it by attempting to make a perfect world out of the imperfect one in which we find ourselves.
A POINT IN TIME
“David Horowitz is so powerful a polemicist that it is often forgotten how beautifully he writes. For the same reason, the deeply considered philosophical perspective and the wide-ranging erudition underlying his political passions are just as often overlooked. But it is precisely these qualities that come to the fore and shine through so brilliantly in the linked meditations that make up A Point in Time. With Marcus Aurelius, Ecclesiastes, and Dostoevsky as its guides, this little book boldly ventures into an exploration of first things and last that is as moving as it is profound.”
—NORMAN PODHORETZ, author of Why Are Jews Liberals?
“A beautiful book, both sad and uplifting. Moving in turns from the intimate to the universal, Horowitz not only explores but also embodies the dignity of the tragic worldview. A Point in Time is a poignant and elegiac reflection on life from a man who bears the burden of unknowing with courage and grace.”
—ANDREW KLAVAN, author of True Crime and Empire of Lies
“Emulating Marcus Aurelius, David Horowitz has produced a meditation on facing death that is poignant and wise. Whether invoking the Stoics or reflecting on his own father, he helps us think through that most basic of all questions: what is it that can give meaning to our existence?”
—WALTER ISAACSON, author of Einstein
“I have admired David Horowitz for decades. He has taught me many important lessons. But never have I been so moved by his writing as I am by this brief and profound book.”
—DENNIS PRAGER, author of Why the Jews?
they disappear into labyrinthine burrows and make good their escapes. A pipe corral rises above the warrens, which is home to a sablecoated stallion with a diamond emblazoned on his regal forehead. His name is Clifton and every day as we approach he subjects us to the same deliberate inspection. Nearby, his companion, an aged pony named Robin, stands so still he seems frozen in time. His matted hair hangs like a Spanish Moss from his weathered frame and makes him look so ancient I am always
law to achieve “people’s justice.” Thus revolutionaries seeking to change the world do not see the targets of their violence as human beings like themselves but as “enemies of the people” who have earned their fate. When Dostoevsky came to write a novel about political radicals, he called it The Devils and modeled its central figure on a Russian terrorist named Sergei Nechaev. A colleague of Bakunin’s, Nechaev founded an organization called “People’s Justice,” for which he wrote a “Catechism for
gone to war from time immemorial. Even as they seek desperately for a common object to love, so they yearn for a common enemy to hate, which is why the quest for an earthly redemption has led to the greatest crimes. CHAPTER THREE DECEMBER 2010 I I have never been a collector of objects from the past, but through all the moves I have made and the losses I have suffered, I have managed to keep in my possession a faded photograph that was taken when I was still a toddler, barely three years
five is beaten without mercy by her mother and father, who are educated people: “They beat her, flogged her, kicked her, not knowing why themselves, until her whole body was nothing but bruises. Finally they attained the height of finesse: in the freezing cold, they locked her all night in the outhouse, because she wouldn’t ask to get up and go in the middle of the night (as if a five-year-old child sleeping its sound angelic sleep could have learned to ask by that age). For that they smeared her
who were by nature insular and self-centered, as Dostoevsky viewed them—Jews. “The Yid and his bank are now reigning over everything,” he confided to his notebooks, “over Europe, education, civilization, socialism.” The Jew “will use [his bank] to uproot Christianity and destroy civilization.” Like every would-be redeemer, Dostoevsky viewed the apocalypse as imminent: “The Jews’ . . . reign is drawing nigh! Coming soon is the complete triumph of ideas before which feelings of love for humanity,