That’s just one reason David Horowitz is one of my favorite writers/thinkers. His elegant-but-deadly destructions of leftist thought have now melded with thoughtfulness in later life and make him one of the most compelling commentators of our time. His new book is a true triumph.
“A Point in Time: The Search for Redemption in This Life and the Next” is simply wonderful. It represents the musings of a man looking at his own mortality, wondering just what is the meaning of our existence.
Horowitz opens by describing the progressive thinking of his parents and his father’s atheism. His father seems to have believed in a hoped-for utopia of justice, but Horowitz remembers the irony of pulling a book from the family shelf and reading the realism of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. One can see that Horowitz was influenced by this, and presumably, after his formative years spent pursuing leftist policies and dreams, he came back to that realistic look at the sad old planet we inhabit.
It seems probable that Horowitz will not leave this life as his father did, still hopeful for a world that does not exist.
Some would say that this very slim volume by Horowitz is too dark, too morose. But I say that it is exhilarating. Listen to this: “Unlike my father, I do not look down my nose at the ancients but am impressed by their understanding of our case. How they were able to put a finger on the source of our distress: that alone among creatures we know our fate, and learn sooner or later that the world has no interest in it.”
Well. Although Horowitz’s new book will not meet with approval by all, particularly some conservative Christians, I ask that you give it a try.
For Horowitz’s ideological enemies today, I challenge you to give a nod to his courage in making himself vulnerable as he contemplates our lives as individuals. This is a man of great thought and feeling, and for one who has seen so much ideological savagery, he realizes what I believe to be basically a biblical truth: One day our arguments will not matter.
We learn halfway through the book that Horowitz has been forced to reflect on the meaning of life, due to his health concerns: diabetes and prostate cancer. But I don’t want to misrepresent the book. Horowitz does not share the hope many find in faith: “I wish I could place my trust in the hands of a Creator. I wish I could look on my life and the lives of my children and all I have loved and see them as preludes to a better world. But, try as I might, I cannot. And so I am left to ponder the pointlessness of our strivings on this earth and to ask impossible questions and receive no answers.”
Horowitz, you see, shares more in common with a man who has lost a daughter – because he has – than some of history’s figures he marvels at, men of faith like Mozart and Dostoevsky. He wants to believe in something greater than himself, but he struggles with the questions asked of all men since the species first appeared on the earth.
At the end of this wonderful book, Horowitz says: “My steps have slowed and my passions are dimmed.”
I hope not, because the world could use a thinker like David Horowitz. Interestingly, the last pages of “A Point in Time,” he points to a mystery that I think is a key to understanding everything, and I think the reader will pick up on what I mean. I hope Horowitz is able to pull that veil back enough to see that there is a world to come.
I dare say “A Point in Time” is a modern version of the book of Ecclesiastes, with observations that are particularly relevant for us in our time. You will not be disappointed if you dare to think deeply by reading this profound little book; I honestly believe “A Point in Time” will be good for you.
Let me end this review by saying something that a few of my friends might consider blasphemous: Horowitz has figured out a good bit of life, late in life – and he’s done it as well as Solomon.