Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Richard Hillary

'Where Do We Go From Here?' This is a short extract from an article written by Flight-Lieutenant Richard Hillary for the John O'London's Weekly in 1942.

It has been said that the artist, the scientist and the truly religious, are the strongest bulwarks that any country can have against Fascism and Hitler. My knowledge of scientists is limited, and of the truly religious still more so, but of them I can see that it must be true. It may perhaps seem presumptious that I should pretend to any knowledge of artists, but it is not of artists in the strict sense of the word that I wish to speak, so much as of those of us who would dearly love to be creative artists, but who are not; those of us who are novelists, art critics, columnists, and who write, not because we have something in us which must come out, something to give, but because we have the facility - it is the thing we do best, and it makes us a success, gives us power and a certain position; and if I may carry the word artist still further, I mean all those of us with a taste for music, writing and pictures, who can see a table and realize that it is not simply a plank on four legs, who can see that there are semi-tones, pastel shades in life, and that everything is not either black or white; those of us who might rather smugly call ourselves aware as opposed to factual. And it is we who, I suggest, are sitting rather uneasily in our position of a bulwark against Hitler.

Richard Hillary died less than 3 months after writing this.