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David Horowitz’s book A Point in Time is at root an exposé on the nature of Time, that double-edged sword which, by obliterating all in its path, highlights the precious from the superfluous in our lives.
In structure, the book consists of Horowitz’s reflections — from his childhood and father to his deceased daughter and own mortality — not unlike the approach of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, whom the author quotes at length and has apparently learned much from (and a better instructor can scarcely be found).
But this is not an abstract or theoretical book; Horowitz often begins with the mundane and concludes with the profound. So chapters starting with anecdotes concerning his pets progressively develop into philosophical reflections. Nor does Horowitz merely quote the great men; he participates in and synthesizes their thoughts, showing their applicability to modern times.
For instance, the stoic emperor asserts that things outside us “do not touch the soul, for they are external and immovable; our perturbations come only from our opinion of them, which is within” — words to be echoed well over a millennium later by Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “Nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Horowitz simplifies: “You cannot alter the world, so do not make yourself miserable trying.”
Considering that the author has spent a great deal of his career as an activist, his musings — all of which lead to the inevitable conclusion that our lives are but a tiny speck in the spectrum of time, soon to be forgotten — make his reflections especially poignant; for here we have a man whose profession wholly revolves around “making changes” coming to the realization that “[t]his is nature’s way, to come and go. Let it go.” He even confesses to wondering whether, “knowing what I do now [i.e., the temporalness of life,] I would have been able to go forward at all.”
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