Often when I read works by authors such as Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris, I have a tendency to over-glorify what they say. Or perhaps only I regularly glorify what they say, but I give them full credit for the realizations they’ve come to. It’s true they deserve credit for the way their utterings have been constructed, and for coming to these conclusions to begin with. However, the process of coming to a particular idea must have an origin. Someone must have read multiple books by authors with a horde of ideas, to then look at this content and say, “Aha! This is what I’ve concluded.” The manner by which someone thinks must have been shaped. The criteria by which they judge had a birthplace as well. And that’s why I’m intrigued not only to read books by authors I admire, but also to read the authors they’ve admired and been shaped from. Had I read books by George Orwell or Thomas Paine beforehand, maybe I would have come to similar conclusions that Hitchens had. Or perhaps I would come to a different conclusion, and both our audiences could draw the inference themselves. Who knows if the past held a marvelous idea, and through many generations of books down the line became a cheap, watered down version of it that overlooks the true lesson meant to be learned. An idea is built off the shoulder of it’s predecessor. I’m sure countless writers hold ideas inspired by George Orwell. However, I won’t be able to know the value of a numerator if I am ignorant of it’s denominator.