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Archive for May, 2018

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

 – (© Solzhenitsyn)

 

“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag. Use your memory! Use your memory! It is those bitter seeds alone which might sprout and grow someday.
Look around you – there are people around you. Maybe you will remember one of them all your life and later eat your heart out because you didn’t make use of the opportunity to ask him questions. And the less you talk, the more you’ll hear.” ―
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

 

“Blow the dust off the clock. Your watches are behind the times. Throw open the heavy curtains which are so dear to you – you do not even suspect that the day has already dawned outside.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

 

“On the way from the Renaissance to our days we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility. We have placed too much hope in political and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life. In the East, it is destroyed by the dealings and machinations of the ruling party. In the West, commercial interests tend to suffocate it. This is the real crisis.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

tags: atheism, communism, consumerism, materialism

 

“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

 

“Freedom! To fill people’s mailboxes, eyes, ears and brains with commercial rubbish against their will, television programs that are impossible to watch with a sense of coherence. Freedom! To force information on people, taking no account of their right not to accept it or their right of peace of mind. Freedom! To spit in the eyes and souls of passersby with advertisements.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

 

“Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime and horror. It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counter-balanced by the young people’s right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyntags: decadence, evil, freedom

 

 

“The communist regime in the East could stand and grow due to the enthusiastic support from an enormous number of Western intellectuals who felt a kinship and refused to see communism’s crimes. When they no longer could do so, they tried to justify them.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

tags: communism, intellectuals, socialism, the-west

 

“My wish for you… is that your skeptic-eclectic brain be flooded with the light of truth.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle

 

“Violence does not necessarily take people by the throat and strangle them. Usually it demands no more than an ultimate allegiance from its subjects. They are required merely to become accomplices in its lies.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

tags: acquiescence, oppression, violence

 

 

“A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage . . . . Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elite, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

tags: cultural-decay

 

 

“Pride grows in the human heart like lard on a pig.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

 

“Sometimes I feel quite distinctly that what is inside me is not all of me. There is something else, sublime, quite indestructible, some tiny fragment of the Universal spirit. Don’t you feel that?” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Cancer Ward

 

 

“You only have power over people as long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power—he’s free again.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Two Hundred Years Together

tags: limits-of-power, nothing-left-to-lose, tyranny

 

 

 

“Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

tags: career, corporate, vocation

 

“The meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering but in the development of the soul.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Cancer Ward

 

“… What about the main thing in life, all its riddles? If you want, I’ll spell it out for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusionary -property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life -don’t be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn for happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn’t last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing. It is enough if you don’t freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger don’t claw at your insides. If your back isn’t broken, if your feet can walk, if both arms can bend, if both eyes can see, if both ears hear, then whom should you envy? And why? Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes and purify your heart -and prize above all else in the world those who love you and who wish you well. Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part from any of them in anger; after all, you simply do not know: it may be your last act before your arrest, and that will be how you are imprinted on their memory.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

tags: living-life

 

 

“It makes me happier, more secure, to think that I do not have to plan and manage everything for myself, that I am only a sword made sharp to smite the unclean forces, an enchanted sword to cleave and disperse them.
Grant, O Lord, that I may not break as I strike! Let me not fall from Thy hand!” ―
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyntags: calling, god, purpose

 

 

“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. “One word of truth outweighs the world.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

tags: courage, honesty, truth, truth-telling

 

 

“It is in the nature of the human being to seek a justification for his actions.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation V-VII

tags: actions, justification, wrong

 

 

“Human rights’ are a fine thing, but how can we make ourselves sure that our rights do not expand at the expense of the rights of others. A society with unlimited rights is incapable of standing to adversity. If we do not wish to be ruled by a coercive authority, then each of us must rein himself in…A stable society is achieved not by balancing opposing forces but by conscious self-limitation: by the principle that we are always duty-bound to defer to the sense of moral justice.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Rebuilding Russia: Reflections and Tentative Proposals

tags: freedom, human-rights, limitations, personal-autonomy, personal-responsibility

 

“We always pay dearly for chasing after what is cheap.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

tags: idolatry, materialism

 

 

 

“Satiety depends not at all on how much we eat, but on how we eat. It’s the same with happiness, the very same…happiness doesn’t depend on how many external blessings we have snatched from life. It depends only on our attitude toward them. There’s a saying about it in the Taoist ethic: ‘Whoever is capable of contentment will always be satisfied.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The First Circletags: contentment, happiness

 

“It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes… we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions – especially selfish ones.”  –  ? Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

 

 

“There is no point asserting and reasserting what the heart cannot believe.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

 

“At what point, then, should one resist? When one’s belt is taken away? When one is ordered to face into a corner? When one crosses the threshold of one’s home? An arrest consists of a series of incidental irrelevancies, of a multitude of things that do not matter, and there seems no point in arguing about one of them individually…and yet all these incidental irrelevancies taken together implacably constitute the arrest. ” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

 

“It is unthinkable in the twentieth century to fail to distinguish between what constitutes an abominable atrocity that must be prosecuted and what constitutes that “past” which “ought not to be stirred up.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

tags: justice, past

 

 

 

“Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

tags: anarchy, coercion, collectivism, control, equality, free-market, freedom, individual-freedom, individualism, laissez-faire, libertarian, liberty, natural-law, non-aggression-principle, peace, politics, slavery, socialism, statism, taxation, universal-ethics, voluntaryism

 

 

“We are all human, and our senses are quicker to prompt us than our reason. Every man gives off a scent, and that scent tells you how to act before your head does.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle

tags: humanity, reason, scent, sense, thought

 

“Power is a poison well known for thousands of years. If only no one were ever to acquire material power over others! But to the human being who has faith in some force that holds dominion over all of us, and who is therefore conscious of his own limitations, power is not necessarily fatal. For those, however, who are unaware of any higher sphere, it is a deadly poison. For them there is no antidote.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation V-VII

tags: authority, power

 

 

 

“If you live in a graveyard, you can’t weep for everyone.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, books III-IV

 

 

“Or why should one refrain from burning hatred, whatever its basis–race, class, or ideology? Such hatred is in fact corroding many hearts today. Atheist teachers in the West are bringing up a younger generation in a spirit of hatred of their own society. Amid all the vituperation we forget that the defects of capitalism represent the basic flaws of human nature, allowed unlimited freedom together with the various human rights; we forget that under Communism (and Communism is breathing down the neck of all moderate forms of socialism, which are unstable) the identical flaws run riot in any person with the least degree of authority; while everyone else under that system does indeed attain ‘equality’–the equality of destitute slaves. This eager fanning of the flames of hatred is becoming the mark of today’s free world. Indeed, the broader the personal freedoms are, the higher the level of prosperity or even of abundance–the more vehement, paradoxically, does this blind hatred become. The contemporary developed West thus demonstrates by its own example that human salvation can be found neither in the profusion of material goods nor in merely making money.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

tags: atheism, communism, socialism, western-intellectuals

 

 

“… skepticism can never provide firm ground under a man’s feet. And perhaps, after all, we need firm ground.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle

 

 

 

 

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