Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Harvard Speech

I greatly admire him, though this speech hints at Russia’s coming barbarity:

1. Pursuit of truth

…truth eludes us if we do not concentrate our attention totally on it’s pursuit. But even while it eludes us, the illusion of knowing it still lingers and leads to many misunderstandings. Also, truth seldom is pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter.

2. West vs East

A fact which cannot be disputed is the weakening of human beings in the West while in the East they are becoming firmer and stronger — 60 years for our people and 30 years for the people of Eastern Europe. During that time we have been through a spiritual training far in advance of Western experience. Life’s complexity and mortal weight have produced stronger, deeper, and more interesting characters than those generally [produced] by standardized Western well-being.

3. Consumer culture

After the suffering of many years of violence and oppression, the human soul longs for things higher, warmer, and purer than those offered by today’s mass living habits, introduced by the revolting invasion of publicity, by TV stupor, and by intolerable music.

4. Fake societal stability

The center of your democracy and of your culture is left without electric power for a few hours only, and all of a sudden crowds of American citizens start looting and creating havoc. The smooth surface film must be very thin, then, the social system quite unstable and unhealthy.

5. Technology as savior

All the glorified technological achievements of Progress, including the conquest of outer space, do not redeem the 20th century’s moral poverty which no one could imagine even as late as in the 19th Century.

6. Spiritual emptiness

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 suffocate it. This is the real crisis. The split in the world is less terrible — The split in the world is less terrible than the similarity of the disease plaguing its main sections.

7. Purpose of life

If humanism were right in declaring that man is born only to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature. It cannot be unrestrained enjoyment of everyday life. It cannot be the search for the best ways to obtain material goods and then cheerfully get the most of them. It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one’s life journey may become an experience of moral growth, so that one may leave life a better human being than one started it.

http://www.rooshv.com/7-highlights-from-aleksandr-solzhenitsyns-harvard-speech

5 Comments

  1. Beauregard

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said:
    “The center of your democracy and of your culture
    is left without electric power for a few hours only,
    and all of a sudden crowds of American citizens start
    looting and creating havoc. The smooth surface film
    must be very thin, then, the social system quite
    unstable and unhealthy.”

    He must acknowledge that this happens in small number
    of situations. Often provoked by those who believe in
    Marxist or Statist ideologies. Many American communities
    have quietly endured weather calamities with perseverance
    to correct problem. Each winter brings large snow
    storms which cut power and the population makes due.
    Hurricanes cause immense damage and the citizens
    restore the community.

    It is important to grasp the whole picture. And it is
    important to understand the foundations of individual
    freedom and totalitarianism.

    And it is important to look at place of speech. Harvard
    does not represent America.

    Reply
  2. Beauregard

    An alternative to Solzhenitsyn’s comments:

    The three legged stool
    from Fundamental Concepts – The Aberration by Weird Dave
    http://minx.cc:1080/?post=354537

    “The first leg of the three legged stool that supports
    Western civilization came from the Jews, and it’s
    monotheism. The idea of one God as opposed to many
    different gods begets the concept of absolute right and
    wrong, which is necessary in order to have the concept
    of morality. Morality is what takes humans away from
    a world where might makes right.

    “The second leg came from the Greeks and Romans, and
    that’s the idea that the world has certain natural laws, that
    these laws are universal, and that they can be studied and
    understood and even manipulated. From this comes science,
    of course, but a better term for this would be reason.

    “Finally, from the Anglo-Saxons we got the concept of rule
    of law. Just as there are universal natural laws that govern
    nature, so too must man’s laws for governing man must be
    universal. Nobody is above the law, thus everyone is treated
    equally. Equality is the third leg.

    “Morality, Reason, Equality, … Western culture is the only
    place that all three have gained equal ascendancy…”

    Reply
    1. walt

      Beauregard ,

      Your comment lately have been very insightful,.

      and I particularly like those short punch lines like;

      About Solzhenitsyn,
      “And it is important to look at place of speech. Harvard
      does not represent America.”

      and

      “Alexander Motyl is an academic…”

      And this post of yours above on 3 pillars of western civilization.
      But the last pillar, the rule of law and it being applied equally. Is the rule of law putting the cart in front of horse. Morality and character comes first and then the rule of law. And stating that the everyone is equal under the law, even the king, was that really one of the 3 legs? Because if you never had the money to buy a lawyer, how equal can things be?

      It seems western civilization ebbs and flows and now we are in a state where people are so morally corrupt they elect immoral leaders and these leaders pass immoral laws.

      Also, I recently read a quote from I believe Aristotle, “Morality without courage is not morality” that is what good is it to say something is good when you don’t defend it.
      So we have NATO , the UN and the rule of law in western society and we still have wars.

      I think it is not ruSSia, nor the west itself that is going to save western civilization.

      The Ukrainians in Europe and the Kirds in middle east, Iraq, are the only ones defending against barbarism. Although, the Canadians have had boots on the ground in Iraq. This year might be more historical than last year.

      Reply
      1. Beauregard

        It was said above, ” Morality and character comes first
        and then the rule of law.”

        Those who lack morals or character can fear the law, yes?

        ——————- // ——————

        Maybe a guy who quibbled about the a fellow officer’s lack
        of morals or character can respond to the above and this
        guys comments:

        From the old Jarhead:

        http://tinyurl.com/unfashionable-honor

        “The military honor code proscribes “I will not lie, cheat
        or steal, nor tolerate those who do”. Former Army private,
        proven liar, proven cheat, and liberal writer Scott Thomas
        Beauchamp says the military honor code is outdated.
        Further, his latest op-ed for the Washington Post recommends
        that our American Service academies should be disbanded
        and not a single tax dollar allocated to these outdated institutions.
        Thomas argues that there are plenty of public universities fully
        capable of turning out graduates with far better attitudes and
        mindsets than are turned out at the West Point or the Air Force
        Academy.”

        “I guess, to fully understand Beauchamp’s comments,
        one has to understand who Scott Thomas Beauchamp is.
        Beauchamp was an Army private who was sent to Iraq
        back in 2005. While there, Beauchamp employed his
        modest writing skills to write about how contemptible
        he found his fellow grunts to be. Under the byline
        “Scott Thomas”, Beauchamp wrote about the American
        Army’s cruelty in dealing with the Iraqi’s….how America
        was the “bad guy” and wasn’t worthy of citizen support.”
        ——————– // ——————-

        I recall a picture of a Army Ranger Officer sitting casually
        with locals. Later he explained their grief with a certain
        American.

        Again, some walk to a higher standard and respect others.
        Others like Isis chop off heads only because others are
        not like them.

        It seems that there will always be wars or fighting because
        of low lifers.

        Others walk the earth respecting others and as discussed
        on this forum by the host are ‘trusting’.

        But I would say, trust is earned. And some are never to
        be trusted.

        I do not trust Putin.

        I do not trust Obama.

        So I ask, can I trust Walt? What say you?
        —————– // ——————-

        Reply
  3. Beauregard

    Walt said, “It seems western civilization ebbs and flows and
    now we are in a state where people are so morally corrupt
    they elect immoral leaders and these leaders pass immoral
    laws.”

    The freeloaders want more. They vote for those who promise
    more.

    “So we have NATO , the UN and the rule of law in western
    society and we still have wars.”

    We have wars because of people like Putin, Isis et. al.

    Can you explain system where we will not have wars?

    That is why guns and posse’s are important.

    Reply

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