Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Solzhenitsyn: the Great Split and the Real Disease

From Alexander Solzhenitsyn's 1978 Harvard address:

"The split in today's world is perceptible even to a hasty glance. Any of our contemporaries readily identifies two world powers, each of them already capable of entirely destroying the other. However, understanding of the split often is limited to this political conception... The truth is that the split is a much profounder and more alienating one, that the rifts a are more than one can see at first glance. This deep manifold split bears the danger of manifold disaster for all of us, in accordance with the ancient truth that a Kingdom -- in this case, our Earth -- divided against itself cannot stand."

Solzhenitsyn goes on to show that the fundamental divide is between humanistic materialism found in both East and West and virtuous self government in submission to God. In this sense, communism, socialism, and humanism are all near relatives and tend to feed off one another. Solzhenitsyn quotes Marx who said: 'communism is naturalized humanism.'

He concludes: "The interrelationship is such, too, that the current of materialism which is most to the left always ends up by being stronger, more attractive and victorious, because it is more consistent. Humanism without its Christian heritage cannot resist such competition... I am referring to the calamity of a despiritualized and irreligious humanistic consciousness. To such consciousness, man is the touchstone in judging and evaluating everything on earth. Imperfect man, who is never free of pride, self-interest, envy, vanity, and dozens of other defects... 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. The split in the world is less terrible than the similarity of the disease plaguing its main sections."

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