Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Monday, August 04, 2008

In memory of a 20th century hero

One of my 20th century heroes, Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918 - 2008), passed away yesterday. He is not a scientist. He did not have anything to do with freaque waves, but as a distant admirer of this giant thinker, I would particularly like to remember his words about the pursuit of truth that seems especially applicable to science:
. . . truth eludes us if we do not concentrate with total attention on its pursuit. And even while it eludes us, the illusion still lingers of knowing it and leads to many misunderstandings.
His commencement speech given to Harvard graduates on June 8, 1978, A World split Apart, seems to be more refreshing to read today than ever before as:

As humanism in its development became more and more materialistic, it made itself increasingly accessible to speculation and manipulation at first by socialism and then by communism. So that Karl Marx was able to say in 1844 that "communism is naturalized humanism."

This statement turned out not to be entirely senseless. One does see the same stones in the foundations of a despiritualized humanism and of any type of socialism: endless materialism; freedom from religion and religious responsibility, which under communist regimes reach the stage of anti-religious dictatorship; concentration on social structures with a seemingly scientific approach. (This is typical of the Enlightenment in the Eighteenth Century and of Marxism). Not by coincidence all of communism's meaningless pledges and oaths are about Man, with a capital M, and his earthly happiness. At first glance it seems an ugly parallel: common traits in the thinking and way of life of today's West and today's East? But such is the logic of materialistic development.

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. We watch this process in the past centuries and especially in the past decades, on a world scale as the situation becomes increasingly dramatic. Liberalism was inevitably displaced by radicalism, radicalism had to surrender to socialism and socialism could never resist communism. 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. In our Eastern countries, communism has suffered a complete ideological defeat; it is zero and less than zero. But Western intellectuals still look at it with interest and with empathy, . . .
What a profound diagnose: "Liberalism was inevitably displaced by radicalism, radicalism had to surrender to socialism and socialism could never resist communism." Solzhenitsyn did not foresee the fall of communism in Russia and Eastern Europe at the time. But nearly two decades since the fall, our society are somehow rampaged by liberalism, radicalism, socialism and all that under the pretense of anti-war and saving the planet. Our struggle has been harsh and ruthless, may be we can take comfort from his final words 30 years ago:

If the world has not come to its end, it has approached a major turn in history, equal in importance to the turn from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It will exact from us a spiritual upsurge, we shall have to rise to a new height of vision, to a new level of life where our physical nature will not be cursed as in the Middle Ages, but, even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled upon as in the Modern era.

This ascension will be similar to climbing onto the next anthropologic stage. No one on earth has any other way left but -- upward.

We are not there yet, but we will be soon!


No comments: