The Wisdom of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Barile

Well-known member
I confess that I have not yet finished the three volume set of The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn. I may never, actually. It is hard to read the experiences and visions of a man who has come to the edge, escaped assasination and lived to analyze in such clarity the resultant inhumanity of which humans are capable. There is a brief outline here, in which one can find some sobering parallels to experiences we have had in real life, germane to this forum. Make no mistake, this is not past history, something long ago and far away, only mentioned in the footnotes of a history class where a passing grade was the end all. This is eleven minutes. What parallels came to mind?

 

Karakorum

Well-known member
I confess that I have not yet finished the three volume set of The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn. I may never, actually. It is hard to read the experiences and visions of a man who has come to the edge, escaped assasination and lived to analyze in such clarity the resultant inhumanity of which humans are capable. There is a brief outline here, in which one can find some sobering parallels to experiences we have had in real life, germane to this forum. Make no mistake, this is not past history, something long ago and far away, only mentioned in the footnotes of a history class where a passing grade was the end all. This is eleven minutes. What parallels came to mind?

If you are interested in this topic and a shorter, more personal story then I suggest this:




Couldn't recommend that book enough, even for people who were never in a cult or in an authoritarian regime.

If anyone wants to read an epub version in english, send me a PM.
 
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DanLocke

Member
I am just beginning reading "A World Apart". From Bertrand Russel's forward to the book:
"I hope that Mr. Herling's book will be very widely read, and
that it will rouse in its readers not useless vindictiveness, but
a vast compassion for the petty criminals, almost as much as
for their victims, and a determination to understand and
eliminate the springs of cruelty in human nature that has
become distorted by bad social systems. And apart from
these general reflections, the reader will find the book
absorbingly interesting and of the most profound psychological
interest."

I'll enjoy this book. Sometime I will read "Gulag". I have been saying so for years.

Thank you both.
 

Chuck J.

Election Fraud Has Consequences
I read The Gulag Archipelago in July 1974. Over four days I couldn't put it down except to eat and sleep. It's one of the most depressing books ever written, in that it shows you the depths of idiocy humans are capable of.

It profoundly changed my life and how I see the world.

The passage about the Central Committee members applauding the giant painting of Stalin for 45 minutes because they were afraid to be the first one to stop has always stayed with me.

Similarities? lol
 

Barile

Well-known member
The passage about the Central Committee members applauding the giant painting of Stalin for 45 minutes because they were afraid to be the first one to stop has always stayed with me.

Similarities? lol
Ya.... i woulda been executed on the spot, but I woulda given em a run for their money.
There was one particular staff meeting at CC, where we bought hubbard a phuqing motorized go-cart for his birthday... all while we had to forego pay to afford such a ridiculous gesture. And if that wasn't bad enough..... applaud him in "thanks". I did not applaud, I was too pissed. Yvonne looked at me and smiled while she was clapping. I just looked at her with my "are you kidding me" smile. Ya know... she got it, but never said a word about it. She didn't miss much and I suspect if she were alive today, she'd be right here with us.
 

Barile

Well-known member
If you are interested in this topic and a shorter, more personal story then I suggest this:




Couldn't recommend that book enough, even for people who were never in a cult or in an authoritarian regime.

If anyone wants to read an epub version in english, send me a PM.
Ordered it today... we'll see if I can get through that one. Thanks.
 

The_Fixer

Well-known member
I read The Gulag Archipelago in July 1974. Over four days I couldn't put it down except to eat and sleep. It's one of the most depressing books ever written, in that it shows you the depths of idiocy humans are capable of.

It profoundly changed my life and how I see the world.

The passage about the Central Committee members applauding the giant painting of Stalin for 45 minutes because they were afraid to be the first one to stop has always stayed with me.

Similarities? lol
And yet, the woke and the radical feminist movement want to put us all into this world yet again and tell us it will be different.

Yeah, right....
 

The_Fixer

Well-known member
I read The Gulag Archipelago in July 1974. Over four days I couldn't put it down except to eat and sleep. It's one of the most depressing books ever written, in that it shows you the depths of idiocy humans are capable of.

It profoundly changed my life and how I see the world.

The passage about the Central Committee members applauding the giant painting of Stalin for 45 minutes because they were afraid to be the first one to stop has always stayed with me.

Similarities? lol
It was the leader of that meeting who stopped first.

He was arrested the next day and sent to the Gulag.

Hard read, have to get back to reading it and I have the shorter version.

Despite it all, Solzhenitsyn never became a fan of the West.
 

Enthetan

Veteran of the Psychic Wars
Despite it all, Solzhenitsyn never became a fan of the West.
He remained always a Russian patriot. (Note: "Russian patriot", but never a fan of Communism).

I read his "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" in high school as an assignment, a short fictionalized account of life in the camps, then went on to read the Gulag Archipelago in college.


He upset people in power in the West as well as in the USSR. He outraged liberals in the West when he praised Francisco Franco of Spain, as being a much better alternative for Spain than if the Communists there had come to power.

Westerners who could speak the truth without getting killed were, as he saw it, frittering that freedom away. Increasingly he flung his own truth back in their faces. Fascinated by the simple peasantry of Spain, with its “extremes of godliness and ungodliness” that reminded him of Russia, he made a speaking tour there in the days after strongman Francisco Franco’s death: “I had to explain to the people of Spain in the most concise possible terms,” he recalled, “what it meant to have been subjugated by an ideology as we in the Soviet Union had been, and give the Spanish to understand what a terrible fate they escaped in 1939.” This was not a common view among American diplomats, even at the time. For Winston Lord, a protégé of secretary of state Henry Kissinger, Solzhenitsyn was “just about a fascist.”
 
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Karakorum

Well-known member
He remained always a Russian patriot. (Note: "Russian patriot", but never a fan of Communism).
Its very hard to be any sort of patriot and be a communist.

Its also hard to be a patriot and support an oppressive regime in your own country (Khem, Putin, Khem) but a lot of people are too stupid to see that. Almost every half-wit was able to see that communism doesn't work. Putin is more nuanced, so one needs a bit more brains to see through his act.

He outraged liberals in the West when he praised Francisco Franco of Spain, as being a much better alternative for Spain than if the Communists there had come to power.
Yeah Franco and communism. That's a bit like comparing cholera to malaria. You don't really want either.
 

Enthetan

Veteran of the Psychic Wars
Yeah Franco and communism. That's a bit like comparing cholera to malaria. You don't really want either.
And when "having neither" is not an option? When the only thing that will stop a Communist takeover is an equally violent opposition? Sometimes, there are no good choices, and you have to choose the "less bad" one.

Yes, a lot of people died during the Spanish Civil War. Then the war was over, things went more or less back to normal, and Spain become a livable country without gulags.
 

Lee #28

Well-known member
I read Solzhenitsyn's "Cancer Ward".....when I was in my younger....20's. Also a rather rough to stomach read. It was about the treatment of Cancer in the USSR. And more specifically Colon Cancers among men.

Great writer! Didn't he end up moving to Vermont....to live out the rest of his life?


Came across this yesterday.....

Rather sad.

It is suppose to be the suicide rate per 100,000 people.

1632185350701.jpg
 

Enthetan

Veteran of the Psychic Wars
Great writer! Didn't he end up moving to Vermont....to live out the rest of his life?
He was expelled from the USSR and stripped of his citizenship. He went to live in West Germany and later the US

He returned to Russia in 1994 and died in Moscow in 2008

 

Karakorum

Well-known member
And when "having neither" is not an option? When the only thing that will stop a Communist takeover is an equally violent opposition? Sometimes, there are no good choices, and you have to choose the "less bad" one.
When "having neither" is not an option, you go for the one that's least likely to target your demographic.
Labor union people and their families, Basques, Catalans... probably the communists and republicans would be your choice.
Priests, christian activists, ethnic spanish nationalists - go for Franco.

Chances are either will kidnap and torture you or your loved ones, but hey there's greater and smaller risk.

Totalitarian regimes, like scientology, are a strange game. The only way to win is not to play.
 

Karakorum

Well-known member
I read Solzhenitsyn's "Cancer Ward".....when I was in my younger....20's. Also a rather rough to stomach read. It was about the treatment of Cancer in the USSR. And more specifically Colon Cancers among men.

Great writer! Didn't he end up moving to Vermont....to live out the rest of his life?


Came across this yesterday.....

Rather sad.

It is suppose to be the suicide rate per 100,000 people.

View attachment 14454
I would add this map as a nice counterpoint:



Hint: All's not well in uncle Vlad's empire.

Granted, that map reflects the moment after the financial crisis, so things will look better across the board everywhere now.
 

Lee #28

Well-known member
Had to look it up....

Solzhenitsyn live in Cavendish Vermont USA from 1976 to 1994.....almost the entirety of his 20 year exile from the USSR.
 

Karakorum

Well-known member
Had to look it up....

Solzhenitsyn live in Cavendish Vermont USA from 1976 to 1994.....almost the entirety of his 20 year exile from the USSR.


Looks like the place where they filmed Beetlejuice.
 

Barile

Well-known member
An interesting sideline to the story, Mstislav Rostropovich, arguably the greatest cellist who ever lived, gave shelter to Solzhenitsyn in his own home. Rostropovich was a bit like the character "Jonathon" in the movie "Rollerball"... in that he was bigger than the game. The worst that could be done was to strip him of his citizenship, but undaunted, he would finally return a hero, having his citizenship restored by Gorbachev in 1990. The story here....


and here...

 
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Barile

Well-known member
It was the leader of that meeting who stopped first.

He was arrested the next day and sent to the Gulag.

Hard read, have to get back to reading it and I have the shorter version.

Despite it all, Solzhenitsyn never became a fan of the West.
It's getting to be a big club.
 

The_Fixer

Well-known member
I read Solzhenitsyn's "Cancer Ward".....when I was in my younger....20's. Also a rather rough to stomach read. It was about the treatment of Cancer in the USSR. And more specifically Colon Cancers among men.

Great writer! Didn't he end up moving to Vermont....to live out the rest of his life?


Came across this yesterday.....

Rather sad.

It is suppose to be the suicide rate per 100,000 people.

View attachment 14454
Hard to make out South Korea there, which has the fourth highest suicide rate in the world.
 
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