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Quotes by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Quotes by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

  1. A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy and nothing can stop him.
  2. A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.
  3. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.
  4. Anyone who has proclaimed violence his method inexorably must choose lying as his principle.
  5. 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.
  6. Everything you add to the truth subtracts from the truth.
  7. First would be the literary side, then the spiritual and philosophical. The political side is required principally because of the necessity of the current Russian position.
  8. For a country to have a great writer is like having a second government. That is why no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones.
  9. For us in Russia communism is a dead dog. For many people in the West, it is still a living lion.
  10. For us in Russia, communism is a dead dog, while, for many people in the West, it is still a living lion.
  11. How can you expect a man who’s warm to understand one who’s cold?
  12. Human beings yield in many situations, even important and spiritual and central ones, as long as it prolongs one’s well-being.
  13. I have spent all my life under a Communist regime, and I will tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed. But a society with no other scale but the legal one is not quite worthy of man either.
  14. If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being?
  15. In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State.
  16. 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.
  17. It is the artist who realizes that there is a supreme force above him and works gladly away as a small apprentice under God’s heaven.
  18. It is time in the West to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.
  19. It would have been difficult to design a path out of communism worse than the one that has been followed.
  20. Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice.
  21. Literature becomes the living memory of a nation.
  22. Literature transmits incontrovertible condensed experience… from generation to generation. In this way literature becomes the living memory of a nation.
  23. Man has set for himself the goal of conquering the world but in the processes loses his soul.
  24. Not everything has a name. Some things lead us into a realm beyond words.
  25. Of course God is endlessly multi-dimensional so every religion that exists on earth represents some face, some side of God.
  26. Our government declared that it is conducting some kind of great reforms. In reality, no real reforms were begun and no one at any point has declared a coherent programme.
  27. Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.
  28. Religion always remains higher than everyday life. In order to make the elevation towards religion easier for people, religion must be able to alter its forms in relation to the consciousness of modern man.
  29. Talent is always conscious of its own abundance, and does not object to sharing.
  30. The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.
  31. The clock of communism has stopped striking. But its concrete building has not yet come crashing down. For that reason, instead of freeing ourselves, we must try to save ourselves from being crushed by its rubble.
  32. The name of ‘reform’ simply covers what is latently a process of the theft of the national heritage.
  33. The next war… may well bury Western civilization forever.
  34. The salvation of mankind lies only in making everything the concern of all.
  35. The sole substitute for an experience which we have not ourselves lived through is art and literature.
  36. There are a lot of clear thinkers everywhere.
  37. Today when we say the West we are already referring to the West and to Russia. We could use the word ‘modernity’ if we exclude Africa, and the Islamic world, and partially China.
  38. Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence.
  39. We have arrived at an intellectual chaos.
  40. When truth is discovered by someone else, it loses something of its attractiveness.
  41. Woe to that nation whose literature is cut short by the intrusion of force. This is not merely interference with freedom of the press but the sealing up of a nation’s heart, the excision of its memory.
  42. You only have power over people so 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.
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