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«Watching and listening» (extracts)

Translated by Mr. Konstantin Kissin from the U. K.

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Any philosophy is the expression of one’s own experience and a discussion of words, with which it was expressed, is fruitless, unless this experience is taken into account. You can compare your experience with the experience being described by the philosopher and find similarities and differences – but do not mistake words, found by the thinker, for toy balls which can be picked up and thrown back to him… Words are just forms, used by the life of a soul; if you want to judge this life – go ahead, but please refrain from judging words as if they were empty shells. To understand the thoughts of others one must have his own; in order to judge well-known concepts, one must experience them and think about them… Without this, any philosophy will be nothing more than a set of meaningless words.

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The question: «What is a gift?» is equipollent to another question: «Why do I see that, which others do not?» The former does not exist for someone who has never asked himself the latter. He is free to believe in «equality» and maintain positive ideals… But for someone who has asked himself, where his rueful ability to see differently to others while looking at the same thing, this is a very important and vexed question indeed. «This or that is obvious to me. Why only me? What is the meaning of this ability to see beyond the ordinary? An illness, ignorance, self-delusion? Why is that, which is unimportant to others, sometimes whole generations of others, important to me? Why are the convention and the rule abhorrent to me? A gifted man asks himself such questions. There are no satisfactory answers to these questions , i.e. ones that satisfy – only such answers are normally referred to as satisfactory. Either «everyone» is right, and you are chasing a will-o’-the-wisp; walking on quicksand and in the dark – or you, and a few others, are right. The second answer is more difficult to accept as it prompts one to shed oneself of the calming belief in the rightness of the majority learned in childhood, on which so much is based. One more readily accepts his own abnormality and inferiority than the scary thought of exceptional rightness. «Holy scriptures are always written by others.» Exactly: it is much easier to believe others when considering the most important questions.

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When a superficial mind seeks to appear deeply thoughtful, instead of looking at life’s little joys it directs its gaze towards life’s tragic nature, not wishing, however, to take notice of its deeper meaning. He assumes an air of importance and says something like: «Yes, the sun is shining, the waters splash but death and ruin hide beneath this deceiving appearance. This is so tragic! Let us rejoice and be merry, remembering, how futile and horrible everything is!» Evidently, these attempts at thoughtfulness do not reflect well on one’s intellect or common sense. If life is «futile and horrible» what is the joy in living? Is this fool’s joy (dancing at the graveyard) the only product of deep thought? It is quite common in today’s Western world – in countries, where the spirit of pride, anti-Christianity and humanism (read: self-divinity) has prevailed. The complacent, self-satisfied, godforsaken and imperial Roman spirit has, in essence, been reestablished there. This is curious: as the Christian «vaccine» was repeatedly rejected by Europe, the characteristics of ancient Rome were more and more visible in it, to the extent (and this a contemporary attribute) of having gladiators and a plebes avid for entertainment. It is as though Western nations turned onto a natural and familiar track, having freed themselves from the burden of Christianity. Dostoyevksy believed socialism to be simply a new face of Rome’s values with good reason. A person either worships himself or Him, who is above us all. The first way is Rome’s way and European nations have returned to it. Christianity – one must admit – gave Europe less than Imperium and now that Christ has gone, Rome is all that is left.

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Essentially, the great moral revolution of recent times, which we owe to the so called «scientific world-view», has lead to the annihilation of moral judgement and the propagation of the valuelessness of things. One of the main consequences of this revolution is the abolition of shame – at the very least, the newly established possibility for the average person to never be ashamed . The conscience was neutralized and silenced. The shameful, the perverted and especially the detrimental to the Soul (this category was first ) were done away with, leaving only the «natural». The devilish – there is no other way to describe it – product of this coup was that, after a short while, what was previously considered shameful, detrimental to the Soul and perverted became the conventional «natural». The abolition of moral values has lead to the extinction of the (positive and highly moral) qualities themselves. The rejection of judgement concerning Good and Evil was actually the rejection of Good. It was not what was expected, of course: the belief was that, Good and Evil are but arbitrarily granted names, labels, with which man decorates the universe. But this was found to be otherwise. Good shows in life only as much as we are capable of recognizing, honoring and worshiping it, and the rejection of moral judgement does not simply «free» man’s will, but releases it onto the path to pure Evil. This is what the great moral revolution, implemented by supporters of the scientific view and democratic convictions, means. The declaration that both the wicked and the good have equal rights (contemporary democracy’s main belief) does not lead to «free competition» between them but to the wicked’s brash triumph, since how is «free competition» with Evil possible?

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Satan (or Evil if you will) plays an active part in this world’s events and his victory is far closer and likelier than was imaginable one hundred years ago. This is nothing to be surprised of: Evil’s work in this world was not a secret to our ancient predecessors. What is surprising is that Evil does not understand that its victory on Earth will mean failure and the destruction of the human race. Evil is capable of achieving victory but incapable of profiting from it. This is something that puzzles a sober-minded observer of Evil’s designs. Not only is it not a secret, but it is simply obvious, that man’s separation from the divine, i.e. his eternal roots, will lead him to decline and his ultimate downfall, but Evil stubbornly pursues this goal, not realizing that an enslaved mankind will not please it for long. The general rule is apparently as follows: Evil is cunning but short-sighted. To Evil, victory is autotelic, an end which justifies all means, and Evil is invincible on its way to victory, yet it cannot maintain it or profit from it. If this is, indeed, the general rule, hope remains even in the most dire circumstances. To rephrase: Good exists, while Evil is only trying to come into existence. Evil has an unquenchable thirst for existence. Weak and threatened, powerless and unarmed, Good has a firm foothold in this world: it is served, it is sung to in church, it speaks in the poets’ souls: everything, done with all one’s heart, is done for Good. It is difficult not to be envious! Has anyone ever sung or dreamed for Evil? Evil cannot muster enough strength to exist and makes use of reflected light. If we define Good as continuous truth and beauty, then in Evil this connection is irretrievably severed and cannot be remade under any circumstances. Evil can appeal to our sense of beauty – but, through the nature of things, must lie shamelessly; it could, also, tell the truth, but then its affairs would be doomed to hideousness. When telling the truth, however, Evil must use carefully selected truths, and incessantly indoctrinate the masses with the idea that only the hideous can be true and truth is always hideous. Incidentally, Evil does the same with beauty, arguing, that it is always outside of morals, if not immoral, and all that is moral – is dull, stale and boring, thus showing amoralism to be the aspiration for beauty… Evil’s way is the way of constant substitution of values.

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Evil attacks the world in tidal waves whose onslaught seems irresistible; and yet, Evil’s apparent power fails to leave a mark on the Earth. "Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge" but Evil has nothing to offer that we could learn, and while Good has a history and a past, Evil is always in the present; its resemblance to past Evil is but a blind repetition, not a sign of heredity or kinship. Influences traceable through history are singularly benign. All peoples and ages have their Evil, which has no predecessors, nor descendants. But it possesses a terrible power as compensation for this lack of both foundation and trace. Good is granted eternity, but (consequently!) it is easily dislodged from Earth, for any period of time. Evil is ghost-like, it exists here and now, from dawn till dusk, and (consequently!) it is relentless in defense and reckless in attack. «I have eternity,» says Good and steps aside. «I only have one more day,» says Evil to itself, and confidently advances, feeling cold and emptiness behind it.

***

Atheism is liable to proposing far more inconceivable theories about the nature of man, than those proposed by religion. It is mainly let down by its desire to make the rich and complex out of the poor and simple. The soul, art, society, culture are derived from the spontaneous interplay and struggle of non-sentient, random forces… however difficult that might be. All the efforts of «inverted ethics’» to make the bad, forbidden, dishonest and low, out as being «the true moral nature of man», suppressed by virtue of tradition, are defeated by the question: where do contradistinct, supposedly unnatural, urges, i.e. the unfading, indestructible aspiration for good, truth and beauty, which rejuvenates itself with every generation, come from? The moral revolution, observable today, is simply the change of symbols and the unleashing of suppressed desires, which does not hold, however, any «further understanding of man.» Even if we were to proclaim copulation in public, dirtiness and foul language «morally flawless, natural and desirable», if we were to – and this is foreseeable – call Evil Good and Good Evil, we would not actually change anything. It is easy to declare Evil «natural», but explaining the supposedly «unnatural» aspiration for good is more difficult. On the contrary, Evil’s victory will create insurmountable difficulties for its ideological supporters. While society’s efforts were directed at the protection of moral inadequacy, caused by the lack of intellectual development and clear deformity, it was still possible to talk about «enforced» moral behavior and «the nature of man being constrained.» But on the next day after the ‘liberation’ from moral authority, the aspiration for good, truth and beauty – in the midst of temptation’s webs – will be more than ever inexplicable, with every passing day accentuating the discrepancy. It is easy, very easy, to presume that art – for example – Dostoevsky’s art was the manifestation of the struggle between his real self and an enforced moral regime; it is much harder to explain man’s revolt, despite him being faced with easy access to the fulfillment of his low desires, for «obsolete» and «unnatural» moral values. Yet, this is the situation at which, I expect, we will arrive.

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Consumer culture shamelessly exploits man’s pivotal ability – the ability to endlessly want, bringing its goals down to Earth from the Heavens, making a dream of fullness into a dream of satiation. While exposing the demon of consumption, we ought not to forget, that it, like all the other demons, cannot introduce anything new into the world, only able to distort desires and abilities, which were in existence before it. The ability to want infinitely is a good ability, a strictly human trait, which separates us from animals. Here, the goals are substituted: they become exclusively material and no longer require any effort from those who attain them, no efforts of the soul, conscience, attention or creativity, at least. While only a centered man reaches moral goals, a distracted man, who has lost internal balance, will only reach material ones. He knows how to want something, but not how to aspire for it. To aspire means to quietly choose a goal and, again, quietly and intently pursue it, to see the light, and struggle towards it along paths unknown… Desire is fiery and changeable, greedy and fickle. An uninspired desire leads man into a dark forest and leaves him there – only moral aspirations show him the way out. These very moral aspirations, for that which cannot be seen or owned, is being meticulously expelled from the world. We are all walking further into the forest of dark desires…and the sun is already setting, almost ready to leave.

***

The question of why there is Evil in the world, which interested so many philosophers, never warranted my attention. The world stands on Evil and is propped up by it, what better explanation does one need? What is, in my view, more curious is that despite all the predisposition towards Evil, there is Good in the world, and it is indestructible. This is, for me, the real question. The difficulty is not in understanding an all-Good God with a non-Good universe, i.e. creating a «theodicy», the difficulty (or, rather, joy, since we are looking at the topic from the opposite side) – the joy is that in a world controlled by Evil, Good, persecuted and threatened but never extirpated by Evil’s efforts, exists eternally. Few, today, indulge in theodicies, but almost everyone is convinced that Evil is the soil and home of man’s soul, or if not Evil, then the natural existence outside of morals, constituting of the strong devouring the weak, which differs from Evil only in name. Thus, the question of «theodicy» – the understanding of an all-merciful God with an apparent rule of Evil – changes, before us, into another question: the question of Evil’s omnipotence and the universal Good’s illusiveness. To continue drawing the picture, we must note, that, for the first time in history, thought has taken an interest in proving Satan’s omnipotence, and the «interested party» (to quote Vl. Soloviev on the Antichrist) itself is providing more and more evidence of its power. When the question is asked in this fashion, the presence and indestructibility of Good in the world appear to be a promising sign, even if we are forced to imagine a struggling God – a vision which did not occur in the Middle Ages (with their attachment to stationary forms) nor in the new era (with its passion for optimistic constructions [1]). «The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn’t overcome it» – it would be difficult to find a better way to express this idea.

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Morals – are a fusion of notions on the desirable and the forbidden, in other words – the wholesome and the detrimental. Morals divide man’s desires into those worthy and those unworthy of satisfaction; without the recognition of the unworthiness of some desires, there are no morals. At a certain stage of development, consistently implemented «liberalism» (for lack of a better word to describe the fascination with freedom as an end in itself) expels the possibility of the existence of morals, and this stage has already been reached in the Western world. All desires are accepted as equally «natural» and commendable, and the protection of the individual, from any restrictions to his right to desire and attain what he desires, becomes the main goal. Freedom becomes a value without attributes, an airless void, through which desires slide, encountering no resistance. An unrestrained and insatiable infatuation with form combined with a total disregard for substance is encouraged, while morals, with their prohibition and motives, contributed, chiefly, to the creation of an affluent and complex substance (to avoid a lengthy explanation – morals suppressed all simple and low impulses). The abolition of morals lead to the collapse of substance and solicitous protection of the emptied shape. The words «free individual» emphasize «free», the «individual» simply cannot exist. The view of society as a law-protected diversity of progressively multi-colored forms reminds one of a scientist’s delight at some «wonderful mold», and probably has the same origin: this is Darwin’s theory of unconsciously evolving forms, applied to society. It is not even the form, which is valued, but rather the swiftness with which it changes and spreads; it is no coincidence that modern society’s notorious keyword is «dynamism». The freedom to believe and toil, for which our ancestors cared, proved to be the freedom of particles, the right to chaotic motion. This insanity is, however, consistent. Some centuries ago the struggle was, exactly, for the right to express certain substances; with time, the positive goal was forgotten, and only the demand for freedom of expression ‘as is’ was left. The argument was about man’s dignity but the result is, to use Dostoevsky’s words, «the right to dishonor». The subject of the argument itself has disappeared. The discussion concerned different ways of educating the moral man, not the abandonment of spiritual growth and self-discipline, yet the result was exactly the opposite: the freedom from any restrictions, from the aspiration for the divine. We have not yet realized that not only did we sacrifice morality to obtain freedom – some, probably, understand this – but we also sacrificed the spiritual advancement of generations, man’s future. Having freed the individual from moral conflicts, we gave preference to the short-lived animal well-being of the masses over long and difficult spiritual advancement.

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The fundamental question, completely ignored in modern times, is: does man need freedom, and if so, does every man, and if not, how do we distinguish those who do from those who don’t? This is the question Plato was considering when he created The Republic, the same question that was on Dostoevsky’s mind when he wrote «The Legend of the Grand Inquisitor». Presently, this question is being positively solved, i.e. not solved at all, the question is not even acknowledged. Freedom is accepted as necessary in limitless quantity – to a limitless number of people. The thought of freedom’s universal applicability is accepted without fear or embarrassment – regardless of the consequences of its implementation. Unprejudiced observation, of which the epoch is so proud when it comes to unimportant and irrelevant subjects, is blind and deaf to freedom and its consequences. If, say, consistent emancipation of a given society leads to ever-rising crime levels – blind eyes are turned, and, at best, murder, rape and burglary are declared – with grave mournfulness – «the price we must pay for social and economic progress». At the same time, the ever-growing wave of misdeeds against conscience is a terrible sign, since at some eventual point, distant as it may be, it promises to lead to the destruction of society or – what is little better – the imposition of tyranny, whose existence would be justified by the flagrant Evil in the age of «ever-growing freedom». The epoch’s followers, however, approach things with a relaxed attitude: «these are temporary excesses; man has just not accustomed himself to unrestricted freedom yet…» We’ll have to wait until the enticed and the constantly tempted «accustoms himself» to the plentitude of temptation and begins to lead the life of an «honest bourgeois».

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Modern Western «freedom» is intended for an individual, nurtured in a Christian society, who knows the bounds and knows not to cross them. The West is defenseless against an opponent who does not accept the Ten Commandments; even more so, since it does not believe in malicious intent nor the existence of Evil. The West still thinks that man is «naturally good», and Evil occurs in the world solely as the result of a deficit of material welfare, despite all evidence to the contrary, provided by the XX century. «If everyone has plenty of everything, Evil will cease to exist». This belief is comforting, but totally false. The West’s view of the world, where it is not an appendage of chemistry, physics or biology, is sewn together from a myriad of incompatible shreds. On the one hand – the cult of violence, on the other – the belief in man’s natural goodness. The former was approved by science, the latter – is a tribute to the past, a remnant of the naive and self-rapturous XVIII century. Rousseau’s theories, seemingly, entirely incompatible with the opinion of the inseparable triplets, Marx, Freud and Darwin, leave at least a ghost of the warmth of life, an appearance of meaning, and are therefore so attractive. People don’t believe in God, but Rousseau allows the possibility of, at least, believing in man, and with it, a little warmth. However, this warmth, too, is short-lived. The time of the last Cold and final pride awaits us, a new, despairing, god-forsaken, Rome, but without Christ or Christians. It is sad but it is so.

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The intellect is a force of reasoning, with its «if so, then…». But life cannot search for its justification in conditional reasoning; it cannot be based on «ifs», since it contains no verifiable conditions. Everything is unverifiable, except irrelevant things, since it only happens once: birth, death, genius, evilness… There is no room for reasoning when it comes to the most important and dangerous things. Our choice in these areas is either unwise or stupid. Yes, that is the only way. Either we listen to the voice of truth and beauty or our closest descendants laugh at our hopeless stupidity, as we laugh at Pisarev and Zaitsev, who tried to approach everything «reasonably» and ended up being a laughing stock as a result. There is no «compulsory truth» except that, which knocks on the doors of our hearts. Pushkin is right and Pisarev is not: it impossible to prove anything here, one can only feel it. Consequently, there is no certainty, no pampering for the praise-loving intellect – until the end of our days. That is the way of the world: disproving is possible, disproof can pile all the way up to the skies, proving is impossible. The intellect is incomparable as a force of doubt and disproof but also worthless as a guide to truth. Truth indicated by intellect changes with each generation, yet, that does not stop it from retaining an extremely arrogant appearance… Here is another internal contradiction: the intellect’s way – is the way of conditional truths but at the same time the shortest way to intellectual complacency. Nobody was ever so selflessly and groundlessly self-confident as this new deity’s worshippers. And yet, the intellect demands, first of all, stupidity from all its followers – otherwise it does not grant them confidence and peace. We can ask the intellect about anything, except that, which is actually significant to us. Its conclusions are curious but totally irrelevant for the soul. It has a wonderful gift to doubt and an even greater one to disprove, but when asked about truth, it replies, with a look of modest omniscience, that truth is unattainable.

And what are we to do?

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The temptation of the XIX century was the «final synthesis», which would forever abolish any intellectual unrest, any need for thought, having given man, if not happiness, then firm foundations, which Christianity was unable to save. This plan was unsuccessful, despite the fact that individual nations still live under its charm, and an «enlightened» and «freethinking» Frenchman, for example, says: «Yes, the universe is revoltingly cold, and my fate in it is horrible, but I should be comforted by the fact that the foundation of the future will contain my bones as well», and yet, this monstrous outlook on life does not prevent him from drinking wine or spending time in the company of women. This philosophy is cold and brilliant; it gives a charming look of nobility to the most common face…and is appallingly empty. Its one eternal «virtue» is that it makes not believing, despair and pride out to be signs of extensive moral development, – instead of imperfections, if not simply sins – giving the holder an appearance of humility and noble grief… «While preferring suicide to the burdens of natural death, I am still convinced that the positive ideals of freedom, equality and brotherhood will triumph,» today’s Roman – i.e. modern Frenchman, says. Truly, egoism and stilted nobility, a screen for vanity, have never been so deeply intertwined since Roman times. This desire to arrogate all the honor oneself, appear taller than one is, while doing low things, has not been seen since Roman antiquity. In essence, the dream of the «final synthesis» was a sign of degradation, weariness after a thousand years of unrest. The XIX century revolted against Christianity not because it supplied Law but because it left too much room for freedom. The century’s dream was to find a definite law, which could be happily bowed to, and, with time, Marx, Darwin and Freud quenched this thirst. Western society relaxed, finally archiving its freedom. The «final synthesis» proved to be a yoke of extreme and consistent determinism, which accepted the meaning and value of an individual no more than the great tyrannies of the XX century, which it inspired.

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I have sometimes used the word «positivist» and meant «narrow-minded», but there is no sin in positivism itself. «Positivism» is, first of all, the tendency to only consider things known from experience. The desire to restrict this experience to the purely material, common in our time, does not constitute the essence of the «positivist» view. Once freed from this desire, positivism becomes simply the scientific view. Given the modern inclination towards various transcendental constructions, we should not talk of positivism’s dominance, but of its flaw; we should not weep for the unprejudiced study of facts, but for its replacement with a new, rather arbitrary and far-reaching metaphysics. When some biologist proclaims that he will not rest until atheism and belief in the inanity of existence are preached to the whole world – he is busy with something extremely distant from science – he concerns himself not with science but with faith, albeit a black, negative faith in Nothing. After a long struggle between science and religion, science won, becoming that, which it was fighting against. We, religious people, should not wish for the «abolition», but for the liberation of science. I think, this liberation will not become possible before the «separation of the laboratory from the state» of which I once wrote. Science – like the Church in recent times – has tied itself too closely with worldly authority and even began to view itself as a worldly authority. To be in the vicinity of kings is rather dangerous. Power imposes a struggle for alien goals on the best of us. Science was not an exception and changed from unprejudiced research to become very prejudiced, from an intellectual luxury to the support of the world’s powerful. Excessive proximity to the source of power is not science’s only problem, but is, however, a serious hindrance to its correct self-determination.

***

If a theory can explain everything, that is the definitive proof of its falsehood. A key which «fits» all locks most likely fits none at all; it is not, really, a key, it is a lock-pick. Freud’s and Marx’s followers are adept in the art of creating spiritual lock-picks. The success of the next «all-conquering theory» requires the development of such a system of ideas, that could be applied to any imaginable relationship between people and things, i.e. – this is one of the most necessary qualities – a relatively simple one. Such a taxonomist reduces everything to the smallest possible number of the most simple interactions, so elementary, that almost any occurrence of the highest order can be explained with their – strained – help. However, I will not tire of repeating, that any «universal» world view only proves the falsehood of its premises. Speaking in everyday language, one should believe those who know something, not those who claim to know everything. In all matters, large and small, this «something» is more reliable and substantial than general claims, because it is based on experience, not endless generalizations. Knowing «everything» cannot result from any experience given its, inevitable, finiteness.

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What is one of the modern times’ biggest mistakes? The mistake is that instead of addressing ends it targets means. Literacy, books are ways to culture but not ends in themselves. Look how the majority applies their new literacy: to write what should not be read, and to read what should not be written. This is no accident, it is an appropriate consequence as more important things – the ability to differentiate and judge – were not instilled in the masses along with basic literacy. Supporters of «enlightenment» blamed everything on the «spiteful ignorant fools». Yet, a good-humored, semi-educated fool is probably no better. «Don’t worry – we are told – people have finally been given books; gradually the masses will grow spiritually, we just need to give them free rein». It would be shameful to, even, argue with this childish view: when, where and who, ever advanced spiritually after being abandoned, left to himself, without care. Unless, of course, this person was a genius – but geniuses are always on their own, not even psychology, with its tendency for bold suggestions, has invented the idea of a «collective genius», yet. Man was given a book, but a book is of no benefit, it is only the means to grasping «good»; a tool, but not a product; and, most importantly, abusing a book or superficial literacy, is no harder, if not easier, than misusing the notorious «ignorance»; superficial literacy is that same ignorance, only better dressed and with more self-respect.

***

The fathers of contemporary democracy wanted to create a society, where a lonely and self-sufficient individual would be protected against external interference, as much as possible. They were successful and a sturdy wall of «rights and freedoms» was built against the onslaught of the Church and state. The creators of a new order understood the individual to be an invariably suffering party and all precautions were undertaken to its benefit. Time has passed and it appears that the individual is completely protected from society but society has no protection against a malevolent individual. What is worse: this individual is attempting to prove, using all means available, that the idea of «malevolence» itself is obsolete, that there are no good and bad intentions, only lawful and unlawful ones, and the limits of morality, thus, coincide with those of law. The threat proved to be somewhere, where it was not looked for. The state and the Church were, once, too assertive in creating a moral regime – the persecuted individual was protected from them by law. The individual, having freed himself from, virtually, everything, began to preach his own, home-made, ideas, however, ideas of liberation from the burden of morality, of a war of all against all with the purpose of selection of the most fit for life, ideas of pleasure as the highest goal and a general inanity of existence. In short, when the individual, finally, grew spiritually wild and began to live fastidiously in his safe little world – it became apparent that there is no protection against him and his destructive preaching. All of the Western world’s institutions aim to defend the individual from the state and are powerless now, when the time has come to defend against the «free individual», who has been spoiled by decades of appeasement and lost its footing in the process. Surprisingly, the more daring and intolerable the attacks he makes against the moral regime, the more audacious his preaching of self-divinity (the only way to describe the humanistic view with its «everything is permitted» in combination with a hate for the Divine) – the more readily it is defended in our times. The extent of moral wildness is considered to be the extent of intellectual freedom – a most tempting system, where the weak and backward become judges of others’ intellect and development… I believe that it is time to reject the thoroughly false idea of «equality» and return to a society built not on blindly distributed «rights and freedoms» but on the idea of justified rights and reasonable freedoms. Such a society will be able to defend itself against a tyranny of mediocrities, which proved too powerful for the democracy of the XX century.

***

The last few centuries went to great lengths to take care of «human dignity». Yet time has shown that «human dignity», set as a goal, is only another step along the path to individualization and pride, moreover, the ideal of an autotelic «human dignity» and harmonious social life are sadly incompatible, if not opposite to each other. «Man should respect himself and be unconditionally respected». True self-respect, however, is not unconditional, not limitless; we do not judge ourselves only by our achievements , if we have any, but we also voluntarily give up self-appraisal in order to respect and love others. «Unconditional self-respect is an unconditional value for an individual» – destructive conclusions follow from these wonderful words: every individual is good and worthy not in his ideal, not at some imaginary, distant point – but here and now, and he already deserves «unconditional respect». They wanted to glorify man by honoring him more than he merited but in actual fact he was humiliated as never before, when he was convinced that he «is good as is». That’s the truth. The idea of «human rights» and «integral dignity» was, perhaps, good in theory but proved to be completely inapplicable in practice.

***

Liberalism is a superficial theory, which believes that everything is here by accident, that there is are no lies nor is there truth, only the choice between equal possibilities, and our goal in this life, based on nothing, is to make ourselves comfortable and live pleasantly. This is why it is useful for the creation of a (externally) comfortable society, which is tormented, however, by a multitude of internal diseases. Liberalism contradicts Nietzsche’s «will to truth», without which man cannot live; it cannot be changed into a simple «possibility». A liberal leaves this concept of truth out of the equation as a wrong and doubtful goal, a hindrance to worldly well-being, confining his thoughts to purely material values – satiety, contentment and comfort, any satisfaction with which would be false and temporary. Not to mention another aspect: the impossibility of creating any society whatsoever on the basis of «liberal values». Try to justify duty from a «liberal» viewpoint, for example. Yet, social life is based specifically on duty, on responsibilities and not on «rights». Western state authority and its armed institutions, presently, exist, as though in spite of proclaimed principles. In essence, these principles are but icing sugar on a rather bitter cake. They are for the irresponsible masses, free from any duty whatsoever, with no rights, except the right to limitless pleasure; they bear little resemblance to reality. An omnipotent state declares war, makes peace, devises new weaponry and debates exploration of new worlds – nobody consults the masses on these issues. The banner of freedom, once a symbol of rebellion, is now but a toy in the hands of a restless, infantile nation. In reality, the modern state relies on brute force far more than the enlightened monarchies of the recent past. There were bounds, to overstep which was considered impossible; now the only concern is whether it is possible to overstep these bounds and not suffer the consequences. «He is right, who is powerful enough to force all others to accept his rightness; righteous are those actions, which go without punishment; Good is Evil done to my enemy» – all these terrifying truths from the times of Tyre and Sidon have been resurrected and enjoy widespread confidence.

Woe unto us! The Night is coming.



[1] In terms of ideas, I like neither optimists nor pessimists, to be honest. Pessimists, frankly, do not believe in God, while optimists tend to substitute God with their own intellect, on which they, then, rely. In the end, both are similar. A shrewd opinion is somewhere in the middle: «here God will, maybe, help us and here our own strength might be enough; and here everything is conjectural, uncertain and free. Both pessimists and optimists are equally inclined to creating systems unlike holders of the middle ground.

 

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