Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quotes (Russian Political Prisoner arrested for ‘Censorship’ during WW2)
“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world.”
“To destroy a people, you must first sever their roots.”
“To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good.”
“To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good… Ideology – that is what gives devildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes, so that he won’t hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors.”
“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.”
“The generation now coming out of Western schools is unable to distinguish good from bad. Even those words are unacceptable. This results in impaired thinking ability.”
“It’s an universal law– intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.”
“A tree with a rotten core cannot stand.”
“The strength or weakness of a society depends more on the level of its spiritual life than on its level of industrialization. Neither a market economy nor even general abundance constitutes the crowning achievement of human life. If a nation’s spiritual energies have been exhausted, it will not be saved from collapse by the most perfect government structure or by any industrial development.
“If we don’t know our own history, then we simply will have to endure all of the same mistakes, all of the same sacrifices, all of the same absurdities over again – times ten.”
“We have to condemn the very idea that some people have the right to repress others.”
“Modern society is hypnotized by socialism. It is prevented by socialism from seeing the mortal danger it is in. And one of the greatest dangers of all is that you have lost all sense of danger, you cannot even see where it’s coming from as it moves swiftly towards you.”
“Morality is always higher than law and we cannot forget this ever.”
“If I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible what was the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: ‘Men had forgotten God; that is why all this has happened.'”
“To reject this inhuman Communist ideology is simply to be a human being. Such a rejection is more than a political act. It is a protest of our souls against those who would have us forget the concepts of good and evil.”
“If we live in a state of constant fear, can we remain human?”
“You’re sincere, but in order not to upset your views you avoid talking with people who think differently. You pick your thoughts from conversations with people like yourself, from books written by people like yourself. In physics they call it resonance. You start out with modest opinions, but they match and build each other up to a scale.”
“One drop of truth can outweigh an ocean of lies”
“Woe to that nation whose literature is disturbed by the intervention of power. Because that is not just a violation against “freedom of print,” it is the closing down of the heart of the nation, a slashing to pieces of its memory.”
“Truth seldom is pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter.”
“Many of you have already found out, and others will find out in the course of their lives, that truth eludes us if we do not concentrate our attention totally on it’s pursuit. But even while it eludes us, the illusion of knowing it still lingers and leads to many misunderstandings. Also, truth seldom is pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter.”
“Education doesn’t make you smarter.”
“When one is already on the edge of the grave, why not resist?”
“You took my freedom away a long time ago and you can’t give it back because you haven’t got it yourself.”
“Surely people should eventually cease to be surprised at anything? And yet they continue to be.”
“How can you expect a man who’s warm to understand one who’s cold?”
“When you’re cold, don’t expect sympathy from someone who’s warm.”
“My wish for you… is that your skeptic-eclectic brain be flooded with the light of truth.”
“If there were no executioners, there would be no executions.”
“… scientists have made no clear effort to become an important, independently active force of mankind. Whole congresses at a time, they back away from the suffering of others; it is more comfortable to stay within the bounds of science.”
“Scientific research? Only when not at the cost of ethics-and first of all, those of the researchers themselves.”
“…it’s only on a black day that you begin to have friends.”
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn
(11 December 1918 – 3 August 2008)
Russian novelist, philosopher, historian, short story writer, and political prisoner.
Arrested for “censorship”.
During service in the army during the Second World War, he was arrested for having criticized Stalin in letters he had written. He was put in prison camps, exiled and also suffered from cancer. In exile, he worked as a teacher of mathematics and physics, but in secret he wrote books that were later published.
He was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature “for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature”, and The Gulag Archipelago was a highly influential work that “amounted to a head-on challenge to the Soviet state”, and sold tens of millions of copies.