Thursday, April 25, 2013

truth is precious

Truth is valuable. In argument, lies are more effective; for two can argue fairly and honestly, but when one lies it changes the balance. The one who objects to the liar has now the need to challenge two stands simultaneously, but without commensurate time. Once lies are public, they are equal in supposition. Once public, someone will refer to them again as legitimate arguments. Lies are like vampires, though dead they prowl the world and attack. As in some movies, a sharp stake through its heart will cause it to become dust and destruct to nothingness. A simple, courageous man armed only with truth has the power to overcome.

Boris Leonidovič Pasternak wrote, In every generation there has to be some fool who will speak the truth as he sees it. He was not the only Russian with such thoughts. Not all written works were openly available. Some documents were available as samizdat. Now, the word 'сам' (sam) is “self, by oneself”, 'издат' (izdat) is short for 'издательство', izdatel’stvo, “publishing house”. Now in Slovene, and even more in Serbo-Croatian 'izdat' means to give out (often, 'betray', sometimes as in reveal). The written work is put out by one's self. Most of these samizdat works were political. People were compelled to have them read, regardless of their safety, or permission, or approval of the establishment.

In 1970, Aleksandr Isajevič Solzhenitsyn received the Nobel Prize for Literature. He delivered a seven part speech, he could not leave Russia. What are the duties of art and literature? Literature was suppressed in Russia. He refers to Camus, and quotes Dostojevskij. He speaks of beauty, and truth. The last portion of the seventh part is very important:

Скажут нам: что ж может литература против безжалостного натиска открытого насилия? А: не забудем, что насилие не живет одно и не способно жить одно: оно непременно сплетено с ложью. Между ними самая родственная, самая природная глубокая связь: насилию нечем прикрыться, кроме лжи, а лжи нечем удержаться, кроме как насилием. Всякий, кто однажды провозгласил насилие своим методом, неумолимо должен избрать ложь своим принципом. Рождаясь, насилие действует открыто и даже гордится собой. Но едва оно укрепится, утвердится, — оно ощущает разрежение воздуха вокруг себя и не может существовать дальше иначе, как затуманиваясь в ложь, прикрываясь ее сладкоречием. Оно уже не всегда, не обязательно прямо душит глотку, чаще оно требует от подданных только присяги лжи, только соучастия во лжи.

И простой шаг простого мужественного человека: не участвовать во лжи, не поддерживать ложных действий! Пусть э т о приходит в мир и даже царит в мире — но не через меня. Писателям же и художникам доступно больше: победить ложь! Уж в борьбе-то с ложью искусство всегда побеждало, всегда побеждает! — зримо, неопровержимо для всех! Против многого в мире может выстоять ложь — но только не против искусства.

А едва развеяна будет ложь — отвратительно откроется нагота насилия — и насилие дряхлое падет.

Вот почему я думаю, друзья, что мы способны помочь миру в его раскаленный час. Не отнекиваться безоружностью, не отдаваться беспечной жизни — но выйти на бой!

В русском языке излюбленны пословицы о правде. Они настойчиво выражают немалый тяжелый народный опыт и иногда поразительно:

“Одно слово правды весь мир перетянет”.

Вот на таком мнимо фантастическом нарушении закона сохранения масс и энергий основана и моя собственная деятельность, и мой призыв к писателям мира”. 

F. D. Reeve translation:

We will be told: What can literature do against the pitiless onslaught of naked violence? Let us not forget that violence does not and can not flourish by itself; it is inevitably intertwined with LYING. Between them there is the closest, the most profound and natural bond: nothing screens violence except lies, and the only way lies can hold out is by violence. Whoever has once announced violence as his METHOD must inexorably choose lying as his PRINCIPLE. At birth, violence behaves openly and even proudly. But as soon as it becomes strong and firmly established, it senses the thinning of air around it and it cannot go on without befogging itself in lies, coating itself lying's sugary oratory. It does not always or necessarily go straight for the gullet; usually it demands of its victims only allegiance to the lie, only complicity in the lie.

The simple act of an ordinary courageous man is not to take part, not to support lies! Let that come into the world and even reign over it, but not through me.
Writers and artists can do more: they can VANQUISH LIES! In the struggle against lies art has always won and always will. Conspicuously, incontestably for everyone. Lies can stand up against much in the world, but not against art.

Once lies have been dispelled, the repulsive nakedness of violence will be exposed — and hollow violence will collapse.

That, my friends, is why I think we can help the world in its red-hot hour: not by the nay-saying of having no armaments, not by abandoning one self to the carefree life, but by going into battle!

In Russian, proverbs about TRUTH are favorites. They persistently express the considerable, bitter, grim experience of the people, often astonishingly:


On such a seemingly fantastic violation of the law of the conservation of mass and energy are based both my own activities and my appeal
to the writers of the whole world.
Nobel Organisation translation:

 We shall be told: what can literature possibly do against the ruthless onslaught of open violence? But let us not forget that violence does not live alone and is not capable of living alone: it is necessarily interwoven with falsehood. Between them lies the most intimate, the deepest of natural bonds. Violence finds its only refuge in falsehood, falsehood its only support in violence. Any man who has once acclaimed violence as his METHOD must inexorably choose falsehood as his PRINCIPLE. At its birth violence acts openly and even with pride. But no sooner does it become strong, firmly established, than it senses the rarefaction of the air around it and it cannot continue to exist without descending into a fog of lies, clothing them in sweet talk. It does not always, not necessarily, openly throttle the throat, more often it demands from its subjects only an oath of allegiance to falsehood, only complicity in falsehood.

And the simple step of a simple courageous man is not to partake in falsehood, not to support false actions! Let THAT enter the world, let it even reign in the world - but not with my help. But writers and artists can achieve more: they can CONQUER FALSEHOOD! In the struggle with falsehood art always did win and it always does win! Openly, irrefutably for everyone! Falsehood can hold out against much in this world, but not against art.

And no sooner will falsehood be dispersed than the nakedness of violence will be revealed in all its ugliness - and violence, decrepit, will fall.

That is why, my friends, I believe that we are able to help the world in its white-hot hour. Not by making the excuse of possessing no weapons, and not by giving ourselves over to a frivolous life - but by going to war!

Proverbs about truth are well-loved in Russian. They give steady and sometimes striking expression to the not inconsiderable harsh national experience:


And it is here, on an imaginary fantasy, a breach of the principle of the conservation of mass and energy, that I base both my own activity and my appeal to the writers of the whole world.

No comments:

Post a Comment