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Teil II: Lernfelder

  1. “People can shout at you from all sides: ‘You must!’ And your own head can be saying also: ‘You must!’ But inside your breast there is a sense of revulsion, repudiation. I don’t want to. It makes me feel sick. Do what you want without me; I want no part of it.”
  2. “A godless dictatorship both sullies and disfigures a man. Only a deep religious faith can provide him with stout armour. When the church is destroyed and people are left on their own, it is easy for them to fall in with evil schemes.” (1771-1773)
  3. “Thank God for prison!” Nerzhin exclaims to Rubin on another occasion. “It has given me the chance to think things out. To understand the nature of happiness we first have to know what it means to eat one’s fill.” (1836-1838)
  4. Solzhenitsyn’s central message to the modern world—the ultimate subsistence of politics within a higher moral and ultimately religious truth; the transcendent nature of pain and death and the immensity of both in relation to transient circumstantial comforts; and, perhaps most important of all, the inarticulate yearning of agnostic man for the sublime depths of theological truth, a return to religious faith. (2286-2289)
  5. Solzhenitsyn attempts to persuade a reluctant world of the dangers of materialism and of the worship of science. (2603-2604)
  6. (Erste Begegnung mit 68ern während der Osterzeit) These youths are not breaking the law; although they are doing violence, it is bloodless. Their lips twisted into a gangsterish leer, their brazen talk, their loud laughter, their flirting and snide jokes, their smoking and spitting—it all amounts to an insult to the Passion of Christ, which is being celebrated a few yards away from them. It is expressed in the arrogant, derisory look worn by these snotty hooligans as they come to watch how the old folk still practise the rites of their forefathers. (2935-2938)
  7. Solzhenitsyn’s central belief was in selfless self-limitation as opposed to the selfish gratification of needless wants. (3192)
  8. Nations are the wealth of humanity, its generalized personalities. (3369)
  9. “Atheism is the core of the whole Communist system.” (3433)
  10. “We have squandered our resources foolishly without so much as a backward glance, sapped our soil . . . and contaminated belts of waste land around our industrial centres…” (3582-3583)
  11. “We are always anxiously on the lookout for ways of curbing the inordinate greed of the other man, but no one is heard renouncing his own inordinate greed.” (3677-3678)
  12. (Sohn über den Vater) It was not surprising, therefore, that as patriarch and tutor he should gain inspiration for his literary endeavors from the desire to educate his children. Fatherhood was itself a creative force. (4481-4482)
  13. Modern man was being crushed by the omnipresence of technology. There was ever more clamor of a propagandist, commercial, and diversionary nature. “How can we protect the right of our ears to silence, and the right of our eyes to inner vision?” (4580-4582)
  14. Solzhenitsyn also believed that the spirit of decentralization should go beyond the rights of small nations to be free from the yoke of internationalism or imperialism. It should extend to the rights of small communities, and even families, to be free from the yoke of central state planning. (4589-4591)
  15. An inner voice tells us that we have lost something pure, elevated and fragile. We have ceased to see the purpose. (4751)
  16. Solzhenitsyn’s “readiness over the years to endure and even provoke unpopularity has lent his position an integrity which even adversaries have grudgingly acknowledged”. (5052-5054)
  17. Modern mankind is characterized precisely by the loss of the ability to answer the principal problems of life and death. People are prepared to stuff their heads with anything, and to talk of any subject, but only to block off the contemplation of this subject. This is the reason for the increasing pettiness of our society, the concentration on the small and irrelevant. (5092-5094)
  18. In modern society, if one is correct from the legal point of view, then no one will demand of him or her a higher level of moral action. (5127-5128)
  19. Growing old is not a path downward, but in fact movement up. (5281)
  20. I am deeply convinced that God participates in every life, and the other issue is that people understand this in varying degrees. (5289-5290)
  21. While it legitimately separates itself from political power, the Church should not allow itself to become separated from society and its grievous needs. (5337-5338)
  22. With the rejection of the Orthodox faith, our patriotism acquires pagan characteristics. . . . [O]ur nation has been growing and living precisely in Orthodoxy for the past one thousand years. (5345-5347)
  23. (The) greatest contribution to modern political culture was to be found in his call for modern man, and the modern mind, to throw off the shackles of utopian presumption in order to ascend from ideology to the transcendent truths of a Christian concept of reality. (5402)
  24. It is crucial to any understanding of Solzhenitsyn’s life and work to understand that this combination of pessimism and optimism is a paradox and not a contradiction. (5614-5615)
  25. “conservatism is a striving to preserve and uphold the best, the most humane and reasonable traditions that have justified themselves throughout centuries-old history”. (5672-5673)