The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 Quotes

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The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 Quotes (showing 1-27 of 27)
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains ... an unuprooted small corner of evil.

Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“… What about the main thing in life, all its riddles? If you want, I'll spell it out for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusionary -property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life -don't be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn for happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn't last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing. It is enough if you don't freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger don't claw at your insides. If your back isn't broken, if your feet can walk, if both arms can bend, if both eyes can see, if both ears hear, then whom should you envy? And why? Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes and purify your heart -and prize above all else in the world those who love you and who wish you well. Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part from any of them in anger; after all, you simply do not know: it may be your last act before your arrest, and that will be how you are imprinted on their memory.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag. Use your memory! Use your memory! It is those bitter seeds alone which might sprout and grow someday.

Look around you - there are people around you. Maybe you will remember one of them all your life and later eat your heart out because you didn't make use of the opportunity to ask him questions. And the less you talk, the more you'll hear.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“It is unthinkable in the twentieth century to fail to distinguish between what constitutes an abominable atrocity that must be prosecuted and what constitutes that "past" which "ought not to be stirred up.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“At what point, then, should one resist? When one's belt is taken away? When one is ordered to face into a corner? When one crosses the threshold of one's home? An arrest consists of a series of incidental irrelevancies, of a multitude of things that do not matter, and there seems no point in arguing about one of them individually...and yet all these incidental irrelevancies taken together implacably constitute the arrest. ”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“Oh, how hard it is to part with power! This one has to understand.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“Every man always has handy a dozen glib little reasons why he is right not to sacrifice himself.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“Look around you--there are people around you. Maybe you will remember one of them all your life and later eat your heart out because you didn't make use of the opportunity to ask him questions. And the less you talk, the more you'll hear. Thin strands of human lives stretch from island to island of the Archipelago. They intertwine, touch one another for one night only in just such a clickety-clacking half-dark car as this and then separate once and for all. Put your ear to their quiet humming and the steady clickety-clack beneath the car. After all, it is the spinning wheel of life that is clicking and clacking away there.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being. At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood. But his name doesn't change, and to that name we ascribe the whole lot, good and evil.

Socrates taught us: 'Know thyself!”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
tags: evil, good
“The most intense patriotism always flourishes in the rear.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“Then came the time for the evening visit to the toilet, for which, in all likelihood, you had waited, all atremble, all day. How relieved, how eased, the whole world suddenly became! How the great questions all simplified themselves at the same instant---did you feel it?”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“Nos instruyen y preparan en la juventud para una profesión, para cumplir los deberes ciudadanos, para el servicio militar, nos enseñaban las reglas del aseo, a comportarnos bien y hasta a comprender lo bello (esto último no tanto). Pero la instrucción, la educación, la experiencia, no nos preparan en absoluto para la gran prueba de nuestra vida: para el arresto por nada y para el sumario sobre nada.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“.. и уши развешивали слушать от старых лагерников "как надо в лагере жить."
А как надо жить (и как умереть) мы обязаны знать и без всякого лагеря.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“Without even knowing it ourselves, we were ransomed by the small change in copper that was left from the golden coins our great-grandfathers had expended, at a time when morality was not considered relative and when the distinction between good and evil was very simply perceived by the heart.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“But it is impossible to picture any of our interrogators, right up to Abakumov and Beria, wanting to slip into prisoner's skin even for one hour, or feeling compelled to sit and meditate in solitary confinement.

Their branch of service does not require them to be educated people of broad culture and broad views - and they are not. Their branch of service does not require them to think logically - and they do not. Their branch of service requires only that they carry out orders exactly and be impervious to suffering - and that is what they do and what they are. We who have passed through their hands feel suffocated when we think of the legion, which is stripped bare of universal human ideals.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
“Свободно можеш да се молиш,
но… да те чува само Бог”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, gulag archipelago
“Thanks to ideology, the twentieth century was fated to experience evildoing on a scale calculated in the millions. This cannot be denied, nor passed over, nor surpressed. How, then, do we dare insist that evildoers do not exist? And whi was it that destroyed these millions? Without evildoers there would have been no Archipelago.

There was a rumor going the rounds between 1918 and 1920 that the Petrograd Cheka, headed by Uritsky, and the Odessa Cheka, headed by Deich, did not shoot all those condemned to death but fed some of them alive to the animals in the city zoos. I do not know whether this is truth or calumny, or, if there were any such cases, how many were there. But I wouldn't set out to look for proof, either. Following the practice of the bluecaps, I would propose that they prove to us that this was impossible. How else could they get food for the zoos in those famine years? Take it away from the workibg class? Those enemies were going to die anyway, so why couldn't their deaths support the zoo economy of the Republic and thereby assist our march into the future? Wasn't it expedient?

That is the precise line the Shakespearean evildoer could not cross. But the evildoer with ideology does cross it, and his eyes remain dry and clear.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? After all, you knew ahead of time that those bluecaps were out at night for no good purpose. And you could be sure ahead of time that you’d be cracking the skull of a cutthroat.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“Arrest is an instantaneous, shattering thrust, expulsion, somersault from one state into another.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books I-II
“But this became the first plan of his life to fail. God told him - apparently with the help of human hands - to depart from his ribcage.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books I-II
“My life is over, a little early to be sure; but there's nothing to be done about it. I shall never return to freedom. I am condemned to die - now or a little later. But later on, in truth, it will be even harder, an so the sooner the better. I no longer have any property whatsoever. For me those I love have died, and for them I have died. From today on, my body is useless and alien to me. Only my spirit and my conscience remain precious and important to me.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books I-II
“Lägret hade lärt mig en utväg, att inte säga emot men ändå tigande handla emot.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
“Allt som jag verkligen tänker, så som jag framlagt det i detta arbete, är det både farligt att säga och totalt hopplöst.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

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