Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Do not live in a lie*

Reading this *letter that Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote to the Writers' Union of the USSR, I feel a little bad because I have failed at various points in my life, at every one of his statements, which I reproduce below. But every day I try to come out a little more, to stick needles in the bubble of my fear, to feel myself more free, to become more and more independent of the system

The first is the one I like best: it’s my goal and I give a little ironic laugh every time I read it. If I apply it, I can forget altogether about graduating from the University of Havana. I remember perfectly my answer to question number 5 in Philosophy and Society II: “Describe why the Battle of Ideas represents an intellectual engine for revolutionary culture.” I wrote half a page, working it out so that the following terms didn’t appear: battle of ideas, revolutionary and revolution. I spoke about culture as an instrument of society to escape alienation and of art as I don’t know what. I got the highest grade.

  • Refrain completely from writing, signing or printing a single sentence that contains opinions distorting the truth.
  • Do not utter such phrases, not in private conversations nor in public speeches; not on your own volition nor by means of notes; not as an agitator, nor as a teacher, nor as a tutor, nor in plays.
  • Don’t show, or corroborate, or communicate, either by painting or sculpture or photography, or technically or musically, a single false thought, a single alteration of the obvious truth.
  • Do not name out loud, or in correspondence, or in an article, to please someone or to get a job or to succeed in it, authors’ judgments when you don’t fully share the opinions expressed in them, or don’t agree with what they say.
  • Refuse to attend, by force, a demonstration or rally, if it is against your free will.
  • Don’t take into your own hands, or circulate, banners or slogans that do not accord fully with the truth.
  • Don’t raise your hand to vote in favor of proposals which you do not sincerely support; don’t vote, either openly or secretly, for people you consider unworthy or suspicious.
  • Don’t participate in assemblies where you suspect they will submit certain proposals for discussion in a coercive and misleading way.
  • Instantly leave any meeting, assembly, conference, show or film, in which the presenter emits only lies, ideological nonsense, or shameless propaganda.
  • Do not subscribe or buy a single issue of magazines or newspapers in which the information has been gathered falsely or facts are fundamentally faked.

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