Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Two Worldviews

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago Volume 1: An Experiment in Literary Investigation quotes St. Patriarch Tikhon's 1918 letter to the Council of People's Commissars, which after noting that "many courageous priests have already paid for their preaching with the blood of martyrdom," protested, "You have laid your hands on church property collected by generations of believers, and you have not hesitated to violate their posthumous intent."

Mr. Solzhenitsyn suggests parenthetically, "The People's Commissars did not, of course, read the message, but the members of their administrative staff must have had a good laugh: Now they've really got something to reproach us with — posthumous intent! We sh-t on your ancestors! We are only interested in descendants."

Of course, the same conflict has played out and continues to be played out the world over between traditionalists and progressivists. What the latter fail to understand is that the former are interested in both ancestors and descendants. In fact, it is impossible to separate the two.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Interesting that Jefferson had the same attitude at the People's Commisars. Jacobins think alike!

11:36 AM  
Blogger Pints in NYC said...

". . . their posthumous intent."

Chesterton called this the "democracy of the dead!

11:41 AM  
Blogger Steve Hayes said...

I'm reminded of an early meeting pf the Durban town council, in the 1850s or thereabouts, when someone had proposed selling off some municipal property to raise cash. Someone urged caution, saying "we must think of posterity."

And someone else replied, "Why, what has posterity ever done for us?"

2:02 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Mark, not sure what you mean.

Pints, that was the quote that came to my mind.

Steve, hilarious!

9:48 PM  
Blogger Jon Marc said...

"It is impossible to separate the two."

If only more people went through life with that perspective!

1:50 AM  

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