№ 4. 2008
THE APOLOGIA OF SHAKE-UP
This time we call attention of readers to continuation of informal conversation on relevant spiritual problems of the present time (The beginning is in “The sixth sense”, № 3, 2008). It is led by the priest, the politician and the literary man. This time the conversation is devoted to such a not simple theme as returning young people of Russia to their spiritual cradle - to Christianity.
The literary man: Today young people suffer and feel unhappy. They cast prudence to the winds. It is rather difficult for them to orient themselves in eclectic and sly space of our society. Degradation of young people in drug addiction and debauchery, in dark business which is akin to long-lasting suicide.
The politician: Of course, they are said: “Be rich! Be well-off!” And they will swallow the bait. It is the most powerful propagandistic machine that works everywhere. Why does the government look at this indifferently or even support it? This question still stays open. Most likely it says about the quality of the government.
The literary man: Public morals are not formed by Party Committee or Local Committee, but by means of information, mass media. Anyway, there is someone over them who controls them. What is this? Forth independent power? But there are no independent people in the world, are there? Over any person, I repeat, over any person, regardless of rank he takes, there is a power, or idea, or other person that rules him.
The politician: Absolutely, as for censorship, it has changed a lot lately. If before, in the time of Soviet power, the censorship was humanized, there was a party boss, who could admit something, understand something, sympathize with something, make a mistake after all as any human. Now the censorship is money. It is dead and the only criterion is money. Mafias and clans are being formed everywhere, especially on TV, and they are much worse than any party censorship. Anything, but something commercially attractive and that responses to the spirit of the time, will not be admitted under any circumstances. These censors are worse than sphinxes, than idols.
The literary man: Commercial interest is the exploitation of human passions. But you mentioned the spirit of the time. In the scale delight of immorality I clearly see an evident ideology. Mass media is just a performer. Isn’t it clear?
The politician: That is right. Ideological situation in Mass Media became tougher even in comparison with former times. I heard it from creative people who are complaining that the person with traditional values can not get to the screen of TV, to the stage of concert hall, nowhere.
The literary man: Let us return to the question of young people.
The priest: Dostoevsky said that russian man can be only orthodox. Today everything is aimed at the propaganda of enjoyments killing soul. At vicious pleasure. All bans are removed. At the same time the soul of young people stays distorted but alive, and the surfeit of sin leads them to disappointment.
The literary man: Young people sooner come to moral disappointment than adults who have many years’ habit of the practice of passions.
The politician: I think there are some circumstances that work in our favor. First, they are afraid of living. And this fear never existed before. They are scared to live because the world became aggressive to these young people. They do not know how to meet their main challenges: how to build the family, build relationships with other people. Anywhere they go the habitat itself is destructive for them. Temptations, fraud, lies, violence are all over around. They fully realize that habitat is not getting better, it is getting worse. Everyone comprehends subconsciously: I will give a birth to my child but what will happen to my child in ten-twenty years, if it is going on. Intuitively everybody feels this. I suppose problems with demography and depopulation came from this. Common decreasing of passionarity is taking place, depression of the spirit is growing. Especially if the spirit is unconscious, it is not so easy to suppress it. When unconscious spirit is driven into a corner, it weakens, falls into depression, into melancholy, incomprehensible suffering, into the dead end, where there is no exit from.
The priest: When I was young and when we lived on old Christian supply, we treated each other like good neighbors, tried to help each other, especially unattached mothers with children. Every neighbor was in the role of an aunt, we called them “aunt”, “Aunt Nadya” or “uncle Vanya” – for men. No one worried about kids, about the fact that they stayed on their own, they played in the yard. There were some insignificant hooliganism but there was this old Russian community. Everyone was responsible for each other. But this moment is in the past. It was our old Russian capital. That is why we won the war. What is the attack of the Russian man? It is absolutely different from the attack of german army. Our brotherly attack is a family one. That is why we won the war not materially but spiritually. And nowadays’ fear of mother and father for their child did not exist in that time. They just gave a birth and then the child was growing up on his own. Where are your children? They are walking. Of course, someone could sink, stumble, fall down, but it was naturally. But they did not insult, steal, violate, seduce. It is definitely terrifying. Today the government is trying to subsidize, help mother, but she needs to be soothed, be given confidence that her child will grow up safely. It will change situation for better. It is an important moment. Now even toys became aggressive. To tell the truth, Russian baby is rocking to sleep plastic freak from Hong Kong with such a tenderness as it were a plush bear or a kind hedgehog. That is spontaneous resistance to the evil from the side of children’s soul looking for something beautiful everywhere.
The politician: Anyway, we still can feel the fear. Feigned vulgarity of young people, slang, challenge, aggression – all these features transform before our eyes into super aggression, super activity, super challenge to everything. Why? Just because, there was never such a heavy load on psychophysical state of the person. No one experienced such a load as in these latter days. The world became so cruel, so terrifying, so aggressive that they just do not know what to do. Second moment –they are looking for the way out. Because unlike us they have the whole life ahead. So, the question: how to live, how to survive, how to save themselves – is number one. The most critical, the most complicated, therefore along with fear there is an enormous need to get rid of this fear, to lean on something. That is why we are talking about self-knowledge. The person has to know his fear, face it and only then find defense and antidote against it. When we start the conversation with young people from this point of view we can feel that there is nothing more important for them than that.
The priest: That is why terrifying freedom, that is allowed today, is providential. The more it is degrading the more lonely the person feels. The only way out is to go to the savior, to the God. Than everything will be rehabilitated, everything will be changed for the better. Vice will start hiding as it was a long time ago because today it is not disguising itself, today the vice is openly called virtue. Can you find the word “debauch” anywhere today? It does not exist. We use the word “sex” instead. About trashy woman they say that she is sexy. It is terrifying. Magdalina confessed her vice and became like an apostle. If today we write a book about how she lived before Christ, it is going to be the trendiest bestseller.
The soul of the person is decaying with debauch. A contemporary archimandrite gave the data that he got from gynecologists in Russia: for twentieth century Russian women killed in the womb a milliard of kids. Milliard! It is like forty nuclear bombs dropped to Nagasaki. And this murder is going on. It is the most terrifying. That is why we always have to bear in mind following: the necessity of family rehabilitation. Russian government acts definitely good when it is talking about tendency to stimulate fertility paying benefits and so on. But it should be comprehensive approach and it should being carried out along with changing of mass media’s immoral activity in the way of elementary Christian tradition.
If we really can stimulate young families and if woman feels like a mother (she lost this feeing during twentieth century, when she was put on the tractor, thrown into mine, when he children were sent to kindergartens and day nurseries. Expectation was right - destroy Russian nation by depriving women of maternal instinct) – and if the government supports this good intention materially and Church - spiritually, young woman will stop killing her kids in the womb and the maternity will revive and Russia will rise from sinful prostration.
If we take into account only material side of the life – they say nowadays: “Why should we give a birth to a child if we can not feed it anyone?” – at the time of the second World War they gave birth more than now. It means that the problem is not in material conditions but in spiritual ones. We should bring to a young woman thought that killing in the womb she is killing a human. In this connection there is a wonderful sermon from The Holy Fathers in Synaxarium (Synaxarium is a special book containing selected works of spiritual Christian literature; stories about martyrs on Saturday before Lent). It tells about commemoration of deceased. I will cite it almost word for word: “We create the third day” – it means the third day after death – “because man loses his image. On the ninth day flesh spreads away – only heart is alive. On the fortieth day the heart dies…On the third day after conception the heart is pictured in the womb of the mother, on the ninth day flesh is formed, on the fortieth day it transforms into the perfect appearance”. In other words, in forty days there is a formed baby in the womb. Now pathologist confirmed that man’s heart lives forty days after the death. Very faintly, hardly, but lives. As for the fact that on the third day the heart is pictured in the womb of mother – what miraculous words are! Our women should hear them. What a mysterious thing! Fabulous spiritual providence that is being confirmed today by medical scientists.
The politician: It is not possible to say better. Everyone who has ears to hear – listen! Yes… The matter is that the shell of people’s stone insensibility reached the highest level of solidity. It is formed out of thousands materials that strengthen it: temptations, baits, fraud, entertainments. But this solidity is destroying due to a weak intimidated being inside that does not want to be like that. I think if we can find right words, right approaches to young people, this fortress will be smashed into smithereens. They feel sincere desire to help them. And – a pray. When we are talking about missionary work, it must be loving.
The priest: I have a pre-revolutionary edition “Travel to Erzerum” by Pushkin. He writes that we conquered these kids of Caucuses. They are wild but trustful. What will we bring there – imperial arrogance or evangelic gentleness? Our future depends on this. Recently Putin, when he was a president, said in the interview that he is “Russian nationalist in the best meaning of this word”. It means he is orthodox. If present president openly unmasked the evil – on All-Russian conference, on the congress of young people – held up the propaganda of debauch to shame, it would be awesome. Our people are sincere. I remember the time when Gorbachev and Ligachev had a fight with drunkenness. How many people handed in home-brewing machines! They believed and responded, because they were said: either drink or live. It is a very important moment. Now president should say: either live or go to the bad and die.
The politician: I have more skeptic point of view on these things. I think that appealing to the power or waiting until it comes to its sense and truly addresses to people and calls us upon to something is hardly realistic. We can judge the mighties of this world by what they do. Because a violent fight between different forces that see Russian present and its future in different ways. Present situation is the result of spiritual state of power and people. If our common spiritual state does not change for the better the call from above will simply drown, it will reach no one and nothing. The problem is that people hear but do not listen to, look but do not see. You make sure of this when you talk to young people and to adults as well. You have to arouse it from the bottom and somehow it is even easier to do. And then pressure from the bottom will transform the power.
The priest: Force appears only when person change his spiritual world view from vicious for constructive. Communistic ideology declared merciless war to Christianity as a whole, to any dissidence generally. It carried it out systematically and emphatically, with fanaticism. They took it from our generally used Orthodoxy. Truth is only in the God and this is right. Today government is attempting to consolidate family and stop decreasing of our people. Why is fertility coming down? We need to change spiritual basis of our society. Well-known economist Yasin, the head of Higher School of Economics, said five years ago: I do not welcome Bolshevism, it brought us many misfortunes, the only thing was good is that it had a fight with religion. What was so good in this? Because Orthodoxy is nothing but our daily fight with ourselves, where, as Chekhov says, we always squeeze out a drop of a slave. What slave? The slave of passions. We have to tell president about this. Why did we take an alien ideology of the West? We have our splendid Russian culture. Why do we need the cult of pleasures? Russian people always were honest and moral. Divorce was a vice. For instance, russian out-of-the-way place: workers and peasants. Were there any divorces? No! Divorces happen in cultured families, among aristocrats. They went far away from moral positions and lived up to ideas of pleasures. They would better raise children, live on the ground, build a house, enjoy nature. That is what is needed…if it was said from the top, it would have a good effect. That is why recent Medvedev and Putin’s speech about confrontation with the West met with a strong reaction of people. People realized that the West unfortunately never was our friend. We would like to be friends, but they do not want that, because of spiritual and economic confrontations of the past. So, we must create our own world view: not against the West, but just to show our spiritual beauty. And we will be able to save world with this.
The politician: Unfortunately, all politics is founded on Machiavelli and Hammurapi. When our elected power starts declaring national projects, it means instinct of self-preservation is working. Any power is trying, first of all, to protect itself.
The priest: It does not matter, I took in the words about nationalism with all my heart. I have never heard this in my life. We used to kowtow to the West.
The politician: As a pragmatic person, I look at all this with big scepsis. Not to be entrapped another time, we have to do something not setting hopes upon the power. Everything that we can. All that Putin have done may be just an excellent addition for us. We will be only happy if Medvedev follows this way, but they do not do that so far. It raises big doubts.
The priest: In his time Pushkin said that the government should always go ahead of people. In everything. And that is true. Because our people still trust the government. And it does not matter if the government is presidential or tsarist. Russian man just can not go in a different way. He lives not one by one but all together, in common. And it is not important who is at the head either tsar or president – the main thing is that he has to be a provident master and have God’s fear sweeping away from his heart any despotic and absolutist, traitorous source. It could bring to real nation-wide family. It is the ground of Russian culture and Russia. These are not my words, but Pushkin’s: only one, equal to us, who has to be superior to us – it is a tsar.
The politician: Yes, we can not buy the tsar. Individual power causes personal responsibility for everything. Collective management spreads this responsibility and in case of something it is difficult to find out who guilty is. Collectivism is a liberal idea.
The priest: Liberalism is caused by absence, denial of hierarchy and patriotism, spiritual principles and permissiveness. Their ideologist is Russo. For example, “Apocrypha” by Erofeev: he has Pushkin, Dostoevsky in there, but he is westernized.
He is like an old woman that bowed twice to front corner and once to back corner. She was asked: “Who is this to?” “To Satan”, - she replied. “What for?” “Just for any case. He is strong, he fought with the God.” So liberals do. They consider the God, but bow to the gut who stands behind. By the way, Putin and Medvedev go to church and monastery, even to poor ones. They cross themselves, kiss an icon. What does it mean?
The politician: If their heart bleeds, why they allow debauch of immorality. Maybe it is something different? Probably there are certain limits when you are said what you are allowed to do and what not. But it is not possible to put Orthodox believer on the dog’s lead.
The priest: I have just told you how the old woman prayed…
The literary man: Well, I tried to explain myself this phenomenon: why they are orthodox in outward appearance and at the same time there is a decay of people’s morality, growing up generation and children in the society. Probably our rulers can not do everything so far. Processes of decay have been taking place in the society for a long time and on a large scale. So, in his time, tsar Nikolay Aleksandrovich, who was blamed with inactivity before coming up revolution, could not make things right. He could not manage the situation. Wild capitalism of the beginning of XX century cut the ground from the tsar's feet and demoralized society, having propagated public houses, lumpenized peasants and made angry workers by tough exploitation. In their turn, revolutionaries tempted masses with freedoms and set off bombs, spreading fear, anarchy and atheism.
All the society was propagandized by ideas of Volter, French revolution and Marx. The society did not need Tsar and Holy Russia any more. That is why it is sinful to blame him with cowardice. “Progressive” people turned away from him. The tsar, because of Christian principles of his soul, wanted to shed as less blood as possible. His enemies did not slight any methods – they wanted socialism and power. Possibly today there is the same fight in the upper crust and president does his best. What am I talking about? Definitely, there is a fight there and what a fight! Haters of Russia, its Christian tradition and independence have colossal power and strength. They disorientate young people and seduce children’s soul. Even single debauched shot from any entertainment channel (there are plenty of those) remains in kid’s memory for many years, spreads a seed of distortion to kid’s soul. For example, recently “Channel 2x2” showed the cartoon “Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics” from the serial “South Park”. This cartoon designates human excrements, faeces as a symbol of Christmas. How does this blasphemy affect children? The process of mocking at Christian tradition is going in an endless stream today but ideologists say that it is absolutely normal. What is going on in economy, with earth, its interiors?! Clearance sale, ominous rustling of bucks. Where, to whom?! And the most terrifying is that the society put up with everything and keeps silence. But the president is being scolded all the time. No one wants to criticize himself. That is interesting.
The politician: To improve this chronic situation there should occur such grand event in the personal fate of everyone when the God shakes up a man and puts him from head to feet. Only after that man becomes free from being in the state of irresponsibility and looseness like from nightmare. Either instead of shake-up there should be some the most serious and purposeful efforts. Because the life of a contemporary man, as it seems to me, became complete unbearable suffering. Cruelty, complete uncertainty, dissociation, triumph of the sin and brute force. We do not have any opportunity to retreat a step. Moreover, man feels that the whole civilization can not go back a step. If in previous era there always were reserves, resources and space now we do not have it. Science exhausted itself, politics has only “-isms”, in which no ones believes. Limit in everything, and a man as a cell of this organism feels this limit inside himself.
The priest: You absolutely right, because the God foresaw that. He created this world and he rules it for the triumph of the good. That is why all the evil should completely become apparent. Before it needed the disguise of masonry, liberalism, freedom, equality, brotherhood. Today it operates out in the open.
The politician: Young people have this crisis in a sharper form. Their teeth ache more than ours. The factor of suffering is present. A push is needed. What push? In the form of necessary knowledge that must be done to people. These knowledge must overcome all blockages created by enemies. First of all blockages that make everything senseless and mix up all senses. Mocking at all morals, exceeding all limits, eliminating all distinctions. The enemy creates alienation between the Man and the Truth by this. How can we get rid of this alienation? We just should deliver necessary information right to the man, because not all young people are ready to go to Church.
The priest: What is the end of the Gospel from Mark? “Go and preach the Gospel to the whole world. Who comes to believe - will be saved.”
The politician: Young people, as adherents, as a perceptive part, even by the fact of extreme suffering are ready for changes. Adults, I am sure, are ready as well. Shock fighting legion is being formed in the Church, in the world. It will go to the antispiritual barricade in order to smash it into smithereens and begin Christianizing dying country.
The priest: There were only twelve apostles, then seventy, but they won the whole world. They were united by the strength of mind.
The politician: In terms of this I do not pin hopes on politics. Just because you have to rely on somebody. How does anything healthy can grow up in this? From my point of view, politics is such a scope of activity where there is no place for normal Christian principles. “Do not rely on princes…”
The priest: Russia’s downfall started from gradually decreasing the role of Holy Russia. It was until the time of Peter the Great, when the Russian man, as Afanasy Sakharov writes, lived up to Tipicon, Church, church service. In the time of Peter the Great absolutely alien principles of life were brought us through this “window to Europe”: intellectuals were torn off from the Gospel, aristocracy was torn off, Russian people were divided. Plain people, peasants, became orthodox, intellectuals became westerners. Just a small part of aristocracy remained with church principles. Peter forbade noblemen to become monks. That is why monkery lost (let us recall reverend Sergey Radonejsky from boyars, hallow Aleksy ) its scientific spirituality. Russia’s downfall started from losing belief. It touched on intellectuals, scientists and professors. Even Mendeleev was not accepted to the Academy only because he was a belivier. And it occurred in formally orthodox Russia!... So, the belief is primary. Today the Church has risen. Monasteries are reappearing, spiritual books are being published. What is the church mission? Educate people, go to people. You have to be a missionary in your own house. People, that lived before revolution, fell down from the height. God’s Law was taught in gymnasium, university and Sunday school at that time. Everybody knew Holy Writ and that is why nowadays people, that do not know anything and for the century were deprived of spiritual heritage, will not fall like their predecessor. The God spares us. And first of all it is about young people. We need to understand that Church is a clinic, our young people as well as adults are ill and have to be treated. Then present army will rise, fleet will rise, state, family will arise. everything is going to be ok. But everyone along with taking part in public fight must fight with himself. Then success will come.
Publication was prepared by
перевод на англ. Марии Просвиряковой
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