Home > Uncategorized > Evgeny Bogat: In a world of napalm and burning villages, love is triumph over non-existence

Evgeny Bogat: In a world of napalm and burning villages, love is triumph over non-existence

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Russian writers on peace and war

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Evgeny Bogat
From Eternal Man
Translated by Christine Bushnell

[After quoting Alexander Blok about “the hope of arising the world cyclone, which will bring a warm wind and the fresh smell of orange groves to countries covered with snow.”]

The world in which we live today is in the grip of this “cyclone.” The air is thick with the smell of burning villages, giant, sweaty cities, the stench of napalm, but for those of us who have not lost our moral bearings, there is also “the fresh smell of orange groves.”

The “fibres of humanity,” interweaving form a strong bough. And this “bough of humanity,” absorbing the best of human experience from ages past (experience both of the great and the unknown), imbued with the pangs of conscience of today’s humanity, will become more resilient and vital.

In all ages, love, despite its most delicate intimacy, has depended on the moral state of the world. This is true, of course, of our time, too. There is in love the same “polarization of god” that is the general mark of the twentieth century.

In the capitalist world where the secrets of sex have lost their last covers,where the corporeal and spiritual, moral foundations of man have been sundered with cruel utilitarianism, in a world where they are ready to tear from woman not only her clothes but also to flay the skin from her bones if that will rouse even a little the rotting sexuality of the consumer and pry away his money, the “bough of humanity” is growing despite everything. Something unknown to people of past ages has entered love, has been revealed in love: a new spirituality and new tenderness, a new sadness and new compassion. True love is a triumph over non-existence. To say “I love you” is the same as saying “you will never die.”

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Alone with the lantern, I thought late into the evening of the spirituality of craftsmanship. At exhibitions of ancient weaponry – in the Hermitage they are splendid – one does not feel this exaltation despite the fantastic craftsmanship of the armourers. Standing at the expansive, gala show cases, where, like many-figured sculpture, pistols lie delicately on yellow, dull velvet, one understands: one can neither aesthetically justify not exalt murder. The craftsmanship of armourers is without soul.

Soullessness need not necessarily be attendant on the birth of artistically valuable weapons of murder. Moreover, it is less dangerous there, because it is obvious.

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People can be divided into two types: those who feel themselves the creditors of humanity and those who feel themselves humanity’s permanent debtors. The creditors are unhappy: the awareness that everything – children, parents, comrades, the people – owe them something poisons their lives and destroys them. Debtors experience a different, exalted, enviable torment: a feeling of debt outstanding against life, the present, and humanity.

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