Home > Uncategorized > Vladimir Soloukhin: Shadow of this beautiful world being incinerated

Vladimir Soloukhin: Shadow of this beautiful world being incinerated

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

Russian writers on war

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Vladimir Soloukhin
From Autumn Leaves
Translated by Margaret Wettlin

If a hundred years ago a poet could give himself up wholly to a contemplation of the beauty of the world, a modern poet in contemplating this beauty is aware of a shadow hovering over it. Too keenly does he sense the danger of this beautiful world being reduced to dust and ashes.

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Science is capable of annihilating Mt. Everest or even the moon, but it is incapable of changing the human heart. This is the mission of Art.

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Science with its formulas, tables, computations and deductions, organizes the rational side of man’s nature.

Art organizes the emotional side, for if science is the memory of man’s sense, art is the memory of man’s sensibility.

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Soon we will know how to make synthetic everything: synthetic rubber, synthetic bread, meat, fruit, cabbage. Out of coal and oil. But in time the supplies of coal and oil will be exhausted. Even if we learned to make bread out of granite, the granite would eventually come to an end.

What I am driving at is, that we are thereby exhausting the earth’s resources in the absolute sense, without replacing or replenishing them. Whereas when we grow wheat, grapes, trees, cotton and flax, we neither expend nor exhaust the earth, rather do we enrich it from year to year, for in practicing husbandry the sun’s energy is transformed into organic matter.

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