Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. “The Ascent” and “Or Corruption?” from Book 4

Featured Video Play Icon

These first two chapters from the part “The Soul and the Barbed Wire” concern the question of whether human nature can be eliminated or not. The ideological view of the world is that human nature can be eliminated and a new “nature” created through acts of the will in line with ideological projects. Some inmate intellectuals agreed that Stalin’s camps HAD revolutionized human nature. Solzhenitsyn shows, however, that there is a “stable nucleus” that resists, in the strongest terms, such revolutionizing. These nuclei are both cultural and “natural” though the natural always seems to need cultural help. The talk closes with the “stoical” interpretation of “The Ascent”–and questions the adequacy of that view for politics, especially politics in an ideological age.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.