Live Not By Lies

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Morpheus's picture
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Live Not By Lies

We as a society live in a culture of lies. Don't think so? Go read today's newspaper for anything, anything related to Chris' message. Or yesterday's, or the day before, or the day before. In fact, the MSM, the politicians, the NGO's, ect... constantly put forth messages that contradict the Three E's. 

Do you ever get discouraged regarding this? I sure as hell do. When I do though, I read this essay from a Russian dissident. Read it. I wish that we had men like this in our country. 

Live Not By Lies

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

As printed in The Washington Post, p. A26 
Monday, February 18, 1974

Following is the full text of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's essay ``Live Not By Lies.'' It is perhaps the last thing he wrote on his native soil [before the collapse of the Soviet Union] and circulated among Moscow's intellectuals [at that time]. The essay is dated Feb. 12, the day that secret police broke into his apartment and arrested him. The next day he was exiled to West Germany.

At one time we dared not even to whisper. Now we write and read samizdat, and sometimes when we gather in the smoking room at the Science Institute we complain frankly to one another: What kind of tricks are they playing on us, and where are they dragging us? gratuitous boasting of cosmic achievements while there is poverty and destruction at home. Propping up remote, uncivilized regimes. Fanning up civil war. And we recklessly fostered Mao Tse-tung at our expense-- and it will be we who are sent to war against him, and will have to go. Is there any way out? And they put on trial anybody they want and they put sane people in asylums--always they, and we are powerless.

Things have almost reached rock bottom. A universal spiritual death has already touched us all, and physical death will soon flare up and consume us both and our children--but as before we still smile in a cowardly way and mumble without tounges tied. But what can we do to stop it? We haven't the strength?

We have been so hopelessly dehumanized that for today's modest ration of food we are willing to abandon all our principles, our souls, and all the efforts of our predecessors and all opportunities for our descendants--but just don't disturb our fragile existence. We lack staunchness, pride and enthusiasm. We don't even fear universal nuclear death, and we don't fear a third world war. We have already taken refuge in the crevices. We just fear acts of civil courage.

We fear only to lag behind the herd and to take a step alone-and suddenly find ourselves without white bread, without heating gas and without a Moscow registration.

We have been indoctrinated in political courses, and in just the same way was fostered the idea to live comfortably, and all will be well for the rest of our lives. You can't escape your environment and social conditions. Everyday life defines consciousness. What does it have to do with us? We can't do anything about it?

But we can--everything. But we lie to ourselves for assurance. And it is not they who are to blame for everything-we ourselves, only we. One can object: But actually toy can think anything you like. Gags have been stuffed into our mouths. Nobody wants to listen to us and nobody asks us. How can we force them to listen? It is impossible to change their minds.

It would be natural to vote them out of office-but there are not elections in our country. In the West people know about strikes and protest demonstrations-but we are too oppressed, and it is a horrible prospect for us: How can one suddenly renounce a job and take to the streets? Yet the other fatal paths probed during the past century by our bitter Russian history are, nevertheless, not for us, and truly we don't need them.

Now that the axes have done their work, when everything which was sown has sprouted anew, we can see that the young and presumptuous people who thought they would make out country just and happy through terror, bloody rebellion and civil war were themselves misled. No thanks, fathers of education! Now we know that infamous methods breed infamous results. Let our hands be clean!

The circle--is it closed? And is there really no way out? And is there only one thing left for us to do, to wait without taking action? Maybe something will happen by itself? It will never happen as long as we daily acknowledge, extol, and strengthen--and do not sever ourselves from--the most perceptible of its aspects: Lies.

When violence intrudes into peaceful life, its face glows with self-confidence, as if it were carrying a banner and shouting: ``I am violence. Run away, make way for me--I will crush you.'' But violence quickly grows old. And it has lost confidence in itself, and in order to maintain a respectable face it summons falsehood as its ally--since violence lays its ponderous paw not every day and not on every shoulder. It demands from us only obedience to lies and daily participation in lies--all loyalty lies in that.

And the simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation lies right here: Personal non-participation in lies. Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, but not with any help from me.

This opens a breach in the imaginary encirclement caused by our inaction. It is the easiest thing to do for us, but the most devastating for the lies. Because when people renounce lies it simply cuts short their existence. Like an infection, they can exist only in a living organism.

We do not exhort ourselves. We have not sufficiently matured to march into the squares and shout the truth our loud or to express aloud what we think. It's not necessary.

It's dangerous. But let us refuse to say that which we do not think.

This is our path, the easiest and most accessible one, which takes into account out inherent cowardice, already well rooted. And it is much easier--it's dangerous even to say this--than the sort of civil disobedience which Gandhi advocated.

Our path is to talk away fro the gangrenous boundary. If we did not paste together the dead bones and scales of ideology, if we did not sew together the rotting rags, we would be astonished how quickly the lies would be rendered helpless and subside.

That which should be naked would then really appear naked before the whole world.

So in our timidity, let each of us make a choice: Whether consciously, to remain a servant of falsehood--of course, it is not out of inclination, but to feed one's family, that one raises his children in the spirit of lies--or to shrug off the lies and become an honest man worthy of respect both by one's children and contemporaries.

And from that day onward he:

  • Will not henceforth write, sign, or print in any way a single phrase which in his opinion distorts the truth.
  • Will utter such a phrase neither in private conversation not in the presence of many people, neither on his own behalf not at the prompting of someone else, either in the role of agitator, teacher, educator, not in a theatrical role.
  • Will not depict, foster or broadcast a single idea which he can only see is false or a distortion of the truth whether it be in painting, sculpture, photography, technical science, or music.
  • Will not cite out of context, either orally or written, a single quotation so as to please someone, to feather his own nest, to achieve success in his work, if he does not share completely the idea which is quoted, or if it does not accurately reflect the matter at issue.
  • Will not allow himself to be compelled to attend demonstrations or meetings if they are contrary to his desire or will, will neither take into hand not raise into the air a poster or slogan which he does not completely accept.
  • Will not raise his hand to vote for a proposal with which he does not sincerely sympathize, will vote neither openly nor secretly for a person whom he considers unworthy or of doubtful abilities.
  • Will not allow himself to be dragged to a meeting where there can be expected a forced or distorted discussion of a question.
  • Will immediately talk out of a meeting, session, lecture, performance or film showing if he hears a speaker tell lies, or purvey ideological nonsense or shameless propaganda.
  • Will not subscribe to or buy a newspaper or magazine in which information is distorted and primary facts are concealed.

Of course we have not listed all of the possible and necessary deviations from falsehood. But a person who purifies himself will easily distinguish other instances with his purified outlook.

No, it will not be the same for everybody at first. Some, at first, will lose their jobs. For young people who want to live with truth, this will, in the beginning, complicate their young lives very much, because the required recitations are stuffed with lies, and it is necessary to make a choice.

But there are no loopholes for anybody who wants to be honest. On any given day any one of us will be confronted with at least one of the above-mentioned choices even in the most secure of the technical sciences. Either truth or falsehood: Toward spiritual independence or toward spiritual servitude.

And he who is not sufficiently courageous even to defend his soul- don't let him be proud of his ``progressive'' views,a dn don't let him boast that he is an academician or a people's artist, a merited figure, or a general--let him say to himself: I am in the herd, and a coward. It's all the same to me as long as I'm fed and warm.

Even this path, which is the most modest of all paths of resistance, will not be easy for us. But it is much easier than self-immolation or a hunger strike: The flames will not envelope your body, your eyeballs, will not burst from the heat, and brown bread and clean water will always be available to your family.

A great people of Europe, the Czhechoslovaks, whom we betrayed and deceived: Haven't they shown us how a vulnerable breast can stand up even against tanks if there is a worthy heart within it?

You say it will not be easy? But it will be easiest of all possible resources. It will not be an easy choice for a body, but it is only one for a soul. Not, it is not an easy path. But there are already people, even dozens of them, who over the years have maintained all these points and live by the truth.

So you will not be the first to take this path, but will join those who have already taken it. This path will be easier and shorter for all of us if we take it by mutual efforts and in close rank. If there are thousands of us, they will not be able to do anything with us. If there are tens of thousands of us, then we would not even recognize our country.

If we are too frightened, then we should stop complaining that someone is suffocating us. We ourselves are doing it. let us then bow down even more, let us wail, and out brothers the biologists will help to bring nearer the day when they are able to read our thoughts are worthless and hopeless.

And if we get cold feet, even taking this step, then we are worthless and hopeless, and the scorn of Pushkin should be directed to us:

``Why should cattle have the gifts of freedom?

``Their heritage from generation to generation is the belled yoke and the lash.''

DrKrbyLuv's picture
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Re: Live Not By Lies

Hello Morpheus,

Thanks for bringing us Alexander Solzhenitsyn.  His experience before the collapse of the Soviet Union is similar to our coming collapse under tyranny.  Our leaders have become malevolent misleaders and the corporate media is a propaganda and brainwashing machine.

Over a year ago, I decided not to live the lie.  I shunned political correctness and decided that I was going to speak freely, even outside my group of friends and family.  This wasn't a leap for me as I had been very active in protests and had been handing out fliers about the private Federal Reserve for the past 4+ years.  All my closer friends and relatives knew where I stood.  But it is another matter to publicly "live it" as Solzhenitsyn suggests; as it is sometimes provocative and seen as negative or unpatriotic.  It can be tough being a rebel with a cause.

While it is liberating and necessary (I think it is morally wrong to witness a great crime and not step forward), it may also lead one to frustration and resentment.  One thing that helps me almost keep some balance, has been to focus more on solutions than problems.  I'm re-writing my Fed flier again, to lean it ever more towards positive solutions.  I may even change the name and focus to monetary reform and reduce my stuff on the Fed (hmmmm...maybe I'll keep a second flier to expose the rotten Fed when needed!).

I'd be very interested in what others are doing to maintain "good karma."  Maybe some have found a new spiritual element or other ways to channel the energy? 


ao's picture
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Lies, lies everywhere and nary a truth to be found.

This is a needed post and addresses an issue that's smacked me across the face increasingly in recent times.  As a society, we seem almost incapable of not lying.  It's epidemic and pervasive in every aspect of our culture.

I listened to an investment talk the other day (more for the entertainment, free meal, and social aspect than because I was interested in the product) and the speaker conveniently neglected to mention key items which would have shot holes in his argument ... a lie of omission.  I hear an advertisement on the radio or see one on the TV and the announcer lies through his or her teeth.  Newspapers have ads that lie left and right.  Celebrities and sports figures daily prostitute themselves hawking products for the sake of the almighty buck and lie like rugs.  Politicians compulsively lie like most of us breathe, whether it's at the municipal, county, state, or federal level.  The media lies constantly.  Companies like Goldman Sachs will say one thing and do the exact opposite.  Ditto for institutions like the Fed.  Even Warren Buffet has been exposing his hand more as a shill.  I have people I interact with in business who regularly lie to save face, save money, cover their butt, whatever.  I recently had a service department in a car dealership ruin an expensive alloy wheel by bleeding the brakes improperly and having brake fluid leak out on the wheel.  They initially denied everything until I confronted them with the evidence in a way in which it could not be denied.  And truth be told, I find myself unwittingly being swept along in this direction as well.

It's a sickness permeating our society and it's gotten to the point where I'd like to go off into the woods for a week or two just to get away from the deluge of it all and to straighten myself out as well.  Nature doesn't lie.  It smacks you right in the face with reality.  That's what I love about it.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the problems we face as a society are inherently spiritual issues at their core and unless we address these core issues as individuals, families, communities, and nations, then all our other attempts to resolve, reverse, or rectify other problems including the 3Es will be fruitless.


V's picture
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Re: Live Not By Lies

Hey Morpheus 

We do have men like this in our country happen to be one of them.


idoctor's picture
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Re: Live Not By Lies

Morpheus good post.  Lies all depends on what the meaning of is is LOL. 

I wish we could resurrect the founding Fathers & let them descend on the White House for a little hearing or two. I would give anything to see that.

Aaron M's picture
Aaron M
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Re: Live Not By Lies


They'd be led away in handcuffs by Secret Service, and probably prosecuted under the Patriot Act, and labled "terrorists".

Hyperbole reigns the information age.
Action is frowned upon by all.



Thomas Hedin's picture
Thomas Hedin
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Re: Live Not By Lies

I wish we could resurrect the founding Fathers & let them descend on the White House for a little hearing or two. I would give anything to see that.

Then the founding fathers should be proud and/or ashamed because the very first thing they did was setup a debt money system in this country that was designed to benifit only the elitists at the top.


It may be unfair to be so rough on them because we have had over 200 years to reflect and try to learn from what they didn't do correctly.  They did setup the best form of government but somehow, one way or another, they were either filled with greed or deceived into believing that a debt money system could be functional and good for the new country.  Alexander Hamilton was clear is advocating for a slaved based money system, since he was the hardest advocate of debt money.

But what we do know is that we can study history and find out that debt money, given enough time will always lead a nation to ruin.  Its up to our generation to revoke and destroy the entire idea of creating the medium of exchange as interest bearing loans....or this country will go the way of the wild wild west.

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