Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Will beauty save the world? Solzhenitsyn on Dostoevsky

"So perhaps that ancient trinity of Truth, Goodness and Beauty is not simply an empty, faded formula as we thought in the days of our self-confident, materialistic youth? If the tops of these three trees converge, as the scholars maintained, but the too blatant, too direct stems of Truth and Goodness are crushed, cut down, not allowed through - then perhaps the fantastic, unpredictable, unexpected stems of Beauty will push through and soar TO THAT VERY SAME PLACE, and in so doing will fulfil the work of all three?

In that case Dostoevsky's remark, "Beauty will save the world", was not a careless phrase but a prophecy? After all HE was granted to see much, a man of fantastic illumination.

And in that case art, literature might really be able to help the world today?

It is the small insight which, over the years, I have succeeded in gaining into this matter that I shall attempt to lay before you here today."
-Alexandr Solzhenitsyn in his 1970 Nobel Prize Lecture

Why have I not read this short piece before?

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Blogger noneuclidean said...

Thanks for posting that. I think Dostoevsky might have underestimated society's ability to make the appreciation of beauty a purely hedonistic and narcissistic endeavor, but at the same time I think he might have been right. I don't know if you've listened to him, but the apologist Ravi Zacharias has argued that in our postmodern culture the artist has the greatest ability to communicate Truth....

4/12/2007 5:33 PM  

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