Harvard Address

      39 Comments on Harvard Address

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Commencement Address at Harvard University—8 June 1978. {Russian audio with English-translation audio overlay.}

39 thoughts on “Harvard Address

  1. hypo krites

    A Decline In Courage

    (10:49) "A decline in courage, maybe the most striking feature which an outsider observer notices in the west, in our days. The western world has lost it's civil courage …"

    (18:16) "The letter of the law is too cold and formal to have a beneficial influence on society. When ever the tissue of life is woven of legalistic relations, there is an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulses…. And it will be simply impossible to stand through the trials of this threatening century with only the support of a legalistic structure."

  2. vadym matusov

    I was a 5 year old Soviet boy when the speech was delivered. Let me tell you that Solzhenitsyn's way of thinking is entirely different from the way the Soviet Union was thinking at that time. At that time it was even incomprehensible to think that the country would adopt the Western lifestyle and ideology. Looking back now I only marvel how prophetic he was

  3. TrautenberkXXX

    Great speech. I can see what leisure and materialism without any spiritualism does to me. I know too much useless information – celebrites, gossip, funny youtube videos etc. It corrodes my mind. Time to change.


    Humanism as being the new communism. How frightening that law, current fashion, and a subjective press remove our hard fought right of looking to God for direction. Solzhenitsyn was right. The great turning point is upon us. God help us.

  5. dromine osteo

    "…A person who works and leads a meaningful life has no need for this excessive and burdening flow of information…
    …Hastiness and superficiality — these are the psychic diseases of the twentieth century and more than anywhere else this is manifested in the press."

  6. macnslosh

    "…After the suffering of decades of violence and oppression, the human soul longs for things higher, warmer, and purer than those offered by today's mass living habits, introduced as by a calling card by the revolting invasion of commercial advertising, by TV stupor, and by intolerable music…"

  7. Karen Hughes

    There should be two versions of this speech presented. One in Russian with no audio overlay and another with the overlay for those who don't understand the Russian language. I'm doing the best I can to catch the Russian in this presentation.

  8. Heinrich Pesch

    Solzhenitsyn has always been my favourite author, but he was too optimistic about the future of Russia when in the West. He even said that socialism has never worked anywhere. What about Sweden, Norway, Danmark, Finland, West-Germany etc.? He would not give the people to chose for themselves. Why not, when he believed in the spiritual strength of the simple Russian people?

  9. Tascha R.

    Look at FEMA detention camps, equiped with masses of plastic coffins and ammunition… What could happen in a couple of years if you are "not political correct"? The biggest enemy of the people are the governments and those who rule them from behind (the "1%" of psychpaths like the military-industrial-complex,the banks, Bilderberg group, Skull& bones, trilateral comission and so on…) Don´t trust the propaganda media (ruled by a couple of companies)! Let us peolple (the 99%) stand together not to end in a global martial-law-dictatorship! Greetings to all from Germany

  10. Panterino

    "Legalistic Life:" People in the West have acquired considerable skill in interpreting and manipulating the law. Any conflict is solved according to the letter of the law and this is considered to be the supreme solution. One is right from a legal point of view, nothing more is required, nobody may mention that one could still not be entirely right and urge self-restraint. A willingness to renounce such legal rights, sacrifice, and selfless risk – it would sound simply absurd. One almost never sees voluntary self-restraint, everybody operates at the extreme limit of those legal frames. I have spent all my life under a communist regime and I will tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed but a society with no other scale than the legal one is not quite worthy of man either. * applause *

  11. Panterino

    A society which is based on the letter of the law and never reaches any higher is taking very scarce advantage of the higher level of human possibilities. The letter of the law is too cold and formal to have a beneficial influence on society. Whenever the fissure of life is woven of legalistic relations, there is an atmosphere of moral mediocraty paralyzing man's nobelist impulses. * Applause *

  12. Panterino

    And it will be simply impossible to stand through the trials of this threatening century with only the support of a legalistic structure. In today's Western society, the inequality has been availed of freedom for good deeds and freedom for evil deeds. A statesman who wants to achieve something important and highly constructive for his country has to move cautiously and even timidly, there are thousands of hasty and irresponsible critics around him. Parliament and the press keep rebuffing him, as he moves ahead he has to prove that each single step of his is well founded and absolutely flawless. Actually an outstanding and particularly gifted person who has unusual and unexpected initiatives in mind hardly gets a chance to assert himself. From the very beginning dozens of traps will be set out for him. Thus mediocrity triumphs with the excuse of restrictions imposed by democracy. It is feasible and easy everywhere to undermine administrative power and in fact it has been drastically weakened in all western countries. The defense of individual rights has reached such extremes as to make society as a whole defenseless against certain individuals. It is time in the West to defend, not so much human rights, as human obligations. * Applause *

  13. D. Dot Ross

    'degeneracy is freedom' ' freedom is lawful order and fulfillment of obligations to God and man'…this right here is a TRUE dichotomy which will not be solved till kingdom come.

    Many tragedies will be done in the name of 'human rights'…again till Kingdom come.


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