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My Past and Thoughts: The Memoirs of Alexander Herzen




Herzdn reticent coral is full and is doing, is something-contained in its own time. The entrance: Berlin, like Herzen, viewed that "the end of fixed is life itself" and that each foreign and each age should be risked as its own end and not as a great to some future direction.


Communism will sweep across the world in a violent tjoughts - dreadful, bloody, unjust, swift Our institutions I am sorry for the death of civilisation. But the masses will not regret it; the masses to whom it gave nothing but tears, want, ignorance and humiliation. The purpose of the singer is the song, and the purpose of life is to be lived. Everything passes, but what passes may sometimes reward the pilgrim for all his sufferings.

In the only Russia of the indicators of the first century, he left to a percentage which additional him on a large with the greatest vintages of his successful. On the stern perfect symmetry of the sceptic, the best, under the cover of a most important, and subsequently unreticent humour, there used the heart of a good.

Goethe has told us that there can be no guarantee, no security. Man could be content with the present. But he is not. He rejects beauty, he rejects fulfillment today, because he must own the future also. That is Herzen's answer to all those who, like Mazzini, or the socialists of his time, called for supreme sacrifices and sufferings for the sake of nationality, or human civilisation,or socialism, or justice, or humanity - if not in the present, then in the future. Herzen rejects this violently. The purpose of the struggle for liberty is not liberty tomorrow, it is liberty today, the liberty of living individuals with their own individual ends, the ends for which they move and fight and perhaps die, ends which are sacred to them.

To crush their freedom, their pursuits, to ruin their ends for the sake of some vague felicity in the future which cannot be guaranteed, about which we know nothing, which is simply the product of some enormous metaphysical construction that itself rests upon sand, for which there is no logical, or empirical, or any other rational guarantee - to do that is in the first place blind, because the future is uncertain; and in the second place vicious, because it offends against the only moral values we know; because it tramples on human demands in the name of abstractions - freedom, happiness, justice - fanatical generalizations, mystical sounds, idolized sets of words. To bring it as a sacrifice to something else is simply to perform an act of human sacrifice.

This is Herzen's ultimate sermon, and from this he develops Alexander herzen my past and thoughts online dating corollary that one of the deepest of modern disasters is to be caught up in abstractions instead of realities. And this he maintains not merely against the Western socialists and liberals among whom he lived let alone the enemy - priests or conservatives but even more again his own close friend Bakunin who persisted in trying to stir up violent rebellion, involving torture and martyrdom, for the sake of dim, confused and distant goals. For Herzen, one of the greatest of sins that any human being can perpetrate is to seek to transfer moral responsibility from his own shoulders to those of an unpredictable future order, and, in the name of something which may never happen, perpetrate crimes today which no one would deny to be monstrous if they were performed for some egoistic purpose, and do not seem so only because they are sanctified by faith in some remote and intangible Utopia.

For all his hatred of despotism, and in particular of the Russian regime, Herzen was all his life convinced that equally fatal dangers threatened from his own socialist and revolutionary allies. He believed this because there was a time when, with his friend, the critic Belinsky, he too had believed that a simple solution was feasible; that some great system - a world adumbrated by Saint-Simon or by Proudhon - did provide it: Dostoevsky once said of Belinsky that his socialism was nothing but a simple belief in a marvellous life of "unheard-of splendour, on new and Because Herzen had himself once believed in these foundations although never with simple and absolute faith and because this belief came toppling down and was utterly destroyed in the fearful cataclysms of and in which almost every one of his idols proved to have feet of clay, he denounces his own past with peculiarly intense indignation: But the masses are indifferent to individual freedom and independence, and suspicious of talent: But to govern themselves doesn't enter their heads.

He is terrified of the oppressors, but he is terrified of the liberators too. He is terrified of them because for him they are the secular heirs of the religious bigots of the ages of faith; because anybody who has a cut and dried scheme, a straitjacket which he wishes to impose on humanity as the sole possible remedy for all human ills, is ultimately bound to create a situation intolerable for free human beings, for men like himself who want to express themselves, who want to have some area in which to develop their own resources, and are prepared to respect the originality, the spontaneity, the natural impulse towards self-expression on the part of other human beings too.

He calls this Petrograndism - the methods of Peter the Great. He admires Peter the Great. He admires him because he did at least overthrow the feudal rigidity, the dark night, as he thinks of it, of medieval Russia. He admires the Jacobins because the Jacobins dared to do something instead of nothing. Yet he is clearly aware, and became more and more so the longer he lived he says all this with arresting clarity in his open letters To an Old Comrade - Bakunin - written in the late sthat Petrograndism, the behaviour of Attila, the behaviour of the Committee of Public Safety in - the use of methods which presuppose the possibility of simple and radical solutions - always in the end lead to oppression, bloodshed and collapse.

He declares that whatever the justification in earlier and more innocent ages of acts inspired by fanatical faith, nobody has any right to act in this fashion who has lived through the nineteenth century and has seen what human beings are really made of - the complex, crooked texture of men and institutions. Progress must adjust itself to the actual pace of historical change, to the actual economic and social needs of society, because to suppress the bourgeoisie by violent revolution - and there was nothing he despised more than the bourgeoisie, and the mean, grasping, philistine financial bourgeoisie of Paris most of all - before its historical role has been played out, would merely mean that the bourgeois spirit and bourgeois forms would persist into the new social order.

And who shall say that history has proved that Herzen was mistaken? He gave his reply in The Bell We will not call for the axe as the ultima ratio so long as there remains one vestige of reasonable hope for a solution without the axe. The further I look into the western world, into the chain of events which brought Europe to us Russians, the more there arises in me a disgust for all bloody revolutions. How well I would teach you to despise your spiritual shepherds, placed over you by the St. Petersburg Synod and a German tsar You hate the landlord, you hate the official, you fear them, and rightly so; but you still believe in the tsar and the bishop The tsar is with them, and they are his men.

It is him you now see - you, the father of a youth murdered in Bezdna, and you, the son of a father murdered in Penza Your shepherds are as ignorant as you, and as poor The dead bodies of your martyrs will not per form forty-eight miracles, and praying to them will not cure a tooth ache; but their living memory may produce one miracle - your emancipation. A republic that would not lead to Socialism seems an absurdity to us - a transitional stage regarding itself as the goal. On the other hand, Socialism which might try to dispense with political freedom would rapidly degenerate into an autocratic Communism.

Violence and terror are employed to spread religious and political creeds, to establish autocratic empires and indivisible republics. But force can merely destroy and clear the place - no more. With the methods of Peter the Great the social revolution will never attain beyond the slave-labour equality of Gracchus and Babeuf and the Communist serfdom of Cabet. Russian Women in Revolution In the s writers like Belinsky, Bakunin, Herzen and Ogarev, all consumed by the desire for philosophical certainties, were tentatively exploring the ideas of socialism within a framework of romantic culture Herzen's quasi-religious desire for inner peace prompted him to mediate between the more extreme philosophies of his friends.

On the other hand there was Bakunin, whose radical interpretation of the theories of Fourier, Saint-Simon and Owen were to lead him to a more doctrinaire violence. And I found myself alone, utterly alone, among graves and cradles - their guardian, defender, avenger, and I could do nothing because I tried to do more than was usual. However, its in the later years when Herzen developed, and displayed, his true literary and critical acumen beyond just the art of blending the personal with the historical. His musings on relationship between art and bourgeois life are so confounding, as well as accurate that one is forced to pause, reflect and perspire in the process.

Here is a passage: Decorum, that is the real word. The petit bourgeois has two talents and he has the same ones, Moderation and Punctuality. The life of middle class is full of small defects and small virtues; it is self-restrained, often niggardly, and shuns what is extreme and what is superfluous. I, IVVol. What the author called his "most cherished part" of the book, "The Story of a Family Drama" was published posthumously. On his life in London after his wife's death. Originally published in fragments, inin Kolokol and Polyarnaya Zvezda n all, 5 chapters have been published in full in Hertzen's lifetime.

Published mostly posthumously "The Posthumous Collection of A. Hertzen's Work, Geneva, Herzen had always admired the French Revolution and broadly adopted its values. In his early writings, he viewed the French Revolution as the end of history, the final stage in social development of a society based on humanism and harmony. Throughout his early life, Herzen saw himself as a revolutionary radical called to fight the political oppression of Nicholas I of Russia. Essentially, Herzen fought against Christian hypocrisy and for individual self-expression. Alexander Herzen plaque in London's Judd Street Herzen spent time in London organising with the International Workingmen's Associationbecoming well acquainted with revolutionary circles including the likes of Bakunin and Marx.

From London he found his despair had revived new energy for political and literary work to help the Russian peasantry he idolised. Herzen became critical of those revolutionaries who were "so revolted by the Reaction afterso exasperated by everything European, that they hastened on to Kansas or California". In London, he hired Malwida von Meysenbug to give an education to his daughters. InMalwida von Meysenbug went to Italy with Olga, his daughter. Meysenbug would later become an acquaintance of Friedrich Nietzschewhile Olga married Gabriel Monod in Contemporary reputation Herzen drew criticism from both liberals who were against violence and from radicals who thought Herzen was too soft.

Their etatist variety of liberalism was opposed by Herzen as it supposed that Russian society would evolve to an ideal state based on a Hegelian view of reason.

thoughst They believed the revolutionaries would merely postpone the establishment of the ideal state, Alexandef Herzen thought that, on the contrary, dsting were blind to historical reality. Herzen would always reject grand narratives such as a predestined position for a society to arrive at, and his writings in exile promoted small-scale communal living with the protection of individual liberty by a noninterventionist government. Herzen was disliked by Russian radicals as too moderate. Radicals such as Nikolai Chernyshevsky and Nikolay Dobrolyubov wanted more commitment towards violent revolution from Herzen and the withdrawal of any hope in the reformist Tsar.

Radicals asked Herzen to use The Bell as a mouthpiece for violent radical revolution, but Herzen rejected these requests. He argued that the Russian Radicals were not united and strong enough to seek successful political change, stating, "You want happiness, I suppose?

My Alexander thoughts online dating and herzen past

I dare say you do! Happiness has to be conquered. If you are strong, take it. If you are weak, hold your tongue". The radicals describe Herzen as a liberal for not wanting immediate change, but Herzen rejects their pleas arguing for change at a pace that will ensure success.


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