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Homology in Russian classical literature.

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The existence of semantic parallels in Russian classical literature could mean homology, that is, the kinship of the origin of works belonging to different authors. This allows you to look at Russian literature from a completely different point of view and conduct a much deeper analysis of its ideological content.

Sometimes it seemed to me that the city was alive
And that there are a million people around
Again and again I could not believe
That he is alone and what is around
Just mirrors

A.V. Makarevich “Crystal city”


Contents


Russian literature as a global essay.

Inanimate nature functions strictly according to the laws of natural sciences – physics, chemistry, mathematics. Living organisms are incomparably more complex. Biological processes in cells: protein synthesis, transport and replication of DNA, cannot be explained by any physical laws at the present development level of science and so far can be considered as a kind of miracle. The existence and development of human society as a whole and each person individually are also not related to the natural sciences and are considered within the framework of humanities. Each individual society or civilization lives with its own traditions, beliefs and stereotypes, therefore, the study of human society principles limited by narrow framework of a specific worldview cannot be sufficiently independent and objective. Perhaps the most accurate in the social sciences could be some kind of extraterrestrial intelligence, far gone in its development, that never had anything to do with the history of human delusions. For example, the most accurate description and analysis of the life of tribes living in African countries or Polynesia could be given by a modern European or American sociologist.

No one has yet rigorously proved the existence or absence of a “god”, a certain higher super-intelligence capable, like a system administrator, to control life on Earth. Among those who admit his existence, one may not find even two people who define this term in the same way. For example, I am very sympathetic to the type of “extraterrestrial intelligence” described by Stanislav Lem in the novel “Solaris”. If our world is a large mathematical model or a game like MMORPG, then surely it was created by someone with a strict plan and principles and it do have system administrator. At the same time, great opportunities for the administrator to intervene in the game process do not cancel the need to obey the laws according to which such a game is built. Usually, in computer role-playing games the purpose of characters’ existence is development. It could be assumed that the purpose of human existence is the development of a soul. Eastern religions define “soul” as a kind of materially independent component, matrix or database that can be transferred from one life to another in order to obtain a positive feedback of the development function. Abrahamic religions generally do not contain such a possibility, although do not exclude it.

There are many religious literary works that claim to formulate the principles of the universe, and almost all of them contradict each other. Faith at all times has been a source of enmity and hatred between people up to the mass extermination of dissidents and religious wars. Suffice it to recall the belief in communism. If in such a situation a certain higher mind decide to explain something to people, then for sure it would met extremely hostile attitude towards itself. Some researchers of “comparative religion” (eg Ninian Smart[1]) noted that convergence of religions is, in principle, not possible even within a separate confession.

Is there a way how to create such a sociological textbook from high intelegence without enmity from those whom he is going to “make happy”? My assumption is that the true value and content of such a textbook could be understood only when it has already been completed and all of its parts in the mosaical form fell into place. At the same time, every specific writer who created his part of the project remain completely convinced of the freedom of his creativity and could not even imagine that he completed some part of a global plan under the dictation and instructions of super-intelligence. There is nothing unusual about the effect of hypnosis. Local literary critics could attribute such creativity to the problems of society in which the work was created and by no means to the universal global principles of civilization. The well-known concept of “prophet” defines a person who speaks not on his own behalf, but according to “gift from above.”

In an object-oriented approach, any object can be defined by a set of inherent properties. From this point of view, the nature of “god” or super-mind can be described as a result of studying his work. Suppose an anonymous work was found somewhere and we do not know anything about its author. If you read and analyze this work, it is quite possible to create a certain idea who is the author. This is how Tatiana studied the nature of Onegin in the seventh chapter.

Unconsciously Onegin’s soul
has everywhere expressed itself –
now by a succinct word, now by a cross,
now by an interrogatory crotchet.[2]

If the author writes in the form of an extended essay about the problems that concern him, then such a path cannot lead to enmity on the basis of racial, ethnic or religious affiliation, since it has no direct relation to anyone, except for himself and at the same time such creativity could be interesting and understandable to everybody. The essay does not require someone to be liked, someone to call for something, agitate or create communities. It was never forbidden to express your point of view on any topic, especially if the author has nothing to do with anyone. It should be remembered that, according to the Bible, King David chose Jerusalem as his capital – a city that did not belong to any tribe of Israel, Ivan Kalita made his capital Moscow – a small town without any history, for which no prince would fight and the main city of the United States, the city of Washington not owned by any of the American states.

Michel Montaigne was the first to use self-analysis as the theme of his work. In the preface to his “Experiments”, he writes:

If I were to write this book to be favored by the world, I would dress up and show myself in full dress. But I want to be seen in my simple, natural and ordinary form, laid-back and artless, for I am not drawing anyone, but myself.

This is consonant with Pushkin’s dedication in “Eugene Onegin”:

Not thinking to amuse the haughty world,
having grown fond of friendship’s heed,
I wish I could present you with a gage
that would be worthier of you –

Montaigne insists on the objectivity and complete frankness of his story:

My shortcomings will appear here as living, and my whole appearance is as it really is, as far as, of course, this is compatible with my respect for the public. If I lived among those tribes that, as they say, still enjoy the sweet freedom of the primordial laws of nature, I assure you, reader, with the greatest willingness I would draw myself to my full height, and, moreover, naked.

In the original language, Montaigne’s book is called “Essais”. The genre “essay” in its modern sense owes its origin to Montaigne. Anyone who can penetrate deeply into the very essence of his “I” becomes a sage and he does not need to be afraid to speak openly and with indifference about the results of his knowledge. And the main accent of the work of super-intelligence could best be expressed in the form of main epigraph to the whole “Eugene Onegin”:

Petriated with vanity, he had even more of that kind of pride which makes people confess good and bad actions with the same indifference, the result of a feeling of superiority, perhaps imaginary.

A private letter in French reflects thoughts of “the haughty world” about a person, a public opinion. Pushkin did not like surrounding him society and its morals, and therefore in dedication does not think to amuse it. The public opinion of “pride” and “vanity” may have nothing to do with the real qualities of a person. Epigraph and dedication separate “the haughty world” and “dream-filled soul.” The one to whom the writer addresses, either does not belong to “society”, or does not respect his opinion, or society does not respect the opinion of the addressee.

The mosaicism and unity of writers’ creativity reminds the “Crystal City” by Andrei Makarevich. All works have one author and he express his ideas using various writers who reflect these ideas in mirrors, probably curved mirrors… The main proof of such author authenticity should be global self-connection between all works. A direct analogue of such parallels is homology between protein and nucleotide acid sequences belong to different species. The main tool for finding such homologues is the BLAST program, the Basic Alignment Search Tool, in the development of which I personally took part when I worked at NCBI, the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Homology is contrasted with analogy, in which organs do not have a common origin, but have similarities. With regard to literature, we should not talk about the formal similarity of the themes and problems of the works, but about the common origin, the fact that they were created by one author and according to the single plan.

 

Difficulties in communication and understanding.

The existence of global semantic and ideological parallels in Russian literature can be compared with drawings on the Nazca plateau. Today, no one can explain how these drawings were created. Such phenomena together with the patterns on the crop fields are traditionally considered in the mainstream of “Footprints of gods” theme. In the book by A.T. Belokon “Nazca Desert. Traces of Another Mind” it is shown that the drawings on the Nazca plateau and most of the drawings in the fields, in principle, could not be created by the methods available today. One gets the impression that someone, using a graphic computer program, draws pictures on the surface of Earth, as on the screen of his monitor, and only for the sake of entertainment. For a serious scientific team, “just like that” must be the most paradoxical and mysterious explanation for such artifacts. At the same time, a mysterious artist should be well versed in analytical geometry and nonlinear algebra. “Living in the hell of frozen mathematics” – such a comparison gave Gerald Hawkins[3] to his feelings of being in the Nazca desert. Belokon is convinced that the existence of such arts could only be explained by the coexistence here on Earth, together with people, of a certain “other mind” that has gone far in its development. However, everything incomprehensible causes concern, violates the usual ideas about the universe, threatens the system of knowledge on which many years have been spent. Especially if it seems that the ceiling of knowledge has been reached, is unshakable, gives stability, tranquility and, ultimately, well-being. Therefore, irritation arises caused by the inability to understand something based on ideas about the world limited by the current level of development of science and its place in this world.

Obviously, when communicating with a “extraterrestrial intelligence” that has gone far in its development, many problems may arise. To illustrate this, the Chilbolton phenomenon could be cited. For three years in a row, several images have been documented in a wheat field near the Chilbolton Observatory in southern England. The first drawing appeared in 2000, but it did not stand out from the number of complex pictograms of previous years. It was typical for this kind of arts, a complex, harmonious and mathematically given structure, consisting of two symmetrically located fractal sections. The next year, in August 2001, two drawings appeared, which immediately became a worldwide sensation. These drawings were fundamentally different from everything that was discovered in the entire history of observing the phenomenon. On Tuesday, August 14, an image appeared, called “Face”. The second figure appeared on August 20, 2001 and was named “binary code”. In this figure it was identified an analogue of the message sent into space on November 16, 1974 in the direction of the star cluster M13. Exactly one year later, on August 14, 2002, a new drawing was discovered again near the Chilbolton Observatory. Along with the stylized image of the “gray” alien as they appear in The X-Files, it depicted a stylized CD-ROM that had amplitude modulated spiral line along of wheat ears encoding the most common ASCII international character set. As a result, phrases in English could be read on the corn disk. Major irony of the situation lies in the fact that this pseudo-message parodied the stereotypes and technical capabilities of people at the turn of 21st century. In order to apply an image to a wheat field was used absolutely unknown mysterious technology.

Commenting on the Chilbolton messages, A.F. Pugach wrote: “We are looking in space for planets similar to the Earth, life forms – only similar to those on Earth, we want to communicate with extraterrestrial civilizations in the language of radio waves, and we want to get the answer only in a form perceptible to science. We want to impose our manner of communication on the cosmos, to force those we are looking for to play by our rules, not realizing that space has long been talking to the Earth in its Aesopian language.” A detailed analysis of how a wheat field drawing were made absolutely excludes any human intervention. In particular, it is impossible to simply bend a wheat stalk without breaking it. Of particular interest are a ghost drawings created by green stems of plants against a general yellow background. Note, that these drowings appear only after the ripe crop is mowed down.

 

A.S. Pushkin and his novel “Eugene Onegin”.

One of the most paradoxical Russian writers is Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin. His works use the language of fantastic precision and mathematical harmony. A few lines found on a torn piece of paper are enough to confirm the authorship of his poems. If you look at the work of Pushkin superficially, his works are devoid of special depth, strict philosophical content and contain fairly light themes. But such a relative calmness I would compare with the eye of a typhoon, a small space located in the very center of a hurricane.

When I studied the genius poet at school, his poetry did not impress me too much. I have never been attracted by the severity and accuracy of linguistic forms as an end in itself. At the same time, I knew by heart almost all of Vysotsky’s work, who handled the language quite freely. I could play any of his songs on the guitar, and sometimes performed with them at concerts. Each song by Vysotsky is a kind of mini performance, where a person finds himself in critical, exceptional conditions, when it is necessary to solve acute and hot problems here and now. Almost everything that Vysotsky described can happen in reality. Thanks to his songs, even without having been in such situations, you can feel them yourself. Pushkin’s works located in an idealized space, quite far from real life, and the essence of his philosophical digressions is not at all as obvious as it might seem at first glance. Understanding of this information require careful and detailed study. This is view point of a wise philosopher who looks at the world around him with a great deal of criticism and irony. Pushkin did not and could not have had a great life experience, and at the same time there is a multi-volume encyclopedia of Pushkin’s works. Where did he get all this?

The center of Pushkin’s creativity is the novel “Eugene Onegin”. This novel has eight chapters. My book “Beyond Pushkin” is devoted in particular to a detailed analysis of this novel. It can be shown, and I will try to do so, that the first five chapters of “Eugene Onegin” correspond to the five main novels of Dostoevsky, moreover, taken in the chronological order of their writing. The first chapter of “Eugene Onegin” corresponds to the first novel by Dostoevsky “Crime and Punishment”, the second chapter corresponds to the novel “The Idiot” and so on. The last three chapters of Pushkin’s novel correspond to the three books of Leo Tolstoy. The sixth chapter of “Eugene Onegin” corresponds to the novel “Resurrection”, the seventh to the novel “War and Peace”, and the eighth to the novel “Anna Karenina”. It is “Birth or the same Resurrection”, “Life” and “Death”. Each chapter of “Eugene Onegin” can be considered as an extended epigraph to one of the themes underlying Russian classical literature. The parallels in Pushkin’s own works and between his works and the work of other writers can provide the clues required to decipher this puzzle and, as they say in science fiction literature, get the long-awaited contact. Obviously, if “superficial intelligence” is able to draw with wheat in the fields, then one should not expect from him to receive analog radio signals and by observing the constantly appearing new drawings, one may decide, that their author is always on line.

In his dedication to “Eugene Onegin”, Pushkin writes that he gives the reader a collection of “pied chapters”, but no matter how pied these chapters are, they have a common logic. In the article “ ‘Little Tragedies’ by Pushkin, as a plan-diagram of Dostoevsky’s main novels”, I tried to prove that almost half a century before Dostoevsky wrote his books, Pushkin in these mini-plays presented the plan of the entire future work of Dostoevsky. An analysis of this homology helps to identify the first five topics of the textbook, which are relevant to the problems of each individual.

 

“The Little Tragedies” by Pushkin and Dostoevsky.

Without fully retelling my article about the homology of “The Little Tragedies” and Dostoevsky’s main books, I will briefly recall its main content.

  • “Mozart and Salieri” corresponds to Dostoevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment”. The main topic discussed here is the nature of objective ethical law. Is it possible to commit a crime “according to conscience” if at the same time you are saving the whole humanity or just doing a lot (how much?) of good? Is the “world salvation” worth the blood of one tortured child, even if this child is “god’s son”?
  • “The Stone Guest” corresponds to the book “The Idiot”. The main theme here is “Thou shalt not make unto thee any image”. An idol or an idea embodied in an abstract and inanimate, but immortal image is much stronger than a living and feeling reality. Don Juan, who easily defeated the living commander, is unable to resist his image embodied in stone. Anastasia Filippovna’s feelings for her dream embodied in Prince Myshkin ultimately lead to tragedy.
  • “A Feast in Time of Plague” corresponds to the novel “The Demons”. Often referring to Baratynsky’s poem “Feasts”, Pushkin notes that “in lifeless years” the soul is warmed only by the living consolation of feasts. Even if it is Belshazzar’s Feasts. However, after the insane “goes mad”, purification comes.
  • “The Miserly Knight” is the theme song for “The Raw Youth”. Arkady claims that “money is the only way that brings even nothingness to the first place”, that money is omnipotent and “compare all inequalities”. However, it is the idea of the Money Power in “The Raw Youth” very deeply analyzed and criticized.
  • In “The Scene from Faust” Faust, sitting on the seashore, cannot simply be bored, as Mephistopheles advises him, and therefore simply out of boredom decides to start a shipwreck. Living things often behave very illogically only in order to declare their lives and nail the law of loaves to the wall.

 

Personality problems.

 

First topic. Autonomous ethics.

In its most general form, “autonomous ethics” is understood as a system of morality that denies any dependence on any external principles, religious, cultural, social prerequisites. It is believed that the foundations of such ethics were laid in the book of Kant “Critique of Practical Reason”, where he stated: “Act as if the maxim of your action through your will were to become a universal law of nature.” What is the criterion of truth? How exactly can one distinguish “good” from “evil” in the highest, objective sense, at the level of “divine judgment”? So is everything allowed if this judgment absent? There is a well-known dilemma of Euthyphron[4] on this topic.

Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?

In the first case, “pious” exists independently of the gods. In the second case, different gods can choose different ideas about morality and at the same time they will have to use either their absolute authority or strictly prove their innocence before other gods. The apology of Euthyphron demonstrates the fact that no morality and ethics can depend on any religion. And any religion that declares strict principles of morality is wrong. This statement is central to the “analytical ethics” of which George Edward Moore[5] was the founder. In his opinion, “autonomous ethics” cannot be substantiated by anything other than real life.

The first chapter of “Eugene Onegin” begins with Eugene’s reflections on the fact that he should show artificial good behavior towards his dying uncle. Is this hypocrisy “pious”? The question is not entirely straightforward. His successes with women are also difficult to call high morality, although society is quite calm about such successes. A life in which everything is possible and accessible annoys Eugene to death and it cannot be otherwise if life is so monotonous and primitive.

In the book “Crime and Punishment”, the protagonist is tormented by the question of whether it is possible to step over “other obstacles” to achieve great goals and, most importantly, whether his conscience will allow him to bend over and take the results of the crime. Rodion Raskolnikov is the opposite of Eugene Onegin, who is dying of boredom because everything is allowed to him. The well-known commandment “Thou shalt not kill” is quite unambiguous, but in real life everything is not so simple. The murder of two women by Raskolnikov is obviously regarded as “evil,” but if Dunya, his sister, had shot Svidrigailov, then any court, along with public opinion, would have acquitted her. This serves him right! And at the same time, Svidrigailov’s suicide is considered a terrible sin. When Sonya stepped over “obstacles” and sacrificed herself by started turning tricks to save her family, it looks quite natural and is classified as “good”. However, for society, she forever and incurably becomes a «fallen woman», which is almost tantamount to suicide.

Many works of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov put the heroes in front of ambiguous situations. In the play “The Cherry Orchard”, in order to save the fortune and the estate, it is proposed to cut down the garden, divide the land into plots and lease them to summer residents. Lyubov Andreevna Ranevskaya is very surprised by this proposal: she cannot imagine how it is possible to cut down a cherry orchard and sacrifice her estate where she grew up. The dear old life of socialist Russia after “perestroika” must inevitably be destroyed for the sake of capitalist relations. The destruction of an old society during next revolution always includes the need to step over “obstacles” for the sake of building a new world, and this often happens as a result of the natural development of society and does not reflect the evil will of some individual “revolutionaries”.

In a story “The Lady with the Dog”, in order for two close and loving people to unite, it is required to break two families and leave children without a father. Is such a rift worth the resulting happiness?

German classical literature is famous for its ambiguous questions of ethics. It is here the image of a scientist, Faust, arises, who have entered into an agreement with the devil in order to study the world and himself by receiving unlimited opportunities. Inspired by Goethe’s book, Zhukovsky wrote the poem “The Twelve Sleeping Virgins”, which greatly influenced Pushkin’s work and, above all, his first poem “Ruslan and Lyudmila”. German poet Gottfried Burger created the ballad “Lenora”, which was translated several times by Zhukovsky and was often mentioned by Pushkin. For example, in the epigraph to the fifth chapter of “Eugene Onegin”. The ethical ambiguity of Nietzsche’s work is well known. The philosophical novel “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” has always caused controversial reviews and did not leave anyone indifferent. The German poet Heine was the favorite author of the German philosopher Marx.

Autonomous ethics excludes the possibility of creating a strict set of commandments or a “criminal code of morality,” which leads to the most correct and prosperous life. Man himself is the creator of his own morality and without a strict code of ethics, the situation becomes much more complicated. Assumption only of a limited set of commandments for life is the “First Snow” where young fervor “To live it hurries and to feel it hastes.” In particular, the problems of relations between a man and woman can be much more complicated than the science of tender passion, by Nazon.

 

Second topic. Thou shalt not make thee any idol.

The second commandment brings up the topic of idols. Often, reality is of much less importance than an abstract idol and completely replaced by surrogate concepts and objects. There is a huge difference between the real man Lenin and a demigod created after the 1917 revolution in Russia. An objective examination of this person had a very strong impact on the collapse of communist ideology in the USSR. Now this man become the apotheosis of evil, which also fits the definition of an (anti) idol. As a result, the most objective life story of Lenin turns out to be a book written by an independent American writer who is not inclined to create either god or devil out of him.

The composition “Spring and Autumn” of the “Blizzard” suite by Sviridov presents the same musical theme in two forms, which create completely different moods. This composition, as I have shown in my article[6], is related to the second chapter of Eugene Onegin. The original artistic coloring of the melody is its main advantage, but unlike the fine arts, science does not allow sensual coloring of ideas.

The epigraph to the second part of “Eugene Onegin” is a verbal pun of two exclamations. One is from the “Satires” of the ancient Roman poet Horace, “O, Rus” and the second is simply “O, Rus!”. In sound, both exclamations are almost identical, but in fact they are completely different. The meaning of such a strange epigraph can be understood from concept of “making idols”. Two different images of an object can correspond to the same reality.

In an ancient Indian parable, a group of blind people (or people in the dark) touches an elephant to understand what it is. Each of them touches different parts of his body, but at the same time only one of them, for example, the side, trunk or tusk. They then describe their impressions of touching each other and start an argument, since each describes the elephant differently, and in fact, none of the descriptions are correct. With an idea of reincarnation two different people can have the same soul and a relatively young modern nation can be the reproduction of some nation that ceased to exist in the distant past.

Arriving in a Russian village, Onegin finds himself in a fairy-tale world of patriarchal traditions and a dreamy atmosphere, “a haven of brooding dryads”. I immediately recall the lines from “Ruslan and Lyudmila” –

By the side of the sea, a green oak;
On the oak is a golden chain:
Day and night, the learned cat
Walks round a tree in a chain;
Goes to the right – the song starts
To the left – he says a fairy tale.
There are miracles: there the devil wanders,
The mermaid sits on the branches;

It is clear that this perception of the Russian countryside is significantly different from reality:

Not seeing tears, not listening to the moan,
To the destruction of people chosen by fate,
Here the lordship is wild, without feeling, without law,
Appropriated itself with a violent whip
And labor, and property, and time of the farmer.
Leaning on an alien plow, subduing the scourges,
Here skinny slavery drags on the reins
Relentless owner.
Here, a painful rampage to the grave, everyone drags,
Not daring to nourish hopes               and inclinations in the soul,
Here young maidens bloom
For the whim of an unfeeling villain.
Support sweet aging fathers,
Young sons, comrades of labor,
From the hut, dear ones go to multiply
Courtyard crowds of tortured slaves.[7]

In Dostoevsky’s second big novel, “The Idiot”, the main character is a weak, sickly prince with a mouse surname “Myshkin” and the sonorous name Lev. One of the meanings of the word “idiot” is “bolvan”. In Dahl’s dictionary, a “bolvan” is called an idol, a pagan sculptured god, which is quite consistent with the theme “Thou shalt not make thee any idol..” At the beginning of the book “The Idiot”, Prince Myshkin appears in the form of a half-stupid “poor relative” and the attitude of those around him develops in accordance with this image. A sharp change in attitudes towards Myshkin arises immediately after it turns out that he is the owner of a large fortune received by will from a deceased relative. Myshkin himself, his actual content, remains unchanged: only the image changes. When the prince appears at the first meeting before Nastasya Filippovna as it is, she takes him for a servant. And only then, having identified Myshkin with her old dreams of “a handsome ideal,” she elevates him to her deity. A real person has only a distant relationship to the dream itself. She does not see the sensuality of Rogozhin’s flesh and blood: she does not need such a person. For Myshkin, Nastasya Filippovna is also an image, he saw her “somewhere in a dream”, he does not need a real woman and all this leads to tragedy.

Ivan Aleksandrovich Goncharov was a Russian writer whose work is all dedicated to the disclosure of the theme of idols. In his central work “Oblomov”, he draws a person who lives only with his dreams about how to live and what to do. Real life does not interest him at all. Until the end of novel, he cannot move one sofa. Such an exaggerated and maximalistic view of a person illustrates well the idea living in virtual reality. Another example of an abstract dreamer is the hero of the work “The Precipice” with the characteristic surname “Raysky”, which means “From Paradise”

In international classical literature, the main lover of idols was “Don Quixote” from the work of Spanish renaissance writer Cervantes. Another Spanish writer and philosopher Erasmus of Rotterdam is known for his satirical work “Praise of stupidity”, the main idea of which is illustrated by lines from a poem by Bulat Okudzhava:

It’s profitable to be a fool,
but I really don’t want to
I really want to be smart,
but it will end up with a beating

One should recall here again the name of Dostoevsky’s second novel “The Idiot”.

 

Third topic. Feelings.

What could be more beautiful than a sincere expression of feelings? Any play, film or show is aimed at evoking certain feelings in the viewer and the more spectacular this happens, the better performance is considered. As an epigraph to the third chapter of “Eugene Onegin”, Pushkin took a quote from Malfilatra’s poem “Narcissus or the Island of Venus.”

She was a girl, she was in love.

And indeed:

Why is Tatiana, then, more guilty?
Is it because in sweet simplicity
deceit she knows not and believes
in her elected dream?
Is it because she loves without art, being
obedient to the bent of feeling?
Is it because she is so trustful

However, many craftsmen consciously and purposefully manage other people’s feelings can send entire nations to crimes. Adolf Hitler appealing to his nation “Germans … you are the greatest people in the world … you will rule the world” was able to drive mad and turn an entire nation into a weapon of mass destruction. The innate and natural ability to feel can distort reality so much that there will be no question of any objectivity of judgments. The main mechanism of most revolutionaries and religious teachers was to influence the feelings of society in order to achieve some specific goals. The communist ideology in Russia, which arose as a result of the revolutionary inspiration of the masses, could exist for more than seventy years only due to agitation and propaganda. When it comes to science, no sensory factors should influence the logic of reasoning, even if the subject of study is feelings and social processes.

However, if a person is completely devoid of the ability to feel and his soul is calm and cold to everything around, he is not viable. This theme is illustrated by Nikolai Stavrogin from Dostoevsky’s third book, “The Demons”. That is why the chapter “At Tikhon’s”, which the writer wanted to include in the main content of the book, does not fit here in any way. In this chapter, Stavrogin shows his sensual attitude to the crime committed and, as a result, his suicide can be seen as a consequence of remorse for what he had done. But that is the whole point of the book, that Stavrogin cannot feel any remorse, and he is completely indifferent to what and how he did. His suicide once again emphasizes that a living creature that is incapable of feeling, simply loses all desire to live. Stavrogin tried his strength everywhere, and as he writes to Lisa “it turned out to be limitless”. Nikolay hangs himself up with a calm mind and thinking everything over. “Everything meant premeditation and consciousness until the last minute.”

Stavrogin’s theme is directly continued by Klim Samgin from Gorky’s book “The Life of Klim Samgin”. The hero of Gorky has a wide erudition and gets acquainted with many various ideas and manifestations of feelings. However, his strictly logical mind cannot follow other people’s ideas and other people’s feelings. He perfectly sees that behind the lofty words and actions there can be something very simple and not fascinating. The deceitful and banal feelings that he meets everywhere repulse him, and he is not able to find or create something of his own until the end of the book, which remained unfinished literally in mid-sentence… together with the death of Maxim Gorky. All the writer’s work is devoted to describing the role of feelings in the world. For example, in “Song of the Petrel”, only a small but very brave bird is “the prophet of victory” and “demon of the storm” over “sea roaring with anger”. In the book “Old Izergil” Danko brings people into the world holding his living, beating heart in his hands, taking it out of his chest. Proud and dispassionate Larra, who put himself above everyone else, perceives his life more terrible than death, since he cannot die (like Stavrogin) and must wander alone forever.

Excessive emotionality is usually attributed to the French people. Pushkin’s heroes, including Tatiana Larina and her mother, raised their feelings on French novels. However, everyone writes about feelings. One should recall the Italians Petrarch and Torquato Tasso, often mentioned by Pushkin. The closest to Stavrogin in world literature can be called Doctor Faust from the poem by the German writer Goethe. The poet and philosopher Vyacheslav Ivanov called Stavrogin “Negative Russian Faust”.

 

Fourth topic. Laws of loaves.

In the fourth chapter of Eugene Onegin, a dialogue takes place between the strict and reasonable Onegin and a dreamy girl. Eugene calmly and logically explains to Tatiana that her feelings are inappropriate and that she must “learn to rule herself”. As an epigraph to the fourth chapter, Pushkin took a phrase from the book of Madame de Stael “Notes on the main events of the French Revolution” there, the Swiss banker Jacques Necker addresses the outrageous hero of the French Revolution Gabriel Mirabeau: “You are too smart not to admit sooner or later that morality is in the nature of things”. The calm and rational finance minister Necker was the direct opposite of the extravagant Mirabeau, who had earned himself wide fame for scandals, courts and popular booklets that were widely circulated among the people. Deprived of financial capacity, spent several years in prisons, seduced more than one woman, expelled from the assembly of the nobility, Mirabeau became an ideal exponent of the sentiments of “The Third Estate”, the bourgeoisie. His talent for bright and inspiring speeches dealt such a blow to the feudal system of France, from which she was never able to recover. Some believe that if Mirabeau had not existed, there would have been no French Revolution, although his actual role in French history has always been harshly criticized.

In the small tragedy “The Miserly Knight” there is a confrontation between the father who made the service of money the goal of his life and the son who dreams only of victories in knightly tournaments where he can be easily killed. The Monologue of the Covetous Knight is a kind of leitmotif of Dostoevsky’s book “The Raw Youth”. The young man Arkady, who came up with the idea to serve money like the Covetous Knight to become a “Rothschild”, opposes his real father Versilov, who talks at length about the “golden age” and without any qualms of conscience lose several fortunes despite the fact that his close relatives are in great need of money.

In Turgenev’s novel “Fathers and Sons,” the main character is engaged in science and with a grin refers to all manifestations of sensuality, but it is the sudden love for a spectacular and rich widow that completely breaks his usual inner world. Strongly impressed by the abrupt refusal of the woman, who expressed his own idea mockery of feelings, he loses all vigilance and dies accidentally contracting a fatal disease. This proves both the omnipotence of nature and at the same time the enormous influence that human feelings have on the laws of nature. In many of Turgenev’s works, a sensitive man suffers from the coldness and impassivity of an emancipated woman. Feelings and everything connected with them turns out to be “Smoke” in the novel of the same name, when rushing towards a mutual strong feeling, the main character is ready to derail his former life. As an epigraph to his last and greatest novel “Nov”, which met with serious criticism in society, Turgenev took the following observation of the agronomist:

Virgin soil should be lifted not with a superficially sliding plow, but with a deep taking plow.

If we are talking about deep social phenomena or natural laws, as well as if something needs to start from scratch, a very deep and fundamental approach is required. The attempt of the Decembrists in 1825 to somehow change the situation in Russia was as primitive as the story of Count Nulin, told by Pushkin in the humorous poem of the same name.

In my opinion, one of the writers who best examined the place of money in our world was the American Jack London. In the land of the “golden devil” wealth and income are of paramount importance, and in his books, during the gold rush, people tend to the Far North to get rich. At the same time, as in any campaign, they find themselves in situations where money does not matter. And it does not matter whether a person has become rich as a result or not – after returning for the rest of his life he will leave for himself the memories, where the laws of loaves are powerless.

Will not bring you there
No elevator, no helicopter,
Important papers will not help.
There, my friend, – on foot,
And only with a backpack,
And only with courage.
Yuri Vizbor “The Third Pole”.

 

Fifth topic. The lust for life is stronger.

In Goethe’s novel “Faust”, the protagonist ends his life on the seashore trying to build a dam, protecting the fertile land from the tide, seeing deep meaning in this. In the small tragedy “A Scene from Faust”, the plot of which has no analogue in the original work of Goethe, bored Faust sits with Mephistopheles on the seashore. Pushkin’s poem begins with this:

Then eh, how did you plunge
Into magnanimous dreams,
Into the abyss of the dark science?
But – I remember – then out of boredom,
Like a harlequin, made of fire
You finally summoned me.

Faust of Pushkin suffers from nothing to do. Anyone who has access to everything and needs nothing should be the most unhappy person, since he has nowhere to go and nowhere to strive. Mephistopheles notices that everyone is bored, and that there is nothing special about it. However, Faust cannot be bored “like everyone else”. He definitely needs to do something. And just out of boredom, he, with the help of devil, arranges a shipwreck, in which “barrels of gold” and “three hundred and three scoundrels”, as well as “fashionable disease” should perish.

The situation illustrates one of the basic laws of the existence and development of living beings – they cannot live simply by obeying the strict laws of loaves. Note, that in Darwin’s theory, evolution occurs as a result of adaptation to the environment, and not through violation of its principles. Dostoevsky’s story “Notes from the Underground” is entirely devoted to this topic. The main character explains that if such a system of life was invented by which it would be possible to determine the most correct and optimal path, when all life can be calculated and planned, then no one would want to live like that. The peoples of the USSR did not want to live with the planned economy.

Of course boredom may lead you to anything. It is boredom sets one sticking golden pins into people, but all that would not matter. What is bad (this is my comment again) is that I dare say people will be thankful for the gold pins then. Man is stupid, you know, phenomenally stupid; or rather he is not at all stupid, but he is so ungrateful that you could not find another like him in all creation. I, for instance, would not be in the least surprised if all of a sudden, A PROPOS of nothing, in the midst of general prosperity a gentleman with an ignoble, or rather with a reactionary and ironical, countenance were to arise and, putting his arms akimbo, say to us all: “I say, gentleman, hadn’t we better kick over the whole show and scatter rationalism to the winds, simply to send these logarithms to the devil, and to enable us to live once more at our own sweet foolish will!”[8]

The living being destroys the purpose of the law of loaves and is often for the sole purpose of demonstrating that it is alive. This inexpediency can be illustrated by a blade of grass that breaks through the asphalt and thereby destroys the work of the road builders. Almost all of Vladimir Vysotsky’s work is devoted to the disclosure of this topic. One may recall that he himself, as a poet and bard, became especially widely known after the creation of the song “Hunt for Wolves”, where a wolf driven by hunters breaks out for the flags, although he should not do this.

I got out of obedience
Run behind the flags – the lust for life is stronger!
Only from behind I happily heard
Surprised shouts of people.

Each song by Vysotsky is a mini performance, when the main character violates the laws of “general peace” and behaves in defiance of routine, not like everyone and not in the right way. The tightrope walker in the song “He didn’t come out in rank or height” walks along the rope without belay, exposing his life to great danger without much material benefit for himself, like climbers conquering heights “vertically”. The high jumper jumps from the “wrong right foot”, although the right foot should be left. A long jumper can jump normally only by breaking the rules and stepping over the line. The weightlifter sees the meaning of victory not in simply raising the barbell – such a triumph is like defeat, but in throwing the barbell onto platform after making a swing. Ordinary competition rules are violated by the fourth runner from “Four of the first”. He does not need a “tidbit” like the first and a “laurel wreath” like the second. In addition, he can slow down before the finish and even throw off his jersey. Etc.

The fifth commandment of the Bible says to honor your father. The central event of Dostoevsky’s fifth book is the murder of his father by his son, or rather by his children, since each of them contributed to the commission of this crime. But if you analyze the book in detail, it turns out that each of the participants in this event had quite real and justified reasons to “step over the flags”. The book includes many examples when a person sincerely wants, for one reason or another, to break the “law of loaves”. For example, chained to a wheelchair Liza is completely provided for everything, but only dreams of someone taking her away, raped and abandoned, while she suffered.

In the fifth chapter fifth of the book of Dostoevsky, in the fifth paragraph, which is called “The Grand Inquisitor”, a dialogue takes place between a man like Jesus who appeared in the middle of the dark Middle Ages in order to alleviate the lot of those who burned in his name and in the name of the Christian faith. The Grand Inquisitor carrying out all these executions arrests Jesus and imprisons him. There he popularly and clearly explains to the interlocutor that he is the biggest enemy of religion and faith and that he must be burned first. How dare he appear and wish to add a few words to what he had already said? However, in the poem, Jesus is completely silent. The inquisitor protects the tranquility of the world he has built and does not want the free thought or free actions of the revived idol to destroy the entire system. However, the very fact of the idol’s ability to intervene in life and declare himself speaks of the fundamental frailty of the peace of the inquisitor’s world. I analyze in detail the chapter of the Grand Inquisitor in the article “Lessons from the poem about the Grand Inquisitor”. At the very end of the poem, the Inquisitor himself violates his law and prudence simply by letting the interlocutor go to the dark city squares, leaving him the right to decide what to do next. An idol’s unwillingness to remain a dead idol can be a decisive factor in making a decision. Vladimir Vysotsky describes a similar situation in the poem “Monument” as follows:

The commander’s steps are angry and echoing.
I decided: as in old good times –
Wouldn’t you like to walk on the jingling plates?
And the crowds jumped into the alleys,
When I pulled out my leg with a groan
And stones fell from me.

As an epigraph to the fifth chapter of “Eugene Onegin”, Pushkin took a quote from Zhukovsky’s poem “Svetlana”, a free transcription of “Lenora” by German poet Gottfried Burger. In the original version, her fiance returns to the girl and takes her away on a horse. However, he turns out to be dead and eventually drives the girl into a coffin. In “Svetlana” the girl only dreams of all this. In the end, she wakes up and a live betrothed comes to her. Epigraph to the fifth chapter is:

Oh, do not know these terrible dreams,
You, my Svetlana!
Zhukovsky

In the fifth chapter of Eugene Onegin, Tatiana has a dream where Eugene appears in the form of a devil at a feast of ugly creatures, and at the end kills Lensky. Lensky eventually perishes in the reality of Pushkin’s novel.

At Tatyana’s birthday, Onegin is put in front of her because “it should be so”, but Onegin does not want to be led by the crowd and is offended by Lensky that he invited him to an inappropriate meeting. And a harmless joke with a friend in the end turns into a terrible tragedy. Any duel takes place in violation of the law of loaves to protect various moral values. It is impossible to find an analogue of “duel” in inanimate nature.

The most famous role of Vladimir Vysotsky in the Taganka Theater was Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” as interpreted by director Lyubimov. This Hamlet is not necessarily the Prince of Denmark. He could live, as Vysotsky himself explained at any time and problems that were posed in the play could be equally relevant. The play included Pasternak’s poems and translations:

To be or not to be, that is the question. Worthy of
Resign yourself to the blows of fate,
Or it is necessary to resist
And in mortal combat with a whole sea of troubles
End them?

Any revolution as a conscious and inevitable, although sometimes very dramatic and destructive event is a manifestation of the “fifth theme”. This can be seen most clearly during a bloodless revolution, such as the collapse of the international communist system. A detailed examination of the revolutionary process reveals that this is just a logical consequence of the development of society. The emerging new forces and relations are not able to get along with all the remnants of the world order that have accumulated as a result of development according to the law of loaves or authoritarianism. At any revolutionary “the twilight of the night is directed with a thousand binoculars on the axis,” however, it is usually impossible to avoid a qualitative restructuring of the entire way of life.

 

Ethnogenesis problems.

The last three chapters of Eugene Onegin have homology with the three books of Leo Tolstoy. Now the main focus from the problems of the individual is shifting to societies and civilizations. In the eighth chapter, one of the authors re-read by Onegin was the German philosopher of history Johann Herder. Herder believed that any society or civilization is like an individual. Like any person, a society can have its own unique identity, it is going through periods of youth and decrepitude. In the book “Ideas for the philosophy of the history of mankind. Part three.” Herder writes:

The genetic spirit, the character of the people – this is generally a striking and strange thing. It cannot be explained, and it is impossible to wipe it off the face of the Earth: it is old as a nation, old as the soil on which the people lived.

But civilizations are capable of dying. The collapse of the entire ancient world along with the Western Roman Empire at the very height of its power which and up with subsequent thousand-year history of the dark Middle Ages, seems strange and amazing. E. Gibbon, for example, considered the spread of Christianity to be one of the immediate reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire. Indeed, when the basic principles by which a society lives are devalued under the influence of a new ideology, the entire system becomes unviable. This is how the USSR empire and the socialist economic system collapsed after the capitalist relations were liberated, which had previously been restrained by authoritarian and forceful methods.

The Russian historian and ethnographer Lev Gumilyov owns a rather controversial theory of “passionarity.” In the process of ethnogenesis, each society goes through several successive stages from inception to death. According to Gumilev, the sixth highest level of passionarity is characterized by the ability to sacrifice one’s own life in the name of a great idea, from this civilization are born. The fifth level – a person is able to risk his own life, however, he is incapable of going to certain death. At the zero level, community members are ordinary people who are not capable of any actions, changes and merge with the environment. Gumilev called a micro mutation leading to the emergence of a new ethnos as a passionary impulse. Thus, the “Soviet people” arose as a result of a series of Russian revolutions, and the United States of America after the victory in the American War of Independence from the British crown.

The last three chapters of “Eugene Onegin” and, accordingly, Leo Tolstoy’s novels in relation to ethnogenesis can be called “Birth”, “Life” and “Death”.

 

Sixth topic. Birth.

For the sixth chapter of “Eugene Onegin”, Pushkin took at first glance a very strange epigraph, from Petrarch’s canzone XXVIII “On the Life of Madonna Laura”, verses 49-51, connected with the theme of the Crusades.

There, under the short and nubile days,
A tribe will be born that does not hurt to die.
Petrarch. [9]

The epigraph about the birth of a new people is included in the chapter, where the main theme is the death of the poet. The sixth stage of passionarity according to Gumilev includes the sacrifice of one’s life in the name of a great idea. The heroic death of Jesus at the beginning of our era led to the creation of a Christian civilization. By the way, is it possible to step over “some obstacles” to achieve great goals? As shown further in Eugene Onegin, the poet Lensky was soon forgotten and nothing new arose. By the way, the “sixth commandment” in the Bible says “Thou shalt not kill.” On the sixth day of creation according to the Bible, God created man.

Lensky’s death occurs the day after Tatyana’s name day. In the final version of the novel, the name day takes place on Saturday, and the poet’s death on Sunday. Chronologically, it is believed that this should have been 1821, when Tatyana’s name day on January 12 fell on Wednesday. However, in drafts, Pushkin stubbornly wanted to postpone these name days to Thursday, although the word “Wednesday” could be quite rhymed. In one of the revised drafts we read:

What is it? – what a fool I am –
I almost forgot – on Thursday you were invited

“Thursday” appears in one of the versions of the white manuscript, where we read:

You’re invited on Thursday for name day…

Here it was quite possible to write “I almost forgot – you were invited on Wednesday” and “you were invited to the name day on Wednesday”. If it was Thursday, then the death of the poet falls on Friday. What can be associated with “Good Friday”, and Tatyana’s name day with “Holy Thursday” or “the Last Supper”. Tatiana sees the likeness of a “Last Supper” in a wretched hut in the middle of the forest in her dream. It should also be noted that if according to the Julian calendar, according to which the Orthodox Church still lives, Tatyana’s name days were January 12, then according to the Gregorian calendar this corresponds to December 31, that is, in fact, the New Year. Then, according to the new style, all the events of the duel are another New Year’s fairy tale.

At all times, the New must win the right to life, since the old world is usually not in a hurry to accept a new member into its arms. Many Christian stories tell of the suffering and hardships of early Christians for the right to practice a new religion. After the conception of a new person, his embryo is under maximum protection in the mother’s body for a long time, including protection from the mother herself, whose immune system can be merciless to any foreign antigen.

The sixth chapter of “Eugene Onegin” must correspond to all the work of Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov. He became widely known for the poem “The death of the Poet”, for which he was exiled to the Nizhny Novgorod regiment. Many details of Pushkin’s death exactly repeated the death of Lensky. In both cases, the poets died in duels, society turned out to be completely indifferent to what was happening, “fanned a slightly hidden fire for fun”, and the souls of the poets – Pushkin and Lensky could not endure “the shame of petty insults”.

Lermontov’s three main works tell about three different deaths. In the poem “Mtsyri” a young man, from whom they tried to make a church novice, dies after fighting with a wild beast, having escaped from the monastery to freedom alone just before taking a monastic vow. In his confession, he explains that he is ready to give everything for freedom, “the glow of a blue day” and “fragrant fresh air.” The epigraph to “Mtsyri” is taken from the First Book of the Bible. King Saul’s son Jonathan explains why he should die – with a little bit of liberty. The story of Mtsyri echoes the story of the Spaniard from Charles Maturin’s book “Melmoth the Wanderer” and possibly explains the real reason why the historical Jesus died in Judea.

Lermontov worked on the poem “The Demon” for ten years. Due to censorship, the work was not published for a long time and was distributed only in lists. In total, according to researchers, there are eight copyright editions of “Demon”. The plot in general resembles the Burgher’s “Lenora”. Georgian princess Tamara is waiting for her fiancé, but he is shot by the “evil bullet of an Ossetian” and a dead man comes to the girl, as in Burger’s poem, on horseback. In the end, Tamara dies.

Whose horse came rushing over fiery
And fell on the stones at the gate?
Who is this breathless horseman?
Have kept a trace of abuse
Dark brow wrinkles.

He kept the princely word,
He rode to the wedding feast…

This theme can be reflected in the death of the people who created Christianity. Religion eventually fell to the Roman Empire. The Jews ignored Christianity and therefore they were not this lost or falling asleep people. Perhaps even it was not a people, but a social stratum – for example, one of the Jewish diasporas in Egypt. In pursuit of the lost real person, a religion arose that made him an unearthly creature. The robbers attack Tamara’s fiancé after teaching the Demon, who decided to take his place. The girl, as if in a dream, hears the voice of a stranger, urging not to grieve about the deceased groom.

But he angered her thought
By a prophetic and strange dream.
Foggy and dumb newcomer
Shining unearthly beauty,
Leaned towards her head;

That was not a terrible spirit of hell,
Or vicious martyr – oh no!
It looked like a clear evening:
Neither day nor night – neither darkness nor light!..

Despite the many enviable suitors besieging Tamara, she leaves for the monastery. But even in the monastery, the mysterious stranger does not leave the girl, regularly appearing to her. The demon assures that here, on earth, he will build magnificent palaces for her – from turquoise and amber – and then take her to the over-the-star lands and make her the Queen of Heaven. Tamara’s consent means her death.

The death or “dormition” of Tatiana resembles what happened in Pushkin’s fairy tale about “The Dead Princess and the Seven Heroes.” In the coffin, Tamara is dressed in festive clothes as in the days of fun. After many days have passed after death, decay does not touch her:

And nothing in her face
hint about the end
In the heat of passion and rapture;
And there were all her features
Filled with that beauty,
Like a marble of alien expression,
Deprived of feeling and mind,
Mysterious, like death itself.
A strange smile froze,
Flashing through her lips.

Much time passes, the tomb and the temple built over the tomb of Tamara still exist,

But over the family of tombstones
For a long time, no one is sad.
The rock of the gloomy Kazbek
Greedily guards prey,
And the eternal murmur of man
Their eternal peace will not upset.

This also reminds of the fairy tale about “The Dead Princess” – only the wind can tell about the place where the girl sleeps…

There, beyond the quiet-jet river
There is a high mountain,
There is a deep hole in it;
In that hole, in the sad darkness,
The crystal coffin is swinging
On chains between pillars.
See no trace of anyone
Around that empty space …

In the novel “A Hero of Our Time”, Pechorin’s end is also very sad. Completely disillusioned with life, leaving for Persia, he throws out all his diaries as unnecessary. If such a person do not commit suicide, death soon find him itself. The narrator in the novel who received the notes explains:

Recently I learned that Pechorin, returning from Persia, died. This news
I was very happy: it gave me the right to print these notes, and I
took the opportunity to put a name over someone else’s work.

At first glance, Onegin and Pechorin are very similar – both write diaries very popular with women and both could be classified as “Byronic characters”. If through Mtsyri you can hear the music of “the Prisoner of Chillon”, then in Pechorin you can feel the shades of The Giaour, Konrad and Selim. Pushkin Onegin is a variation on Childe Harold’s themes. However, despite the seeming similarity, Pechorin is diametrically opposed to Onegin in terms of the psychological type – “like ice and fire”.

Onegin is a cold analyst. He even conquers women on the science of Nazon. Despising the society around him, he treats everything judiciously and rationally. His peace of mind could only be shaken by Tatyana, who with her refusal offended his pride in the eighth chapter. In the unwritten ninth chapter, Onegin was supposed to travel like Childe Harold analyzing world problems, and in the tenth, returning, perhaps even joining the Decembrists. Pechorin is sensitive and emotional to a level bordering on manic-depressive syndrome. Maxim Maksimovich describes this feature as follows.

He was a fine fellow, I can assure you; just a little weird. After all, for example, in the rain, in the cold all day long hunting; everyone will be chilled, tired – but he has nothing. And another time he sits in his room, smells of the wind, assures that he has a cold; knocks with the shutter, he shudders and turns pale; and in my presence he went to the boar one on one; it used to be that for hours on end you won’t get a word, but sometimes, as you begin to tell, you’ll break your bellies with laughter …

Like Onegin, Pechorin does not like society and is extremely selfish, but Onegin’s coldness is a completely normal balanced and natural state, Pechorin constantly wants to boil fire in blood. And once again making sure that the world around him is not worth this fire, he falls into a deep depression. It is this depression that causes his early death.

A real person who was worried about the same problems as Pechorin, I would call Sergei Yesenin. On the scale of the multi-thousand-year history of mankind, it is quite possible to call him a “Hero of Our Time” and if I began to analyze this Russian poet in detail, then Lermontov’s work would be very useful. At least the deaths due to major depression are almost identical for both. I cannot find such a good example for Onegin in real life. The closest to him, I would call Klim Samgin from the book of Maxim Gorky, but this is again a literary character, not a living person. Onegin is more of a concept, an idea, rather than its actual embodiment.

The parallels to Tolstoy’s “Resurrection” are not so obvious here. The epigraph to the sixth chapter of “Eugene Onegin” prophesies about the birth of a new people, but maybe this new people is the resurrection of something long dead, especially since the epigraph is taken from poems on themes of the crusades. Lermontov’s poems are full of despair and anger. That is only one phrase “Goodbye unwashed Russia”. In the poem “Rampant Rome Rejoices”, a loose translation of an excerpt from Byron’s “Childe Harold”, Lermontov draws a dying gladiator – “the momentary amusement of an insensitive crowd.” I immediately think of a courtroom where Katerina Maslova, accused of murder, which she did not commit, is read out the verdict. Lermontov’s hero, like Tolstoy’s Maslov, is an outcast of society who will never become a part of it and will not receive anything in return except indifference and contempt. Leo Tolstoy with absolute realism in his novel “Resurrection” draws how society relates to elements alien to it. By the will of fate, after the nobleman Nekhlyudov had a little fun with the girl, and then left, she becomes a prostitute, which means that for society she loses her entire human appearance. This is how respectable citizens look at representatives of sects or doctrines other than the dominant one. This is how respectable Rome looked at the first Christians. By the way, the first mass persecution of Christians arose after Nero blamed them for the Roman fire that happened in July 64, which they did not commit. Tacitus[10] described it this way:

But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. [11]

Katerina Maslova was not fully rehabilitated for the murder she did not commit, but received only a relaxation of the sentence at the request of the “highest name”. At the end of the novel, she goes to the settlement, accompanied by a revolutionary with a Jewish surname “Simonson”. It should be noted that Jewish surnames are not often found in Tolstoy’s works.

The sixth chapter ends the first part of “Eugene Onegin”. The phrase “So my noon has come” is taken from the book of prophet Isaiah. Hezekiah, the king of the Jews, pronounces his prayer during a fatal illness. Why should he “at the time of his days go to the gates of hell”? After meeting the prophet Isaiah, Hezekiah recovers safely. Prophet Isaiah is the same prophet who predicted the appearance of “son of god” In Zhukovsky’s poem “The Twelve Sleeping Virgins”, a variation on the theme of “Faust” by Goethe, Stormbreaker met with Asmodeus, a crafty demon in the form of an old man with a rough beard and shining eyes, who invited him to conclude an agreement – to sell his soul for “honor and a lot of gold”. Choosing between death and pact, Stormbreaker chooses pact. At the end of the sixth chapter of “Eugene Onegin”, the author says goodbye to his youth and embarks on “a new path to rest from past life.”

According to the hypothesis of reincarnation, any death means a new birth or resurrection into a new life. Indeed, death exists only from relatives and friends point of view accompanying the person. In the time frame of the person himself, death does not exist at all. Closing his eyes in one life, he immediately opens them in a new one, although thousands of years could pass on Earth. And from this point of view, “Death” and “Resurrection” are identical, and any piece of art closed on itself in a ring, must in one way or another symbolize this idea.

 

Seventh topic. Development contradictions.

For the seventh chapter of “Eugene Onegin” Pushkin prefaced three epigraphs at once and everything about Moscow. The third epigraph is taken from Griboyedov’s “Woe from Wit”. Chatsky returns to his bride Sophia, but his sharp mind and opposition to society is not what she likes. Sofia prefers the faceless Molchalin to the angry Chatsky, who is much better adapted to life in Moscow. By the way, the name Sophia means wisdom.

Persecution of Moscow!
what does it mean to see the world!
Where is better?
Where we are not.[12]
Griboyedov.

Answering Sophia in this way, Chatsky actually explains that having seen the world, he believes that everything everywhere is the same. At the end of Griboyedov’s play, Sophia spreads the rumor that Chatsky has gone mad and with the words “a carriage for me, a carriage” he decides to leave Moscow forever. Sophia’s position strictly obeys the “law of loaves”. One should remember Bulat Okudzhava again: the desire to get smart in such a society must inevitably end up with a beating.

The second epigraph is taken from Baratynsky’s poem «Feast». In lifeless summers, a cold soul is warmed only by the “living consolation of feasts.” Valsingam from “A Feast in Time of Plague” sadly remarks that the houses are now sad. Indeed, if people can only accept loaves, a miracle and the sword of Caesar, then let them choke.

It’s fine with a lovely lyre
To be remembered by people;
Serve love even more beautifully,
Nice to fight; but o, gosh,
Friends, it’s safer to dine!

And miracles began …
Baratynsky “Feasts”

The first epigraph is taken from Dmitriev’s poem “The Liberation of Moscow” about the expulsion of the Poles from the Kremlin by the Russian people’s militia at the end of the Time of Troubles, Smuta, and election of the first king from the new Romanov dynasty.

Moscow, beloved daughter of Russia,
Where can you find your equal?
Dmitriev.

Due to the low artistic value and the lack of objective historical truth, Nabokov calls this work «paltry.» A similar pseudo-historical creation, created by Sergei Alexandrovich Shirinsky Shikhmatov, is described by Pushkin himself as follows:

Pozharsky, Minin, Germogen,
or Saved Russia.
The syllable is bad, dark, pompous –
And empty words are unbearable

The writer Vyacheslav Nikolayevich Kozlyakov, today the most authoritative historian of the Time of Troubles, emphasized in his book “Heroes of Trouble” that many people associate the images of the main participants in the events of Smuta not with real people who lived in the past, but with the monument to Minin and Pozharsky on Red Square. The real prince Pozharsky was by no means a “copper prince in a classic Roman tunic”, as he is depicted on the monument. According to historical information, Pozharsky was at first one of Boris Godunov’s close associates, then actively supported False Dmitry, was in the service of Vasily Shuisky, supported the seven-boyars and advocated the call to the Russian throne not only of the Polish prince Vladislav, but also of the Austrian prince “Tsar’s brother Maximilian”. To a direct question from Ambassador Yusuf in Yaroslavl “would they want” to elect Maximilian for the Muscovite state, Prince Dmitry Pozharsky replied that “the prince will be received with great joy.” As part of the second militia, where he was called up for general leadership, he advocated the installation of the eleven-year-old Swedish prince Karl Philip on the throne, and finaly only after the idea of electing Mihail Romanov to the throne arose he also supported this idea. From the point of view of historical science, Prince Pozharsky cannot be called a “hero” of anything and does not fit the symbol of the liberation of Moscow.

Thus, the first epigraph to the seventh chapter of “Eugene Onegin” opposes “elevating us deception” to “the darkness of low truths.” The second epigraph is “bread of the earth” to “bread of heaven”. The third epigraph is “the heart of the wise” to the “heart of the foolish.” And all this is organized around the city of Moscow, in the context of the only one comparable to ancient Jerusalem.

In the seventh chapter, in the end, Tatiana gets married very profitably, while significantly increasing her social status. Thanks to this and perhaps only this, she becomes able to repay Onegin in the same way that he taught her in the silence of the village: with a cold mind. As the Grand Inquisitor explained in Dostoevsky’s book “The Brothers Karamazov”, Christianity alone could have arisen through adherence to the principles of “loaves”, “miracle” and “the sword of Caesar.”

A person seeks to bow before what is already indisputable, so indisputable that all people at once agree to a universal admiration for him.

But what properties should a people possess, capable of bowing so amicably and unanimously before the new truth? From the point of view of ethnogenesis, a nation is a single complex organism, which has its own special psychological portrait. And its significant advantages in one can become dire disadvantages in another. Nation, where centripetal tendencies to cohesion are so strong able to defeat the most powerful armies in the world with only unity and to accept a new faith, as one. At the same time, for the sake of faith it may exterminate millions of innocent victims of repression. And if you find the best book that describes the psychological character and unique characteristics of the people of Russia, then this is “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy.

In my opinion, a significant part of Leo Tolstoy’s philosophy has much in common with Chinese philosophy. On the basis of what the writer has created, one can illustrate the concepts of book “Tao De Ching” and the unity of Yin-Yang. For example, why hard tree branches break under the weight of snow, and flexible ones only temporarily change their shape, but ultimately return to their original position. The most striking example of such flexibility is in his novel “War and Peace”, a description of the Patriotic War of 1912, when, despite the need to surrender Moscow to Napoleon and with no one battle won, the French army was completely destroyed. Kutuzov’s retreat strategy explains one of the most important principles of Taoism – inaction.

In the seventh chapter of Eugene Onegin, Tatiana marries a fat general she does not like, but who has a lot of weight in society. Having at the same time received a position in the world and the ability to pay off Onegin with dignity, she, with all this, remains essentially the same Tatyana, who was carried away by fairy tales and scary novels in the wilderness of the countryside.

But as to me, Onegin, this magnificence,
a wearisome life’s tinsel, my successes
in the world’s vortex,
my fashionable house and evenings,
what do I care for them?… At once I’d gladly
give all the frippery of this masquerade,
all this glitter, and noise, and fumes,
for a shelfful of books, for a wild garden,
for our poor dwelling,

The writer who very sharply showed many negative aspects of society as a single organism and was considered a true connoisseur of the Russian character was Gogol. In the play “The Inspector General” the appearance of a young man, taken for an important person from the capital Petersburg, clearly demonstrates the principles by which many people live. One example of such a “Inspector” is the ideology adopted in the socialist USSR after the 1917 revolution. The events of “Perestroika” and its consequences have shown who in reality was mistaken for an “important official”.

 

Eighth topic. Death.

Leo Tolstoy’s book Anna Karenina describes the tragic death of a young woman. The actual cause of her death was a love affair with an officer, which led to an insoluble conflict in her family and society. As an epigraph, Leo Tolstoy took a quote from the Epistle “to the Romans” of the New Testament. The phrase “Vengeance is mine; I will repay” directly tells that it is not worth taking revenge on Rome, its death will come from above. As it actually happened. If the novel “Resurrection” can be associated with the emergence of Christianity among the Judeo-Christians, and “War and Peace” with the peculiarities of the society that developed it, then the book “Anna Karenina” explains the reasons for the fall of Rome, which adopted an ideology alien to it. Exactly as it is noted by Gibbon. There is a very good historical analogy. The death of the USSR took place after Mikhail Gorbachev introduced private enterprise, which completely discredited the communist principles that the socialist country lived on. Capitalist relations for the USSR were similar to Vronsky for Anna Karenina, and her husband Aleksey Aleksandrovich Karenin turns out to be a parody of the state ideology of the USSR right before the collapse.

Onegin appears before Tatyana in the eighth chapter of Eugene Onegin just like Vronsky appears before Anna. Now Tatyana is the wife of a general, and if she had acted like Anna with Vronsky, then perhaps she would also have a sad end. Tolstoy draws a situation that could have happened if Tatyana had not refused Onegin. Tatiana in the eighth chapter says to Onegin:

How, with your heart and mind,
Be the slave of a trivial feeling?

But what to do if peoples and civilizations are very often slaves of petty feelings? They very easily believe Khlestakov and become victims of the Chichikovs’ tricks.

One of the central lines in Mikhail Bulgakov’s book “The Master and Margarita” was the betrayal of a married woman with a young writer and her subsequent decision to conclude a contract with the devil, fly a little on a broomstick and become a queen at Satan’s ball so that he would return her beloved Master to her. In real life, a woman dies. But it is not a death, but dormition. In another dimension, Satan takes Margarita and Master to the garden of happiness, where they must find eternal rest. The purpose of visiting communist Moscow by Satan was also to conduct a “session of black magic with its exposure.” At first, people were given free things, and then when these things disappeared, people ran naked through the streets. This is reminiscent of the situation with Gogol’s “Inspector General”. With Bulgakov, the role of fake auditor and real auditor goes to Woland.

In one of the novel’s final scenes, Woland sits on the roof of Pashkov’s house in Moscow, the current Russian State Library, formerly named after Lenin, and exclaims: “What an interesting city, isn’t it?” Azazello remarks that he likes Rome better. Right in front of Woland, among “an immense collection of palaces, giant houses and small shacks doomed to be scrapped” are the ruins of demolished The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. If we draw an analogy with Pushkin’s “Bronze Horseman”, where Eugene sits on the ruins of The Second St. Isaac’s Temple, then Satan is in the place of the Bronze Horseman, a monument to Peter I. Later, Woland’s entire retinue gallops across the sky on horses. Koroviev-Fagot “galloped, quietly ringing the gold chain of the reins”, on the boots of the Master glittered “fading, now flashing stars of spurs”. The most colorful of all was Satan himself, as “a terrible and clever spirit, a spirit of self-destruction and non-existence”:

And, finally, Woland also flew in his real guise. Margarita could not say what the rein of his horse was made of, and thought that it was possible that these were moon chains and that the horse itself was only a lump of darkness, and the mane of this horse was a cloud, and the rider’s spurs were white spots of stars.

As an epigraph to the eighth chapter of “Eugene Onegin”, Pushkin took lines from Byron’s poem “Fare thee well”, dedicated to Byron’s divorce from his wife Annabella Milbank.

Fare thee well, and if for ever,
Still for ever, fare thee well.

Annabella was a woman of strict rules. She wanted to see in her husband only the ideal of virtue. The real and living Byron was hostile to Annabelle. When the dead and the living meet, there is always a “split”. It is necessary to recall the “smelly old man” from Dostoevsky’s novel “The Brothers Karamazov”. The lifetime sanctity of an elder is a tough property of the dead. The pernicious smell of a dead body is a living and natural property, and therefore destroys “dead holiness”. After death, the elder, with his smell, say to his admirers: “fare thee well, guys”.

For this article, I took as an epigraph lines from the song by Andrey Makarevich “Crystal City”. My main assumption here is that all Russian classical literature is one large extended essay by one author on a free topic. At the same time, the author, no matter how he is called – “higher mind”, “god”, “other mind”, Solaris or something else, appears in his real and living image. This may not please to those who are used to see and interpret him from a different point of view. However, together with the farewell, Pushkin’s epigraph to the eighth chapter provides an opportunity for a positive outcome. This is not a final goodbye. If the reader understands and accepts the author in his reality, this can become the basis for some newest testament, or a worthy pledge of a friendship.

Notes

  1. Roderick Ninian Smart (6 May 1927 – 29 January 2001) Scottish writer and university educator. In 2000, he was elected President of the American Academy of Religion, while simultaneously retaining his status as President of the Inter Religious Federation for World Peace.
  2. Here and below translation of “Eugene Onegin” by Vladimir Nabokov
  3. Gerald Stanley Hawkins (20 April 1928– 26 May 2003) British-born American astronomer and author noted for his work in the field of archaeoastronomy.
  4. An ancient Athenian religious prophet. The debate between Euthyphro and Socrates influenced generations of theologians and gave rise to the question of the relationship between God and morality
  5. G. E. Moore (4 November 1873 – 24 October 1958), an English philosopher, founder of analytic philosophy.
  6. Suite “The Snow Storm” by Georgy Sviridov, as a musical illustration for Pushkin’s novel “Eugene Onegin”.
  7. A.S. Pushkin. A village. July 1819.
  8. Translation by Judith A. Boss
  9. Là, sotto i giorni nubilosi e brevi, nasce una gente a cui morir non dole. (Ital.)
  10. Cornelius Tacitus (AD 56 – AD 120) is considered by modern scholars to be one of the greatest Roman historians
  11. Tacitus. The Annals passage (15.44) translation from Latin by A. J. Church and W. J. Brodribb, 1876
  12. Analog of English phrase “Grass is greener on the other side”

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