"The strength or weakness of a society depends more on the level of its spiritual life than on its level of industrialization. Neither a market economy nor even general abundance constitutes the crowning achievement of human life. If a nation’s spiritual energies have been exhausted, it will not be saved from collapse by the most perfect government structure or by any industrial development. A tree with a rotten core cannot stand."
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
(1918-2008) Russian novelist, Soviet dissident, imprisoned for 8 years for critizing Stalin in a personal letter, Nobel Prize for Literature, 1970
National Review article (Sept. 23, 1991, p.24)
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Reader comments about this quote:
A very wise man.
 -- Jim Beam, Lat/Lon: 11.2º N 125.0º E     
  • 3
     -- David Messer, Orlando      
    The here stated observance could be stated in many ways (by way of example: 'spiritual life' here could take on many interpretations - all of which would have to be in harmony with natural law to be accurate)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 3
    Yes and along with spirtuality comes a commonality. A good society should have some core common values and the highest of these should be honesty, which has been woeully laking in some quarters lately.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    I can't even begin to say it all, suffice to say, the old world, was only 30 years ago, faster and faster we go, like a black train, with no driver, no brakes.
     -- anon, anon     
    If we all do not have one common goal in which to live by then we fail. With one common goal, just to treat others the way you want to be treated, either be it spiritually, are just harmony, but we all need to share that common goal just to keep from failing.
     -- E.G. Worth, Atlanta     
     -- jim k, Austin,Tx      
    Waffler said it well and honesty in Washington is missing in action on both sides of the aisle.
     -- jim k, Austin,Tx     
  • 1
    While I am not a religious man, I am apalled by state sponsored attacks on the church. All the while telling us we should be more tolerant of a religion that advocates our death. Insanity at it's finest.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
  • 2
    In a society where the 'promise' is treated as if it were the real thing, its survival is dependent upon the keeping of our word. The degree to which the society as a whole (i.e. the sum total of all the individuals in it) live up to their promises is the degree to which the society will flourish. It is not just the politicians that need to keep their word, but all the individual citizens as well in all facets of life. It is a tall order to be sure, but there can be no agreements, no cooperation, no progress if promises are not kept and amends not made when we falter. That is why I believe Liberation is a constant process for we are ever learning how to be honest with ourselves as well as with others. But when the society blatantly disregards the Golden Rule especially among those citizens in positions of trust and power, it can't be long before we find ourselves oppressed. We have the key to unlocking our prison, we need only utilize it.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 2
    Wow! you have just explained the future of America - it's core is rotten. There is only one hope, that we quickly plant another tree before the one we have totally disintegrates and falls into the abyss, then it will be to late.
     -- RBESRQ     
  • 1
     -- Ron, Salem      
    America's core is NOT rotten, the USSR's core was, right from the start.  America's core is the Declaration of Independence, and from that root, all the rest has grown.  If we no longer nourish the Tree of Liberty, it will wither.  The core of American independence and Liberty is not rotten.  We simply have to defend it from being chopped down for firewood.  Socialism has a rotten core, it is a tree that bears no fruit  it's very premise is to reap the harvest of others.  
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
     -- Mary, MI      
     -- jim k, Austin      
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