Solzhenitsyn on Life, Death, and Humanism

83678-004-68442A7BI came across this stunning paragraph from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn‘s 1978 commencement address to Harvard University when re-reading Stanley Hauerwas‘ book A Community of Character the other day. As I was working on my message from this past weekend at Eastbrook, I found Solzhenitsyn’s words a helpful encouragement for the right direction I was going.

If humanism were right in declaring that man is born to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature. It cannot be unrestrained enjoyment of everyday life. It cannot be the search for the best ways to obtain material goods and then cheerfully get the most out of them. It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one’s life journey may become an experience of a moral growth, so that one may leave life a better human being than one started it.