Altshuller on Solzhenitsyn

Y. B. Karasik,
Thoughts Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.
e-mail:karasik@sympatico.ca

Altshuller was not a fan of Solzhenitsyn. Only once I heard him saying that Solzhenitsyn was doing a noble thing. But it was an ironic remark. In all other instances he was just critical of Solzhenitsyn's views.

All what I heard him saying about Solzhenitsyn was said during debates with Oleg Scrotsky, who initiated the debates. Scrotsky listened to Solzhenitsyn's radio broadcasts and then retold them to Altshuller (and to other people that happened to be with Altshuller at the moment). I recall the following episodes:

  1. Scrotsky: "Today Solzhenitsyn said that he understood the falsehood of all revolutions and the truth of all religions."
    Altshuller: "I understood their falsehood long time ago. Any revolution promises a right about turn, but the pendulum first swings 30 degrees left then 130 degrees right and eventually stops just 3 degrees shy of the initial direction. As for the truth of all religions", - Altshuller smiled.
  2. From Solzhenitsyn's broadcasts Scrotsky picked up the idea that there is no progress. Once in a used books store he bought a book on criminal justice in Russia published in XIX century and presented it to Altshuller as a gift for his birthday. Altshuller accepted the gift but after reading the book told Scrotsky: "Oleg, you better read books you give to others. Then you would have understood that there is progress. Here is a case in the book: a landlord shelled the court from the guns that was heading to him. Who shells courts from artillery guns nowadays ? Another case: an army captain ordered to hang a Jew in whose house he stayed during maneuvers. The military tribunal first demoted him to leutenant for this crime but then promoted him to major on the grounds that he instilled in his unit such a perfect discipline that even his idiotic orders get executed. Where do you, Oleg, see anything like this nowadays ?" - Altshuller said.