Empty Days

Thursday, May 19, 2005



The root of life.

And here's a passage that could easily be called "the essence of Rozanov's philosophy" - the corner-stone and the bottom-line. I don't know if I'll manage to give a meaningful translation but after that I won't need to quote anything else, I think. It's more important and fundamental than his talk of God or whatever such other subjects.

All in all it was love especially that never failed me. I was disillusioned in religious belief, in civilization, in literature. In people in general. But those two human beings who loved me - never was I disillusioned in them. And it's not that their love made me comfortable, not even that: but the desire to see something ideal, something true is eternal in man. In these two people who were attached to me (my "friend" and Julia) I saw truth that had none of the "defects of the moon" - on their luminous faces I could not detect a single moral "wrinkle".

If only I myself were a human being of that sort - my life would have been full and I would have been perfectly happy, without constitution, literature or a handsome face.

To be able to see perfection, the most beautiful, and to know that it's attached to you - this is the lot of gods. Twice in my life - and the second time it lasted a full 20 years - I had access to this "semblance of god-like life".

When I think of Florensky, I bless him and his wife as they pass before me - and with pain in my heart for my own inability, I think: "this one will know how not to lose [what he has]."
Rozanov called his wife "my friend" - partly because they were not legally married. She was very ill for most of their life together and died much earlier than her husband - because her real desease was not detected early enough. Rozanov blamed himself for having allowed this to happen (careless, full of fear).
By "defects of the moon" he refers to his theories about the development of sexual symbolics in world religions; cults of the moon actually adored a god hostile to all natural life - monks and sexless priests, celebacy, rejection of procreation, adoration of death, everything cerebral and "ideal", are a feature of the moon-worship. By contrast sexuality and all natural characteristics of man are life-affirming and belong to the cult of the sun and procreation. For example, Rozanov saw judaism as a religion almost entirely devoted to affirmation and sanctification of natural life - procreation, sex, race, physical life. It is thus the most life-affirming of all religions - while christianity as it developped is something quite different and essentially hostile to life. When Rozanov talks of love he absolutely means sexuality, having children, being physical - and yet he also means the oneness of this love with everything emotional and spiritual that is found in loving. Real morality is based on such real love - all this is part of the tree of life and being blessed and "being with God". Of course it's not a very accurate or exhaustive outline of Rozanov's philosophy but I think it's about enough to make this excerpt more or less understandable.





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