- Appeal to Russian Education Minister Vladimir Filippov concerning the proposed introduction of civil Humanism as a study discipline, printing of textbooks on Humanism, and establishment of a joint Coordination Council by the Russian Ministry of Education and the Russian Humanist Society, that would strive to strengthen the role of Humanism in education.
TOPIC OF THE DAY
- The Immorality of the War Against Iraq. Editorial from Free Inquiry contributed by Paul Kurtz, the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Chairman of the Council for Secular Humanism and Professor Emeritus at SUNY at Buffalo. “Obviously, current U.S. policies threaten to undermine the entire fabric of collective security so carefully developed by the world community after the Second World War...”
THE LINES OF TENSION: FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE AND CLERICALISM IN RUSSIA
- Sergei Buyanov and Sergei Mozgoyoy are very convincing in Freedom of Conscience as a Hostage of Clerical Bureaucracy as they show how certain Russian officials, politicians and religious leaders try to single out one or just a few religious confessions as “traditional” and grant them special status – an idea which cannot be expected to strengthen civil society in Russia.
- Sergei Solovyov, Dmitri Subbotin Misguided Search for the Origin / Do We Really Need the “Basics of Orthodox Christian Culture”? For the national education system, this course, fiercely advocated by the clergy, is not only useless – it is actually harmful. We are dealing with unabashed Orthodox Christianity propaganda mixed with nationalism. And studying the “Basics...” will be all but compulsory...
DISCUSSING THE NEW TEXTBOOK ON HUMANISM
- Gennady Shevelev welcomes the first textbook on modern Humanism to be published in Russia. He expresses hope that this book will find its way to the minds of Russians, especially university students. While holding a generally favorable opinion of the book, he would rather not classify the book as popular literature targeted at the general reader. We need some effective methods to promote Humanism, the author argues.
MODERN SHAM MASTERS: ERNST MULDASHEV
- Leonid Balashevich, Trans-Himalayan Storyteller from an Ophthalmologist's Point of View. Leaving aside Muldashev’s delusional ideas about the origin and the fate of civilizations, the author, a prominent Russian medical doctor, points out to his absolute professional incompetence and irresponsibility – despite the ads claiming that Muldashev “does wonders” as an eye surgeon... rgeon...
- Pyotr Trevogin The Tales of Professor Muldashev. “A huge series of fairy tales for grown-up men and women with elementary school (or even pre-school) level of knowledge in physics, mathematics and other sciences”, – this is how the author describes the writings of Muldashev. An acute demand for such tales raises serious concerns about the state of culture in Russia.
MESSAGES AND OPINIONS
- Gennady Shevelev: RHS is found to be an “improper plaintiff”. Chairman of the St. Petersburg section of the Russian Humanist Society reports on the wearisome litigation in which the humanists seek to make the officials cancel the so called “healer diplomas” issued to obvious charlatans. “The outcome of our endeavor will determine people’s attitude toward RHS: it will show whether we are really capable of suppressing the evil or prefer not to go beyond general rhetoric...”
- “Will the Orthodox Cross Split Russia Apart?” A letter to Common Sense editor following an attack of six Orthodox Christian fanatics on the Sakharov Center where the “Beware: Religion” exhibition was set up. The attack was virtually approved by a prominent Orthodox Metropolitan. This event “crosses out the very possibility of religious morality and tolerance, regardless of all their hypocritical bombast, with a big and heavy cross that looks rather like a sword...”
HISTORIC ROOTS OF HUMANISM
- Marianna M. Shakhnovich: Eudemonic Ethics of Epicurus and Philosophy of Religion. A chapter from The Garden of Epicurus. Epicurus’ Philosophy of Religion and the Epicurean Tradition in the History of European Thought. The author treats Epicurus’ philosophy of religion as an implicit, immanent element of his philosophical system connected with his physics and epistemology. The specificity of the ancient understanding of atheism and the role of Epicureanism in ancient free-thinking is investigated.
RUSSIA’S GREATEST HUMANISTS
- In her sketch “With a Bottomless Heart”: Philosophy and Life of Lev Shestov, Anna Kudishina discloses the fascinating inner mind of the “soilless” philosopher who realized that “one should always keep ones eyes open”, and “take life in its entirety, with all its unreconcilable contradictions”...
HUMANISM AND ANTI-HUMANISM
- Ruslan Hazarzar, Christianity and anti-Semitism (a chapter from his book “The Son of Man”). “Even today people who call themselves Christians approach God in fear but not in love. Even today they cross themselves and pray with or without reason... Even today they feel intolerant of those who have different views. Religious bigotry has nothing to do with nationality. He is not a Christian who feels hatred towards anybody. Chauvinists are found among any group but not among Christians. A Christian cannot be an anti-Semite...”
ALWAYS TO REMEMBER: TOTALITARIAN SUPERVIOLENCE
- Vasily Grossman (1905-1964): “Man’s innate yearning for freedom can be suppressed but never destroyed. Totalitarianism cannot renounce violence. If it does, it perishes. Eternal, ceaseless violence, overt or covert, is the basis of totalitarianism. Man does not renounce freedom voluntarily. This conclusion holds out hope for our time, hope for the future”. (Live and Fate, Chapter 50) Manuscript of Grossman’s novel was confiscated by KGB agents, but a draft copy miraculously survived...
- Alexander Kruglov: Paradise on Earth – this is an illusion nurtured by inhabitants of the real, earthly hell called totalitarian society.
- Vsevolod Lyashenko, What was it that Blew Up Your Heart? Critical remarks on Alexander Kruglov’s article, “Peace-Seeking through Tenon – a Message to Russian Beau Monde” (ZS 1 (26), Winter of 2002/03). “Terrorism is a virtual enemy, just a means of warfare...”
- Alexander Kruglov, On Terrorism and “comme il faut”. “Captures of hostages, attacks on hospitals, maternity homes and concert halls, demolitions of residential and administrative buildings (committed in actual, not in virtual, reality) are all definitely classified as terrorism. “I forces that oppose such activity act legitimately”. “The results of the March referendum proved beyond doubt that the idea of “Chechen Resistance” is more popular in the Moscow press and broadcasting media than among Chechens themselves”.
- R. Yanovsky: “This book is a reliable guide and a landmark...” – Elections and Power. Voters’ Manual and Glossary. I., Sovershenstvo, 1999. Review on a book written by a team of authors under the leadership of V. Chalipov, E. Chalipova and A. Shishkin (RHS Vice-President).
- V. Keiko: writing from an Irkutsk prison: “I’m not sure this letter will reach you...”
- Yevgeny Smetanin, Dynamo Tbilisi, My Team
- Maria Romanushko, Non-boring verses
- Anatoli Kozhukhov, “Just a Place Near Moscow...”; “At the Moscow River Port”; “A Craftsman Forging Sharpest Thought...”. Poetry.
Igor M. Borzenko. 1933–2003