Notebook

Fated to live

Solzhenitsyn’s remark in a BBC interview from 1976, published in Warning to the West, has perennial relevance: ‘Once I used to hope that experience of life could be handed on from nation to nation, and from one person to another, but now I am beginning to have doubts about this. Perhaps everyone is fated to live through every experience himself in order to understand.’ Depending on one’s point of view, this perspective can be exhilarating or a source of despair.