Quotes from The First Circle

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn ·  580 pages

Rating: (6.3K votes)


“My wish for you... is that your skeptic-eclectic brain be flooded with the light of truth.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being?”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“Satiety depends not at all on how much we eat, but on how we eat. It's the same with happiness, the very same...happiness doesn't depend on how many external blessings we have snatched from life. It depends only on our attitude toward them. There's a saying about it in the Taoist ethic: 'Whoever is capable of contentment will always be satisfied.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“...you are strong only as long as you don't deprive people of everything. For a person you've taken everything from us no longer in your power. He's free all over again.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“What is the most precious thing in the world? I see now that it is the knowledge that you have no part in injustice. Injustice is stronger than you, it always was and always will be, but let it not be done through you.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle



“...it's only on a black day that you begin to have friends.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“We are all human, and our senses are quicker to prompt us than our reason. Every man gives off a scent, and that scent tells you how to act before your head does.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“I leaf through the ancient philosophers and find my newest discoveries there.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“Just as King Midas turned everything to gold, Stalin turned everything to mediocrity.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“If a person can build a fence around himself, he is bound to do it.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle



“If we live in a state of constant fear, can we remain human?”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“Freedom or prison--what's the difference? A man must develop unwavering will power subject only to his reason.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“... skepticism can never provide firm ground under a man's feet. And perhaps, after all, we need firm ground.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“In the realm of the unknown, difficulties must be viewed as a hidden treasure! Usually, the more difficult, the better. It's not as valuable if your difficulties stem from your own inner struggle. But when difficulties arise out of increasing objective resistance, that's marvelous!”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“[He] understood the people in a new way...The people is not everyone who speaks our language, nor yet the elect marked by the fiery stamp of genius. Not by birth, not by the work of one's hands, not by the wings of education is one elected into the people.
But by one's inner self.
Everyone forges his inner self year after year.
One must try to temper, to cut, to polish one's soul so as to become a human being.
And thereby become a tiny particle of one's own people.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle



“Relations between a man and a woman are always strange: nothing can be foreseen, they have no predictable direction, no law. Sometimes you come to a dead end, where there is nothing to do but sit down and weep; all the words have been said, and to no purpose; all the arguments have been thought of, and shattered. But then sometimes, at a chance look or word, the wall doesn't start to crack, but simply melts away. And where there was nothing but darkness, a clear path appears again, where two people can walk.

Just a path — perhaps only for a minute.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“Talent is always conscious of its own abundance, and does not object to sharing.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“You can build the Empire State Building. Train the Prussian army. Elevate the hierarchy of a totalitarian state higher than the throne of the Most High.

But there are still people whose moral superiority defeats your own.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“The great truth for Innokenty used to be that we are given only one life.

Now, with the new feeling that had ripened in him, he became aware of another law: that we are given only one conscience, too.

A life laid down cannot be reclaimed, nor can a ruined conscience.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“are there really people on this earth who deliberately set out to do evil things? Who say to themselves, I want to hurt people, to inflict all the pain I can, to make their lives impossible?”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle



“Ông nên hiểu điều này, và ông nên nói lại điều này với những người trong bọn ông rằng các ông chỉ mạnh khi nào các ông không tước đoạt của người khác hết tất cả mọi thứ. Bởi vì khi một người đã bị các ông lấy mất hết tất cả, người đó sẽ không còn ngán sợ các ông nữa. Người đó lại trở thành tự do.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“That's why there's a devil—to judge the priests.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“A prisoner five years between the shafts never hurries. He knows that what comes next can only be worse.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“It is a human characteristic, which has been richly exploited in every era, that while hope of survival is still alive in a man, while he still believes his troubles will have a favorable outcome, and while he still has the chance to unmask treason or to save someone else by sacrificing himself, he continues to cling to the pitiful remnants of comfort and remains silent and submissive. When he has been taken and destroyed, when he has nothing more to lose, and is, in consequence, ready and eager for heroic action, his belated rage can only spend itself against the stone walls of solitary confinement. Or the breath of the death sentence makes him indifferent to earthly affairs.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“Все народы, имевшие несчастье быть православными, поплатились несколькими веками рабства!.. Безбожный народ был беззащитен! И получилась косопузая страна. Страна рабов!”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle



“So the steel chain forged with such reptilian cunning snapped at the link that had been fashioned from a woman’s heart.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“It was clearly a prisoner's craftwork; that is, the most painstaking work in the world, for prisoners have nowhere to hurry to.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“Wherever they went—Moscow, Tehran, the Syrian coast, Switzerland—a furnished house, villa, or apartment awaited the young couple. And their philosophies of life were the same: "We have only one life!" So take everything life can give, except one thing: the birth of a child. For a child is an idol who sucks dry the juices of your being without any return for your sacrifices, not even ordinary gratitude.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


“Finally, he gave up trying to quiet her and lit a cigarette, the last resort of a man who finds himself in an intolerably stupid position.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quote from The First Circle


About the author

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Born place: in Kislovodsk, Russian Federation
Born date December 11, 1918
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