Considerations on a Voyage to Russia – Part 7 of 9

The worker has confidence in himself, in his creative force, in his future. He considers himself as an element in the construction of socialism and that gives him courage. His revolutionary past, his type, his mission become the ingredients of a new myth. This myth has chapels in red places. The portraits of heroes of the revolution, the revolutionary literature, the figures of Russian production, the yield tables of the factory, the crews of boats, the kolkhozes are icons, holy books, religious signs of these modern places of spiritual elevation. This new myth shows its cohesive force, although it must make its proofs under the lighting of an awakened conscience. It culminates in the cult that vows to the body of Lenin. The mausoleum before the Kremlin, facing the extraordinary church of St Basil, dating from the epoch of Ivan the Terrible, is as functional as it is striking. Each day, thousands of people file before the embalmed corpse, resting in his glass coffin, illuminated by spotlights. In this place, one cannot shudder before the mystic secret floating in the air and immortally based in transcendence. The naive soul can be moved, but the cold scientific curiosity found there is also realized. The ambiance obliges no one to respect the embalmed corpse like a wonder worker and savior. The light there is so flooding that it nearly reduces him to a wax figure. The myth flowering here borders where scientific curiosity begins. But, despite all, the will to believe is strong enough to let it divert itself from the austerity of the environment; the rationalism of daily life cannot remove his confidence. The myth flourishes even under the same strong lighting of the factory rooms. “For us, the Russians”, wrote a fervent communist, “things are easier than for other peoples. When we are at an impasse, we consult our Lenin and there we find advice.”

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