Nature is My God – An Interview With Mikhail Gorbachev by Fred Matser

“The name of Mikhail Gorbachev, who dismantled the Communist empire, seems to have disappeared into distant memory. Yet, this is the man who still holds a dream of democracy, ecology and spirituality for Russia and for the world.” ~Fred Matser

“The twentieth century has been one of the most tragic centuries, a century with a lot of bloodshed, domination and destruction. It is the most paradoxical century . . . . On the one hand, we have made big breakthroughs in knowledge which has resulted in new technologies. On the other hand, because of these technological breakthroughs, for example, nuclear weapons, our very survival is in jeopardy. We are witnessing a breakdown of the proper relationship between humankind and the rest of nature.”

“The most important thing is to try to revive the universally known values from which we have retreated . . . . As a young man, I really took to heart the Communist ideals. A young soul certainly cannot reject things like justice and equality. These were the goals proclaimed by the Communists. But in reality that terrible Communist experiment brought about repression of human dignity. Violence was used in order to impose that model on society. In the name of Communism we abandoned basic human values. So when I came to power in Russia I started to restore those values; values of “openness” and freedom . . . . we have to abandon all kinds of violence. Secondly, to understand that we should not resort to extremism. “

Life has value in itself. Even if some methods are claimed to be progressive, if they result in destruction of life, then they are unacceptable . . . . I believe that the twenty-first century must be the century of human beings living in harmony with nature, rather than being enslaved to technology . . . . Humankind should become more modest in terms of its needs and more respectful of the environment of which we are just a part . . . . My philosophy is a philosophy based on common sense. Common sense refers to a sense of measure, a sense of moderation. If, for example, freedom is not linked to morality, it is not freedom. It is permissiveness. It is just self-seeking, rather than freedom . . . . I think that economic liberalism is no less vulnerable than Socialism or Communism. Economic prosperity must go hand in hand with social cohesion and ecological sustainability. What good is a lot of money when the social fabric is destroyed and the environment polluted? . . . . If we fail to restore human dignity and ecological sustainability, the free market is of no use.”

“Today, people with power . . . are incapable of being in touch with the people who initially trusted them . . . . This again cultivates the old mindset, dependent on having a good tsar or general secretary. But in a country where many nations and ethnic groups live, you can only achieve your goals when the entire society is involved.”

“Firstly, I learned common sense from my parents, which is so typical of rural people. They have a feeling for nature, for the cosmos, for the world, for real life. They are born on the land and they live on the land. They have a feeling for that land and they know that land. This association with nature gives people a very good hold on common sense. I also learned modesty and humility. In rural communities there is a lot of very hard work which brings tolerance and solidarity and this is something I saw in my family and in my village . . . . I am proud of my rural roots . . . . The wife of the president of Finland once asked me how I endured difficult times. I said, “I have to thank my parents who were peasants and who really put a solid foundation in me, who gave me fortitude, who gave me stamina and a kind of wisdom.”

“I believe in the cosmos. All of us are linked to the cosmos. Look at the sun. If there is no sun, then we cannot exist. So nature is my god. To me, nature is sacred. Trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals . . . . love for me is what unites man and woman. Love also unites humans and nature. Love is a mystery of nature.”

Full article at Resurgence Magazine

Keywords : communism, socialism, capitalism, free market, ecosocial crisis, politics, earth, nature, god, religion, love, wisdom
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