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The ultimate faith of nations equals the spiritual faith of their citizens, in spite of anything to the contrary that politicians would like us to believe. Surely there is also something like a “collective madness” in the attitude of citizens in many places in the world.
We can read the many studies by experts in sociology or Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer, thoughts on the nature of mass movements, and find compelling reasons for this phenomena, but if we want to grasp something perhaps of an Ukrainian spirit, read the above book by the Ukrainian author Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol (1809-1852).
Current events in Kiev echo the deep melancholic malaise felt by many Ukrainians on both sides of the political isle. In Kiev it is no longer sanity and self-respect that protects the “national spirit” from erosion. We can describe some of the collective madness best by using the words from the novel A Hero of Our Time written by a Russian contemporary of Gogol, the famous author Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841):
“Some were dreadfully insulted, and quite seriously, to have held up as a model such an immoral character as A Hero of Our Time; others shrewdly noticed that the author had portrayed himself and his acquaintances…A Hero of Our Time, gentlemen, is in fact a portrait, but not of an individual; it is the aggregate of the vices of our whole generation in their fullest expression”.
Americans, on both sides of the political divide, should take notice!