Question: In Russia the gap between an idealized picture of a beautiful life and the actual life is very big. Entire masses of people have learned to believe that there is something beautiful yet unreal and unreachable, and then there is the everyday life where “there is no fence against ill fortune.” How can we overcome the fact that a Russian person does not believe that he can live better than now?
Answer: In the course of many centuries Russian people were so pressured, restricted, and enslaved that this faith was simply “etched out” of them. Many leaders and regimes were preoccupied only with that: How they could convert a normal citizen into an abnormal slave. That is why today we see a mutilated society, unfortunate people with tremendous potential, the kind that doesn’t exist, perhaps, in any other nation in the world. It is a nation of overwhelming possibility: intelligent, sensitive, and at the same time so tortured, cornered, embittered, and full of mistrust towards everyone.
Whenever I visit Moscow and look at people, I notice that all of them walk around either hunched over or conversely, show themselves off. There is no normal and free person who would walk along and be carefree about what goes on around him. That is, a person is truly placed under very difficult conditions that weigh heavily upon him.
But on the other hand, Russian people have an exceptionally high perceptiveness towards science, closeness, and understanding of the new. Unlike the Germans or the English, they are not so intransigent. The ability to adapt and change is present in Russians more than in any other people.
Therefore I think that on the contrary, in Russia, as a result of widespread dissemination of the idea of integral education and upbringing, the integral future of the world could be quickly accepted and people could begin to adapt to it quickly. It is because they are constantly searching for the Russian idea, identity, and individuality. This “fermentation” continuously goes on in a person, it’s just that now people have thrown up their hands. Now there is a stretch of nihilism, but it’s only external; internally this demand exists anyway.
From a “Talk on Integral Education” #5, 12/13/11