The Martyrdom of Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich

He was gifted, he suffered, he made great music

His most deeply felt pieces were sad, even tragic

Yet, ironic, for his tormentors were tone deaf

And those who knew could see through the façade

A dangerous game to play

He played the game that Stalin put in place

To control the people through control of the elite

The rules constantly changing, people disappearing

The speeches prepared for him betrayed the people he admired

Until Stalin died, he feared death every day, but as time advanced

He feared life even more than death

But lacked the resolve to end it

Because he had more music to make

He remained alive, suffering, suffering, humiliated

Writing for the Russian people

Giving them a spiritual touchstone

The Church being officially forbidden and suppressed

We need to remember our martyrs

Yes, ours, even those without the suffering Russian soul

We suffer too, without being able to name our suffering

Listen to Shostakovich and recognize it

Music speaks to suffering and redemption

More fully than any words can

He suffered for us, the martyr

Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich (1906 – 1975)



The Purpose of Life is …

… to Live!

Alan Watts by Norm Breyfogle

This has been verified, once again, through my listening to Alan Watts, may he RIP, while I exercised on a machine that emulates cross-country skiing—something I haven’t done, other than on the machine, that is.

Watts verifies the above bold assertion, one I originally made upon deep reflection when I was in my early 20s. This was a period of great inner searching while I was also studying scientific and other things at the U. of Cal. at Berkeley, working at various short-term and part-time jobs, reading voraciously as still is my way, getting used to being married but without children yet, and occasionally getting soused on cheap wine with my wife and friends. This was also a time when we were not sure if the world would survive an argument between the USSR and the USA (in the persons of Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy) over nuclear missiles in Cuba.

I had bought two DVDs of Watts’s lectures and other materials and was listening to one of them to offset the boredom I suffer on the exercise machine.

Carl Gustav Jung

I listened to Watts talk on C.G. Jung, one of his mentors, and about another great man of learning and wisdom, G.K. Chesterton. During this exercising and listening session, and during a previous session as I listened to Watts lecture on “What is Reality,” I was reminded about Life being that which we experience every moment, unless we tend, mentally or otherwise, to live in the past or future.

So today is a beautiful day to live in the moment, given that Spring has sprung in Stockholm and it is a wonderfully warm day. My wife’s daughter, Liv, and I will take a walk along the lake next to our apartment building in the remaining daylight, of which there is plenty at 4:30 PM at this latitude (59 degrees north).

Life is good.