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Until I turned 70 I looked forward, now I only look upward


A Dictionary of New Mythology by Vadim Voinov

I am grateful to the following people for their support in the publication of this book:


Irina Tsapovetskaya

by Vadim Voinov

Elena Kharkova

Title Page Vadim Voinov's portrait

Marianna Brusovani

by Tatiana Barti, 2008 Portrait photographs

Irina Karasik

Anatoly Shishkov Vladimir Peshkov

Ksenia Astafeva

Vladimir Dorokhov Vlad Karyakin

Anastasia Voinova

Anatoly Belkin

Tatiana Barti

Alexander Sizoff Translated

Valentin Bulkin

from the Russian by Mary C. Gannon

Valery Sokolov

ÁÁÊ ISBN Text and design copyright © 2012 Vadim S. Voinov Translation copyright © 2012 Mary C. Gannon

Evgeny Orlov Aslan Uyanaev 8

Monograms by Vadim Voinov




This section, if not the entire book, is just an experiment in self-knowledge 9

Autobiography The present and the future will become the past; and so will you. The biography of an artist is only a primer on the canvas of his life. My birth certificate data and the plot outline of my life break down like this: born in 1940 in Leningrad (St. Petersburg). Mother: Nadezhda, an engineer; father: Serafim Voinov, historian, arrested in 1949 in the so-called Leningrad Affair. Sapienti sat. I graduated from high school in absentia in 1959, after which I went to America and Africa as a sailor on a boat in an oceangoing fishery fleet. From 1969 to 1976 I studied at the Department of History of St. Petersburg State University (also in absentia), specializing in Russian history. As a minor, I studied in the Department of Art History, where I defended my dissertation. In 1972, during my third year of studies, I began working as a senior research fellow at the State Museum of the History of Leningrad. All in all, I worked there for about a quarter of a century. I lectured on the history of architecture, wrote articles, and took part in archeological expeditions. My primary work at the museum involved investigating the premises of old buildings slated for overhaul, where I found the abandoned belongings of former residents. My 10

repeated encounters with these objects in situ led to a philosophical and artistic grappling with the material, and I began making collages on the subject of Russian History. I started working on them in 1979 and had my first exhibit in 1983. In 1994, the Free Culture Society of Artists, the only organization I belong to, offered me the opportunity to open a personal gallery. This became the "Bridge Over the Styx" at 10 Pushkinskaya Street (entrance from 53 Ligovsky Prospekt) in St. Petersburg. During the seventeen years of its existence, curators from the State Russian Museum and the Museum of Nonconformist Art have organized several permanent expositions in the gallery. To understand my approach to the material and my working methods, I have to cite manifestos from 1982 and 2005. They not only augment my autobiography, but also serve as a key to the working principle of the Dictionary of New Mythology. The 1982 manifesto is reproduced in full in this section as an illustration. The programmatic piece entitled Manifesto is also reproduced here. An excerpt from the 2005 manifesto: "Especially valuable to me were the critics' views on the ideological and stylistic resonance of functiocollage with various trends and concerns of late 19th — early 20th century art. Among them were: the Wanderers Movement in Russian art, Dadaism, Futurism, Suprematism, Pop Art, Surrea-lism, the Found Object, Conceptualism, Sots Art, etc. 11

Manifesto cleared by the censor and stamped 12

Manifesto. Installation. 1982–1985 63.5 õ 44.5 õ 10 cm 13

"This was what prompted me to look for an explanation of the phenomenon that has never been referred to as eclecticism. There was but one alternative: to give my new style a completely unique and unprecedented name: Astroconstructivism. "The name is easily decoded. The individual objects out of which my work is made belonged to collective groups of objects, the same or similar in function and type. Thus, all the objects that end up in a collage are undoubtedly stars (astra) in relation to a myriad other objects of the same group. In combination, the objects form constellation-like constructions. Hence, the second part of the name." I understood very well that my interference in critical opinion about my work would not be taken seriously. Furnishing the materials of expression with texts of some sort, on the other hand, would — at least in principle — be acceptable. Thus, some forty or fifty aphorisms accompanying my work were published, starting with the catalog for the exhibit in the Russian Museum, and continuing through The Plot of an Object. Then, realizing that I was about to turn 70 and that of my creative life remained minumum minimorum, I decided to pursue this project with a vengeance. The tricky bit was to achieve quantitative parity between work and text. I finally did manage to strike a balance, however, so that neither the body of works nor the body of texts is outnumbered by the other. 14

One of the issues I confronted in creating A Dictionary of New Mythology was that for each individual the notion of "myth" has both a dictionary definition and a personal meaning. Here is mine: A myth is the realization of the collective imagination, and the objective inevitability of fear in the face of it. My work on the aphorisms and maxims progressed parallel to my work on the functiocollages, objects, and installations. Minimalism, thematic synergy, and authorial point of view facilitate their melding together in an ultimate unity — a concept. A list of publications follows in which the basic material included in the Dictionary first appears. This functions as a kind of bibliography illustrating the emergence of the concept itself. Several hundred pieces are reproduced in these publications. Some of the images inaugurate the chapters of the Dictionary. The Exodus of Things. State Russian Museum. Catalog and solo exhibit retrospective. St. Petersburg: DEAN, 1997 A Convoluted Monograph. St. Petersburg: DEAN, 2002 (book presentation at the State Hermitage Museum). The State Hermitage Under a Full Moon. Catalog and solo exhibit-retrospective in the Hermitage. St. Petersburg: DEAN, 2005 Lukin, V. (Head Architect, the Hermitage), Voinov, V. The Hermitage. Architecture and Metaphysics. An Album. St. Petersburg: DEAN, 2008. 15

Pushkin-200 + 0. (A collection of postcards for the eponymous solo exhibit at the Hermitage.) St. Petersburg, DEAN, 1999 Petersburg Rhine Wine. (A collection of postcards for the eponymous solo exhibit at the Hermitage.) St. Petersburg, DEAN, 2003. 200 Years in the Projection of Gogol. (A collection of postcards for the eponymous exhibit at the Museum of Nonconformist Art/Bridge Over the Styx Gallery/Department of the Museum of Nonconformism.) St. Petersburg: DEAN, 2009. The dictionary contains more than 800 separate texts divided into ten chapters or sections. The name of the first section, "Journey into Another's Soul" — the primary leitmotif of the publication, which speaks in the third person — a cultural outing into the soul of the author. The last, and longest, chapter, which resembles the book announcend, is "Commentary on Reading the Ancients." Its purpose is to establish the notion of a permanent, always contemporary source of culture. The entire body of commentary corresponds to citations of commonly known authors. Dotted lines of varying lengths enabled me to delineate a circle of authors of antiquity of the highest order. The chapter is a collection of theses and antitheses. As for a synthesis, it is the author's feeling that this right belongs to the reader, who can draw the necessary conclusions. 16

The greatest problem I faced in carrying out the project was citing divergent translations and chronologies. The choice of translation depended on its clarity and poetic qualities, as I understand them (as author and compiler of the Dictionary). The discrepancies in dates in numerous publications and Internet sites appear so often and are so significant that it prompts one to draw the conclusion that a definitive explication of these truths is a task best left to scholars; especially since the task is a never-ending one. In our case, the century or centuries in which each of our authors lived replaces the discursive significance of the exact dates of their births and deaths. A line of Horace that once struck me, and my current-day commentary on it, seemed to me an appropriate conclusion of the antiquities section. The quote (and, indeed, the entire rubric of the poet) transcends chronology and serves as an ending to the publication in the more general sense. This chapter will now continue with several colorful autobiographical episodes, and with a collection of aphorisms that relate to my "selfrecommendation."


Self-recommendation I What is the most important trait of a sailor? That no one drowns when he's in charge. Since this is a "self-recommendation," I want to begin with two onshore stories from my archive of memories about life at sea. I had been waiting for a long time for a second exit visa that would permit me to sail abroad (but, unfortunately, still ban me from going ashore in a foreign port attached to it). My request for an audience with the Big Boss to discuss the matter was granted. I go into his office, about the size of a small stadium, ask him what's up with the visa, and get a very sharp, formal response: "It does not appear to be possible to extend a visa to you personally." I could tell by the tone of his voice that there was something fishy about it. Just on a hunch I went to the "window" of the personnel department, where, by some coincidence that can only be termed mystical, I received orders to ship out. But I might easily have not sensed the essence of sailing traditions in carrying out the boss's order, not gone to the window, and never received it at all. The more money I have, the sooner it's gone. I drank up all the money I earned on a roundtrip journey so that I had nothing to return home on. I thought a bit, and for the first time in my life I not only glanced 18

at, but carefully studied my paycheck stub. I had an idea... I dropped into the union committee office and announced that the dues were not deductible, since I had never submitted a membership form, and so was not a member of their organization. Then and there they led me to some high-ranking official, who growled something about how it was impossible for a sailor sailing foreign seas not to be a member of a labor union. I, however, had the option to fill out, right there on the corner of his desk, two forms: one backdated membership request, and one asking for material assistance to the tune of 50 rubles. I put down 100 rubles (a hefty sum in those days), which was in no way impudent of me, but was undoubtedly bold. Silently, he signed both papers. Conclusion: neither of us had drunk our brains away yet. "Study, study, study," but only what no one can teach. In a seminar on Old Russian Art, I was given the following research topic: "Secular murals on the gallery of one of the towers of the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Kiev." The subject was interesting, and I managed to find a convincing hypothesis about the reasons for painting the frescos, and thus to determine the date the tower itself was constructed, in the 11th century. The research project was very well received. After a short time had passed, the author of the evaluation changed his assessment to a sharply negative one. According to university statutes, failing this seminar would disqualify me from continuing my elected studies in the 19

Department of Art History. The matter was brought up at a meeting of the department. I was given a passing grade, and my paper was published in a collection of articles by students and teachers of the History Department. I became once again convinced that what is new is always fraught with conflict. A real lecturer holds his tongue. I was defending my thesis, entitled "Andreas Peter the Great," at the Department of Art History. I had already had it published twice in reputable academic journals1 by that time. During the defense, an academic committee member held up one of the publications and said: "This is the defense of the Candidate's Dissertation... excuse me, the Master's Thesis." I was dismissed and went out into the hallway to wait for the verdict. When the powwow had ended, one of the lecturers approached me and said, "I was against passing you with an 'Excellent,' since the thesis has been bound incorrectly." At that point I thought I should become a professional philosopher or a promising young lecturer. But I didn't become the former because my temperament stood in the way; likewise in the latter case. "Deciphering the inscription of Peter I on the blueprint of Niccolo Michetti 'Upper Chambers in Peterhof.'" Vestnik LGU, 1975, No. 2; "Andreas Architect of Peter the Great." Sovetskoe iskusstvoznanie, 1976, No. 1.



From time to time the papers print something not only "reasonable, good, and lasting," but also something useful. I decided to take an oral exam with one of the most colorful characters among the teachers, and in the very office of the deputy dean. I was holding my own and answering the questions quite sensibly, until this question was posed: What did the American Secretary of State say yesterday before Congress? I answered, "It hasn't yet become a matter of historical import, and since there's nothing to lose, it is unlikely to become one." The reaction was categorical: "Get out." Only on my third try did I pass the exam-surprisingly, with an A+. The Deputy Dean is a sheep in wolf's clothing. I took an exam, and I received an F. Right then and there I went to another teacher to redo the exam. I received the same list of questions as before, but I was given a B this time. It was the Deputy Dean who graded the exam the second time around. My conclusion: "It's easier to pass an exam with a smart teacher, than with a not very smart teacher." The main thing in archeology is fate, for some reason called "fortune." I arrived at the permanent archeological dig at Staraya Ladoga as a guest for two days. On the second day I went to the site in the morning and dug around in one spot for three hours, then left to catch my train. 21

Fifteen minutes later, on the square where I had been working, a cache of 10th century instruments was uncovered. The train schedule failed me — that's Fate. The museum — viewing platform of history. On the first day of my job at the Museum of the History of St. Petersburg (then Leningrad), I was required to attend a weekly seminar. There we listened first to a political affairs bulletin ("politinformatsia"), and then one or two reports by our research scholars. Of course I tuned out during the political bulletin. On that day, one of the announcements concerned some celebration of the anniversary of the Battle of Poltava. It interested me because it consisted almost exclusively of praise for Peter the Great. Suddenly the director addressed me: "We have a new colleague here, it would be interesting to hear what he has to say." Again, everyday mysticism: just the day before I had heard a lecture on this very topic. So I answered very confidently, "One year before Poltava, at the Battle of Lesnaya, Sheremetev recaptured transport wagons and a large number of cannons from the Swedes, so at least part of this panegyric should be directed at him." The seminar ended for me when the director officially announced that Vadim Voinov would be relieved of the necessity of attending the mandatory weekly seminars, the reason being that "he has so much work investigating buildings slated for overhaul that he 22

does not have the time." It seems that diverging views on history, as well as politics, can be mutually beneficial. I needed those morning seminars like a hole in the head. For many years running I received a free morning, in exchange for that Monday nonsense, and the director had the opportunity to conduct that nonsense without watching her back. My motto during my youth: "Never sober, but never drunk, either!" In the hall of the administrative offices of the Museum I happened to see an announcement with a list of countries one could travel to on a labor union vacation voucher. I presented myself at the director's office and said, "I'm writing a paper for one of my courses on the history of art of Ancient Egypt. I would like to examine a certain object — a votive plate of the pharaoh Narmer in the National Museum in Cairo, and at the same time the pyramids, temples, stone quarries, etc." The director's response was as follows: "Come in, all of you in the waiting room." She pointed at me and said, "Voinov has been drinking since morning again." The director, Lyudmila Belova, a very fair and upright woman on the whole, in this way gave me to understand that they would never allow me (and many others) out of the country. So I went to Egypt only speculatively, as a lesson to others.


In my case, the artist is a premature pause at a turning point of history. In 1982 I wrote a manifesto, and in 1987 it cleared the censors (i.e. giving me the right to display it publicly), after I had concealed in a packet of tags and posters and temporarily removed the word "manifesto." This was the first free declaration since the strict ban on them imposed in 1932. I displayed the manifesto, during the same year, at a group exhibition at the Palace of Youth. One day I was killing time in one of the bars at the Palace near the glass wall of the exhibition hall. Suddenly they cordoned off the huge palace. Shortly thereafter a group of fifteen to twenty middle-aged men paraded in. Their profession was obvious. They walked up and down the aisles, stopping silently in front of the paintings and objects. They stood for a long time by mine, but only threw a cursory glance at the manifesto. Then they turned back around and went out, getting into their black and gray cars with identical license plates. The cordon was immediately removed. Already starting to suspect what I had just witnessed, I asked my friend the bartender who they were. He answered, "They came in from Moscow on a chartered flight. A whole brigade from some department of the KGB. They're already on their way back to Moscow." I understood at that moment that they already knew my manifesto by heart before they had even seen it. 24

The mayor in Russia differs from other city heads in that he tries to abolish not paper, but ink. In 1994 "The Bridge Over the Styx," my solo gallery, opened at Pushkinskaya 10, under the auspices of the Free Culture Society and as a department of the Museum of Nonconformist Art. In the same year the mayor of Petersburg, Anatoly Sobchak, visited Pushkinskaya and stopped into the gallery. One of the high-ranking officials accompanying him, someone concerned with cultural affairs, stepped out of the retinue and shouted "Hi!" Then he stood in front of me, beaming. While I was trying to figure out who he was, this vaguely familiar person, who turned out to be fellow student from the Department of History at Leningrad State University, asked in a loud voice, "Do you live here, too, or what?" I answered in the same offhand tone, "Nah, I live with some babe. I just hang out here." Mayor Sobchak smiled, and the escort broke into a smile, too. Much later, fourteen days before his death, when he was no longer mayor, he again visited Pushkinskaya. He announced publicly (thus, officially) that he would like me to illustrate his book on Stalin. To this day I don't know what happened to the book. Genuine, healthy laughter is a gift from the gods. When I was investigating communal apartments slated for renovation, I thought up a convenient way of going about my job — I 25

pressed the doorbells to all the apartments on one floor at once, then told everyone, as a group and not individually, why I had come. Once, one of the residents, a deaf old man, said, "Come one, I'll show you!" We walked for a long time, through a labyrinth of rooms. Finally, we arrived at a small room. The old man, pointing at one of the corners, said, "This is where the stove used to be!" He was very surprised when I burst out laughing. But he gave me something that doesn't happen every day — genuine laughter. The public is a fool. Yes, and no. The "Bridge Over the Styx", the only solo gallery in St. Petersburg, has received thousands of visitors over the eighteen years of its existence. Sometimes they ask questions. Some questions are interesting, many are trivial, and two are especially irritating: "Where do you find these things?" and "How do you do this?" No matter what, you have to remain polite when dealing with the public. So I have come up with two pat answers to these questions: "I find these things where your fathers and grandfathers left them behind", and "I'm capable of understanding how and what I do in my artwork, but I never dwell on it." If they insist, I recommend that they reread Balzac's The Magic Skin — in the context not of villainy, but of creativity.


Self-recommendation II I may not live well, but then again, it's Russia. The less I think about myself, the better I know myself.

Life: the bright spots of the Milky Way on the black stripe of my existence. The greatest part of my conscious life is unconscious hope. Time for me is the bedrock of everything; the fulcrum of everything is myself. I have a curious memory: I always remember what I was born with; the rest I have to recall. I know how to work long and patiently; it's trifles I get impatient with. 27

I would be better off not knowing some of the people I know; but how would I know people then?

The fourth dimension, in my case, is the metaphysics of everyday objects.

A still life is the combination of objects in the non-pragmatic part of my mind.

History, in my own case, is the lethargic dream of objects.

Creation for me is the sensation of an emerging spot and its experience; form and meaning come on their own.

In my case, knowing myself means studying the reasons for creative failure, which only I am aware of. 28

Creation for me replaces almost everything people live by; herein lies my unhappiness, and my happiness, too.

The first part of my life was dark alleys and dead-ends; the second is only creation.

My art and my aphorisms illustrate one another.

Things in my artwork are fluent in any language.

Among other things, I'm fortunate in that my completed works outnumber those I have planned, but have yet to realize.

I want people to know about me, but only by my work, and only those people whom I would like to know myself. 29

Dostoevsky 2000. Installation. 1999. 96 천 54 천 32 cm , passe-partout, inventory number. 30


UL O 'S S R HE T NO A O T N YI E RN U JO My motto: Give from the heart, but keep the Soul 31

The Soul is a metaphysical substance made of impulses that the mind has not filtered out.

Is the Soul the foundation of consciousness or a second consciousness?

The life of the Soul is experience.

The logic of the Soul is in the strength of feelings.

Character is the reason of the Soul. 32

Art is the proof of the existence of the Soul.

A pure conscience is the poetics of the Soul.

A sincere Soul is Fate's sailing directions.

Any epithet for the word Soul becomes metaphor.

The less civilization, the more Soul. 33

The consequence of trust is usually disappointment, but also the rooting of the Soul.

If "Another's Soul is darkness," however deeply you peer into it, it will become no lighter — though yours might grow dimmer.

Freedom is the collective state of the Soul on Palace Square.

The highest capacity of the intellect is the ability to decipher your own Soul.

Wrinkles, not eyes, are the mirror of the Soul in Rembrandt's portraits of old men. 34

"Boredom is the repose of the soul," and thus the impetus behind much doubt and temptation.

The equivalent of the blackened Soul is its ashes.

The dilemma of many is either living without a Soul, or living without a penny.

Despair is the chaotic circling of the Soul around death.

Indifference is a frame of the Soul. 35

If fate can cripple the Soul, which of the two is primary?

Spirit is the strength of the energy of self-awareness.

Conscience is the measuring scale of justice.

One can reach self-awareness as a result of negotiations with one's conscience.

Conscience is either a belief or a movement toward moral comfort. 36

If there is eternity, there is also immortality.This is impossible to prove; and all the more impossible to refute.

Matter is synchronous with the consciousness that perceives it.

Existence determines only the rudiments of consciousness; consciousness then studies and develops existence.

To grasp various forms of matter, various levels of development of consciousness are essential; and both are infinite.

Death is the superficial victory of Being over Mind. You can sense it especially acutely if you refuse to understand. 37

Life is the awareness of the interval between oblivion and death.

Death is the transition of the energy of mind into the stable orbit of unknowable existence.

A person's life is his Eternity; the afterlife is variations on silence.

Life after death most likely exists, but only for those who believe it.

Everything is subject to comparison except the variations on the next life. 38

One needs to remember death, but not necessarily wait for it.

It's easier for a nonbeliever to live than to die.

The price of immortality, in the context of the preceding theses, can only be life.

The mind is the extra-instinctual realization of one's own anthropomorphism.

Thought is the non-progressive paralysis of consciousness. 39

Memory is a bridge to the past that the mystery of nature or its incomprehensible equivalent has built for us.

Watch out! Chance may be the business card of fate.

Chance: incomprehensible phenomena in an ordinary fate, and all the more in an extraordinary fate.

Fate is a chain of laws forged from chance moments and events.

The contour of fate is not in every name. 40

Different lives have different quantities of fate; that is to say, the fulcrums of its structure are mystical instances of chance.

Lives not marked by mysticism readily lend themselves to generalization, and even statistics.

Do not place success above fate.

You can't fool fate; you can change it, but then only for a dangerously unpredictable one.

Always act justly, or not at all. If you make a mistake, it will only be within the time-frame of the positive reaction of fate. 41

The strength and reason of fate lie in the firmness, weakness, or absence of character.

Philosophical experience is the result of juxtaposing the positive and negative manifestations of fate.

Intelligent courage may conquer anything, sometimes even fate, if it knows why.

Courage is the readiness to oppose fate without betraying yourself.

Fatalism as a conviction is a gift to someone else's fate. 42

Anti-fate is a series of dark phantoms, the eternal companions of a tragic fate.

Tragic destiny is the fatal intersection of fate and anti-fate.

Between tragic destiny and fate lie intuition and mind.

The essence of time is in the fact that each of us is the hands of our own clock.

Everything is contradictory, and only Eternity is immobile, like a clock standing still. 43

If one imagines time to be encoded in human nature, its principle might be called the "instinct of extensiveness."

Space is the extension beyond time or the form of the "instinct of extensiveness" parallel to it.

It was the human being who managed to break Eternity into time, and thus to become "the module of self-knowledge of the Universe."

Time — the axis of life of the human being — is the dynamism of his Universe.

Our knowledge of the Universe is objective in relation to ourselves, but not to the Universe itself. 44

Eternity is the most objective of realities for those who, sensing it sharply, are able to remain sane.

In spite of science we are always in the early stages of understanding the Universe, and this keeps us sane.

The knowledge of the fragility of life and the Earth exists in the far corner of our mind, guaranteeing its sanity.

Metaphysics is touching the incomprehensibility of Eternity.

Mysticism is the sublimation of energy, incomprehensible to us, in forms that give rise to inexplicable phenomena. 45

Mysticism emerges of itself; metaphysics is created.

The wonder of mysticism is the everyday of metaphysics.

Philosophy is only the wrappings of metaphysics.

Philosophy, in my case, is the supporting structure of the Bridge over the Styx.

Philosophy stopped being a guidebook to life; now it is at best, like history, a tranquilizer. 46

Nature knew how unbecoming wisdom was to women, and gave them universal everyday philosophy.

The fact that there were no female philosophers in antiquity is balanced out by the number of women doctors of philosophy.

Everything revolves around everything: the Moon around the Earth, the Earth around the Sun, the Universe around philosophy.

The philosophy of religion is the attempt to realize the mystery of birth and the meaning of life in the context of the inevitability of death.

The philosopher's stone of the future is the cornerstone for the tomb of our civilization. 47

Ball in a basket. Installation. 1994. 100 천 35 cm. Globe, wastebasket, street sign. 48



Everything that an artist sees can become art 49

Eternity stares at us with the eyes of art.

Art is the materialization of Eternity.

Eternity is a spatiotemporal category that art transforms into a category of philosophy.

The Universe is a cosmic abyss fixed conventionally by science, and directly by art.

Art is the highest form of self-expression; it reconciles us with the infinity of the Universe. 50

Art is the combination of what you know with what you can't know.

Art is the precedence of expressiveness over the means of mimesis.

Art is the magical parity between feeling, style, and skill.

Art edits the present, transforms the past, and predicts the future.

Art sublimates the psyche in those who create it, and regulates it in those who perceive it. 51

The two components of art: constant — metaphysics (inscrutability); and variable — the present juncture (style).

Style is the final form of generalization of beauty at the main stages of the history of civilization.

Style is the single form underlying creative repetitions of various authors in one period of the history of art.

Everything that is fanatically defended in art risks becoming obscurantism.

Art, in spite of Lenin's claim, does not belong to the people! 52

Art, in the case of social perception, works like odds and evens, that is like the hangman and the doctor.

Art forgives its author everything except betrayal of himself.

The prerequisites for practicing art are talent, temperament, and patience.

Great art has no need of petty sacrifices.

Authenticity is the most common sacrifice to art. 53

There is as much culture in art as there is tradition in it.

The most important thing in science is calculations of the mind; in art, it is the perspicacity of feeling.

Unlike the exact sciences, in art changing the order of operands creates or destroys virtually everything.

In a breakthrough moment science can become art; the converse is never the case.

Art history is the ability always to see art as though for the first time; all the rest is simply knowledge. 54

Much in art is consigned to oblivion for the lack of precise terminology, but this is a problem for art critics.

Collectors of art are a stone's throw away from becoming mental patients.

Art criticism is a dash between the artist and the viewer.

The meaning of aggressive art criticism can be found only in its form — linguistic design.

Creative life is shorter than ordinary life; the former flies headlong to the finish, the latter follows the calendar to the end. 55

In art there is no progress; there is regress, there is the exchange of the mystery of birth and the degeneration of style.

Alcohol is sometimes good for art in the sense that it's not always bad for the artist.

The best short definition of art is Malraux's: Art is anti-destiny.

Perfectly executed fakes of masterpieces affirm Aritstotle's truth: Mastery is the last order of art.

Art lies in the most inexplicable movements, which never depend on mastery. 56

What resounds in art can be conveyed in star charts.

Experience — a friend during the process of creating artwork — becomes an enemy in the end.

Intuition is the consequence of an explosion in the unconscious at the intersection of instinct and intellect.

The spark of inspiration is a moment of intersection of impulses of consciousness and the unconscious; it can provoke a diagnosis.

Inspiration: an explosion of intuition igniting creative energy or a breakthrough in the aforementioned energy that opens up intuition? 57

The outcome of realized inspiration is a crisis.

The outcome of unrealized inspiration is a deep crisis.

Intellect is the ability to create a nonlinear connection between givens.

Creativity is first and foremost an unorthodox attitude toward one's own intellect.

Creativity is the simultaneous work of the consciousness, the unconscious, and Providence. 58

Creativity is the process of combining open intuition with the ability to realize it in a palpable form.

The creative conveying of an idea can be much more convincing than its substance.

Genius is a form of metaphysics.

Talent is the creative reaction to unerring intuition.

Talented does not necessarily mean intelligent. 59

The reincarnation of time is the return to the past in dreams of the future.

The shadow of an object is its myth.

The poetry of an object is in the ineluctability of its shadow.

Dynamism in art is the level of expressive definition of form.

Artist! Personality is no substitute for the absence of dynamism in your work. 60

Argument in favor of paganism: the astounding beauty of the ruins of the Parthenon.

The perfection of antiquity is in the displaying of a museum fragment.

Caesar "dontated" a copy of Notes on the Gallic War to the Alexandrian Library, and then burned it, along with other books, bookshelves, and, indeed, the whole building.

It would make sense to turn the concrete drama theater from the end of the 1980s, the "Novgorod concrete fire nest" on the banks of the Volkhov River, into a memorial ruin.

Monochrome illustrations resemble counterfeit documents far less than colored ones. 61

The museum is the trepanation of memory's core, which is then exhibited or preserved in inventory units of material culture.

The museum syndrome is the obverse of collective communion in art.

Unlike other museums, the genius loci of the Hermitage is always its director.

Petersburg is the cornerstone of the Hermitage.

The Hermitage is the keystone of Petersburg. 62

The mysticism of Petersburg is a bright sunny day.

Sometimes alcohol is the most comfortable aspect of Petersburg weather.

Rhine wine runs in the blood of Petersburg.

Guidebook: at the beginning of the 21st century, Petersburg becomes a suburb of Moscow; and Moscow, of Petersburg.

Russian culture lags about 100 years behind Petersburg culture, and about 1,000 years before Western culture. Question: does it even need to try to catch up? 63

Hernia. Object. 2002. 61 x 78 x 15 cm Belt buckle, globe, globe fragment. 64



My road passed through the rubbish heaps of culture 65

Kandinsky is the author of the laboratory Universe.

Abstraction is the mother-in-law of the Cosmos and the adopted daughter of Chaos.

Malevich is one of the templates of the Universe.

Suprematism is a telescope with an ever increasing magnification factor.

Constructivism is the highest reasonableness not inhibited by historical tradition. 66

Kandinsky and Malevich are the road through imagery to the resolution of the supreme problem of the precedence of material or consciousness.

The paradox of the Avant-garde lies in the fact that it arose in Russia as a form of art, then disappeared, and returned as the great tradition.

Modernism is the breakthrough into a new worldview through the negation of the art of imitation and the discovery of formulas of expressive algebra.

Modernism is an abyss that divides culture into its fanatical supporters and opponents.

The style of the Egyptian pyramids, in a contemporary reading, is astral constructivism. 67

Postmodernism is a step backward that electrifies modernism.

Minimalism is the shard of a silent explosion selected by the artist.

Conceptual art is the precedence of the idea over the means of expression.

Understanding topical art is possible, but only as mystical co-authorship with the artist who creates it.

In order to generate an interest in contemporary art in Russia, one must talk about its cost everyday on all TV channels. 68

The Earth revolves around every artist; well, maybe the galaxy. But not the Universe!

For an artist, the absence of any notoriety or fame is an existence one cannot envy.

An exhibit is the only proper form of communication between the artist and the public.

The majority of those who find themselves in art pay a price for this that far exceeds what their talent is worth.

"Art requires sacrifice," and the most unavoidable one is the artist himself. 69

The artist suffers from loneliness until he realizes that he really doesn't need anyone.

The other side of art is the confrontation between the pretensions of the artist and the complexes of the viewer.

The creative process for the artist, if he is not scared by the principle of shagreen leather or the "magic skin," is knowing himself.

One cannot remain an artist without absolute confidence in the validity of what you are doing.

The artist is the counterbalance of the unavoidable annihilation of culture. 70

To be a born artist and not to become one is more than a tragedy: it amounts to living someone else's life.

To understand how to become an artist, you must turn everything you have learned into a guidebook, and devise your own version of knowledge.

An artist who has exhibited his art becomes, at least for a moment, free.

An outstanding artist, by renewing tradition, prolongs the life of culture.

The great artist is the perfection of form within tradition, and, more important, outside of it. 71

Being a mediocre artist with any level of skill, and — unavoidable in such cases, pretension — is hardly a creative profession.

A generation without strong artists who gave expression to it seems not really to exist.

The mind and talent of the artist wear out not from experience, but through peace and repose.

In the artist's case, creativity and plagiarism are compatible only as ways of camouflaging the latter.

How the artist lived and how he ended is not at all important; what's important is that he was. 72

Fashion is the texture of a generation, a declaration of understanding of the beauty of the time in which it arose.

Prague is one of the Slavonic capitals, though descrying its proto-Slavonic foundation is impossible.

Athens consists of three worlds: the white, southern development; the quarter of Turkish alleyways; and the mirage of ruins of antiquity — the Agora and the Acropolis.

Venice is a city of trained black crocodile-gondolas, stolen bronze horses, and a floating spider of streets.

In the center of Venice are toilets with elements of Sots-realism for 1.5 to 3 euros — their coat of arms should have a Cloacina riding a lion. 73

The eternity of Rome is in the ruins of the Palatine Hill, in the archeology of the forums, Marcus Aurelius and Michelangelo, and in the Romans, who look just a little bit like elegant gypsies.

The last of the merits of Rome is its proximity to Florence.

Architecture is the anthropomorphized universe.

Architecture is not only the first among the arts; for the artist it is the first among the sciences.

Architecture is not only "use, durability, beauty" (Vitruvius), but also the sign of metaphysical presence created by man.


Prehistorical graphic art is the first result, albeit the most primitive, of planned architectural thought.

The brick is the cornerstone of our civilization.

The foundation is an underground pedestal.

The basement is the chthonic boundary of everyday consciousness.

The backbone of an apartment building is its main staircase. 75

The attic is the naked structure between the roof and the body of a building.

The roof is the boundary between earth and heaven.

The courtyard is the tectonic seamy side of external

A landscape park is a forest with a degree.

A symmetric park is a military hairdo. 76

Culture is the transformation of tradition into instinct.

Beauty is the horizon of culture.

Style is the integration of a cognized period of culture into an understanding of beauty.

Tradition creates culture, then gives it to its child — civilization — which inevitably turns it into anti-culture.

The level of culture depends directly on the level of life; the dependence of the level of life on culture is arbitrary. 77

Civilization is the degradation of culture.

Mass culture is civilization.

Old calendars are trivially graphic artifacts proving the existence of culture in the past tense.

The culture of absolutism is such in that the word of the king excludes hope.

The apotheosis of culture for many people is table manners. 78

The path to the zenith of civilization goes through the graveyard of culture.

Russian culture has already been in the hands of evil geniuses.

If civilization does not seek a path of the rebirth of culture, it is doomed.

There are people of culture, and people of civilization; the difference is that some are more individual than others.

The human being, with many exceptions, is still the result of the evolution of culture. 79

“Hermitage” Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Cream. 2005. 24 õ 28 cm Melchior ice cream dish, cast iron cannonball, tennis ball. 80




The defining feature of the card index of immortals is that it will never grow too big 81

Pushkin is the first emperor of Russian poets; Mandelstam is the second.

Pushkin provoked the great epoch of Russian literature; Mandelstam became its horizon.


Gogol is our past, present, and, most likely, our future.

My Lermontov — Taman, Taman, and yet again Taman!

Dostoevsky is an epic with "Russian Mentality" as its only possible title. Every name in that epic is an outline of fate.

Tolstoy, paraphrasing Lenin, is a shard of the "mirror of the Russian revolution."

The Intelligentsia — a novel by Tolstoy with an afterword by Dostoevsky. 83

Shenshin was a gentleman by birth, and only then the poet Afansy Fet.

Tiutchev and Annensky are proof that a career as a public official does not preclude one from being a poet.

Saltykov-Shchedrin was vice-governor and first awardee of the "For Bravery" medal.

Bunin is RussiaÂ’s Black Earth Region, with a lyrical border, embellished with a Nobel hue.

Chekhov is the blue lamp of the Russian Intelligentsia. 84

Blok is a Jugendstil abyss.

Bely is the other side of Blok's mirror.

Gumilev is an African sun over a Finnish swamp.

Yesenin was a poet killed by youth.

Voloshin of Koktebel — poet, author of prophetic apocrypha. 85

Tsvetaeva — a pause between three hyphens: doom, genius, and fame.

Severyanin — a great cosmetic poet in the style of art nouveau.

Sasha Cherny was the melancholy poet with the most precise pseudonym and the most skeptical mind.

Akhmatova — an alchemical alloy of silver and steel.

Bagritstky — a gift opened by a frenzy of Bolshevik fanaticism. 86

In the unique stellar life of Pasternak, ill fate was simply unable to realize itself.

Nabokov is the author of mystical thematic coincidences (chances), written not on the desktop, but on the top of a coffin.

Zabolotsky is a poet with a fate in prison and several masterpieces in a blue volume of the Poet's Library series.

Bulgakov — a Doctor Faustus amphitheater in the middle of Central Russian Upland.

Zoshchenko — the ironic grimace of Leningrad. 87

Platonov — a translation of Hieronymus Bosch into Russian.

Mayakovsky — the main Russian Futurist, painter of a steep, emotionally fraught stairway to a red heaven.

Voznesensky — an architect who put the steps and the angle of incline of Mayakovsky's staircase to the rhythm of his own time.

Khlebnikov — the only real shaman among the Russian poets.

Babel — minimalism with an Odessan flavor and a fiery red temperament. 88

Ilf and Petrov — authors of masterpieces on the theme "Our philistine is no enemy, he's a jester!"

Kharms — guardian of a field of dreams in a country of fools.

Gaidar — proof that the magic of language does not depend on the radicalness of political conviction.

Sholokhov is an authentic Cossack from the "Red Don" that grew quiet.

Tvardovsky was a poet; Private Tyorkin, in his own way, was too. 89

Galich was the last Russian epic poet, and its first significant anti-Soviet poet.

Vysotsky was a national hero who happened to be an actor at the Taganka Theater.

A memorial to the youth of my generation — a commuter train named after Venichka Erofeev.

Rubtsov — a poet with the largest capital letter of the alphabet of his own time.

Reading Rubtsov one can't help but think that he and Yesenin came not only from different villages, but from different galaxies. 90

Yevtushenko is a poet that keeps eluding categorization.

Brodsky left without saying goodbye, exchanging the Muruzi House in St. Petersburg for a Nobel Eternity.

Dovlatov is a St. Petersburg star shining above New York City.

Tarkovsky is a path of self-awareness of five contemplative films and of, as it were, unanimous criticizm.

"Doubt is the beginning of wisdom" for beginning wisemen; "He who replies to words of Doubt/Doth put the Light of knowledge out" (W. Blake) is for the merely intelligent. 91

Kafka is absolute authenticity mixed with magical pathology.

Proust is a billiard ball that flew by mistake into a Russia pocket with torn netting.

Treasure Island is the most golden of Stevenson's romantic books; there's even more gold in it than salty seawater.

In the nautical regulations it's "do as I do"; in literature it's "think as I think."

In the Japanese tradition art arrives when the artist leaves; in the Russian tradition, it happens any which way. 92

Question in an arts quiz: What was the name of Shakespeare's theater? The long answer: the blood-red Globe.

What Shakespeare calls "bubbles of the earth," Dostoevsky calls "poor folk."

The words "wait and hope" at the end of The Count of Monte Cristo are synonyms.

The fact that Edgar Allen Po is an American cannot be explained otherwise than as a caprice of European culture.

A masterpiece is the result of co-authorship with God. 93

Old Abacuses. Installation. 2006 50 천 56 천 57 cm Abacuses, the body and movements of a desk clock, plastic globe fragment, inventory number tag. 94




— N A M HU


The more the man learns about the Universe, the less significant becomes his existence in it 95

Temperament and character are the relationship of personal energy and individual traits of the reason of Soul.

A strong temperament in a blockhead is a catastrophe; in a person of wisdom, it is an epoch.

Character is the blind portion of human nature, its fatum.

The wise demonstrate reason, then character; the intelligent, often the reverse.

A strong character is stronger, but not more intelligent, than reason. 96

The winner is he who knows how to block his own character so that it doesn't look like weakness.

Exercising self-control is the ability to conceal one's character as long as one deems necessary.

"Sow character, reap fate," and if you have no character of your own, your fate will grow from someone else's.

A powerful, active mind is often incapable of dealing with trivial day-to-day problems, which easily turn it into stupidity.

Education and upbringing, or knowing how to wear a suit and tie, may look like intelligence; but only for a limited time. 97

The ability to be respectful is an obvious sign of intelligence.

The ability to be respectful not from fear or servility is not always evident.

Respect shown by careerists is a behavioral imitation of the real thing.

If you don't want to lose respect, learn to answer it with outwardly polite indifference.

Being oneself is above all showing only sincere respect or contempt. 98

Honesty is the virtue of the weak; the virtue of the strong is justice.

Refinement is relating to the weak as equals, and relating in like manner to the strong.

Many empty lives are filled with the thrill of enmity and squabbles, and, as a result, simple idiocy.

The ability to greet casually and to part meaningfully is not mastered by many.

If you don't want to answer politely, maintain a deep silence. 99

Caution has transformed far more lives into dull existence than audacity has killed.

Aristocracy is the ability to express luxury through brutality.

Good manners are hard to copy; they are imperceptible.

In the eyes of the general public, nobility backed by force is conviction; nobility out of weakness is refinement.

Missing a chance to act nobly is akin to losing a piece of one's soul. 100

Nobility is the gesture of a strong Soul.

Nobility is a Soul that does not succumb to character.

The highest form of nobility, not to mention wisdom, is not wanted to have the last laugh.

If you always give people the benefit of the doubt, you risk gaining the reputation of a noble fool, or even a madman.

Nobility is the most hopeless form of opposition to stupidity. 101

Love is the surplus value of life.

If eternal love exists, then only in realist literature.

Wait until darkness falls before you embark on closer relations with someone.

The bed, as they say, is no good pretext for getting to know someone; calling someone by name is!

Incomprehensibility makes love and death more intimate. 102

Love is the struggle of the unconscious with the teachings of Sigmund Freud.

Man is the imbalance between resolution and caution.

Woman is the imbalance between caution and resolution.

A beautiful woman who forgets about it even for a minute becomes twice as lively and beautiful.

A handsome man,who is not an artist's model or an actor becomes freak when he shows off his looks. 103

A typical genre scene: the helpless faces of lovers being mocked by those who know their plight.

A woman's candor takes a man hostage to it.

A man's candor is a woman's weapon.

Love and hatred are equidistant from indifference; the interval between them is fate.

Charm is when two rhythms of motion — passionate psychotechnics and the suggestibility of contact — meet head on. 104

The tragedy of so many lives is that only at their end do they acquire decisiveness; but by then, there is neither strength, nor time, nor reason for it.

It is rational to devote one's life to one's health and comfort; it is irrational to call that life.

Life without mistakes is not life, but full-blown existence.

One should live so that money, health, and conscience would allow one to pass it sitting over a beer with friends until old age.

If your life ends in an empty barrel or a gutter by the roadside, it means you are a true "citizen of the world." 105

Gramophone and record. Object. 2007. 53 x 40x 40 cm Gramophone, circular saw blade, photograph reproduction, sticker. 106








There is no horizon in our knowledge of the Universe; in our studies of the human being there isn't either 107

"God created man in His own image," but not in His own likeness, that's for sure.

Three levels of the mind reason — the foundation of survival; intellect — the balance between intuition and analysis; and wisdom — a contemplative sequence.

Intellect is a limited category, whereas foolishness is an abyss.

The mind is hostage to guile.

Wisdom, or philosophy, is a contemplative attitude toward the pace of life, a cool head, and a rare form of will power. 108

Wisdom and foolishness are the limits of intellect.

Wisdom is what the fool calls foolishness, and the wise call silence.

One of the conditions of wisdom is the ability to think without being in the mood.

Wisdom often appears as madness.

Fools release their anger often, the intelligent sometimes — but the wise, never. 109

What is difficult to comprehend often appears either wise or very foolish.

Foolishness in the eyes of some may be lack of pettiness in the eyes of others.

For a fool, the only wisdom is silence; but that silence doesn't last.

Foolishness — unlike wisdom — is always right.

Intellect is mistaken for foolishness more often than foolishness is mistaken for intellect. 110

Greed is either a pathology, or just one of the innumerable forms of foolishness.

The constant certainty that one is smart is either foolishness or an illness.

Only a fool never admits things to himself and never loses himself, for he has nothing to lose.

Conversing with a fool even on something as humdrum as the weather, you have the feeling that you have lost yourself.

The decisiveness of a fool is akin to the fury of a unicellular organism. 111

For those to whom "rudeness plays second fiddle to joy," insolence always plays the lead.

Insolence is the merit of the impudent, and cunning occupies a significant portion of their flat minds.

As for impudence, it tends to lean toward foolishness.

Impudence, to paraphrase the expression, is "the feet of a dumb swine on your table."

Impudence and boldness may make the same impression, but the consequences will be different, because boldness is aimed upward, whereas impudence is an oppression. 112

Vanity heralds vulgarity.

Vanity is the desire to outdo everyone at everything, no matter the price; a dead-end for the sophisticated mind.

Vanity is the launch pad for intellect and the antipode of wisdom.

Vulgarity is the lowest selvage of ordinary thinking.

Vulgarity and foolishness are "apples from the same tree." 113

The highest form of vulgarity is ostentatious honesty and ostentatious civility.

Ambition is the desire to prove to anyone — but usually not to yourself — that you are deserving of praise.

The impulse behind gossiping is a hunger for adrenaline.

Politics is expressing a positive opinion while holding a negative one.

"Man is style," if he is on stage or in power; in others, however, it is barely visible. 114

Moral superiority, if not backed up by a convincing character, spells defeat.

Envy is self-immolation, and is the best catalyst for early wrinkles and dementia.

Envy is the queen of all complexes.

Within a person there is a scale, and the weights of chagrin and disappointment are heavier than the weights of joy.

Strong affection is a land mine.


The impulse of off-stage humor is metaphysical.

Humor is wit breaking through the armor of everyday thought.

The Truth is rarely born of an argument; the latter more often proves deadly for friendship.

The human body is a machine, and the medical encyclopedia is its operation manual.

The best thing about paid healthcare is the doctor's semblance to a well-wisher. 116

Kamplanius, the ferocious governor of the Long-Haired Gaul, showed deep respect for doctors and trusted them until he himself fell ill, whereupon he called them "the henchmen of grave diggers."

The healthiest part of a man is the part rooted in nature; but man sees to it that his nature is in constant need of a doctor.

If medicine is art, then the doctor is Pygmalion.

At the end of one's life, the best company is a courteous doctor.

Old age is the last span of the bridge over the Styx. 117

Column. Installation. 1994. 188 x 65 cm , rope, artwork affixed to column. 118










By mixing approaches and technique in the alchemical beaker of history one can find the lever of politics 119

History is the flow of time through civilizations.

It is strange that despite being the foundation of self-consciousness and the bedrock of culture, "history teaches us nothing."

One might, hypothetically, read the word Rus as Ruka ("a hand"), but by no means as Golova ("a head").

Commentary on a small cafe in Great Novgorod called Charisma: in the Russian mind, charisma begins with Peter I's "The Table of Ranks."

Early Christianity in Rus is a side dish of paganism. 120

Russian paganism is when men don't cross themselves at a peal of thunder.

The interior of the cupola of the Church of Transfiguration on Ilin Street in Great Novgorod is the microscope of the Pantokrator pointed at Earth.

"Oleg of Novgorod" and "The Death of the Varangian" are the Norman-Russian theme that spontaneously united the names of the land and sea "anthems" of Russia.

In Japan, the attitude toward monuments is one of "eternal renewal"; in this context, the monuments of Russia are an "eternal return".

Written in pencil on the cover of a notebook of musical scores: "On the Hills of Manchuria," the great Russian memorial waltz. 121

The 20th century is an era of the serial doom of peoples and the mass paranoia of politicians.

What they call the "October Revolution" was planned by idealists, realized by adventurers, further developed by demagogues, and ruined by officers of the Cheka.

Lenin cynically called upon the masses, who had been corrupted by his own slogans, to "Be honest workers, don't steal!" And the masses snickered gloatingly.

"Film is the most important art form" (Lenin) — and the first strategy used by the Soviet Authorities for collapsing the worldview of the audience.

As a form of address, Sir shows traditional respect; Comrade shows revolutionary chumminess. 122

Between the terms of address of Citizen and Comrade lie jail, the taiga, and so-called freedom.

A notice: A Tour of Communism on the "Kolyma Streetcar."

Shalamov, Solzhenitsyn, and many others told horrifying stories of the deaths of millions to the millions who themselves were quick to forget about them.

An ominous example of Late Constructivism on the Neva: the "Red Doric," Frunzensky Mall lightly influenced by the order, and bastion houses "for the good folk."

The Soviet Authorities replaced psaltery players, kobza players, akyns, and folk singers with songwriters. 123

War is not only the "hygiene of a nation," but the return to a more youthful time in its culture, all the way back to the early Neolithic Period.

In war, the Russian character turned out to be more radical than the German character.

Russian muzhiks entered Berlin twice: in 1761, and once again in 1945. Would it be acceptable to call it a historical tradition?

As humanists, Hitler and Stalin differed only in the style of their mustaches.

As military commanders, both Hitler and Stalin spent all their time changing horses at river crossings. 124

The German fighter agent Tavrin and Stalin were both sons of shoemakers. If T. had killed the Soviet leader, he would have become a hero of the Reich, and ultimately of Russia, as well.

The art of war should be measured not by victories, but by losses.

If war is an art, then a senator General in charge of the army is a guarantee of defeat.

People are a biomass of their own fate; in the case of war, a mere statistic.

For the reader, war stories or a general's memoirs are the protocol of war; but not for the historian. 125

At least once in your life as you lift your right arm up at an angle, remember with disgust the Nazi slogan Rudolf Hess thought up: "the Party of Order."

The Cold War cost Russia as much as WWII, and that's not counting the expenditure for changing the social structure.

Somehow or other, regional wars at the end of the 20th century stabilized capitalism and helped finish off socialism.

The 20th century in Russia was the red Stone Age of the third millennium.

There is a phantom of justice making its way around Russia, never stopping for long. 126

In Russia, many deeds find their beginnings in hope, the process of their realization in ardor, and their demise in the apathy of unfinished projects.

In business relationships, as with everything else in Russia, there is a completely irrelevant psychological insight that is exhausting and endangers the project itself.

In Russia there is nothing more psychologically difficult than the interrelations of the Intelligentsia with the People.

Jews in Russia in the beginning of the 21st century are just one more reason to examine the sad statistic of their latest Exodus.

Unlike Soviet leaders, government officials often become veterans of the stage upon retirement. 127

Large offices for great people: both a rule and an exception.

The Russian establishment is not salt, but sugar to the government, and the people are its insulin.

Big Bosses in Russia are not just protection racket "roofs," but nomenklature cupolas of various shapes and sizes.

The absolute unity of various branches of power is incest.

The Apophis Asteroid is just another hint to the Big Bosses that not only everyone else, but they, too, are mortal. 128

Government in Russia: the security service is the numerator, and the rest is the denominator.

The most constant thing in Russia is that power is governed not by mind but by character.

After its unofficial death, any political or social organization in Russia becomes just a playground for the self-assertion of its leaders.

Russia is a great country, sometimes a power — but by no means a state.

In order to "improve Russia," it would have to be planted in a strange, yet-to-be-discovered civilization. 129

An epigraph to the 21st century: a perfect balance of everything and everyone, or else the end of it all.

A beehive without honey is a mausoleum for the drone.

The title of Govorukhin's film The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed, and quotes from it, have become free verse to the people, with the subtext close to their own identities.

Russian vodka is a stabilizer of melancholy, and a solvent of happiness.

Smoking is the sworn enemy of old age. 130

Don't appeal to God unnecessarily; and if he does exist, think and worry about it prior to making your appeal.

Eternal values are the things that are valued for the most part speculatively, yet eternally.

The critical mass of successive fortunes can be quickly generalized by a disaster.

Meditative people are shaped by the past; the rest are shaped by the present, which also happens to be the future.

Hypochondria is a dangerous enemy to objectivity. 131

The Royal Hotel. Functiocollage. 1987. 45 x 45 x 5 cm Tin box, signboard, telephone receiver. 132











If you don't know how to place synonyms, arrange them alphabetically 133

Trustfulness is the Achilles' heel of those who are strong in spirit; Caesar is an example of that.

Suvorov's aphorism "to surprise is to conquer" is from his own practices and his military manual The Science of Victory.

Bonaparte the artillery officer is an example of a cannonball turning into a missile.

A constant union between people is a fragment of the myth of "Entente," or a rare but favorable pathology.

Nobel invented two opposites: dynamite and a Peace Prize. 134

Tesla deserves a monument in the shape of a shovel upon a parapet of one of America's ditches: T. began his career digging trenches.

Americans are free of false mannerisms and this is their national character.

Only a philosopher can say, "I have nothing; but then again, I spent my whole life doing nothing."

From the thoughts of an Athenian demagogue: "'Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is the truth,' as long as it is appropriate."

Hermes' motto: "Honesty, not out of fear!" 135

Loneliness is a cage to a choleric, a diary to a melancholic, a mirror to a sanguine, and a pillow to a phlegmatic.

In the theater of any life, drama is one of the acts of a comedy; a tragedy is only for the chosen.

During the pauses in between deeds, man is a mystery.

People open up on the road, and that's where they also close themselves.

A bad influence is infectious, as is a good influence — but that is less common. 136

A friend is an irrational brother.

The hero is the highest form of self-awareness, minus the feeling of self-preservation.

Heroism is the disdain of death and the love of life.

The more you measure, the less you understand.

The grass is always greener, but maybe that's just because we're not there. 137

Willpower is the biceps of fate.

The qualities of a leader: constantly testing one's will, and often clipping the intellect.

Willpower can conceal a low intellect, but not a complete lack thereof.

It is more interesting, but not necessarily safer, to critique that which nobody argues about.

Specialists both know and do; dilettantes either know or do. 138

True gratitude should exceed a good service unnoticed.

For many people, honesty is the best policy outside their jobs.

Learn from yourself, bypassing memory and everyday life experience, leaving only your soul.

"Whatever happens is for the best" could suggest that someone whom everyone knows should simply never have been born at all.

Many unpleasant things could be avoided if we treated them with less seriousness; achievementsachievements being no exception. 139

Money is a terrible thing, but only when you don't have any.

Foolish money creates problems; smart money resolves them.

It's great that "money can't buy happiness"; what's not so great is that "time is money."

Many people, including me, live their whole lives waiting for the day when their money runs out, or when the money returns.

Debts not only destroy one's relations with people; sometimes they foster them. 140

A good upbringing is the foundation of boredom; a bad upbringing, of fisticuffs.

Aristocracy is the external appearance of a very good upbringing.

Good manners are more likely a defense weapon than an attack weapon.

Elegance is the rare state of harmony between the energy of the idea and the stasis of the material.

Happiness is a question of the vividness of one's experience of the world. One may say with certainty that it is a fragmentary category. 141

There are dumb beasts; but there are talking beasts, too!

What came first: the chicken or the egg? Perhaps it was the architecture — i. e., the shell?

Watching puppies, baby birds, and little kids dissipates stress.

In the animal world, the human being stands out as the only one who bites his nails.

Perhaps organicism is the theology of nature. 142

An unmotivated lie gives one a sense of superiority, but only while one is saying it.

The larger portion of untruth is expressed instinctively.

Trust is a temptation; it often gives birth to nonentities.

The academic exterior, with few exceptions, is the result of prolonged conformity.

It's strange when the manners of beautifully dressed and wellgroomed people reek of eau de cologne. 143

One must always know precisely the measure of people with whom one gets into a leaky boat.

"If you know too much, you get very little sleep"; if you know too little, you rarely awaken.

Avoid new acquaintances and you won't be mistaken in people.

Many fairly intelligent and extremely cautious people never say anything wise. Well, maybe they think it...

Better never to make a witty remark than to make a single one that falls flat. 144

Good deeds and good relations are from two different operas.

If you do a favor that no one requested — forget about it!

Silence is not always golden; a wise word, always.

The word becomes golden in the silver of silence.

Never take silence as a sign of agreement, until someone says it. 145

Irony is well-intentioned doubt.

Irony is the ozone layer of the intellect.

Self-irony that is expressed may be perceived as weakness of spirit.

Sarcasm is the irony of plebeians.

Hackneyed phrases may be used either ironically, or in the context of an original idea. 146

The critical mass of exceptions is already the rule.

An aphorism is the concentration of reason driven to the point of the disintegration. This is already wisdom.

The successful conclusion of a matter that can be expressed with an aphorism at the start, is already in sight.

A beggar, as everyone knows, has no friends; he has no one to be afraid of, either.

Snobbery is emptiness expressed through pretension. 147

Intrigue is the move of a pawn toward the crown of the Queen.

One can learn to know oneself as the result of work completed for which one is unexpectedly not paid.

If you want to look ahead, you must rely on experience, and, thus, turn back.

The expediency of one's own life depends on the choice of context in which you view it.

There are galaxies upon galaxies between the human being and the crowd. 148

In a certain great book it is said that "Patience is sublime." Is this a pearl of philosophical wisdom or the morality of a slave?

The ends justify the means, but only if the ends envisioned it.

The New Scholasticism — a fatal dialogue between technological development and the instinct of self-preservation.

People of Eternity — those who grapple with eternal problems.

The last success in life — to pass away together with your hope. 149







Greece Homer (8th century BCE), poet Thesis


Everything is transient; of all that grows or lives on earth, man is the most transient.

But what about a blossom, a beetle, or a fish?

Even a fool understands what is already finished.

Not always, and not every fool.

Beauty does not last.

Homer never saw the ruins of the Acropolis.

Periander (mid. 7th–beg. 6th century BCE), philosopher Be moderate in prosperity, prudent in adversity.

Moderation and prudence are synonyms.

Pittacus (mid. 7th–beg. 6th century BCE), poet Even gods do not argue with inevitability.

Inevitability is always what everything amounts to.

Wish to be liked.

But I don't want to. 152

Above all, do not lose your self-respect.

Always behave justly and you won't even have to think about it.

Everyone has his predicaments.

Many are always looking for them.

Thales of Miletus (beg. 7th–mid. 6th century BCE), philosopher The most difficult thing is to know yourself; the easiest, to give advice to others.

Knowing oneself absolutely has always been impossible, be it the 7th or 6th centuries BCE, or any other century; giving advice has been easy in any century.

The best path to virtue is to avoid what you condemn in others.

To paraphrase a famous saying: The road to virtue is paved with vice.

Do not believe the probable when told by enemies; believe in the improbable when told by friends.

The philosopher is right — it's better to delude yourself consciously.

Time is the wisest of all, for it reveals everything.

Time is revealed only by time. 153

Bias of Priene (mid. 7th–beg. 6th century BCE), philosopher From youth to age choose wisdom, for there is no more reliable possession.

Whoever is wise in youth is no longer young.

Procure things by persuasion, not by strength of force.

Persuasion in and of itself is a great strength of force.

Solon (mid. 7th–mid. 6th century BCE), statesman Let no man be called blissful before his death. Till then, he is not blissful, only lucky.

Solon probably wasn't a kind man, but certainly a just one.

Learn to obey before you command.

When you command, obey tradition.

In giving advice to a friend, seek to help, not to please.

When you help your friend with advice, avoid smiling, otherwise his smile might swallow the advice.

Give honor to the gods, respect to your parents.

I don't see the difference.

No fool can be silent at table.

Silence at the table preserves the appetite. 154

Bias (late 6th century BCE), philosopher Doubt is the obstacle to success.

For the wise, "doubt is the beginning of wisdom"; for the rest, it is all but a disease.

Pythagoras of Samos (6th century BCE), philosopher and mathematician When leaving for a strange land, don't look back.

A poetic formulation, and an auspicious practice.

Friendship is equality.

Friendship is equality of equals.

Don't reason with children, women, or the people.

And with anyone for whom reasoning is an act in itself.

If you wish to reveal an important truth to people, dress it in the clothes of common belief.

Eloquent banality is convincing.

In your words and deeds avoid the banal and commonplace.

For an artist this advice goes without saying; the ordinary person runs the risk of being misunderstood, however.


Be silent, or speak what is better than silence.

Eloquent silence is better than silence.

Aesop (6th century BCE), fabulist No good will come to people when each demands his own.

When the people start demanding from other people, it's the eve of war.

For happy people, death is not harder, and perhaps even easier, than it is for others.

A life of death is suffering, and suffering is not for the happy.

Every person has his task, and every task its time.

Coincidence is happiness.

Life is still better than death.

Not always; it depends on people and circumstances.

Cleobulus of Lindos (6th century BCE), philosopher Let go of enmity.

A radical variant: learn to step on your own soul.

Accept nobly the vicissitudes of fate.

Just learn never to talk about them with anyone.


Respect for your wife is a character trait.

Do not fawn on your wife or argue with her in the company of others: the first is a sign of stupidity, the second of madness.

Theognis of Megara (6th century BCE), poet There are impossible things. Do not think about them, ever. What cannot be done, you will never be able to.

The courage of those who strive for the impossible makes it possible.

It is hard for a reasonable man to converse with fools. But to remain always silent is beyond human capability.

Never tell a fool anything intelligent, never tell anyone anything unnecessary.

Think over twice, and three times, what passes through your mind.

If you don't trust yourself, however much you think — you won't exist.

Chilon of Sparta (6th century BCE), poet Vouching demands, retribution follows.

Vouch only for those who would definitely vouch for you.


Do not reach after what is impossible.

The road upward always runs through the impossible.

Parmenides (6th century BCE), philosopher There is existence; nonexistence simply does not exist.

This thesis is not about anything, the keenly brutal wit of its author notwithstanding.

Do not gaze meaninglessly at the world.

Do not identify yourself with that which is already by definition meaningless.

God is static, finite, and has the shape of a sphere.

The shape of a sphere has no end; i.e. it is infinite.

Do not listen to meaningless words.

But pretend to be listening.

Heraclitus of Ephesus (6th–5th BCE), philosopher A grown man passes for a fool to a god, as a child does to a grown man.

The less you want, the more intelligent you are in God's eyes.

You cannot step twice into the same river.

Remember this when you go to visit a female acquaintance. 158

Not only is there a new sun every day, but the sun renews itself constantly.

The sun dies, renewing itself.

It would not be better for people if their every wish came true.

Especially all of them, for everyone, and at the same time.

Themistocles (6th–5th century BCE), Athenian statesman The poet Simonides, who knew all his poems by heart, offered to teach Themistocles to improve his memory. "Rather teach me the art of forgetting," Themistocles answered.

The inability to forget is not perceived as a tragedy, yet it is the very reason that tragedy occurs.

Epicharmus of Kos (6th–5th century BCE), writer If what you are seeking is wise, think about it at night.

Learn to think with your eyes closed.

The gods give us all that is good, but only if we work for it.

But you can receive everything from them at the price of risking to lose it all.


Leonidas (6th–5th century BCE), King of Sparta King Leonid was the god of self-control.

Leonidas ordered his warriors to eat breakfast, informing them that they would only eat dinner when they were in Hades.

Aeschylus (6th–5th century BCE), dramatist Forced marriage is horrific.

Nature is such that even this is not always true.

The fate of one whom no one envies is unenviable.

Do not envy anyone, and many will envy you.

Pindar (6th–5th century BCE), poet Justice is the unshakeable foundation of the state.

State justice is naive conceptualism.

Pericles (5th century BCE), strategist Pericles was first a poet, then a strategist.

When youths perish in war it is like spring being plucked out of the year.


Sophocles (5th century BCE), dramatist Great deeds take time.

And a pretext for them doesn't arise every day either.

Protagoras of Abdera (5th century BCE), philosopher In fact, sometimes the gods exist, and sometimes they don't.

I cannot know whether the gods exist or not, because there is too much that hampers this knowledge — the question is dark and human life is short.

Herodotus (5th century BCE), historian Do not mend misfortune with misfortune.

The phrase could be an epigraph to a Lexicon of the State of Utopia.

People usually dream at night what they think about during the day.

Many creative people think in sleep, and think it over during the day.

It is better to be envied than pitied.

Do not take pride in becoming an object of envy, and you will not become an object of pity. 161

He who is satisfied forgets; he who is injured remembers.

Some animals also recall an injury.

I have never once heard that someone forgot from old age where he had buried a treasure.

The magic of gold is not conquered by senility.

Euripides (5th century BCE), dramatist True courage is caution.

Not always, and not everywhere, and not in everyone.

There is no real life without art.

Understanding, and even modeling, life through art is possible; whether the opposite is true is subject to debate.

Democritus (5th century BCE), philosopher Trying to teach someone with a high opinion of himself is a waste of time.

To paraphrase a saying: Teaching a fool only dulls a pencil.

Courage mitigates the blows of fate.

There is no courage equal to the blows of fate; it is either more, or less. 162

Medicine is the sister of philosophy.

A doctor, like anyone else, can be a philosopher, but only as long as his patients don't know about it.

Philosophy is the mother of all sciences.

This is because the mother of philosophy is, after all, logic.

The friendship of a reasonable man is more valuable than the friendship of all unreasonable men.

Nature is such that no one is ever reasonable all the time.

Alcibiades (5th century BCE), statesman and general Called away from Sicily to Athena for a punishable offense, Alcibiades took flight and went into hiding, saying that it was ridiculous to try to save himself from a sentence, when he could save himself from the trial. (According to Plutarch.)

Whatever he did, he started from the wrong end.


Hippocrates (5th–4th century BCE), philosopher doctor Severe illnesses require equally strong cures.

The decisiveness of the doctor comes at the risk of the patient; indecisiveness likewise.

Old men are not ill as often as young men, but their illnesses end only with their lives.

Old people don't have enough life to get cured; young people don't have enough time.

If sleep lessens suffering, the disease is not fatal.

Ultimately you die because you die — that is, you don't wake up. And if life is a dream, then it's the other way round.

Life is short, art is long.

It's significant that it was the "father of medicine" who brought together life, art, and eternity for the first time.

Medicine is truly the noblest of the arts.

Only if the doctor is Hippocrates.


Socrates (5th–4th century BCE), philosopher I know that I know nothing, but many don't know even that.

What Socrates knew, after all, was incomparable with what he didn't know — and, just like us, would never find out.

Eat to live, don't live to eat.

One must live and eat for something.

Antisthenes (5th–4th century BCE), philosopher One must learn in order to learn what it is not necessary to learn.

To understand this you have to be an accomplished wiseman.

One must live with those women who will themselves be grateful for it.

Women express their gratefulness before they leave you.

What art is the most essential? The art of forgetting the unnecessary.

That's not art, only instinct.


Isocrates (5th–4th century BCE), writer An observant person doesn't really need advice.

If you intend to seek advice from someone about your affairs, first look at how this person manages his own.

Xenophon (5th–4th century BCE), philosopher All I own I carry with me.

What about the Spartan money, the size of a millstone?

The single god, the greatest among gods and people, does not resemble mortals either in external appearance or in thought.

But dismissing external appearances is one of the earliest intimations of Christianity.

Dionysius of Syracuse (5th–4th century BCE), ruler Spare time comes at the risk of filling it with future unpleasantness.

When asked whether he had any spare time, Dionysius answered, "No, and may there never be!" (According to Plutarch.)


Archytas of Tarentum (5th–4th century BCE), philosopher We are all here for someone, but someone is also here for us.

We are born not only for ourselves, but also for our parents, for our relatives and friends — so what belongs to us personally is an insignificant portion.

Plato (5th–4th century BCE), philosopher Many people go mad, and in many different ways.

Those many consider those few who are not like them to be mad.

Man is the plaything of the gods. And so we should play the noblest games.

God can kill when at play, but you must learn to love by yourself.

God is in ourselves.

Not always, and not in everyone.

A certain terrible, wild, and lawless kind of desire hides in every human being, even in those who seem moderate; this is revealed in dreams.

Plato has this kind of desire, Aristotle sleeps without dreams, and some don't sleep at all, but slumber, etc.


Fate is the path from the unseen to the next unseen.

Pay attention to chance, it can be a sign of the realization of fate.

Wealth is not blind at all, it is sagacious.

A wiseman can buy himself off at the price of his mind.

Diogenes of Sinope (5th–4th century BCE), philosopher When asked where he was from, Diogenes said, "I am a citizen of the world."

In the ancient world of Alexander the Great citizens were citizens in name only.

Being in a good mood torments those who envy you.

Moreover, it makes of them your sworn enemies.

When Diogenes warmed himself in the sun Alexander the Great stopped and stood over him, saying, "Ask me what you wish." Diogenes answered, "Don't block the sun."

To paraphrase Pushkin, Diogenes was the "Sun of Alexander."

He could have just walked with a mirror instead of a torch.

In broad daylight, Diogenes wandered with a torch in his hand, saying; "I'm searching for an honest man."


Aeschines (4th century BCE), Athenian orator So don't put your soul into your drinking.

Drunkenness reveals the soul of the man like a mirror reflects his body.

Arostotle (4th century BCE), philosopher In a man is the courage of dominating; in a woman is the courage of submitting.

A small child of either sex has the "courage of dominating."

Crime only needs a pretext.

An epigraph to a text on psychiatry.

What is well known is well known only to a few.

The Newtons of the world, and a very few artists, are truly the ones who see what is well known in what isn't.

Some people save like they will live forever, others spend like they will die in a moment. There is as much difference between an educated and an uneducated man as there is between a living and a dead one.

And moderation is for those with moderate means. On this point Aristotle is more radical than Plato.


Of all the animals, only the human being knows how to laugh.

We should add: and bite his nails.

In the eyes of the crowd, uneducated people are more convincing than the educated.

For the crowd, the uneducated are part of the crowd; the educated are an insult to it.

Wit is polished arrogance.

Unpolished wit is the expressive fragment of a gigantic brickwork foundation.

Both friends and enemies get offended, because it is easy to offend the former, and habitual to offend the latter.

At first it is easy to offend friends, then pleasant; but by then they are no longer friends.

There has never been a great mind without a touch of madness.

Reason can turn into madness, and madness can turn into reason — also, but exclusively.

To beget a problem one only need choose separation and division.

In this context, there's no difference.

Wisdom must be something between dissoluteness and indifference.

Ancient wisdom is found somewhere between Plato and Aristotle. 170

Knowledge begins with surprise.

And ends with it, too.

Everyone knows that death is unavoidable, but since it is far off, no one thinks about it.

Whether you think about it or not, it's coming.

We have it good sometimes; the gods, always.

And what about demigods, not to mention demigoddesses?

Alexander the Great (4th century BCE), military commander There is nothing more slavish than luxury and comfort, and nothing more kingly than labor.

A warring king manages to combine both luxury and labor.

Words attributed to Alexander just before his death: "I'm dying from the help of too many doctors."

The doctor in charge of treatment is the first in curing and the last in the council of physicians.

Phillip II of Macedonia (4th century BCE), king of Macedonia War with your wife can be trench warfare, just not from her side.

The most difficult war I fought was the war with my wife Olympia. 171

Demosthenes (4th century BCE), Athenian orator The easiest thing of all is to deceive oneself.

Don't consider yourself smarter than you are, and you won't be deceived.

Domination by the few inspires fear in citizens, but does not inspire shame.

The crowd may feel fear, but it never feels shame.

The best defense against tyrants is mistrust.

Fear of tyranny inspires trust in future tyrants.

Epicurus (4th–3rd century BCE), philosopher There is nothing to fear in life for one who has understood that there is nothing to fear beyond life, either.

In this thesis the word death is strangely absent.

If God heard the prayers of people, soon all people would perish always wishing evil upon one another.

In anger one forgets that one prays to the gods, and not for something one wants from them.

Seize the day.

That is to say, days when fate is asleep.


We are not so much in need of the help of friends as in the certainty of being able to rely on that help.

Relying on friends is wonderful, even if it is a mistake.

A person who has many reasons for parting with life is absolutely despicable.

Actually, someone who manages this is not at all despicable; sometimes he can even be great.

Zeno of Citium (4th–3rd century BCE), philosopher There is no need to seek what is not given by nature.

Many lives have been wasted in search of what is not given by natur — mainly, common sense.

Cleanthes of Assos (4th–3rd century BCE), philosopher Fate leads the willing and drags along the unwilling.

Let it drag you — as long as it's yours.

Pyrrhus of Epirus (3rd century BCE), king of Epirus and military general I wonder if the Roman senate found out about this, and when.

If we sustain one more such victory I will have nothing to return to Epirus with. 173

Menander (4th–3rd century BCE), writer of comedy The evil man is recognized by his words.

The good man, too — and both of them can be recognized by silence.

There is nothing more valorous than stupidity.

Valor is dangerous, but it isn't at all stupid.

Crispus of Sol (3rd century BCE), philosopher The principle of greatness of soul is the absence of the manifestation of personality.

Greatness of soul is self-mastery that allows you to remain above everything that happens to you, the good and the bad.

Bion of Smyrna (2nd or 3rd century BCE), poet Tell jokes at your own expense — but only with people you know well.

Be careful telling jokes — you may be taken at your word.

Lucian of Samosata (2nd century CE), writer I despise those who remember what happened at the feast.

It's up to you to drink or not to drink, but if you do, drink only with those you know well. 174

Plutarch (1st–2nd century CE), philosopher-historian Aphrodite does not concern herself with carnal coitus, and Dionysius does not concern himself with hangovers.

There are no obstacles for the gods; all the more, a hangover.

A man can only be what he is.

This is how we should understand people.

Sybarites, they say, sent their wives invitations to a feast a year in advance, so that they would have enough time to get dressed.

An invitation like this is a completely justified hope for living through the next year.

A young man threw a stone at a dog, but when it hit his mother-in-law, he said, "That's not bad either."

A smart kid, with good instincts.

Not a single word spoken has been so useful as the myriad of words left unsaid.

The unsaid word is a telling silence.

Character is nothing more than a longstanding acquired habit.

Habit may be second nature, but character, after all is said and done, is first.


A sensible person must beware of enmity and animosity.

Caution can save you, but it can also turn you into a nonentity.

A woman need not have her own friends; the friends of her husband suffice.

In a contemporary context, the wife's friends must be acceptable to the husband.

Epictetus (1st–2nd century CE), philosopher With ordinary people, talk less about theories, but behave more in accordance with them.

Talk with them about anything except how to behave.

If you want to live a happy life, consider the future as the past.

The fee is modest — the cost of your mind.

It is not things that torment people, but their notions of things.

Epictetus was the first existentialist.

With a madman, don't speak too much; don't even get near the foolish.

Preserve your reason; reveal it only before reason.


Rome Cato the Elder (3rd–2nd century BCE), writer and statesman Thesis


What isn't necessary is always too costly.

When you buy something expensive that you don't need, you feel you've been seduced.

It's amazing that soothsayers don't burst out laughing when they look at each other.

Or restrain themselves from coming to blows.

The spirit of someone in love lives in another's body.

Sometimes not just one.

War feeds itself.

War feeds on hunger.

There is no law that would benefit everyone.

For those who are alike, rules suffice; the rest need laws.

Lucius Aemilius Paullus (3rd–2nd century BCE), military commander You can't maneuver ships from land.

The sailor maneuvers a ship, the shipowner maneuvers its cargo. 177

Caecilius Statius (3rd–2nd century BCE), writer of comedy Live as you can, and die as you can, too.

Live as you can, if you can't live as you wish.

Plautus (3rd–2nd century BCE), writer of comedy Man is wolf to man, if he doesn't know him.

And if he knows him, he's also a wolf — but a trained one.

Quintus Ennius (3rd–2nd century BCE), poet The ape, vilest of beasts, how like to us!

The one being imitated resembles an ape slightly less, but only when people are around.

A sure friend is known when in difficulty.

Many difficulties, one friend.

Terence (2nd century BCE), writer of comedy There is nothing that hasn't been said before.

Everything that was said before but didn't end up in literature was never said. 178

Lucius Cornelius Sulla (2nd–1st century BCE), dictator Sulla's arms are the fear of the people.

He who has taken up arms should not seek help from unarmed legs.

Cornelius Nepos (2nd–1st century BCE), historian and poet In other words the rabble won't accept anything that isn't the rabble, and doesn't know how to rule or govern either.

The common vice of free states is that envy accompanies glory, people of high stature are subject to humiliation, and the poor hate the rich.

Marcus Terentius Varro (2nd–1st century BCE), encyclopedist There is much laughter, but not much to laugh about.

There is so little that is truly funny that one easily remembers it for a long time, if not forever.

There is no nonsense that comes from a sick man that a philosopher hasn't said before.

The philosophy of a fool is his only diagnosis.


Man is small but his home is the world.

The juxtaposition Man/World is the axis of ancient philosophy; healthy skepticism, its alter ego.

Pompey the Great (2nd–1st century BCE), military commander Pompey had to reach Rome urgently. There was a storm, and the sailors refused to weigh anchor. Pompey ordered the anchor to be raised, saying, "To sail is necessary; to live is not necessary."

Pompey had the courage of a stoic and the ambition of Caesar.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (2nd–1st century BCE), philosopher and orator How often we pursue something for the sake of a friend that we would never pursue for our own sakes!

Friendship gives rise to nobility only among the noble.

Every person wishes to achieve old age, and having achieved it, blames it.

Old age is understood as the result of a long life, not as oblivion during lifetime. 180

Good taste is scrupulousness.

I should add: not only in choice, but in freedom of choice.

History is the life of the memory and life's teacher.

History doesn't teach anything, especially those to who don't know it.

Self-evidence is diminished by proof.

Do not engage in superfluous argument; leave that to bad lawyers for paltry sums.

It is pleasant to be praised by a person worthy of praise.

The person who deserves the highest praise is the one who doesn't expect it.

All that is sublime is rare.

The sublime often becomes monstrous; the monstrous rarely becomes sublime.

When a state must be eternal, it clings to the breath of one man.

Cicero doubled every intake of breath by Caesar with public exhalation.

On fortunetelling: Can you find one person who throws the javelin all day and doesn't hit the mark a single time?

Fortunetellers believe in predestination, the javelin does not.


Hoping is more sensible than fearing.

If you act, act without hope, and, thus, fearlessly.

One must judge a person before loving him; if one loves him already, one is unable to judge.

Love falls under the jurisdiction only of love.

Gaius Marius (2nd–1st century BCE), military commander Cowardice has never immortalized anyone.

If an international "Order of Immortality" were to be established, it would bear the words of Gaius Marius.

Julius Caesar (1st century BCE), statesman and military commander I came, I saw, I conquered!

Anyone else would say: "I came, I saw, I stepped aside."

Caesar's wife must be above suspicion.

In the modern context her husband — Caesar — should be, too.

Honors must be yielded to the strongest, and necessities to the weakest.

Honor is necessary only for a few, weakness for no one.


Where Caesar is, there is Rome.

Stopping to rest for the night at a small city: "I had rather be the first here than the second in Rome."

Marcus Junius Brutus (1st century BCE), politician Brutus, the assassin of Caesar — a noble anachronism; the illustration of this is yet another civil war.

Not one condition of slavery can discourage me from war on slavery itself, that is, with what wants to be above the law.

Cato the Younger (1st century BCE), statesman Insolence is greater where defense is weaker.

Insolence is strong when it goes unpunished.

If you are careless and idle, it is useless pray to the gods; they are wrathful and hostile.

If labor is found in prayer, the gods are found in labor.

Sallust (1st century BCE) Most men reject freedom.

Freedom can be understood as generosity of spirit, but this quality is rare. 183

For a man obsessed with desire, everything happens too slowly.

The highest of the abilities is waiting.

Every person measures danger by the degree of his own fear.

There is reason for caution; none for fear.

Augustus (1st century BCE), emperor Hurry slowly.

When you hurry, there's no time for philosophy. The last words of Emperor Nero — "What an artist dies in me!" — are suspiciously similar to the words of Augustus, which gives rise to doubt about the credibility of either utterance.

Last words: "Have I played the part well? Then applaud as I exit."

Pubilius Syrus (1st century BCE), dramatist Fortune is the most capricious lady on earth; it is as impossible to understand her as it is to understand those who don't understand themselves.

Fortune often gives too much, but never enough.


It is a great comfort to die along with the whole universe.

The relationship to the universe here is such that destruction threatens no one.

Often in dubious circumstances daring replaces sensible decisions.

Courage destroys doubt, cowardice amplifies it.

Even someone who commits an injustice hates injustice.

Hatred is the midwife of injustice.

Life is short, but unhappiness makes it longer.

Philosophy doesn't shorten it, either.

A beautiful face is no small recommendation.

The ugly face, too; but more reliable.

Time, not reason, puts an end to love.

Its beginning is also beyond reason.

What does it mean to do a good deed? To imitate God.

Unlike man, god is never cursed for showing mercy.

It is harder to untangle a dispute between friends than between enemies.

If a dispute arises among friends, they were never true friends.

One should be afraid of the man who is not afraid to die.

You don't meet people like that every day. Far from it. 185

All people find themselves at the same distance from death.

This means that people are equal in the most important matter.

Whoever tolerates the vices of a friend commits them himself.

Usually friends add up their vices, and only then divide them.

The guilty man fears the law, the innocent fears fate.

The fate of the guilty person is in the law, but for the law there is no fate.

A fool who knows he is a fool is a fool no more.

Many people who know they have done something foolish call it naive.

Livy (1st century BCE), historian People are rarely given both happiness and common sense.

Don't consider yourself to be happy, and you'll keep your common sense.

On Alexander the Great: "However magnificent this man may appear to us, it is the magnificence of just one man who enjoyed success for ten years."

Success is spontaneous, but in it are accumulated genius, willpower, and personality as a whole.


Seneca (1st century BCE), philosopher The young listen eagerly to bad advice.

Bad advice is more fun than good advice, although no one really listens to either.

People of the crowd live like in the gladiator's school: the one they drink with today they will fight with tomorrow.

Naturally — it's a crowd!

Work doesn't chase after us — we hold on to it ourselves and consider being busy a sign of happiness.

The most obvious sign of happiness is the absence of the necessity to look for something to do.

Everyone forgives me, but no one helps me.

Forgiveness unties the hands.

The misfortune of foolishness lies also in the fact that it always begins life anew.

As does reason — but wisdom, never.

If you fear everything that might happen, there will be no reason for living.

Chance changes the direction of life, fear destroys it.

Stop demanding penury of philosophers — no one condemned wisdom to poverty.

The rich man understands wisdom as the timid smile of poverty.


Velleius (1st century BCE – 1st century CE), historian Idleness is accompanied by envy.

Idleness, if it is not rest, is collapse.

Ardor weakens along with hope. If we cannot achieve, we stop striving.

"Why be short of breath and get a stitch in your side" if you can think a bit, and find there is nothing to run after.

Phaedrus (1st century BCE – 1st century CE), fabulist The name of the poor man's ruler should be his middle name.

When rulers change, nothing changes for the poor man but the name of the ruler.

Galba (1st century BCE – 1st century CE), emperor Slavery and freedom are two sides of a medallion hanging from the neck of a blind man.

You will find yourself ruling over people unable to bear either true slavery or true freedom.

Pliny the Elder (1st century CE), writer No mortal can be wise all the time.

Many never are; many are only by chance. 188

One shouldn't count days, but weigh them.

The heart weighs difficult days, and the soul weighs easy ones.

When you talk about people in their absence, they hear a ringing in their ears.

People whom everyone knows hear a constant ringing in their ears.

Caligula (1st century CE), emperor Beat him so he feels that he's dying.

Gaius Caligula is a copy of the Life Stories of the Twelve Caesars; his life is a medical history.

Quintilian (1st century CE), rhetorician He who follows behind always lags behind.

When you follow behind, keep your distance and you won't lag behind.

We should never make it our ideal to lose a friend sooner than lose a jest.

This dilemma is for people of the "second oldest profession."

On imitation: "It is easier to do more than to do the same thing."

The human being is not an ape, he can imitate creatively.


Nero (1st century CE), emperor Nero was the pearl of Roman history; his paternal nickname was "Red" (lat. Ahenobarbus). Luckily, he didn't live long.

Someone said in a conversation: "When I die, let the earth be consumed in fire." "No," Nero interrupted him, "while I live!"

Martial (1st century CE), poet Don't fear the last day, but don't provoke it.

Commentary in the style of Marcus Valerius: No one can prove or disprove that this day is no picnic.

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (1st century CE), emperor It is worse for rulers than for subjects: when they uncover a conspiracy, no one believes them until they are dead.

If this thought was always uppermost in the emperor's mind, his life was not an enviable one.

Among the Romans, even a victory without an order brings no glory.

The glory of the Roman legion was their immeasurable courage; their banner was discipline.


Tacitus (1st century CE), historian People pass, examples remain.

Nothing more Roman has ever been said.

If you have no enemies, your friends will destroy you.

Remember: every one of them has a list of friends and enemies, and you are always on it.

Medicine works more slowly than illness.

Sometimes they are in competition.

The crowd must blame someone for every chance event.

The crowd is never right in circumstances requiring real thought.

Lucan (1st century CE), poet In a civil war, every victory is a defeat.

A civil war is national suicide.

Florus (1st–2nd century CE), historian And, truly, all roads lead to Rome — the capital of the ancient world and its people.

Those who study the deeds of Rome will learn the history not of one city, but of all humankind. 191

Domitian (1st century CE), emperor Perhaps the emperor had in mind his own relatively peaceful reign.

Rulers who don't deal out enough punishment should not be called kind, but lucky.

Quintus Curtius Rufus (1st century CE), historian and rhetorician Haste slows you down.

When you hurry, you lose not only time, but yourself.

Trajan (1st century CE), emperor No one has yet killed his successor.

A natural thought for an emperor who knew the "modern history" of his time.

I want to be the kind of emperor I would want if I were a subject.

The wit of Trajan is his character.

Juvenal (1st–2nd century CE), satirist Every matter has its own measure — the wise man, too.

The wise man observes moderation also in worthy things. 192

Pliny the Younger (1st–2nd century CE), writer The unhappy are forgotten, as are the deceased.

Only saints always remember the unhappy ones.

One should read much, but not many.

Wisdom is in choice.

A disservice becomes a service if gratefulness is demanded for it.

One who demands thanks for a service is ignoble, and not very smart, either.

People appreciate glory not because it is great, but because it has been broadcast far and wide.

Great glory is absolute distance; broad notoriety is social distance.

All good things are like a good speech — the longer they last, the better.

If a long speech seems short, it is truly good.

Time passes quickly, the happier it is.

The shorter the happy days, the longer the difficult ones.

Marcus Aurelius (2nd century CE), philosopher emperor The present is but an instant of eternity.

Ditto the past and future.


It doesn't matter if you observe human life for forty years or for ten thousand. What new will you find there?

From this perspective, the "new" can only be what you do yourself.

Nothing happens to a person that he is not capable of enduring.

This doesn't hold for everyone.

Without understanding divinity you will do no good for humanity, and vice versa.

Hope is divine; its realization human.

It is quite possible to become a godlike person while remaining unknown.

The motto of an Epicurean on the shield of a Stoic.

1. The more a person loves Self-love can move mountains, blocking the road himself, the more dependent to philosophy. he is on the opinion of others. What does the man who hates himself depend on? On the opinions of others, only he is usually indifferent to it.

2. The more a person loves himself, the more dependent he is on the opinion of others.


The statue of Marcus Aurelius on the Capitoline Hill, taken to be Constantine the Great, proves and refutes the second part of the thesis at the same time.

Soon you will forget about everything, and everyone, in his turn, will forget about you.

For me, as an Antonin, my city and country are both Rome; as a person, the world. And only what is beneficial to them is a boon for me.

Aurelius is first an emperor, and only then a citizen of the world.

Apuleius (mid. 2nd century CE), philosopher, poet Man is mortal, humanity is eternal.

The immortality of a human being and eternity as a spaciotemporal category are different things.

Septimus Severus (3rd century CE), emperor In this sense, everything is for nought.

His last words were: "I was everything, and everything was for nought."


Julian the Apostate (4th century CE), emperor The impossible is achieved through the possible.

Whoever neglects the possible, striving to achieve the impossible, does not try to achieve the one, and fails to carry out the other.

Augustine (4th–5th century CE), theologian, one of the fathers of the Church The prayer of Augustine in his youth: "Dear Lord, grant me chastity and restraint, only not now."

Excessive restraint cripples youth, turning it into a hellish existence.

He will justly be first according to his own judgement who is second according to the judgement of all others.

In your own judgement you can be anyone you wish, which others don't necessarily need to know.

Vegetius (end 4th–beg. 5th century CE), writer Northern peoples protect their warmth.

The northern peoples, though less reasonable, are strongly inclined to combat. 196

Horace (1st century BCE), writer The desire to avoid a mistake draws you into another.

Avoiding mistakes is impossible; not making them fatal is sometimes possible.

Who achieves much, lacks much.

Who achieves much, will certainly lack justice.

In trying to be concise, I become incomprehensible.

Being concise, be brutally straightforward and you'll be understood.

Dare to be wise.

Begin by lengthening the interval between your jokes — say, a year or two.

The same night awaits us all.

No comment.



Bi b l i o g r a p h y :

Àíòè÷íàÿ áàñíÿ Ïåðåâîä Ì. Ãàñïàðîâà. Ì., 1991 Àðèñòîòåëü Ñî÷. â 4-õ òò. Ì., 1975 Áðàø Ì. Êëàññèêè ôèëîñîôèè. ÑÏá., 1907. — Ò.1 Ãåðîäîò Èñòîðèÿ â äåâÿòè êíèãàõ. Ïåðåâîä Ã. À. Ñòðàòàíîâñêîãî. Ì., 1993 Ãðå÷åñêàÿ ýïèãðàììà Ïîä ðåä. Ô. À. Ïåòðîâñêîãî. Ì., 1960. Äèîãåí Ëàýðòñêèé Î æèçíè, ó÷åíèÿõ è èçðå÷åíèÿõ çíàìåíèòûõ ôèëîñîôîâ. Ïåðåâîä Ì. Ãàñïàðîâà. Ì., 1979 Èñòîðèÿ ãðå÷åñêîé ëèòåðàòóðû Ïîä ðåä. Ñ. È. Ñîáîëåâñêîãî, òò. I–III. Ì., 1946–1960 Ë ó ð ü å Ñ. ß. Äåìîêðèò: Òåêñòû. Ïåðåâîä. Èññëåäîâàíèÿ. Ë., 1970 Ìàòåðèàëèñòû Äðåâíåé Ãðåöèè Ïîä ðåä. Ì. À. Äûííèêà. Ì., 1955 Î ð à ò î ð û à ð å ö è è Ïåðåâîä Í. Áðàãèíñêîé è Ì. Ãðàáàðü-Ïàññåê. Ì., 1985 Ïëàòîí Ñî÷. â 4-õ òò. Ì., 1994 Ôðàãìåíòû ðàííèõ ãðå÷åñêèõ ôèëîñîôîâ Ïåðåâîä À. Â. Ëåáåäåâà. Ì., 1989. — ×. 1 Ôðàãìåíòû ðàííèõ ñòîèêîâ Ïåðåâîä À. À. Ñòîëÿðîâà. Ì., 1998. — Ò. 1. Çåíîí è åãî ó÷åíèêè



Bi b l i o g r a p h y :

Àíòè÷íàÿ ëèòåðàòóðà Ïîä ðåä. À. À. Òàõî-Ãîäè. 2-å èçä. Ì., 1973 Ê ó ç í å ö î â à Ò. È., Ñ ò ð å ë ü í è ê î â à È. Ï. Îðàòîðñêîå èñêóññòâî â Äðåâíåì Ðèìå. Ì., 1976 Ì à ð ê À â ð å ë è é. Ð à ç ì û ø ë å í è ÿ Ïåðåâîä À. Ê. Ãàâðèëîâà. Ë., 1985 Ìûñëè è àôîðèçìû äðåâíèõ ðèìëÿí Ñîñòàâèòåëü Ê. Â. Äóøåíêî. Ì., 2000 Ïàìÿòíèêè ïîçäíåé àíòè÷íîé íàó÷íîõ ó ä î æ å ñ ò â å í í î é ë è ò å ð à ò ó ð û II–V â å ê à Ïîä ðåä. Ì. Ë. Ãàñïàðîâà. Ì., 1964 Ï ë è í è é Ì ë à ä ø è é. Ï è ñ ü ì à Ïåð. Ì. Å. Ñåðãååíêî è À. È. Äîâàòóðà. Ì., 1984 Ïåòðîâñêèé Ô.À. Ëàòèíñêèå ýïèãðàôè÷åñêèå ñòèõîòâîðåíèÿ. Ì., 1962 Ï ó á ë è ë è é Ñ è ð. Ñ å í ò å í ö è è Ïåðåâîä Å. Ì. Øòàåðìàí // Âåñòíèê äðåâíåé èñòîðèè. Ì., 1982. — ¹ 1 Ð è ì ñ ê è å ñ ò î è ê è: Ñ å í å ê à, Ý ï è ê ò å ò, Ì à ð ê À â ð å ë è é. Ì., 1995 Ñ à ë ë þ ñ ò è é, à à é Ê ð è ñ ï. Ñ î ÷ è í å í è ÿ Ïåðåâîä Â. Î. Ãîðåíøòåéíà. Ì., 1981 Ñ å í å ê à. Í ð à â ñ ò â å í í û å ï è ñ ü ì à ê Ë ó ö è ë è þ Ïåðåâîä Ñ. À. Îøåðîâà. Ì., 1977 Ñ å í å ê à. Î ê ð à ò ê î ñ ò è æ è ç í è Ïåðåâîä Â. Ñ. Äóðîâà. ÑÏá., 1996 Ò à ö è ò, Ï ó á ë è é Ê î ð í å ë è é Ñî÷èíåíèÿ â 2-õ òò. Ì., 1969 Ö è ö å ð î í, Ì à ð ê Ò ó ë ë è é Èçáðàííûå ñî÷èíåíèÿ. Ì., 1975 199

Contents PORTAL I Autobiography — Self-Recommendation ............................................9 PORTAL II Journey into Another's Soul .........................................................31 PORTAL III Art is only the glance of eternity .........................................................49 PORTAL IV Rubbish Heaps of Culture ..................................................................65 PORTAL V Card Index of Immortals ..............................................................81 PORTAL VI Only Human — I ............................................................................95 PORTAL VII Only Human — II .........................................................................107 PORTAL VIII Mixed Technique — I .....................................................................119 PORTAL IX Mixed Technique — II ...................................................................132 PORTAL X Commentary on a Present-day Reading of the Ancients .........................151 Bi b l i o g r a p h y ................................................................198 200




A Dictionary of New Mythology by Vadim S. Voinov Designed by Vadim S. Voinov

Layout and Computer-Aided Page Maker by Ksenia Astafieva Translated from the Russian by Mary C. Gannon On the title page: Vadim Voinov's portrait by Tatiana Barti India ink on paper. 2008


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Dictionary of New Mythology by VV