Brodsky's 6 Commandments

Joseph Brodsky is an outstanding Russian and American poet, essayist, playwright and translator. It is considered one of the greatest poets of the 20th century.

This text contains quotes from Brodsky's speech, which he said before graduates of the University of Michigan on December 18, 1988.

Brodsky himself (see interesting facts about Brodsky) ironically called this speech "My Secret Report."

An interesting fact is that in the next seven years, the “Speech at the Stadium” was not published in English, as they considered it “inappropriate” and “politically incorrect”. Moreover, the watchful “colleagues” saw in it “reactionary” and even something similar to “racism”.

Joseph Brodsky

Surely you are wondering what the Nobel Prize winner in literature, Joseph Brodsky, said, that the text of his speech for a long time did not want to be printed in the west.

We give the most important thoughts of the writer, which can be conventionally called, as "the 6 commandments of Brodsky."

So before you Brodsky's 6 Commandments.

Consider what you hear now, just like tips of the tip of a few icebergs, if you can say so, and not Mount Sinai.I am not Moses, you are also not Old Testament Jews; and these slightly erratic sketches, scrawled in a yellow notepad somewhere in California, were not tablets.

Ignore them, if you will, question them, if necessary, forget them, if you cannot otherwise: there is nothing obligatory in them.

If some of them are useful to you now or in the future, I will be glad. If not, my anger will not overtake you.

Brodsky's 1st Commandment

Focus on the accuracy of your language. Try to expand your vocabulary and treat it the way you handle your bank account. Give him a lot of attention and try to increase your dividends.

Every day many things change in the soul of a person, but the mode of expression often remains the same. The ability to communicate lags behind the experience. It is detrimental to the psyche.

Feelings, shades, thoughts, perceptions that remain unnamed, unsigned and are not satisfied with the approximate wording, accumulate inside the individual and can lead to a psychological explosion or breakdown.

To avoid this, it is not necessary to turn into a bookworm. You just need to purchase a dictionary and read it every day, and sometimes - books of poetry.

Dictionaries, however, are of paramount importance. They are cheap enough, but even the most expensive among them cost much less than one visit to a psychiatrist.

Brodsky's 2nd Commandment

Try to be kind to your parents. If it sounds too much like "Honor your father and your mother," well then.

I just want to say: try not to rebel against them, for in all likelihood they will die before you, so you can spare yourself, at least from this source of guilt, if not grief.

If you need to rebel, rebel against those who are not so easily hurt. Parents are too close a target (just like brothers, sisters, wives or husbands, by the way).

The distance is such that you can not miss.

Brodsky's 3rd Commandment

Try not to rely too much on politicians. At best, they can somewhat reduce social evil, but not eradicate it.

No matter how significant the improvement is, from an ethical point of view, it will always be negligible, because there will always be those - at least one person - who will not benefit from this improvement.

The world is not perfect; The golden age has never been and never will be. The only thing that will happen to the world is that it will become larger, that is, more crowded, without increasing in size.

No matter how fair the person you have chosen, or promised to divide the cake, it will not increase in size; portions are sure to be smaller.

Brodsky's 4th Commandment

Try not to stand out, try to be modest. Already we have too many - and very soon there will be much more. This climb to a place in the sun necessarily takes place at the expense of others who will not clamber.

The fact that you have to step on someone’s feet does not mean that you have to stand on their shoulders.

Awareness of your own exclusivity, keep in mind, also undermines your uniqueness, not to mention that it narrows your sense of reality to what has already been achieved.

I would also advise you to speak more quietly, but, I am afraid, you will find that I have gone too far.

However, remember that there is always someone by your side: your neighbor. Nobody asks you to love him, but try not to disturb him too much and not to hurt him.

Try to step on his feet carefully; and, if it happens that you desire his wife, remember, at least, that this indicates a lack of your imagination, your lack of faith in the infinite possibilities of life or ignorance of them.

At worst, try to remember how far from the stars, from the depths of the Universe, perhaps from its opposite end, you were asked not to do this, as well as the idea to love your neighbor as yourself.

Brodsky's 5th Commandment

By all means avoid attributing the status of the victim. Of all the parts of the body, watch your forefinger with the most vigilant, for he is eager to expose.

No matter how disgusting your position may be, try not to blame external forces for this: history, state, authorities, race, parents, phase of the moon, childhood, untimely landing on the pot, etc.

The moment you put the blame on something, you are undermining your own determination to change something.

There is a whole victim culture, ranging from personal lawyers to international loans.

No matter how exhaustive and irrefutable the obviousness of your loss, deny it, as long as your sanity is with you, as long as your lips can say no.

In general, try to respect life not only for its charms, but also for its difficulties. They are part of the game, and the good thing about them is that they are not a hoax.

Whenever you are desperate or on the verge of despair, when you are in trouble or embarrassment, remember: this life speaks to you in the only well-known language.

In other words, try to be a bit masochistic: without the taste of masochism, the meaning of life is incomplete.

Considering yourself to be a victim, you only increase the vacuum of irresponsibility that demons and demagogues love to fill so much, for the paralyzed will is not a joy for angels.

Brodsky's 6th Commandment

Be able to forgive. The world you are about to enter does not have a good reputation. This is not a nice spot, as you will soon discover, and I doubt that it will be much nicer by the time you leave it.

However, this is the only world available: there is no alternative, and if it existed, there is no guarantee that it would be much better than this.

Try not to pay attention to those who try to make your life miserable. There will be many of them - both in official positions and self-appointed ones. Bear with them if you cannot avoid them, but as soon as you get rid of them, forget about them immediately.

First of all, try not to tell stories about the unfair treatment that you have suffered from them; avoid it, no matter how sympathetic your audience is.

What your enemies are doing gets its value or importance from how you react to it. Therefore, rush through or past them as if they were yellow, not red.

Do not linger on them mentally or verbally; Don't be proud that you have forgiven or forgotten them - at worst, forget it first.

So you will free your brain cells from useless arousal. Switch the channel: you can not stop broadcasting this network, but in your power, at least, to reduce its rating.


I had better stop here. I will be glad if you find what I said useful. If not, it will show that you are prepared for the future much better than you would expect from people of your age.

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