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Bev Vines-Haines
What, truly, was the meaning of profound? 

Andrey Brodsky sat in his armchair and stared at the red hot tip of his cigarette.  In his ages, his decades, he had moved his perception of the word around like a chess piece.   He’d studied Lenin, Berdyaev, Nabokov, Rand, Anna Akhmatova and all the great thinkers.  From University, through government positions and now the life of an outcast, he had endeavored to unveil the profound truths.

Inevitably, his heroes and heroines fell short of the mark.  Could a man be a profound thinker and still throw away his gifts, his talents, his life’s breath on women or vodka?  He pondered Rasputin, marveling that any clear thought or teaching could be born from such confusion.  Rumors abounded about the man; scholars poured over his quotes, over his life as if they might find the secrets of…what?

Brodsky himself had spent long hours searching for the meaning of life, trying to understand matters like the beauty of a rose, a mountain, or an infant, grappling for meaning when they were crushed by a boot, a tank, or a man. Why create beauty that was simply destroyed?  What purpose?  What meaning?  Why bother?

Was God out there, waving His Majesty around the earth, painting flowers and rivers, oceans and mankind and then erasing it all with a careless hand?  Why think?  Why write?  Why make any effort at all to organize such chaos?

And it wasn’t just the fruitlessness of the search.  He ground his cigarette out in an ashtray and studied the St. Petersburg skyline.  It was the relentless critique from the populace. Whether government official, stuffy librarian, a factory hand or an unlearned farmer, they all had an opinion.  And opinions garnered attention.  Attention garnered sound.  Sound garnered more attention and before one knew it there were political types rifling through your books, notes and belongings. 

The slowest minds seemed to wield the greatest power.  So what if his notes spoke of western ideas, more freedom and greater individuality?  They were musings.  Explorations.  He pointed out the flaws in western thinking, too.  All those skimpy outfits, public affection, greedy accumulation and unseemly television and movies.  No idea was perfect.  No thought yet profound.

But power corrupts.  Completely.  His notes, his books, his thoughts were all laid out before the people, tainted and slanted by the government agenda.  He was painted as a traitor, a man intent on debasing the old ways and westernizing the homeland.  His musings were portrayed as revolution and his innocent questions were mocked as a quest for fame and notoriety.  His books were pulled from student’s hands and his reputation stomped.

Another bit of beauty…gone.

First published: May, 2013
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