Smolny Beyond Borders

A Liberal Arts Initiative

The War Teaches Us Nothing

War teaches us nothing. War always goes against the logic of life. It sends us to the very bottom of existence: food, sleep, purity, short-lived love, clearly rhyming with death. War takes home and a sense of security on an ontological level. Convenience and measuredness, a learned positive attitude is impossible. Optimism is apophatic.

Talking about war is not easy, it is easier to run away from it, but, it turns out, it is also not so easy. In the era of global processes, things are interdependent, there is a hint of suspense in the measured tranquility of European life.

можно ль писать опосля – ля
спорят кого ни спроси – си
но мне сочиняется до – до
потому что куда ни гляди

The poem by Demyan Kudryavtsev is an example of complex speaking about the war, which is expressed in the disintegration of linguistic means into separate elements.
The poem responds with the scale “la – si – do” to the question from Theodor Adorno’s notes “Is poetry possible after Auschwitz”. This answer pushes back the post-war state of “post” and changes the temporary structure “after Auschwitz” to a much more terrible and disturbing one: Auschwitz is ahead.

Natalia Fedorova

(you can apply for Natalia Fedorova‘s course “War and the Decay of Language” until November, 5)