—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

I came upon this in the Thursday, December 28th, 1995 issue of The New York Times. The context itself presented an ethical mare’s nest. Charles W. Colson (compromised) was quoting Solzhenitsyn (wise but haughty) in his (Colson’s) attack on a movie by Oliver Stone (mixed bag) about Nixon (tragically flawed). Here’s the quotation again: “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between parties either —but right through the human heart.”

Kicks like a mule, doesn’t it? Imagine a gathering of union workmen, maybe drinking beer and muttering darkly about how becoming extremely rich is a demonstration of the lack of scruples, a marker for evil. Or consider a rich man (self-made) who thinks poverty a demonstration of weak character, perhaps even a marker for evil.

Picture your own heart for a moment. Aren’t hearts a sort of catchers’-mitt brown now with flashes of crimson arterial blood? See it? Now draw the line. Make it blue. Now watch it move.