Many of you have already found out and others will find out in the course of their lives that truth eludes us as soon as our concentration begins to flag, all the while leaving the illusion that we are continuing to pursue it. This is the source of much discord. Also, truth seldom is sweet; it is almost invariably bitter. A measure of bitter truth is included in my speech today, but I offer it as a friend, not as an adversary.
Mere freedom per se does not in the least solve all the problems of human life and even adds a number of new ones. And yet in early democracies, as in American democracy at the time of its birth, all individual human rights were granted on the ground that man is God’s creature. That is, freedom was given to the individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility. Such was the heritage of the preceding one thousand years. Two hundred or even fifty years ago, it would have seemed quite impossible, in America that an individual be granted boundless freedom with no purpose, simply for the satisfaction of his whims… All the celebrated technological achievements of progress, including the conquest of outer space , do not redeem the twentieth century’s moral poverty.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn—taken from his commencement speech at Harvard (1978)