Vasily Grossman sings freedom despite having lived in a time and place where it was desperately rare. Even one of his masterpieces was arrested and it is miraculous that he managed to avoid the same fate. If I had to sum up his credo it would be the freedom of the individual, and kindness, particularly in random, spontaneous forms free of ideological motivations.
His comment that freedom is more than recognition of necessity, that it is instead the overcoming of necessity, is also thought-provoking.
The history of humanity is the history of human freedom. The growth of human potential is expressed, above all, in the growth of freedom. Freedom is not, as Engels claimed, ‘the recognition of necessity’. Freedom is the direct opposite of necessity; freedom is necessity overcome. Progress, in essence, is the progress of human freedom. What is life itself, if not freedom? The evolution of life is the evolution of freedom.
Source: Vasily Grossman, Everything Flows, trans. Robert and Elizabeth Chandler with Anna Aslanyan (London: Vintage Books, 2011), p. 193
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