English Subtitles for The Russian Soul: Dr. Pat Willerton at TEDxUniversityofArizona



Subtitles / Closed Captions - English

distant dark expansive mysterious forbidding this is Russia this is Russia

how so many of us on the outside know it and yet within this amazing land a people who are to truly beautiful a culture which is truly glorious there are riches to be found and what I want to do in my time with you today is share those riches by asking you to join me to engage and touch the Russian soul the word distance is the word I want to emphasize as i begin my remarks and i want to note in the distance that separates those of us on the outside

from Russia that the distance is not only physical Geographic it is psychological is psychic and it is seemingly been ever true of the Russians that they were removed from the rest of us so here i am in the American Southwest 11 time zones away from Moscow but now in the 21st century you and I can be from the southwest in Russia and in 15 hours so distance has shrunk though it was always there and when the Marquis de

castilla mean the 18th century diplomat was posted to the court of Catherine the Great and he wrote his magnificent memoir a journey for our time and he discusses the logic and the experience of going from Paris through many lands in many people's ultimately reaching the borders of the russian empire but so far yet to go before he reached the court at st. Petersburg he gives to the reader the sense of this distance and get even more importantly one feels the distance

psychologically socially that he encountered and so it is still true now you can be there in 15 hours but here we are in the 21st cent three and so much has changed but somehow the distance psychically is still there and so I want to ask of you as you join me in trying to engage russia i want to ask you to let go of two things for a moment don't throw them away don't deny them but i want to remove to barnacles that impact us when

we engage Russia one barnacle is the barnacle history the difficult history we've had with Russia I'm not going to discuss who is responsible for what i am a political scientist I know this history it's complicated I I cast no aspersions on anyone but it is difficult and it affected us and so in a sense it helps hitter I it really limits our ability to grab that soul when we so focus on the history and the difficulties that we had and the second

thing i ask you to do is set aside the barnacle of horror and evil that we associate with the Russian lands because horrific and evil things have occurred there knowing that in our common human experience evil in horror sadly has gone where we have gone i'm in the Americas and I know and you know in the history of the Americas north and south in Australia what happened with the European People's met the native peoples we know what happens in Africa

and Europe over the millennia as nations met one another with ferocity environments we know what the great empires of Asia did as they arose the horrors and evils there's no monopoly on horror or evil in Russia there's nothing unique about it in that regard but we know stone is a it was recent in our human experience and it's off-putting to us set aside set it aside don't deny it it was a principle that helped create the Russian soul because

if there's one message I want to share about Russia when I will you ask me why do I really care why would I want to think about the Russian soul i would tell you this because it offers a treasure trove of human experience because in their suffering Russians have great virtue great morals great honor this is and heroic people and we don't see this through the complexity of history

through the complexity of moments of great evil i want to share my own journey of with Russia to give you a sense of how one can touch that soul it began when I was eight when my dad gave me a present coming back from a business trip to New York City he gave me a record of recording a pro coffee of Peter and the wolf this glorious using hardly childish even if it's based and the child tail is magnificent orchestral music but I always wondered

dad you know why did you give me a record of Russian music up the name is willerton were English I mean we have no so there's no slovak the Russian blood these pains there was no special interests of Russia and I know why you did probably it's because when he got that record he got a remainder he got 24 what dad was always looking at and thank God I got a remainder because it wasn't

Procopio it was the other record it was the Soviet Army and chorus band record it was the record that had the big red star it had to be read it Sonia and there were no liner notes and so what did I have as an eight-year-old I had the names of the 18 songs or so and they were it and maybe a one sentence description and the end the songs of the history of the country the folk songs they were of what the Russians called a great october revolution what we call

the russian revolution they were of the Great Patriotic War what we call World War two it was magnificent music it was muscular it was expansive there was great feeling and poignancy one ensemble the buoyancy of those 75 to 90 members of the Soviet Army as they were singing for the long voice the . voice alone with an accordion or with one instrument taking up his sweetheart

singing of his love for his country it was all there every sort of emotion and I was off and I was running with his unique Russia and this happened in the year of the new missile crisis and somehow I never related that to the my sister's didn't appreciate the music as it was blooming they were and other things they give you a hard time I got kind of a weird brother he's in there

listening to Soviet military and looks like they're off with the Beatles or whatever but so are so be it sobia and then two years later I came upon a fantastic port of a weekly magazine I don't know what it was i try to find it there's six pictures of stern people in a circle with a question mark in the middle

they were Soviet leaders the key to host off the great strong man have been ousted and no one knew why and there was the mystery and there were these unknown leaders and I looked at that and i just found Russia was a puzzle in the puzzle payment for me I just wanted to know more and so as Churchill said in 1939 Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery set in an enigma this is what i found it was true then it was true in the 18th 19th century it's

true now it's still true now and so for me the puzzle was there and i found it so intrigued but the kicker came with one more event growing up in Columbus Ohio my mom took me down to Ohio State on two successive weekends when I was fourteen to see the eight-hour Soviet film of war and peace leo tolstoy's masterpiece you know this is maybe the greatest piece of Russian literature i happen to think it's the greatest piece of literature of our

civilization you who like Dickens you like Victor Hugo you have a good case to be made but also did with Tolstoy and what Tolstoy doesn't is amazing novel that said in Napoleonic times as the pulling is invading Russia he deals with the biggest issues of life in fourteen hundred pages he creates a world what 100 major characters six major families issues of war and peace life-and-death God the meaning of life and for me i'll admit i didn't read the 1400 page book

first I guess we're not supposed to supposed to go read and then see the movie I saw the movie first and then eight hours through two successive somebody's eye was drawn and I really began to engage the Russian soul and i'm at three Russians that i'm going to tell you about iconic figures from that novel and let me say as I encourage you to see the movie or to read the novel don't be put off by the names if the translation

is good those hundred characters with this complicated name system of the Russians have the first the middle of the last it will all be there don't let again a distance because of a different nor these are beautiful people there a conic so I want to tell you about three that are iconic i want to tell you about prints on the name of Paul skee-ball con ski who is the dashing hero in his thirties that heat the heroic figure who is strong and

solid and virtuous patriotic yes perhaps at times wouldn't yes perhaps bullheaded in some ways but a good man who is in love this country as he is in love with his friends and his like his friend . visible cup the count a bear of a man large clumsy socially awkward yet he is in the nobility he is in the palaces because he is rich and he comes from a name family even if he himself is a clumsy soul is a good man he is virtuous if he's an

egghead he's an intellectual of these awkward yet he has much to offer as much to reflect apart and he and unstable koski interact they are very close friends and they learn from each other as they face the world these are phases of Russians the Russian soul and then the young Natasha Rostova and we see her in the movie first running a field can you imagine it open up your mind now let your mind I mind's eye opens you i'm not showing pictures i

want to share some words I want to join your images of Russia if you set aside the particles that i mentioned i want to join them with other images imagine that tossed over 15 running through a beautiful feel the beautiful virgin trees in the background the wildflowers a woman a young woman who was chased his virginal whose of nature who is pure who is innocent who is naive but up ahead of her lies a life

of break challenge of bringing suffering and yet a break growth and her life will intersect with the other two and the three of them through a massive story will offer many insights as they suffer as they grow as people let me tell you about a Russian style i noticed in the movie sitting there that I find when I think of Russians i live in a country I live in a culture that tends to be talking and I noticed in the Russian film people are always talking and much

is communicated through lies through glances through gestures the beauty of silence I see the Russians often as the final people sure you can be at the table with your dear ones having a beverage the food flowing the conversation is rich they're quite talking but on the other hand in many ways they're quiet people is it because they are the forest what they call the tiger is it the of the

planes that they call well the planes your bum planes are the steps looking forward step the step the step the tiger these are nature is powerful and encourages simplicity it but encourages a quiet but but quiet does not mean thoughtfulness Stillwater's do run deep and they run deep in Russia so I want you to engage this and understand that in these people they're interesting lessons to be

learned their insights in life that can be felt how does one do this well this is very personal can I tell you what the Russian soul is i have shared characteristics shared them through the pieces that drew me and I can't define it because Russia and the personality of its population in this character is as vast as the territory there's no prototypical Russian as there is nice prototypical American or German

or Japanese but what I would say is this it in the logic of simplicity and the logic of emotion and the logic of what if one can learn through suffering as the Russians have suffered remembering that their terrain is harsh that their climate is unforgiving and that they have been ringed by peoples with whom they had complicated relations you look at the map in your lifetime my lifetime and rushes the Giant and these are the

doors but the truth is if you go back over the thousands of your years of Russian history Russia was small and it was small city states and Poland Lithuania was powerful as with Sweden as West Germany as word spreads the Ottoman Empire the glorious Persian civilization great China Mongolia all of these and they've all had intimate dealings with the Russians they cause pain as they've been pain and

so you see the suffering that has been the crucible of the creation of Russians is all of these things terrain climate and neighboring people's complex history I don't however when I talk about suffering want to leave you with the image of some depressed people this is a joyous people this is a spirit of people a people that value family and friendship but in their quiet waste for you and me on the outside sometimes hard to gauge you know I hope and sharing

comments with you who are not of russia like me that i can open up a bit your sense but there's so much more there that the rivers do run deep The Treasures are endless and for any who are listening to be her Russian I hope my words as a foreigner as an American who discovered Russia and eight but who has not Russian as my Russian friend said to be Pat you're such an American and I took it fairly because you're such an individual and I got my greatest

compliment at the end of my year living in the Soviet Union you to any three this was the year that Reagan describe the Soyuz the evil empire this was the time of possession of diamond drop of him it was amazing year and my friend below you want my two best friends he was a musician the other best friend Alexia was a member of the Communist Party we both were great

people that I learned about the Russian soul and we were out the law idea and I walking of one last big walk as I was saying goodbye these were the air in the air where I couldn't be in touch with when we left and so we were having our wine Archie's our bread our sausage and he turns to panic is going to tell you something you speak Russian like a pole and I was so excited because frankly American Russian so well in their mind i tried i work hard below your work with

me and I descended to be a whole so what I say to you is touch the Russian soul find it through the arts through the history find it through the future visual arts you know Chicago you know kandinsky died into it dance my daughter who studied ballet for 12 years I became a ballet dad she pulled me into ballet George Balanchine all the great dancers when you see the great Russian ballerina prima ballerina my pcs kya you see my pcs guy advance

the dying Swan this is a beautiful piece the music is like Camille sense all a great french composer from the carnival of the animals and when she dances in this 4minute allergy to the Swan and I want to get to the floor but i won't be able to get back but she she's gorgeous she's elegant she's the Swan and she's starts with her pride the beauty of her life and she begins to hold down as she died and she

ends up on the floor covered it is beautiful and when you see in this death and you can go online you can watch Maya pcs scale dance the dying Swan in her death you see the celebration of life and to me this is the reality of Russia yes suffering too but great accomplishment so you could go that route as well you could go the route of dance I went the route of music

Rachmaninoff Stravinsky coffee oh just the Coleridge know people gave us so many great composers in the 20th century but it's just a cold bitch i turn to when I was exposed to this fifth symphony and roomy to Russia and then I met the other symphonies all 15 and when you dive into those 15 symphonies what you will do is you will encounter 40 years of the creativity of a genius that will open up to you the history of Russia because of always there

here was just Kovich having to survive Stalinism and somehow he did but now in my life i wait diving into each the string quartets that are personal that are intimate I'm in my late 50s I've waited all my life I've waited I've heard them all but i'm going to go through the one by one forty years of Russia this is his soul the quartet's bring you the soul of a man I would argue the soul of Russia ok I'm winding up i would say to you i hope you will

consider engaging the Russian soul but as i speak simply 50 miles from mexico i will tell you there are other glorious souls 1 to our south from Arizona in Mexico and the glorious Persian civilization and great china everything i'm sharing you can use to touch the soul of another great people and I encourage you to go to Russia and in this regard I want to end with two verses from a beautiful poem and I'm not a Russian now because if I

russian i would not be reading this I would happen in my heart in my head I would recite it so i'm going to share with you three poem and sharing this with you to tell you that silence is good reflection is good that still waters run deep that the Russian soul is a treasure trove i want you here in this poem a voice that is speaking from the other future and poet of the 19th century to you but also to me and to the Russians speak not like hidden and

conceal the way you dream the things you feel deep into your spirit let them rise a Candace stars and crystal skies that sat before the night is blurred delight in them and speak no word live in your inner soul alone within your soul a world has grown the magic of ale thoughts that might be blinded by the outer life drowned in the noise of day unheard take in there saw and speak no word seek the Russian soul when you touch it you will touch your own thank

you



Video Description

Engaging the Russian soul opens up a treasure trove of cultural experiences that will enrich the life of anyone. Political scientist Pat Willerton encourages us to set aside stereotypes and assumptions to accurately encounter a great people. Glimpsing Russians' struggles and achievements yields deep human insights with universal relevance.


Since first visiting Russia in 1982, John P. (Pat) Willerton's professional life has been focused on understanding Russian politics and the Russian society. An associate professor of Political Science in the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona, Tucson, he is a popular and award-winning teacher as well as the author of a book and roughly fifty articles and chapters on Russian politics. The first American to conduct a live, across-the Soviet Union, call-in radio discussion (Radio Youth) during the Gorbachev reform period, he is a frequent traveler to Russia.

Willerton never experienced Russia as an "evil empire," even granting the challenges of living and working in the authoritarian Soviet political setting. Energized all of his life by Russia's complex history, rich culture, and intriguing politics, he has a passion for breaking down political-cultural divides and making Russia and its people accessible to those who live outside its borders. He has engaged individuals and audiences on 'matters Russian' throughout the U.S. and in more than two dozen countries. Pat Willerton's "glass half full" assessment of Russia's 21st century political and socioeconomic prospects leaves him even more enthusiastic about sharing his experience and ideas with others.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)