Vivisection Essay

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In the late 1930’s while the United States was going through The Great Depression the Soviet Union was going through its own turbulent times. This would be known as the Moscow Show Trials, which took place under the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. The book Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler takes place during this time period. The main character Nicholas Rubashov has been imprisoned even though he always has been loyal to the goals of the party (Koestler). This showed a shift that was happening in the country and an attempt by Stalin to eliminate any possible opposition even if they were heroes in the revolution. In the text two different concepts come to light vivisection morality where the party comes before the individual and anti-vivisection morality where the individual is sacred. Rubashov in the beginning does not embrace individualism however throughout the novel he begins to adopt individualism that he refers to as grammatical fiction. Vivisection morality is never a justifiable political system. Suppressing the rights of human beings is not only inhumane but also counter productive in creating an effective and wealthy society.

The ideas of vivisection and anti-vivisection morality are described in the novel Darkness at Noon. The ideas was expressed by the charterer Ivanov in the text he says “There are only two conceptions of human ethics, and they are at opposite poles. One of them is Christian and humane, declares the individual to be sacrosanct, and asserts that the rules of arithmetic are not to be applied to human units. The other starts from the basic principal that a collective aim justifies all means, and not only allows, but demands, that the individual should in every way be subordinated and sacrificed to the community… The first conception should be called anti-vivisection morality, the second, vivisection morality.” (Koestler 160). What Ivanov is discussing here are the two basic societies that evolve one where the individual is holy and one where the common good outweighs the individual. Vivisection morality that took place during the reign of Lenin and Stalin was set in place by many actions that occurred before it. For example one event that led to this fate was the assassination of Alexander II by the Peoples Will terrorist organization Alexander II was the czar who freed the serfs and was implanting many reforms on Russian society after this assassination when Alexander III took power he cracked down on all the reforms going more and more towards vivisection morality This then angers more people and radicalizing them. Also during the Crimean War the Russian army was destroyed by European forces causing groups to question the Czar. Also the failure during the Russo Japanese War also showed more weakness. Each individual event helped create the Soviet Union they just didn’t wake up with these ideas. Also the idea of Communism was very popular at the time and they were the ones who were doing the assignations and...

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