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Pomeranz gives us some idea in the interview of how he understands his trans-national, trans-denominational élite:

'One can question what is good and what is bad. I think there are many paths. The characteristic for the path of Zen is that the person is thrown into an abyss, into a state of mental shock. The student must ponder seemingly meaningless paradoxes – until the mental structure falls. The enlightenment that suddenly occurs cannot be described in words. In the West we also find mystics and philosophers giving witness to similar experiences: Meister Eckhart, Carl Gustav Jung, Erich Fromm, Heidegger and Wittgenstein. One is thrown into an abyss and must begin to swim in that abyss. Just as in teaching a child to swim, you throw the child into the water, the child begins to move its hands and feet – and starts to swim. That is one way.

'But it is only a path for those strong enough, and it must be voluntary. Therefore it is not a path for everyone. It is for a minority. In no Buddhist country do we find a majority of Zen Buddhists!

'Another path is through the love for a person who experienced "The Encounter", for enlightened, saint being [sic. 'or an enlightened, holy being'? - PB] in whose heart dwells God. It does not need to be a real historical person; it may very well be a mythological being. Mythology is also the discovery of something real, but not historically real. It is a constructed truth. It is about the love for a personality who has experienced the light of the eternal love. Francis of Assisi can be such a historical personality or, to mention one from the 20th century, the Trappist monk Thomas Merton. In Russia we have Antonius Sorosh (Surozhski, as mentioned before). His family, originally called Bloom, came from Scotland and were naturalised Russian during the 18th century. He said in one of his speeches: "We need people who have experienced meeting God. Not everyone can have such strong experiences as Paul ", he said, "they can be smaller experiences, but nevertheless with a hint of the holy". Such people are also a minority. But they can inspire others; they can give an orientation, an image for the hearts of men.'

While I don't have any particular personal feeling for Jung, Wittgenstein or even Thomas Merton, I have had the inestimable privilege of attending services in the Russian cathedral in London conducted by the late Metropolitan Anthony, Bishop of Sourozh, so I think I know something of what Pomeranz means.

Metropolitan Anthony

Although Pomeranz is probably the first person to accuse Solzhenitsyn of antisemitism, or at least 'of being insensible to the sufferings of the Jews', he clearly does not define himself spiritually as a Jew. In the 2004 interview he says: 'Myself I do not belong to a particular confession. But I accept all great religions. As a person living in Russia where culture is related to the Orthodox Christian Church I am interested in it, and I feel it as a kindred religion because I live in this sphere, in this culture. But generally I do not think it is so important in which form or with which words a civilisation expresses itself ...' But in Man without an adjective he anticipates the idea that was to become the central theme of Yuri Slezkine's book The Jewish Century, that the condition of rootlessness traditionally ascribed to the Jews, has now become universal:

'We do not live in one world, but in several spiritual worlds simultaneously. Nowhere are we ever complete strangers. Everywhere we are not completely ourselves. European, Indian, Chinese concepts and notions crowd each other in our consciousness like ice floats in the Arctic. And one call to faith, to tradition, to populism anathematises the other ...

'To be kinless, uprooted, foreign to tribal traditions, this is without fail a trait of the intellectual. The intelligentsia, as a particular layer with only a small nucleus being actually intellectual, usually takes shape in a society which has dissipated national values. Suspended in the air, a part of the intelligentsia looks for support in some symbols of nationality (romantics, Slavophiles, negritude) . But what stands behind those symbols in our country after the Stalinist collectivisation which left nothing of the narod but empty air? ... Even today the Russian idea of Mother Earth, having not yet won recognition, is becoming vulgarised and debased ... The nation standing in the centre of a large system cannot keep its position with the help of kokoshniks (old fashioned headdress) and sarafans ... The superpowers cannot have progressive national goals. Their idea can be only universal, cosmopolitan. The intelligentsia has no right to patriotism here. It can lean only on the international solidarity of scientists, writers, and all people of good will (American, Japanese, Russians) over the heads of the meshchanstvo, the nationalistic Philistines ... In the twentieth century, some people became like "everybody else," with their own postage stamps, but millions of intellectuals became, instead, something like "non-Israeli Jews," having lost all roots in their daily existence ...' 

Nonetheless, he concludes his 2004 interview (with a Norwegian interviewer) with a remark that implies some sense of the particular destiny of particular parts of the world:

'I think that the dominance of the US as a super-power will soon come to an end. It is at its peak right now, but I think in 20 years, maybe 15, China will be as powerful as the US. Everything will be different then. I think that, on the whole, Europe should dissociate itself from American imperialism, and seek a role as an intermediary between cultures. To be an intermediary between the great "sub-civilisations" is a huge mission for the future. Europe is better equipped for this than America. America is highly limited intellectually with its North-American inwardness and understands very little of the world ’s problems, its real cultural problems. I think that Europe together with Russia, with the Nordic countries, in other words the European civilisation, has a great mission globally. But I do not know which country will come to put it into effect. One possibility is the Nordic countries because they are not burdened with a centuries-long history of imperialism. They can act more freely in the role of mediator. But up to now this has not always succeeded. The Oslo agreements, for example, were a failure. So everything is possible, decisions both good and bad.'

This is something of a diversion from my main theme which, at this stage in my series of articles, is concentrated on the Jewish-Russian patriotic tension that gave rise to Solzhenitsyn's Two Hundred Years Together. But I would like to finish here on this (I think) rather positive note and pick up the thread again in a subsequent article.