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Gorbachev's 'New Thinking'

December 09, 1987

I don't know whether black and white are colors. I do believe, however, that every shade of gray contains a certain percentage of both, and that the proverbial optimist and pessimist must be unaware that the contents of a glass cannot be precisely one-half. Fine-tuning one's calibration when intra-personal discourse requires a decision on whether life is individual or social is, in my opinion, an inexact science.

I therefore read with interest Gorbachev's thoughts on the subject of history (Nov. 29): "For better or worse, there is no subjunctive mood in politics. History is made without rehearsals. It cannot be replayed. That makes it all the more important to perceive its course and its lessons."

I read them while contemplating those of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who said, "We forget everything. What we remember is not what actually happened, not history, but merely that hackneyed dotted line they have chosen to drive into our memories by incessant hammering.

"I do not know whether this is a trait common to all mankind, but it is certainly a trait of our people, and it is a vexing one. It may have its source in goodness, but it is vexing nonetheless. It makes us an easy prey for liars."

RONALD WEBSTER

Long Beach

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