Solz on pride in the Gulag
Solzhenitsyn points out the folly of pride which will manifest even in a prison camp such as the GULAG.
I often have to blush at my recollections of my younger years (and that's where my younger years were spent!) [in the GULAG -jpu] But whatever casts you down also teaches you a lot. And it turned out that as a residue of the officer's shoulder boards, which had trembled and fluttered on my shoulders for two years in all, some kind of poisonous dust had settled in the empty space between my ribs... when they formed us up for the first time, and the work-assignment foreman looked down the line to pick out temporary work-brigade leaders, my worthless heart was bursting under my woolen field shirt: Me, me, pick me!
I was not chosen, But why did I want it? I would only have made further shameful mistakes.
Oh, how hard it is to part with power! This one has to understand. (p. 558)