Vladimir Vysotsky - song about a friend , trust and mountain climbing

A Good Advice From the Past on Trust by Vladimir Vysotsky – Prove Yourself Being Wrong Before Being Right

In my previous blog post, I was writing about the illusion of being right. Here I want to share a piece of advice from my past on how to prove yourself wrong. This advice is suggested by my parents, Lev and Svetlana, which exposed my brother Alex and me in our childhood to the songs of Vladimir Vysotsky. One of those songs was the “Song About a Friend.” This song is talking about the awareness of not knowing, and the importance of taking a risk to prove yourself wrong before making a decision with impact on your fellow. This song starts with doubt and question; “If a friend suddenly turns out to be Not quite a friend, not quite an enemy, but just… “. The rest of the song is a perspective, one advice, Vladimir Vygotsky’s suggestion on how to avoid a rush judgment of somebody else actions. Being aware that we can’t know all the reasons that make a fellow to do bad or illogical actions, Emotional Intelligence if you like. 

“If a friend suddenly turns out to be Not quite a friend, not quite an enemy, but just…”, maybe you should take a risk and give a chance to your fellow to show that he is worth your trust and maybe even needs your help. From my perspective, the right thing will be before taking a decision, before being right and brake a trust, sometimes we should take a risk and give a chance to change, a chance to prove that we are wrong. Vladimir Vysotsky suggests to give a chance, take him to climb a mountain, share with him the same perspective and the same rope when climbing. If you fail to prove yourself wrong, and so is the friend fails to prove his values and him being worth the trust, if you left with no choice rather being right, “Do not bother to yell– expel.”

Trust is not about mountain climbing, trust is about values, the values that last, not the financial kind of values, but ethics and principles between a man and his fellow, that kind of values.

Песня о друге (Pesnya o druge) – A song about a friend
© Copyright Vladimir Vysotsky
© Copyright English translation by Andrey Kneller

Если друг оказался вдруг
И не друг, и не враг, а – так,
Если сразу не разберешь,
Плох он или хорош,-
Парня в горы тяни – рискни!
Не бросай одного его,
Пусть он в связке в одной с тобой –
Там поймешь, кто такой.
If your friend just became a man,
Not a friend, not a foe,– just so,
If you really can’t tell from the start,
If he’s strong in his heart, —
To the peaks take this man — don’t fret!
Do not leave him alone, on his own,
Let him share the same view with you–
Then you’ll know if he’s true.
mountain climbing together

mountain climbing together

Если парень в горах – не ах,
Если сразу раскис и – вниз,
Шаг ступил на ледник и – сник,
Оступился – и в крик,-
Значит, рядом с тобой – чужой,
Ты его не брани – гони:
Вверх таких не берут, и тут
Про таких не поют.
If the guy on the peak got weak,
If he lost all his care — got scared,
Took a step on the frost — got lost,
Tripped and screamed in exhaust, —
Then the one you held close is false,
Do not bother to yell– expel, —
We can’t take such aboard, and in short
We don’t sing of his sort.
Mans best friend

Mans best friend

Если ж он не скулил, не ныл,
Пусть он хмур был и зол, но – шел,
А когда ты упал со скал,
Он стонал, но – держал,
Если шел за тобой, как в бой,
На вершине стоял хмельной,-
Значит, как на себя самого,
Положись на него.
If the guy didn’t whine nor pine,
He was dull and upset, but went,
When you slipped from the cliff,
He heaved, holding you in his grip;
If he walked right along, seemed strong,
On the top stood like he belonged, —
Then, whenever the chances are slim
You can count on him!
friendship values and trust

friendship values and trust

About Vladimir Vysotsky (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky (Russian: Влади́мир Семёнович Высо́цкий; 25 January 1938 – 25 July 1980) was a Russian Jewish singer-songwriter, poet, and actor whose career had an immense and enduring effect on Soviet and Russian culture. He became widely known for his unique singing style and for his lyrics, which featured social and political commentary in often humorous street jargon. He was also a prominent stage and screen actor. Though his work was largely ignored by the official Soviet cultural establishment, he achieved remarkable fame during his lifetime, and to this day exerts significant influence on many of Russia’s popular musicians and actors who wish to emulate his iconic status.

Back Then, My Mama, Papa, and Bratan
Mullers, 1988, Saint Petersburg (Former Leningrad)

Mullers, 1988, Saint Petersburg (Former Leningrad)

I am almost sure that our parents played this song for us at the day we took this picture of ours, and if not this one then many other songs of Vladimir Vysotsky, encoding in our minds first the values of the kind that last. And I am sure that my brother at about 9 or 10 years old insisted on playing it again and again and explaining to me the meaning of each sentence. Thank you, Mama, Papa, and Bratan!

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