Uladzimir Matskevich: When something threatens the world, we can only hope for intelligence

Yauheniya Burshtyn, EuroBelarus Information Service

Two days ago Uladzimir Matskevich, the Head of Board of the “EuroBelarus”, the founder of the Humanitarian Techniques Agency and the Flying University, celebrated his 60th anniversary.

On the eve of the anniversary the EuroBelarus Information Service interviewed the philosopher and methodologist Uladzimir Matskevich about success, friendship, life, and death.

— Uladzimir, how do you feel about anniversaries?

— I have no feelings about them. For me, it is rather a reflection of life’s periodization. 60 years is the date associated with the transition to a different social status. Just as at 18 a person receives a maturity certificate, becomes liable for military service, etc., it’s the same for me now: I am becoming a mature man. You know, it's not that easy (smiles).

In fact, I have always felt older than my own age. Now it's more about physiology than about self-sentiment. From time to time I started to have plans that are related to summing up something rather than to starting something; to writing something that I haven’t yet written; to bringing the Flying University to a form that will provide its unceasing development; to help someone in politics to do what I won’t be able to do.

— Are you satisfied with your life both in terms of personal comfort and in terms of social activities?

— It’s hard to say. I never had aspirations to be wealth, to acquire a villa...

— Nevertheless, can you call yourself a successful person?

— Well, I cannot complain. According to my own criteria and taking into account the conditions in which I am forced to live and work — yes, I consider myself a fairly successful man.

— Can you give advice of what should be done and how should one behave in order to achieve success?

— I have always refrained from advising anything. I can tell you what I did and what I consider right and wrong in my behavior.

I have always allocated time for self-education and self-development. My studies went on for almost 40 years. I didn’t live in Belarus 20 years of my life. Two years that I’ve spent in the army can be erased from my life. Then I went to the university and have been studying since that time. I became an expert in certain areas. In 38 years, I returned to Belarus and started developing my work here. Therefore, we shouldn’t hurry. A modern man can study, gain experience and social capital up to 40 years. The feeling of confidence of what you are doing should be restrained, so it doesn’t start before you are really able to do something.

One should achieve a high degree of confidence, the one that Napoleon had when he spoke about his military plans: “Let’s meddle into a fight, and then decide what to do.” That is, he knew that even in unpredictable situations he could rely on himself. One should be kind and respectful to his or her friends. Not be afraid of challenges, of working and struggling. I enjoy this period of life, the period of golden age — acme. The golden age doesn’t happen when you are 20. Neither it happens when you are 30, if we talk about politics and humanities, as to work with them one should be wealthy in experience and spare no time and effort. And when the time of acme comes one should hurry, because it won’t last for long. And make full use of the accumulated social capital — friendship and authority.

Now I’m entering a new period of life, when I should start giving a meaning to what I’ve learned, to assembly it, and share it with others. Each period of life has its attractiveness and beauty.

— Is there anything that you regret about and what you wouldn’t do from your current perspective?

— It is hard to tell it right now. I have bad habits: I smoke; I drink alcohol, I spend a lot of time talking with friends. But, you know, it’s ridiculous to feel bad for spending too much time with your friends...

— Is there a gift that you would like to get on your birthday?

— I don’t know. Signs of friendship, love, and respect are valuable for me. I’ll spend my birthday with friends. And I can say that, perhaps, this is the indicator of success — when the number of friends over the years, doesn’t decrease, but increases instead. And this is happening to me. Some pass away, and this is very sad. There are people who die, and there are circumstances that separate friends. For example, the Ukrainian-Russian war ended my friendship with at least two or three people. And that is even more painful than death. But still, the number of my friends increases.

— Do you believe that friendship will save the world?

— I've got, so to speak, my own religion. On the one hand, I am a Christian, who believes in Faith, Hope, and Love; and God for me is, first of all, thinking and intelligence. If the world is facing a threat, the only hope is for the intelligence. But what is thinking worth, if there is no Faith, Hope, and Love?..