Human Proneness to Follow Their Beliefs without Ever Exposing Them to Critical Scrutiny

Kazimir Malevich's "Running Man"

Malevich’s painting the “Running Man” is a monumental parody on the basic motif of Soviet propaganda that the Communist belief is the absolute and universal truth.

Where is the running man running to? Why he cannot stop, look around and a little bit think about life, the world, and history? He doesn’t have a second to do all of this – he is rushing. Why is he rushing? – Because he has only one goal in mind – to reach Communism, and only one purpose in life – to reach Communism as soon as possible, like today’s American global corporations are running around the Globe rushing to make all the possible profits as quickly as they can.

The presence of the two crosses establishes a connection between Christianity and Communism. According to the painting, belief in Communism in Malevich’s assessment is the new Russian religion, a shift from the smaller white cross to a bigger the red one. Like Christians, to use Malevich’s metaphors, have been psychologically running to see Christ’s Second Coming (to witness Christ’s return and participate in this Great Event), the Communist man, the new Russian believer, is similarly running after the First Coming of Communism.

What combination makes colors metaphysical? White impersonates absolute (superhuman) good. White is the semantic essence of blue – the ultimate truth of heaven behind the sky (the gentle contours of clouds in the sky). Black signifies destructive deeds inspired by the belief in super-good utopia (black color here is the dirty hands of the white one). Green (the color of life) symbolizes the naturalization of utopia, the believers’ tendency to represent it as the most natural thing in the world, not as a utopia at all but as an objective value and truth (naturalization of utopia makes white and black green in essence). Red is human blood as the price for incarnating utopia into societal life. So, red is, essentially, also green. That’s why communist (red) cross has a dark green base (bloody cross utopia is naturalized by Soviet propaganda).

The hair and beard of the running man are white (metaphysical inspiration to believe) and so are his legs (energy and excitement to run toward the sacred goal). The right hand is blackened by evil deeds, and the left hand is dark blue (evil deeds of the right hand are as if neutralized by the sublime sentiments of belonging to a new religious truth that is as natural as creation and as beautiful as the heavens).

Smaller cross in between the two edifices is a sword with its tip in blood, and the giant cross farther to the left along the runners’ distance is the solemn symbol of righteous blood-spilling for the sake of reaching “our glorious goals” (sacrifices by killing all those who refuse our belief). Particular relations between white and red colors in the context of Russian history refer to the Civil War of 1918 – 1922 (which followed October Revolution of 1917), when the Red Army clashed with the White Army. The both were fighting for their elevated ideals – Christian monarchy (White guard fighters) and Communist dictatorship (Reds). The white building symbolizes the ideological whites, the red – ideological reds, and the closeness of the houses to one another signifies the tragic fight between neighbors when Russians spill the blood of another Russians while serving their corresponding political utopias instead of trying to find a solution to their common problems.

If Malevich could live in U.S. in the beginning of 21st century he would paint the ideology of global economic conquest by the American corporations supported by the military forces as he painted the Russians running towards Communism in the previous century. He could paint a Cheneyfeld or Bushfowitz-like figure in a white sport pants, running through the world. He could also make his torso green to emphasize that the American corporate neo-conservatives feel that their global economic and military warfare utopia is as natural as verdure (that the Global Economy, in other words, is verdure planted by God or by an inevitable Historical Laws, as Communism was perceived by the Russian believers).