before him, as a leader who createdn”no lasting spiritual or institutionalnforms,” the reader tends to wonder whynDjilas nevertheless proclaims him tonhave been a “politician of staggeringnproportions and of great independence.”nPerhaps a partial answer to thatnquestion lies in a linkage between thesentwo books indicated by the title of AnQuestion of Reality: the relationshipnbetween art (Brandys’s narrator is verynmuch involved with the theater and itsnillusion of reality and at one junctureneven speaks of artists as contemporarynsaints), politics and reality, or, morenprecisely, our perception of reality. ThusnDjilas argues that art is related to politicsn”by virtue of its creative momentum”;nhe also claims—rather in contraventionnof orthodox Marxist doctrinen—that either politics is the master ofneconomic relationships (which we maynconditionally regard as “reality”), ornelse that there is no connection betweennthe political and economic spheres ofnlife.nIn any case, Djilas and Brandysnshare a strong sense of the uncertaintynof “reality,” which can be highly developednindeed in those who have livednthrough such historical cataclysms asnwar and revolution. We Americans maynfind it hard to grasp this, for we havenlong been immune to war and revolutionnon our own soil, and reality seemsnvery firm to us. But Solzhenitsyn addressedna definite warning to us on thisnscore when he said a few years ago:n”The proud skyscrapers stand on, jutninto the sky, and say: It will never happennhere.” East Europeans can seenthings very differently. Djilas termsnreality “fickle, treacherous, and dangerous”;nBrandys regards it as fragile. Hisnnarrator writes:nNot long ago I read a description ofnWarsaw [on the day before the Germannand Soviet attacks of 19391. Thenwriter remembered a number of details,namong others a pretty passengerntouching up her makeup in a streetcar.nUp to the very last minute, thenpresent looked real, then, suddenly,nit went to pieces.nIf reality is not so intractable as wenimagine, perhaps it can be molded moreneasily than we suppose. For, as Brandysnnotes, “words convert facts into socialnforces”: inert facts are of no historicalnimportance until they are articulated.nThus the modern idea has arisen thatnit should be possible to shape realitynthrough our articulated perceptions ofnit, much as an artist creates an illusorynreality.nSuch a generalization is clearly truenfor past reality, or written history. Djilasnremarks that “recorded history isnjust only toward its masters,” and commentsnon the great interest Tito tooknin the formulation of his own legend.nBrandys also remarks on the communistnpropensity for self-definition of the approvednsort through autobiography: thenindividual molds his understanding ofnhimself through the shaping of his personalnhistory.nMore important than this, however,nis the communist belief that our perceptionsncan alter the reality of thenfuture as well as the past. Thus Djilasndistinguishes as one of Tito’s outstandingntraits his “vigorous resistance tonperceived reality,” and he asserts thatnBack issues of Chronicles of Culture are available for $1.00 apiece.nFor a complete list of back issues in stock, write to:nChronicles of Culture, The Rockford Institute,n934 North Main Street, Rockford, IL 61103.n(SEE PAGE 51 FOR PICTURES OF RECENT ISSUES)nSOinChronicles of Culturennn”whatever Tito and the CommunistnParty stood for was real and would materialize.”nIn short, reality was notndetermined by such things as economicnrelationships, but it could be definednthrough political means. And since politicsneventually reduces to articulation,nit is no surprise that Djilas sees Tito’snspeaking ability as one of his outstandingnleadership qualities: “it was throughnfrequent interviews and speeches,” hensays, “that Tito did his job.” In short,nwords—the stuff of culture and the substancenof perception—summon realityninto being.nAnd yet words and perceptions mustnbe located in some intellectual framework,na network of ideas which appearnlogically coherent, and the most widelynaccepted such framework of our day isnprobably Marxism, from which Titonand both our authors emerge. Brandys’snnarrator speaks of the way in whichncommunist ideology has made Polishnliterature unreal and thus preventednsociety from attaining knowledge of itselfnthrough it. He also makes a verynvalid generalization about the naturenof the Marxist ideological system:n[T]heories, arguments, and conclusionsn[were] put together coherently;nall you had to do was press a buttonnand everything was explained…. Butnthis universal explanation left one behindnquestionless. The result of accountingnfor everything was to precludenany possibility of evolution, andnso the system of thought is petrifiednthrough its own answers.nThe early Church, Brandys points out,nwas “born of debates”: Christian theologiansnhave polemicized and argued forncenturies over the tenets of their faith,nand continue to do so to this day. Asnan intellectual, Brandys’s narrator considersnthis a desirable state of affairs.nIn Poland, he argues, ideological rigiditynresults in stagnation in reality, ornso people feel; the country has become anplaything of history, incapable of definingnits own destiny.nDjilas takes a different and much lessn