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What he yearns for is the absence of system he finds in England.
In one of his more famous dicta (which Stoppard does not use) Herzen remarked: "we are not the doctors, we are the disease." It could go down as the epigraph for the whole experience.
Against these grandiose theories, Herzen tells Belinsky that in Russia "we're not the plaything of an imaginative cosmic force, but of a Romanov with no imagination whatsoever, a mediocrity.
He's the sort of person you see behind a post office counter who points to the clock at one minute past five and won't sell you a stamp ...." Isaiah Berlin listed with admiration the qualities of the historical Herzen as admiring imagination, spontaneity, humanity, civilized feelings, natural generosity, courage, wide horizons, instinctive knowledge of what individual freedom is, and hatred of all forms of slavery or arbitrary rule ...
He found the human essence in the living experience of people responding to accident and chance.
"People don't storm the Bastille because history proceeds by zigzags," he tells Belinsky.