Tuesday, September 21, 2010

From "The Brothers Karamazov"

By Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

"[...] So, I accept God, and not only do I do so willingly, I also accept His supreme wisdow and His purpose, both of which are completely unknown to us, I believe in the order, the meaning of life, I believe in eternal harmony -- one in which we shall all as it were fuse together -- I believe in the Word towards which the universe strives and which once "was with God" and which is God, well, and so on into infinity. Too many words have been wasted apropos of all that. It looks as though I'm already on the right track, doesn't it? So let me tell you that in the last analysis, this world of God's -- I don't accept it, even though I know that it exists, and I don't admit its validity in any way. It isn't God I don't accupt, you see; it's the world created by Him, the world of God I don't accept and cannot agree to accept. Let me quality that: like a young babe, I am convinced that our sufferings will be healed and smoothed away, that the whole offensive comedy of human conflict will disappear like a pathetic mirage, like the infamous fabrication of the Euclidean human mind, as weak and undersized as an atom, and that ultimately, during the universal finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, there will occur and become manifest something so precious that it will be sufficient for all hearts, for the soothing of all indignation, the redemption of all men's evil-doings, all the blood that has been shed by them, will be sufficient not only to make it possible to forgive but even to justify all the things that have happened to men -- and even if all that, all of it, makes itself manifest and becomes reality, I will not accept it and do not want to accept it! Even if the parallel lines converge and I actually witness it, I shall witness it and say they have converged, but all the same I shall not accept it. That is my essence, Alyosha, that is my thesis. Now I have expressed it to you seriously. I purposely began this conversation with you in as stupid a manner as possible, but I've led it up to my confession, because that is the only thing required. It wasn't necessary for you to hear about God, but simply to learn what your beloved brother lives by. And I have told it."

Ivan suddenly ended his long tirade with a display of singular and unexpected emotion.

"And why did you begin 'in as stupid a manner as possible'?" Alyosho asked, gazing at him reflectively.

"Well, in the first place, for the sake of russisme: Russian conversations on these subjects are invariably conducted in as stupid a manner as possible. And in the second place: the greater the stupidity, the closer to the matter in hand. The greater the stupidity, the greater the clarity. Stupidity is brief and guileless, while wit equivocates and hides. Wit is a scoundrel, while stupidity is honest and sincere. I led the conversation up to the subject of my destpair, and the more stupidly I portrayed it, the greater was the advantage to myself."

"Will you explain to me why you 'don't accept' the world?' Alyosha said.

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