Posts Tagged ‘Fyodor Dostoevsky’

Most curious

I was hurrying then to a
diplomatic soiree at the house of a lady of high rank in
Petersburg, who was aiming at influence in the Ministry.
Well, an evening suit, white tie, gloves, though I was God
knows where and had to fly through space to reach your
earth…. Of course, it took only an instant, but you know a
ray of light from the sun takes full eight minutes, and
fancy in an evening suit and open waistcoat. Spirits don’t
freeze, but when one’s in fleshly form, well… in brief, I
didn’t think, and set off, and you know in those ethereal
spaces, in the water that is above the firmament, there’s
such a frost… at least one can’t call it frost, you fancy, 150
degrees below zero! You know the game the village girls
play — they invite the unwary to lick an axe in thirty
degrees of frost, the tongue instantly freezes to it and the
dupe tears the skin off, so it bleeds. But that’s only in 30
degrees, in 150 degrees I imagine it would be enough to
put your finger on the axe and it would be the end of it…
if only there could be an axe there.’


Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov [Part IV, Book XI, The Devil. Ivan’s Nigthmare, 1345]


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“And what does ridiculous mean? Isn’t everyone constantly being or seeming ridiculous? Besides, nearly all clever people now are fearfully afraid of being ridiculous, and that makes them unhappy.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov [Part IV, Book X, Precocity, 1166]

“It’s almost a sort of insanity. The devil has taken the form of that vanity and entered into the whole generation; it’s simply the devil,’ added Alyosha, without a trace of the smile that Kolya, staring at him, expected to see.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov [Part IV, Book X, Precocity, 1167]

“And people have even ceased to feel the impulse to self-criticism. Don’t be like everyone else, even if you are the only one.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov [Part IV, Book X, Precocity, 1167]

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“No doubt a youth who received impressions cautiously, whose love was lukewarm, and whose mind was too prudent for his age and so of little value, such a young man might, I admit, have avoided what happened to my hero. But in some cases it is really more creditable to be carried away by an emotion, however unreasonable, which springs from a great love, than to be unmoved. And this is even truer in youth, for a young man who is always sensible is to be suspected and is of little worth — that’s my opinion!”

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov [Part III, Book VII, The Breath of Corruption, 698]

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“Fathers and teachers, I ponder, ‘What is hell?’ I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love. Once in infinite existence, immeasurable in time and space, a spiritual creature was given on his coming to earth the power of saying, ‘I am and I love.’ Once, only once, there was given him a moment of active lifting love, and for that was earthly life given him, and with it times and seasons. And that happy creature rejected the priceless gift, prized it and loved it not, scorned it and remained callous.
Such a one, having left the earth, sees Abraham’s bosom and talks with Abraham as we are told in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, and beholds heaven and can go up to the Lord. But that is just his torment, to rise up to the Lord without ever having loved, to be brought close to those who have loved when he has despised their love. For he sees clearly and says to himself, ‘Now I have understanding, and though I now thirst to love, there will be nothing great, no sacrifice in my love, for my earthly
life is over, and Abraham will not come even with a drop of living water (that is the gift of earthly active life) to cool the fiery thirst of spiritual love which burns in me now, though I despised it on earth; there is no more life for me and will be no more time! Even though I would gladly give my life for others, it can never be, for that life is passed which can be sacrificed for love, and now there is a gulf fixed between that life and this existence.’”

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov [Part II, Book VI, Conversations and Exhortations of Father Zossima, 666]

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“If you can take upon yourself the crime of the criminal your heart is judging, take it at once, suffer for him yourself, and let him go without reproach. And even if the law itself makes you his judge, act in the same spirit so far as possible, for he will go away and condemn himself more bitterly than you have done. If, after your kiss, he goes away untouched, mocking at you, do not let that be a stumbling-block to you. It shows his time has not yet come, but it will come in due course.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov [Part II, Book VI, Conversations and Exhortations of Father Zossima, 662]

“If the evil-doing of men moves you to indignation and overwhelming distress, even to a desire for vengeance on the evil-doers, shun above all things that feeling. Go at once and seek suffering for yourself, as though you were yourself guilty of that wrong. Accept that suffering and bear it and your heart will find comfort, and you will understand that you too are guilty, for you might have been a light to the evil-doers, even as the one man sinless, and you were not a light to them. If you had been a light, you would have lightened the path for others too, and the evil-doer might perhaps have been saved by your light from his sin. And even though your light was shining, yet you see men were not saved by it, hold firm and doubt not the power of the heavenly light. Believe that if they were not saved, they will be saved hereafter.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov [Part II, Book VI, Conversations and Exhortations of Father Zossima, 664]

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“Much on earth is hidden from us, but to make up for that we have been given a precious mystic sense of our living bond with the other world, with the higher heavenly world, and the roots of our thoughts and feelings are not here but in other worlds. That is why the philosophers say that we cannot apprehend the reality of things on earth.
God took seeds from different worlds and sowed them on this earth, and His garden grew up and everything
came up that could come up, but what grows lives and is alive only through the feeling of its contact with other mysterious worlds. If that feeling grows weak or is destroyed in you, the heavenly growth will die away in you. Then you will be indifferent to life and even grow to hate it. That’s what I think.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov [Part II, Book VI, Conversations and Exhortations of Father Zossima, 661]

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Brothers, love is a teacher; but one must know how to acquire it, for it is hard to acquire, it is dearly bought, it is won slowly by long labour. For we must love not only occasionally, for a moment, but for ever. Everyone can love occasionally, even the wicked can.

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov [Part II, Book VI, Conversations and Exhortations of Father Zossima, 659]

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