Wednesday, July 17, 2013

#Quotes: Quotes from Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Karamazov Brothers [II]

But man seeks to worship what is established beyond dispute, so that all men would agree at once to worship it. For these pitiful creatures are concerned not only to find what one or the other can worship, but to find something that all would believe in and worship; what is essential is that all may be together in it. This craving for community of worship is the chief misery of every man individually and of all humanity from the beginning of time. For the sake of common worship they've slain each other with the sword. They have set up gods and challenged one another, 'Put away your gods and come and worship ours, or we will kill you and your gods!' And so it will be to the end of the world, even when gods disappear from the earth; they will fall down before idols just the same. [278]

For the secret of man's being is not only to live but to have something to live for. [278]

Nothing is more seductive for man than his freedom of conscience, but nothing is a greater cause of suffering. [279]

Hadst Thou taken the world and Caesar's purple, Thou wouldst have founded the universal peace. For who can rule men if not he who holds their conscience and their bread in his hands? [282]

From the house of my childhood I have brought nothing but precious memories, for there are no memories more precious than those of early childhood in one's first home. And that is almost always so if there is any love and harmony in the family at all. Indeed, precious memories may remain even of a bad home, if only the heart knows how to find what is precious. [318]

One who does not not believe in God's people will not believe in God's people. He who believes in God's people will see His Holiness, even though he had not believed in it till then. Only the people and their future spiritual power will convert our atheists., who have torn themselves away from their native soil. [323]

Everywhere in these days men have, in their mockery, ceased to understand that the true security is to be found in social solidarity rather than in isolated individual effort. But this terrible individualism must inevitably have an end, and all will suddenly understand how unnaturally they are separated from one another. [335]

[A] crime committed with extraordinary audacity is more successful than others. [336]

They have science; but in science there is nothing but what is the object of sense. The spiritual world, the higher part of man's being, is rejected altogether, dismissed with a sort of triumph, even with hatred. The world has proclaimed the reign of freedom, especially of late, but what do we see in this freedom of theirs? Nothing but slavery and self-destruction! For the world says: 'You have desires and so satisfy them, for you have the same rights as the most rich and powerful. Don't be afraid of satisfying them and even multiply your desires.' That is the modern doctrine of the world. In that they see freedom. And what follows from this right of multiplication of desires? In the rich, isolation and spiritual suicide; in the poor, even and murder; for they have been given rights, but have not been shown the means of satisfying their wants. [346]

They maintain that the world is getting more united, more and more bound together in brotherly community, as it overcomes distance and sets thoughts flying through the air. Alas, put no faith in such a bond of union. Interpreting freedom as the multiplication and rapid satisfaction of desires, men distort their own nature, for many senseless and foolish desires and habits and ridiculous fancies are fostered in them. They live only for mutual envy, for luxury and ostentation. To have dinners, visits, carriages, rank, and slaves to wait one is looked upon as a necessity, for which life, honour and human feeling are sacrificed, and men even commit suicide if they are unable to satisfy it. We see the same thing among those who are not rich, while the poor drown their unsatisfied need and their envy in drunkenness. But soon they will drink blood instead of wine, they are being led on to it. I as you, is such a man free? I knew one 'champion of freedom' who told me himself that , when he was deprived of tobacco in prison, he was so wretched at the privation that he almost went and betrayed his cause for the sake of getting tobacco again! And such a man says, 'I am fighting for the cause of humanity.' [346-7]

Fathers and teachers, I ponder, 'What is hell?' I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love. [356]

[F]ools are made for wise men's profit. [393]

The jealous are the readiest of all to forgive, and all women know it. The jealous man can forgive extraordinarily quickly (though, of course, after a violent scene), and he is able to forgive infidelity almost conclusively proved, the very kisses and embraces he has seen, if only he can somehow be convinced that it has all been 'for the last time', and that his rival will vanish from that day forward, will depart to the ends of the earth, or that he will carry her away somewhere, where that dreaded rival will not get near her. Of course the reconciliation is only for an hour. For, even if the rival did disappear next day, he would invent another one and would be jealous of him. [426]

No, no, I've no money. And, do you know, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, if I had, I wouldn't give it to you. In the first place I never lend money. Lending money means losing friends. [434]

I don't talk about holy things. I don't want to be holy. What will they do to one in the next world for the greatest sin? [652]

You have uttered my thought; they love crime, everyone loves crime, they love it always, not at some "moments". You know, it's as though people have made an agreement to lie about it and have lied about it ever since. They all declare that they hate evil, but secretly they all love it. [653]

Many people are honest because they are fools. [666]

Besides, proofs are no help to believing, especially material proofs. Thomas believed, not because he saw Christ risen, but because he wanted to believe, before he saw. [715]

[H]e wrote when drunk what he had planned when sober. [791]

You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe to the end of his days, and if one has only one good memory left in one's heart, even that may sometime be the means of saving us. [868]
__________________
Version translated by Constance Garnett and published by Wordsworth Classics.

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