Tuesday, July 16, 2013

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

It's impossible, I think, for the devils to forget to drag me down to hell with their hooks when I die. Then I wonder - hooks? Where would they get them? What of? Iron hooks? Where do they forge them? Have they a foundry there of some sort? The monks in monastery probably believe that there's a ceiling in hell, for instance. Now I'm ready to believe in hell, but without a ceiling. It makes it more refined, more Lutheran, that is. And, after all, what does it matter whether it has a ceiling or hasn't? But, do you know, there's a damnable question involved in it? If there's no ceiling there can be no hooks, and if there are no hooks it all breaks down, which is unlikely again, for then there would be none to drag me down to hell, and if they don't drag me down what justice is there in the world? Il faudrait les inventer, those hooks, on purpose for me alone, for, if you only knew, Alyosha, what a blackguard I am. [22-3]

It is not miracles that dispose realists to belief. The genuine realist, if he is an unbeliever, will always find strength and ability to disbelieve in the miraculous, and if he is confronted with a miracle as an irrefutable fact he would rather disbelieve his own senses than admit the fact. Even if he admits it, he admits it as a fact of nature till then unrecognised by him. Faith does not, in the realist, spring from the miracle but the miracle from faith. If the realist once believes, then he is bound by his very realism to admit the miraculous also. The Apostle Thomas said that he would not believe till he saw, but when he did see he said, 'My Lord and my God!' Was it the miracle forced him to believe? Most likely not, but he believed solely because he desired to believe and possibly he fully believed in his secret heart even when he said, 'I do not not believe till I see.' [24]

The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love, and in order to occupy and distract himself without love he gives way to passions and coarse pleasures, and sinks to bestiality in his vices, all from continual lying to other men and to himself. The man who lies to himself can be more easily offended than anyone. You know it is sometimes very pleasant to take offence, isn't it? A man may know that nobody has insulted him, but that he has invented the insult for himself, has lied and exaggerated to make it picturesque, has caught at a word and made a mountain out of a molehill - he knows that himself, yet he will be the first to take offence, and will revel in his resentment till he feels great pleasure in it, and so pass to genuine vindictiveness. [43]

Man cannot commit a sin so great as to exhaust the infinite love of God. Can there be a sin which could exceed the love of God? [52]

I am sorry I can say nothing more consoling to you, for love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams. Love in dreams is greedy for immediate action, rapidly performed and in the sight of all. Men will give their lives if only the ordeal does not last long but is soon over, with all looking on and applauding as though on the stage. But active love is labour and fortitude, and for some people too, perhaps, a complete science. [59]

The socialist who is a Christian is more to be dreaded than a socialist who is an atheist. [69]

As a thing falls, so it lies. As a thing once has fallen, so it must lie for ever. [93]

Beauty is a terrible and awful thing! It is terrible because it has not been fathomed and never can be fathomed, for God sets us nothing but riddles. [114]

My rule has been that you can always find something devilishly interesting in every woman that you wouldn't find in any other. Only, one must know how to find it, that's the point! That's the talent! [147]

'But she has been crying - she has been wounded again,' cried Alyosha
'Never trust a woman's tears, Alexey Fyodorovitch. I am never for the women in such cases. I am always on the side of the men.' [212]

Hysterics is a good sign, Alexey Fyodorovitch; it's an excellent thing that she is hysterical. That's just as it ought to be. In such cases I am always against the woman, against all these feminine tears and hysterics. [212]

Schoolboys are a merciless race, individually they are angels, but together, especially in schools, they are often merciless. [224]

For our children - not your children, but ours - the children of the poor gentlemen looked down upon by everyone - know what justice means, sir, even at nine years old. How should the rich know? They don't explore such depths once in their lives. [224]

You know, when children are silent and proud, and try to keep back their tears when they are in great trouble and suddenly break down, their tears fall in streams. With those warn streams of tears, he suddenly wetted my face. He sobbed and shook as though he were in convulsions, and squeezed up against me as I sat on the stone. "Father," he kept crying, "dear father, how he insulted you!" And I sobbed too. [226]

And I shall not weep from despair, but simply because I shall be happy in my tears, I shall steep my soul in my emotion. I love the sticky leaves in spring, the blue sky - that's all it is is. It's not a matter of intellect or logic, it's loving with one's inside, with one's stomach. [252]

I think everyone should love life above everything in the world. [252]

You know, dear boy, there was an old sinner in the eighteenth century who declared that, if there were no God, he would have to be invented. S'il n'existait pas Dieu, il faudrait l'inventer. And man has actually invented God. And what's strange, what would be marvellous, is not that God should really exist; the marvel is that such an idea, the idea of the necessity of God, could enter the head of such a savage, vicious beast as man. So holy it is, so touching, so wise and so great a credit it does to man. [256]

[I]f God exists and if He really did create the world, then, as well know, He created it according to the geometry of Euclid and the human mind with the conception of only three dimensions in space.Yet there have been and still are geometricians and philosophers, and even some of the most distinguished, who doubt whether the whole universe, or to speak more widely, the whole being, was only created in Euclid's geometry; they even dare to dream that two parallel lines, which according to Euclid can never meet on earth, may meet somewhere in infinity. I have come to a conclusion that, since I can't understand even that, I can't expect to understand about God. I acknowledge humbly that I have no faculty for settling such questions, I have a Euclidian earthly mind, and how could I solve problems that are not of this world? [256-7]

I think if the devil doesn't exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness. [261]

Yours must be a fine God, if man created Him in his image and likeness. [261]

In every man, of course, a demon lies hidden - the demon of rage, the demon of lustful heat at screams of the tortured victim, the demon of lawlessness let off the chain, the demon of diseases that follow vice, gout, kidney disease, and so on.

"Is it Thou? Thou?" but receiving no answer, he adds at once. "Don't answer, be silent. What canst Thou hast to say, indeed? I know too well what Thou wouldst say. And Thou hast no right to add anything to what Thous hadst said of old. Why, then art Thou come to hinder us? For Thou hast come to hinder us, and Thou knowest that. But dost thou know what will be tomorrow? I know not who Thou art and care not to know whether it is Thou or only a semblance of Him, but tomorrow I shall condemn Thee and burn Thee at stake as the worst of heretics. And the very people who have today kissed Thy feet, tomorrow, at the faintest sign from me will rush to heap up the embers of Thy fire. Knowest Thou that? Yes, maybe Thou knowest it." [273-4]
__________________
Version translated by Constance Garnett and published by Wordsworth Classics.

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