Fyodor Dostoevsky, fully Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky or Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski

Fyodor
Dostoevsky, fully Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky or Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski
1821
1881

Russian Novelist, Short-Story Writer and Essayist best known for his novels Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov

Author Quotes

Well, you may abuse me, be angry with me if you like, Porfiry Petrovitch began again, but I can't resist. Allow me one little question (I know I am troubling you). There is just one little notion I want to express, simply that I may not forget it.

What if, when this fog scatters and flies upward, the whole rotten, slimeycity goes with it, rises with the fog and vanishes like smoke.

Whatever distinguishes one lump of flesh from another when we're alive, we're all the same once we're dead. Just used-up shells.

While nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer, nothing is more difficult than to understand him.

Why, you are so eaten up with pride and vanity that you'll end by eating up one another, that's what I prophecy.

Yes, the laws of self-preservation and of self-destruction are equally powerful in this world. The devil will hold his empire over humanity until a limit of time which is still unknown. You laugh? You do not believe in the devil? Scepticism as to the devil is a French idea, and it is also a frivolous idea. Do you know who the devil is? Do you know his name? Although you don't know his name you make a mockery of his form, following the example of Voltaire. You sneer at his hoofs, at his tail, at his horns—all of them the produce of your imagination! In reality the devil is a great and terrible spirit, with neither hoofs, nor tail, nor horns; it is you who have endowed him with these attributes! But… he is not the question just now!

We're always thinking of eternity as an idea that cannot be understood, something immense. But why must it be? What if, instead of all this, you suddenly find just a little room there, something like a village bath-house, grimy, and spiders in every corner, and that's all eternity is. Sometimes, you know, I can't help feeling that that's what it is.

What Ikadk? ... Poverty? ... Destitution? ... But poverty is the one who makes the artist. It is absolutely imperative in the beginning. You're now human being careless, you do not need one, no one needs to know you... That is the life.

Whatever the virtues of cleaner, the more it has egoism.

While there is still time, I hasten to protect myself, and so I renounce the higher harmony altogether. It's not worth the tears of that one tortured child who beat itself on the breast with its little fist and prayed in its stinking outhouse, with its unexpiated tears to 'dear, kind God'! It's not worth it, because those tears are unatoned for. They must be atoned for, or there can be no harmony... I don't want harmony. From love for humanity I don't want it. I would rather be left with the unavenged suffering. I would rather remain with my unavenged suffering and unsatisfied indignation, even if I were wrong. Besides, too high a price is asked for harmony; it's beyond our means to pay so much to enter on it. And so I hasten to give back my entrance ticket, and if I am an honest man I am bound to give it back as soon as possible. And that I am doing. It's not God that I don't accept, Alyosha, only I most respectfully return him the ticket.

Will Otrat a little before that curse Judah this. God alone knows what lies deep in the hearts of drunks. Idiot

Yes, yes! You've spoken my own thought, they love it, they all love it, and love it always, not just at 'moments.' You know, it's as if at some point they all agreed to lie about it, and have been lying about it ever since. They all say they hate what's bad, but secretly they all love it.

We've already had Malthus, the friend of humanity. But the friend of humanity with shaky moral principles is the devourer of humanity, to say nothing of his conceit; for, wound the vanity of any one of these numerous friends of humanity, and he's ready to set fire to the world out of petty revenge - like all the rest of us, though, in that, to be fair; like myself, vilest of all, for I might well be the first to bring the fuel and run away myself.

What is a Socialist? - That's when all are equal and all have property in common, there are no marriages, and everyone has any religion and laws he likes best. You are not old enough to understand that yet.

What's most revolting is that one is really sad! No, it's better at home. Here at least one blames others for everything and excuses oneself.

Who consciously throws himself into the water or onto the knife?

With old liars who have been acting all their lives there are moments when they enter so completely into their part that they tremble or shed tears in earnest, although at that very moment, or a second later, they are able to whisper to themselves, "You know you are lying, you shameless old sinner! You're acting now, in spite of your 'holy' wrath.

Yes, yes, it ended in my corrupting them all! How it could come to pass I do not know, but I remember it clearly. The dream embraced thousands of years and left in me only a sense of the whole. I only know that I was the cause of their sin and downfall. Like a vile trichina, like a germ of the plague infecting whole kingdoms, so I contaminated all this earth, so happy and sinless before my coming. They learnt to lie, grew fond of lying, and discovered the charm of falsehood. Oh, at first perhaps it began innocently, with a jest, coquetry, with amorous play, perhaps indeed with a germ, but that germ of falsity made its way into their hearts and pleased them. Then sensuality was soon begotten, sensuality begot jealousy, jealousy - cruelty . . . Oh, I don't know, I don't remember; but soon, very soon the first blood was shed. They marveled and were horrified, and began to be split up and divided. They formed into unions, but it was against one another. Reproaches, upbraidings followed. They came to know shame, and shame brought them to virtue. The conception of honor sprang up, and every union began waving its flags. They began torturing animals, and the animals withdrew from them into the forests and became hostile to them. They began to struggle for separation, for isolation, for individuality, for mine and thine. They began to talk in different languages. They became acquainted with sorrow and loved sorrow; they thirsted for suffering, and said that truth could only be attained through suffering. Then science appeared. As they became wicked they began talking of brotherhood and humanitarianism, and understood those ideas. As they became criminal, they invented justice and drew up whole legal codes in order to observe it, and to ensure their being kept, set up a guillotine. They hardly remembered what they had lost, in fact refused to believe that they had ever been happy and innocent. They even laughed at the possibility of this happiness in the past, and called it a dream. They could not even imagine it in definite form and shape, but, strange and wonderful to relate, though they lost all faith in their past happiness and called it a legend, they so longed to be happy and innocent once more that they succumbed to this desire like children, made an idol of it, set up temples and worshipped their own idea, their own desire; though at the same time they fully believed that it was unattainable and could not be realized, yet they bowed down to it and adored it with tears! Nevertheless, if it could have happened that they had returned to the innocent and happy condition which they had lost, and if someone had shown it to them again and had asked them whether they wanted to go back to it, they would certainly have refused. They answered me: We may be deceitful, wicked and unjust, we know it and weep over it, we grieve over it; we torment and punish ourselves more perhaps than that merciful Judge Who will judge us and whose Name we know not. But we have science, and by the means of it we shall find the truth and we shall arrive at it consciously. Knowledge is higher than feeling, the consciousness of life is higher than life. Science will give us wisdom, wisdom will reveal the laws, and the knowledge of the laws of happiness is higher than happiness.

We've got facts, they say. But facts aren't everything; at least half the battle consists in how one makes use of them!

What is honor, my dear, when you have nothing to eat?

When . . . in the course of all these thousands of years has man ever acted in accordance with his own interests?

Whoever does not believe in God will not believe in the people of God. But he who believes in the people of God will also see their holiness, even if he did not believe in it at all before.

With the anthill, the respectable race of ants began and with the anthill they will probably end, which does the greatest credit to their perseverance and staidness. But man is a frivolous and incongruous creature, and perhaps, like the chess-player, loves only the process of the game, not the end of it. And who knows (on cannot swear to it), perhaps the only goal on earth to which mankind is striving lies in this incessant process of attaining, or in other words, in life itself, and not particularly in the goal which of course must always be two times two makes four, that is a formula, and after all, two times two makes four is no longer life, gentlemen, but is the beginning of death. Anyway, man has always been somehow afraid of this two times two makes four, and I am afraid of it even now. Granted that man does nothing but seek that two times two makes four, that he sails the oceans, sacrifices his life in the quest, but to succeed, really to find it -- he is somehow afraid, I assure you. He feels that as soon as he has found it there will be nothing for him to look for.

Yet as the evening of Sunday came on, a sadness as of death would overtake me, for at nine o'clock I had to return to school, where everything was cold and strange and severe—where the governesses, on Mondays, lost their tempers, and nipped my ears, and made me cry.

What a book this is, and what lessons there are in it! What a book is Holy Scripture, what a miracle and what a strength is given to man with it! Like a sculpture composed of the world, of man and human characters, and it has all been named and explained for the ages, ever more. And how many mysteries are resolved and revealed..." (Concerning Holy Scripture in the Life of Fr. Zosima)

Author Picture
First Name
Fyodor
Last Name
Dostoevsky, fully Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky or Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski
Birth Date
1821
Death Date
1881
Bio

Russian Novelist, Short-Story Writer and Essayist best known for his novels Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov