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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Overwhelmed by Mercy in The Brothers Karamazov

Dostoyevsky—the original hipster.
Today, after two years of starting and stopping, I finally finished what has to be the most dreadfully boring, insanity-inducing, mind-numbingly painful audio recording of The Brothers Karamazov—ever created.

Having a deep appreciation for all things Dostoevsky, I purchased this Satan-inspired recording, hoping to finally read and understand this classic.

Shortly after I started listening to it, I realized that I had made a horrible, unalterable mistake. Had this unabridged audio recording persisted for another hour, I am certain that I would have skewered my eardrums with a nail. Alas, compared to the narrator's voice, a nail would have been a sweet mercy.

Be that as it may, I did manage to glean a few good things from Dostoyevsky's Magnum Opus. One of my favorite parts comes from Fetyukovich, Dmitri's lawyer.

In defense of the accused Dmitri, Fetyukovich asks the jury to acquit Dmitri, even if they think he's guilty. His reasoning made me think about how we are all, in a sense, guilty and accused. In one way or another, we are all in desperate need of mercy and love. Imagine yourself in Dmitri's position, as someone who is being judged by others. Imagine if those people responded like this:
"There are souls that in their narrowness blame the whole world. But overwhelm such a soul with mercy, give it love, and it will curse what it has done, for there are so many germs of good in it. The soul will expand and behold how merciful God is, and how beautiful and just people are. He will be horrified, he will be overwhelmed with repentance and the countless debt he must henceforth repay."
That quote made me feel a little more forgiving towards my sadistic narrator.

...just a little, mind you.

The Brothers Karamazov
Book XII - A Judicial Error, Chapter 13 - An Adulterer of Thought.