June 07, 2007


Caption: Alyosha Karamazov (right) receives spiritual guidance from the saintly Father Zossima (portrayed by Seamus McGoogle).

Like a cat with a stubborn hairball, El Cabrero is still trying to get Dostoevsky out of his system.

Maybe a little medley of quotes from his works will do it:

Talking nonsense is man's only privilege that distinguishes him from all other organisms.

Man gets used to anything, the scoundrel.

"You're a gentleman," they used to say to him. "You shouldn't have gone murdering people with a hatchet; that's no occupation for a gentleman." --Crime and Punishment

"So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find some one to worship."

Above all, do not lie to yourself. A man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he does not discern any truth either in himself or anywhere around him, and thus falls into disrespect towards himself and others. Not respecting anyone, he ceases to love, and having no love, he gives himself up to passions and coarse pleasures, in order to occupy and amuse himself, and in his vices reaches complete beastiality, and it all comes from lying continually to others and to himself. A man who lies to himself is often the first to take offense. It sometimes feels very good to take offense, doesn't it? And surely he knows that no one has offended him, and that he himself has invented the offense and told lies just for the beauty of it, that he has exaggerated for the sake of effect, that he has picked on a word and made a mountain out of a pea- he knows all of that, and still he is the first to take offense, he likes feeling offended, it gives him great pleasure, and thus he reaches the point of real hostility... --Brothers Karamazov

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

Is there suffering on this new earth? On our earth we can truly love only with suffering and through suffering! We know not how to love otherwise. We know no other love. I want suffering in order to love. --Dream of a Ridiculous Man

Whew! I feel better already...

HERMAN, OF COURSE. Who would the nearest American equivalent to a writer of Dostoevsky's weirdness and stature? Gotta be Melville. Here's an interesting item on Bush, the prophet Jonah, and Melville's Moby-Dick.

DWIGHT! I am way late in posting this, but don't miss The Office's Dwight Shrute's latest blog entry "When Ninjas Attack." As he so aptly points out, this IS the season for ninja attacks and one can never be too careful.



Clem G. said...

I hear that eating grass can help with those hairballs.

Maybe trying some Whitman would help?

El Cabrero said...


I'll try it. If Whitman's Leaves of Grass doesn't work, maybe Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil will..

Thanks for the tip!

Brecht said...

Nice selection of quotes. Particularly the insight about the downward path of lying to yourself, and the one about what gentlemen don't do. Wilde said "A gentleman is someone who never insults anyone unintentionally."

P.S. thanks for the timely heads up about Ninja attacks.

El Cabrero said...

Brecht--don't thank me, thank Dwight. And watch out for shurikens!