Monday, April 19, 2021

The Wisdom of Dostoevsky

The notion that man is born free, that total freedom is his natural state, and that all men want to be free was developed in the Age of Enlightenment by French philosophers. But most people, who are not enlightened philosophers, do not take freedom as their natural state. They are not obsessed with being free. 

In Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov, the character Ivan Karamazov says: “I tell you, man has no preoccupation more nagging than to find the person to whom that unhappy creature may surrender the gift of freedom with which he is born. But only he can take mastery of people's freedom who is able to set their consciences at rest.”

Dostoevsky was not an idealist like the French philosophers in the Age of Enlightenment. He was a practical man, a man of wisdom.

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