Aaron Vanderzwan on Blogger

Monday, February 13, 2006


So I am sitting here today, reading more Dostoevsky. What can I say, I'm enthralled. Right now, Ivan is explaining to his brother, Alyosha, his struggle with Jesus. A quote, talking to Jesus from Ivan's perspective of the church, is as follows, "You promised them bread from heaven, but, I repeat again, can it compare with earthly bread in the eyes of the weak, always vicious and always ignoble race of man? And if for the sake of the bread from heaven thousands and tens of thousands will follow you, what is to become of the millions and scores of thousands of millions of creatures who will not have the strength to give up the earthly bread for the bread of heaven? Or are only the scores of thousands of the great and strong dear to you, and are the remaining millions, numerous as the sand of the sea, who are weak but who love you, to serve only as the material for the great and the strong?" - The Brothers Karamazov

Now, I actually write this article not so much in response to the real meaning of this book and chapter, even though that interests the point that I have thought about recently. The point is as follows, our world, the world that we know it, is not going to last. Eschatological study will soon be proven right or wrong. As it is going, and as history has shown us, living conditions will eventually only exponentially get worse, we continuously devour every good physical essence that this earth has been granted us to have. I feel like one day, one of our future generation will hold her stomach in the corner of her rubbled house, trying to shield her unclothed body from the wind and rain that is ripping shreds of skin off of her body. She will think about the books that she read about our generations, how nice we had it, how beautiful the sun had been, how clean the air had been, how we could go to a store and buy any kind of food we wanted.

The unarguable truth is this, we are going to die, you the reader is going to one day die, your children will die, their children will die and eventually whether we kill ourselves or not, the resources on this earth will be so used up, everyone will be dead. Now the passage by Dostoevsky has, yes made me very mellow dramatic, but also shown that we as a whole generation should not focus on the differences and warrant them into being something important, but instead should look at the enormous amount of freedom that is waiting for us at the doorstep everyday; a gift showering us continuously. I am very grateful for being born into one of the easiest cultures and generations ever, a culture which shows me so little of the pain and death that other cultures and our undoubted future holds. However, I am also distressed at how the circle of life must take its course. We do not understand the importance of work in this happiness, we utterly take it for granted and therefore spew shit at others who we think, “just don’t work hard enough.”

What can I do with my situation? Well as I see it, I have two choices. One, I can look at myself in the mirror every morning and thank God for God's graciousness in not presenting me with any serious difficulties, and go on being thankful throughout my meaningless monotonous life, figuring that no matter what I would do it would result in pain and death in the end anyways; or I could try to do something with my almost perfect (big picture) life. So cliché. So Bull Shit. However, when the game is over, when the king is knocked down and we all have to go to sleep to wake up on the other side, I want to bank on the fact that there is more. So what do I live for? Not this world. This world is going to be dead in a couple thousand years, “second coming” or not. (well I suppose with the “second coming” the idea that this world would be dead is debatable) Either way, it will hit the fan. Life will not be the same. All the religious stuff will either turn out true, or very, very false.

No, for me to struggle to redeem this world is a pointless cause. I simply struggle after what I am told to struggle after. I do the “right” things, the “correct”, righteous things in response to this evil pain ridden world. I take on the losing, pointless goal of promoting the happiness and the painlessness of others. I am not convinced of how righteous these actions are, however, I have nothing else to base my righteousness on. I believe there is more to this world, I believe that death is only falling asleep, and I do believe that we wake up in the next life “only gaining a yesterday”. This is something that I have to use as my crutch, the crutch of hope that works me through the mindless actions of today; the "faith", if you will, of something beyond this world.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Quotes - Dostoevsky

"The most direct and spontaneous historic pastime we have is the infliction of pain by beating. Nekrassov has a poem about a peasant who flogs a horse about its eyes, "its gentle eyes"... He describes how a feeble nag, which has been pulling too heavy a load, sticks in the mud with its cart and cannot move. The peasant beats it, beats it savagely and, in the end, without realizing why he is doing it and intoxicated by the very act of beating, goes on showering heavy blows upon it. "Weak as you are, pull you must! I don't care if you die so long as you go on pulling!" The nag pulls hard but without avail, and he begins lashing the poor defenceless creature across its weeping, "gentle eyes". Beside itself with pain, it gives one tremendous pull, pulls out the cart, and off it goes, trembling all over and gasping for breath, moving sideways, with a curious sort of skipping motion, unnaturally and shamefully... But it's only a horse and God has given us horses to be flogged.

And there you have an educated and well-brought-up gentleman and his wife who birch their own little deaughter, a child of seven- I have a full account of it. Daddy is glad that the twigs have knots, for, as he says, "it will sting more" and so be begins "stinging" his own daughter. I know for a fact that there are people who get so excited that they derive a sensual pleasure from every blow, literally a sensual pleasure, which grows progressively with every subsequent blow. They beat for a minute, five minutes, ten minutes. The more it goes on the more "stinging" do the blows become. The child screams, at last it can scream no more, it is gasping for breath. 'Daddy, Daddy, dear Daddy!'"
- Brothers Karamazov