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THE IDIOT

by: Fyodor Dostoevsky


Don’t let us forget that the causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex and varied than our subsequent explanations of them.

Lack of originality, everywhere, all over the world, from time immemorial, has always been considered the foremost quality and the recommendation of the active, efficient and practical man.

To kill someone for committing murder is a punishment incomparably worse than the crime itself. Murder by legal sentence is immeasurably more terrible than murder by brigands.

Roman Catholicism is even worse than Atheism itself, in my opinion! Yes, that's my opinion! Atheism only preaches a negation, but Catholicism goes further: it preaches a distorted Christ, a Christ calumniated and defamed by themselves, the opposite of Christ! It preaches the Antichrist, I declare it does, I assure you it does! This is the conviction I have long held, and it has distressed me, myself... Roman Catholicism cannot hold its position without universal political supremacy, and cries: 'Non possumus!' To my thinking Roman Catholicism is not even a religion, but simply the continuation of the Western Roman Empire, and everything in it is subordinated to that idea, faith to begin with. The Pope seized the earth, an earthly throne, and grasped the sword; everything has gone on in the same way since, only they have added to the sword lying, fraud, deceit, fanaticism, superstition, villainy. They have trifled with the most holy, truthful, sincere, fervent feelings of the people; they have bartered it all, all for money, for base earthly power. And isn't that the teaching of Antichrist? How could Atheism fail to come from them? Atheism has sprung from Roman Catholicism itself. It originated with them themselves. Can they have believed themselves? It has been strengthened by revulsion from them; it is begotten by their lying and their spiritual impotence! Atheism! Among us it is only the exceptional classes who don't believe, those who ... have lost their roots. But over there, in Europe, a terrible mass of the people themselves are beginning to lose their faith - at first from darkness and lying, and now from fanaticism and hatred of the church and Christianity.

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

A fool with a heart and no sense is just as unhappy as a fool with sense and no heart.

Inventors and geniuses have almost always been looked on as no better than fools at the beginning of their career, and very frequently at the end of it also.

There are two sorts of mind: one that matters, and one that doesn't matter.

Humiliate the reason and distort the soul.

Nor is there any embarrassment in the fact that we're ridiculous, isn't it true? For it's actually so, we are ridiculous, light-minded, with bad habits, we're bored, we don't know how to look, how to understand, we're all like that, all, you, and I, and they! Now, you're not offended when I tell you to your face that you're ridiculous? And if so, aren't you material? You know, in my opinion it's sometimes even good to be ridiculous, if not better: we can the sooner forgive each other, the sooner humble ourselves; we can't understand everything at once, we cant start right out with perfection! To acheive perfection, one must first begin by not understanding many things! And if we understand too quickly, we may not understand well. This I tell you, you, who have already been able to understand... and not understand... so much. I'm not afraid for you now.

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

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