Quotes from The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky


19 As a general rule, people, even the wicked, are much more naive and simple-hearted than we suppose. And we ourselves are, too.

34 It is not miracles that prompt realists to belief. The genuine realist, if he is an unbeliever, will always find strength and ability to disbelieve in the miraculous, and if he is confronted with a miracle as an irrefutable fact he would rather disbelieve his own senses than admit the fact. Even if he admits it, he admits it as a fact of nature till then unrecognized by him. Faith does not, in the realist, spring from the miracle but the miracle from faith. If the realist once believes, then he is bound by his very realism to admit the miraculous also. The Apostle Thomas said that he would not believe until he saw, but when he did see he said: “My Lord and my God!” Was it the miracle that forced him to believe? Most likely not, but he believed solely because he desired to believe and possibly he fully believed in his secret heart even when he said: “I do not believe till I see.”
34 Alyosha: “I want to love for immortality, and I will accept no compromise.”
38 Oh! [Alyosha] understood that for the humble soul of the Russian peasant, worn out by grief and toil, and still more by everlasting injustice and everlasting sin, his own and the world’s, it was of the greatest need and comfort to find someone or something holy to fall down before and worship.
48 Father Zossima: “…above all, do not be so ashamed of yourself, for that is at the root of it all.”
49 Zossima: The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.
60 Zossima “…there’s no proving [faith], though you can be convinced of it.” Mme Hohlakov  “How?” Zossima “By the experience of active love. Strive to love your neighbor actively and constantly. In so far as you advance in love you will grow surer of the reality of God and of the immortality of your soul.”
103 Dmitri: “…being in love doesn’t mean loving. You may be in love with a woman and yet hate her.”
End of 106
152 “In his [Alyosha’s] fervent prayer he did not beseech God to lighten his darkness. He only thirsted for the joyous emotion, which always visited his soul after the praise and adoration, of which his evening prayer usually consisted. That joy always brought him light untroubled sleep.”
191 Captain Snegiryov: “The children of the poor looked down upon by everyone–know what justice means, sir, even at nine years of age. How should the rich know? They don’t explore such depths even once in their lives…That truth entered into [Ilusha] and crushed him forever, sir.”
191 Snegiryov: In Russia the best men drink. The best men among us are the greatest drunkards.
199 Alyosha: it’s awfully hard for a man who has been injured, when other people look at him as though they were his benefactors.
200-201 Lise: Aren’t we showing contempt for him, for that poor captain–in analyzing his soul like this, as it were, from above? In deciding that he certainly will take the money?” Alyosha: “No, Lise, it’s not contempt…How can it be contempt when we are all like him, when we are all just the same as he is. For you know we are just the same, no better. If we are better, we should have been just the same in his place.”
213 Alyosha: “I think everyone should love life above everything in the world.” Ivan: “Love life more than the meaning of it?” Alyosha: “Certainly. Love it, regardless of logic as you say. It must be regardless of logic. It’s only then one can understand the meaning of it.”
215 Ivan: Nobody dies of hysterics. God gave woman hysterics as a relief.
216-217 Ivan on the existence/creation of God
218 Ivan on love
226 on forgiveness
242 Jesus’ response to the Inquisitor
295 “Loving humility is marvelously strong, the strongest of all things. There is nothing else like it.” “For we must love not only occasionally, for a moment, but forever.” “Let not the sin of man confound you in your doings. Fear not that it will wear away your work and hinder its being accomplished.”
297 “Love all men, love everything. Seen that rapture and ecstasy. Water the earth with the tears of your joy and love those tears.” “‘What is hell?’ I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.”
480 “Have you noticed…that in the middle of winter we don’t feel so cold even when there are fifteen or eighteen degrees below zero as we do now, in the beginning of winter, when there is a sudden frost, especially when there is not much snow. It’s because people are not used to it. Everything is habit with men, everything even in their social and political relations. Habit is the great motive power.” Kolya
537-538
539 “Every decent man ought to be under some woman’s thumb.” Dmitri
699 “You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe to the end of his days. And if one has only one good memory left in one’s heart, even that may sometime be the means of saving him.” Alyosha
700 “Let us be, first and above all, kind, then honest and then let us never forget each other!” Alyosha
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