Two Hundred Years of Immortality

Dear Dostoevsky,

This comes from an escapist, lost and dazed, in a world full of achievers where the dreamers’ world, shadowed by the canopies of materialist obligations, seems insignificant but finds peace in the shade of a co-dreamer in ‘White Nights’.

This comes from an alienated soul, who does not relate to the ostentatious demeanours of fake promises yet belongs to this race of man who is so beautifully ruining the perfect imperfections of a pristine world, and when dazzled by this paradox finds a companion in Ivan and Alyosha, who mirror these paradoxes in their unique sublime way.

This comes from a confused entity, who is unsure about everything, who finds it hard to relate with the plain robotic traditions of man but can spend hours understanding the dilemmas surrounding Raskolnikov.

This comes from a wanderer, who when completely isolated and unloved, searches for the resonance so lost, and finds it in the soul of your books.

This comes from an admirer who is infinitely grateful for your existence, for it is only you, with your magical embrace, who understands and loves, a scarcity for dreamers like me.

No amount of worldly praise can ever justify the significance of your works. There are a few great and stupendous writers who honoured this world, bleeding through their pen as they martyred their soul, perhaps saving the only grace of mankind. Rarely people read them, but even rarer is to read someone who would literally make you feel the existence of your very soul, a divine and unworldly experience, which is perhaps the most beautiful of it all. The change hence induced, the realisation hence gathered, is gradual which stealthily comes into effect and changes your entire perspective. Whatever obscure and dreamy world I have made for myself, you have been the very mould. The sane world would obviously judge the apparent obscurity of this normal deviating from theirs, but it is the tragedy of the sane to never go insane.

What is reality, but an extended fabrication of our own viewpoints, we see what our mind allows us to see, nothing more, nothing else, then how can we be so sure about the mere perceiving of our senses? That’s the vanity of the human beings, who in this illusion segregates everything as per their own convenience. I have met real, more real, people sketched through your artistic genius. They showcase the very battle of a conscious human being which is rarely seen in the artificiality of this proud world, narrating a philosophy so divine that it captures and rejuvenates one’s very soul.

“The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man. If the devil doesn’t exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness.”

Everyone somewhere is in search of the right words to explain the weirdness that storms their souls, the void that enlarges more and more devoid of an elixir to ease it, it is then explained and articulated so effectively by your characters which resonates with the self making it special and unique.

“Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.”

One of the most prominent aspect of your books is the similarity between good and evil, you show how both good and evil are the shades of the same colour, and it is increasingly pivotal to understand the demon lurking through the angel’s soul or the angel trapped in a beastly heart.

Raskolnikov’s theory on murder is specially interesting based on this very essence.

“I wanted to become Napoleon, that is why I killed her … Do you understand now?”

He shouts at Sonya when he finally confesses.

As I wrote a while ago (in a twitter thread), the idea of absurdity that revolves around God, establishes the very psychological premise of the inner heroism of your characters.

When Rodya (Raskolnikov) explains his theory on Napoleon, it can be very easily inferred that the idea behind both Napoleon and Rodya is same when perceived through a rational and theoretical lens, yet the latter fails while the former succeeds and this arises the question on the very fabric of morality. How can one murder be different from the other? This cannot be the equality which the moral world so proudly proclaims. And this can never be God’s world either, hence concluding that perhaps nothingness is the true absolute.

Rodya’s ‘übermensch’ is justified. He can see beyond the pathetic invisible chains devised by humans who in a pretext of equality develops different rules for different people, depending on their success ratio.

As Kafka says, “I am free therefore I am lost.

Rodya is free too. So he is lost. When he understands what it takes for him to be the ‘übermensch’ he cannot come in terms when practicality draws in, when he actually kills the woman, he remains feverish and this meaninglessness, this constant struggle is what haunts him. His theory is justified but what is the outcome of it? At what cost will he able to prove the correctness of his ideology? If he hadn’t failed, he would have survived, but does the question of success/failure even matter?

But nihilism is never the answer in your texts, because the inner dilemmas of these characters is more complicated and cannot be defined by a single philosophy. Your protagonist, is both a hero and a villain, who can think and try to reason out to choose between the two paths, all the while questioning God. He can be a nihilist and a believer.

This is the beautiful liberty which you provide. The paradox of two ideologies which are poles apart finally meet in the complex intricacies of your protagonists. Both can exist, both can make you suffer, both are right and both are wrong.

You make us believe in God yet not believe in Him, making Him the very epitome of absurd.

Now, how can I talk about God and not see Ivan waiting to be brought forth?

Ivan refuses the ticket to God because of the hollowness of the ideas attached to Him. He declares himself to be an atheist and rebels against God. Ivan’s nightmare where he meets the Devil consequently makes him realise the hollowness of nothingness. The fact that he could be a murderer without actually committing the crime, haunts him. His rebellion against God is justified, but again what is the outcome of that rebellion?

And what about the Devil who protests and asks him something quite surreally uncharacteristic of our idea of the Devil.

“But what about me? I suffer, but still, I don’t live. I am x in an indeterminate equation. I am a sort of phantom in life who has lost all beginning and end, and who has even forgotten his own name.”

It is the question that is perhaps the answer. Is the Devil real or just a mere fabrication of Ivan’s mind? Is this true for the general idea of man’s acceptance of God and Devil as well? Is it Ivan’s nightmare or Ivan’s dream? Is the world our nightmare or our dream?

The Devil further instigates yet answers Ivan when he says,

“From the vehemence with which you deny my existence, I am convinced that you believe in me.”

And if he believes in the Devil, he believes in God. For me, Ivan is the true believer, he loves God more than anyone and it is because he loves God he cannot tolerate the fact that God allows this to happen, how can he accept something so horrendous happening in the name of a future harmony from someone who is supposed to be the epitome of love. This makes him indifferent, he lives in a constant state of denial and vehemently starts to oppose every ideal of his love. He refuses the ticket but he cannot survive without accepting the ticket. For him, perhaps, God and Devil are the same, for the omnipotent power lurks behind the name of Satan to do evil and propagate hate. This is the truth he cannot accept and the alternative of nihilism is again against his very belief. Ahh, the contradiction, the paradox, Ivan is so much more real with these ideas defining him which is beyond the comprehension of today’s lost world, more real than flesh and blood.

But if there are paradoxes, there exists someone who knows all, who understands life in a special way,

“Life exists but death doesn’t at all.”

“You’ve begun to believe in a future eternal life?”

“No, not in a future eternal life, but an eternal life here. There are moments, you reach moments, and time suddenly stands still, and it will become eternal.”

Kirillov, one of your most unique characters, converses with the epitome of nihilism, Stavrogin, depicting a picture so beautiful and sublime that life appears worthwhile. He wants to kill himself but not in the way the world generally associates with suicides. This conversation is so prophetic yet insane that he would never be properly understood. But he understands it all. The tragedy.

And so, I, an amateur, try to understand and perceive the depth of your books, and I would consider myself successful if I am able to even realise ten percent of it. I could never properly explain all that you have taught me and continue to teach me. It is physically impossible for me to cross over the realms and bend time, but that remains my only wish. Like a parallel to Midnight in Paris, where like Owen Wilson, I am wandering in Saint Petersburg and then suddenly travel back in time, to this magical possibility of this dream that might exist. But, still someday, I will visit Saint Petersburg, stroll through the Nevsky Avenue, breath the air of my dreams, and live this serene image. Ahh, the dream of a ridiculous woman.

Lastly sharing, one of the most beautiful things I read about you,

“…Dostoevsky could not cope with the swarm of his creative imagination. He could not tame and conquer the rush of his elemental visions. His soul burnt too fiercely to be satisfied with an inferior light. All in flames, his soul set on fire and destroyed the flashing visions. And it seems as if iron necessity alone chained the writer to the desk and made it possible for us to read his works. There is something accidental in the published works of Dostoevsky. They do not represent the whole creator; they are paler than his original conceptions.”

The fact that you spent almost your entire life in debt but now so many like me are forever indebted to you is the richest of the riches one could ever achieve, and you manifested this into reality. I don’t search for the meaning of life anymore, and sometimes wonder the uselessness of it all, but perhaps I was born to read you, to learn from you and be awaken (probably still in a sleepy slumber) and this is perhaps the most poetic purpose there could ever be.

I also know you would have hated this obsession but I too am a sick and sometimes spiteful woman. I quite literally love you in the purest of its forms, and would try to end this letter in the melodramatic ‘Dmitry’ way while dedicating these few lines from this absolutely beautiful song, Saturn,

“You taught me the courage of stars before you left,

How light carries on endlessly, even after death,

With shortness of breath, you explained the infinite,

How rare and beautiful it is to even exist.”

с днем ​​рождения

счастливые двести лет бессмертия

(Thank you google translate, but one day I will learn Russian, but then again, perhaps I really regard myself as an intelligent woman only because throughout my entire life I’ve never been able to start or finish anything. Granted, granted I’m a babbler, a harmless, irksome babbler, as we all are. But what’s to be done if the sole and express purpose of every intelligent man is babble — that is, a deliberate pouring from empty into void.)

I owe you my life.

Chasing your shadows forever,

Another dreamingly ridiculous woman

PS: I protest, You are immortal.

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