Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dostoevsky: The Quantum Mechanics of Emotions

Dostoyevsky is a marvel of Russia! Dostoevsky has shown, through his writings, that humans can fathom the depths of reason without losing the guidance of heart. The great Russian novelist, Dostoevsky, was in fact a mathematician of human emotions. Dostoevsky was a unity of art and higher level mathematics.

Where he shows that he viewd the affairs of human like a Pascal or Al Beruini? When he knits his character through defining his/ her limitations, aspirations, and struggles.
The example of limitations that Dostoevsky beautifully imposed on his characters are economical and emotional , and rational limitations. 

Economical limitations are the most obvious ones! Look at the Characters of Prince Myshkin, Mitya, and Raskolnikov! Donia, Gurushenka, Nastasia and Sonia! These characters are finacially bankrupted , but have great emotional lives. To a certain degree all these characters are difined by their economic worth or worthlessness! 

Money is essential! But money isn't the goal of these characters! These immortal characters live in stark poverty, yet they aren't interested in money: their aims are higher than the gold. Yet it is strange to say that their worse plight, their sufferings are mostly enhanced if not caused by the dearth of money. Mitya needs 3000 roubles, Raskolnikov has no money and has reached his hypondriasis through the route of stark poverty, Prince Myshkin is poor in the initial stages, Donia suffers due to the poverty of her family, and Sonia sells her body to feed the kids of her step mother. Stark poverty is a great source of suffering in Dostoevsky's novels.

Poverty is the route to suffering, yet these magnanimous souls nver run after money! They throw the money in the face of those who want to buy their emotional lives with the help of money. Dostoevky looks too much inspired by the lesson of the Temptations in the New Testament. He has mentioned that incident in the beginning of The Grand Inquisitor. 

Yes! Dostoevsky follows the Christian ideal of a free of temptation love and faith. Where there is a temptation in love, there it becomes worthless! A desire for money cannot be mingled with a desire for love! The result of such conmingling are the characters like the " Fiance of Donia in the Crime and Punishment. The Suitor of Nastasia whom rhagozin insulted in the " Idiot." Even Rakitin is close to such a sinister conmingling of the love for money and love. The result is eternal damnation in the world of Dostoyevsky. 

It is quite clear that money isn't the aim: So Donia doesn't surrender her soul to the lust of Sividrigailov. Raskolnikov didn't allow his sister to Donia to marry the greedy lawyer. He refused the career and money for the sake of true human relations. Nothing is important in this world than human love. 

And yet sometimes reason leaves the love behind, and drives a man crazy! " Ivan was described by Mitya " as a tomb." " Ivan is a tomb" says Mitya.  Why? For Ivan was an embodiment of reason, and it was his reason that ultimately pushed him towards the abyss of madness. 

Raskolnikov was deceived by his reason into an act of utter violence. An act of violence that was a burden on his conscience. " When he was free he was in prison, and when was in prison, he was free! " Says Dostoevsky about Ivan. What was his Prison? In one word , the sting of his conscience. What was his relief? Acceptance of his crime, and go to the prison. The police officer who was following his trail knew that he would eventually confess the crime just because he couldn't bear the perpetual sting of conciense. 

But when the reason reaches its height on its flight under the guidance of love, it reaches the wisdom of Father Zossima, and his disciple Alyosha. THese two embodiments of reason and love are epitome of the Christian ideal in Dostoevsky's world. Father Zossima and Alyosha are always confronted with the paradox of faith, yet they are powerful enough to stand their ground in the face of the attacks of scepticism. Alyosha's faith is always tested, and succeded in defending itself. It was tested by Ivan's reason, by the death of the Saint Zossima, by his own father, by the sufferings of his brothers! And yet it sustains all the attacks. 

Another religious personality is the Idiot, Prince Myshkin. Who this man is? He is an idiot, for he is not selfish, and doesn't guard his self interest. He doesn't have any self interest, not owing to any kind of asceticism, but owing to his mentle illness. He is an idiot! 

And yet his doctor has asked, " Never lie to anyone, and to yourself." This man is a saint in it that he accepts everything that comes to his mind, he never has negative emotions that he could challenge. He only has an acceptance of himself, and he expresses what he feels. Prince Myshkin is like the God's fool whom the God loved. 

Dostoyevsky's world is amazing! It tells us about strange deals! Barters! Every dealing in the world of humans is a well thought out deal! In Insulted and humiliated a little girl, who has no one to take care of her, refuses the custody of a wealthy man. The reason? The wealthy according to that little girl wanted to adopt her because he had abandoned his own daughter. And to fill that gap he wanted to adopt her! The girl laid bare the true motive behind the intent to adopts her and refused to enter that deal.

Katrina Ivanovna had money, beauty, and she apparently even loved Mitya! Yet Mitya knew that she only loved herself, and refused her! Raskolnikov refused the deal between Donia and his fiancee saying that the only purpose he wanted to marry his sister was her povert and beauty. He wanted a wife who would always feel indebted to him! Such relations do not give happiness! 

Raskolnikov criticized Donia for her pity and support for her step mother's kids. That deal was harshly criticized by him, and yet Sonia didn't break that deal! She continued to sell her body for the survival of the kids. 

In such deals, in their explanation and analysis Dostoevsky seems to solve quantum mecjhanical equations of the emotional life! It is here that the mathematical skills of this master artist come to fore!

Khalid Rawat


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