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Notes from underground: Dostoyevsky’s #anarchism

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, in a letter speaking of his The Brothers Karamazov, declares that his principal aim in writing the novel, a civic duty no less, is the defeat of “anarchism”.

How can we then suggest to speak of Dostoyevsky’s anarchism?  And yet we dare to do so, navigating our way through the extremes of the underground and the modern social conformity of the many, of the nihilists and decadent aristocrats, of the social reformers and a Church oblivious to the kingdom of heaven.  Our journey’s end is to be found in the many voices of Dostoyevsky’s world, in a polyphony that cannot be silenced without impoverishing that world.  Among these many voices, we find the braying of mules, the tortured crying of children, the virtue of women and friends, the dissonance of idiots and the enthusiasm of those who have experienced, however fleetingly, the immensity and self-sufficient beauty and goodness of life.  What binds all of these disparate voices together, and only this power or force can do so, is love.  And it is Dostoyevsky’s boundless love of life that we will risk to call his anarchism.

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