Father Zossima

The more faithfully you listen to the voices within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside. ~ Dag Hammarskjold

Sometimes, while listening to the Brothers Karamazov, particularly the parts concerning Father Zossima, I have to stop the audiobook and give myself some room to weep.

I wondered if the Timekeeper had Dostoyevsky’s eloquence, he would have said the same things instead of showing them by example. I wondered if Dostoyevsky had actually met a version of the Timekeeper in his own time. I wondered if – this being his final work – the character Father Zossima embodied Dostoyevsky’s final will for his children’s children.

On the result of multiplicated desires:

What follows from this right of multiplication of desires? In the rich, isolation and spiritual suicide; in the poor, envy and murder; for they have been given rights, but have not been shown the means of satisfying their wants.

On joyless isolation in worldly objects:

For how can a man shake off his habits? What can become of him if he is in such bondage to the habit of satisfying the innumerable desires he has created for himself? He is isolated, and what concern has he with the rest of humanity? They have succeeded in accumulating a greater mass of objects, but the joy in the world has grown less.

On the distortions of having more:

Interpreting freedom as the multiplication and rapid satisfaction of desires, men distort their own nature, for many senseless and foolish desires and habits and ridiculous fancies are fostered in them. They live only for mutual envy, for luxury and ostentation. To have dinners, visits, carriages, rank and slaves to wait on one is looked upon as a necessity, for which life, honor and human feeling are sacrificed, and men even commit suicide if they are unable to satisfy it.

~ Book V, Chapter III of the Brothers Karamazov

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