... active love is a harsh and fearful thing compared with the love in dreams. Love in dreams thirsts for immediate action, quickly performed, and with everyone watching. Indeed, it will go as far as the giving even of one's life, provided it does not take long but is soon over, as on stage, and eveyone is looking on and praising. Whereas active love is labor and persistence, and for some people, perhaps, a whole science.
Listen, in dreams and especially in nightmares, from indigestion or anything, a man sees sometimes such artistic visions, such complex and real actuality, such events, even a whole world of events, woven into such a plot, with such unexpected details from the most exalted matters to the last button on a cuff, as I swear Leo Tolstoy has never invented.
After all, I quite naturally want to live in order to fulfill my whole capacity for living, and not in order to fulfill my reasoning capacity alone, which is no more than some one-twentieth of my capacity for living. What does reason know? It knows only what it has managed to learn (and it may never learn anything else; that isn't very reassuring, but why not admit it?), while human nature acts as a complete entity, with all that is in it, consciously or unconsciously; and though it may be wrong, it's nevertheless alive.
I wanted to fathom her secrets; I wanted her to come to me and say: "I love you," and if not that, if that was senseless insanity, then...well, what was there to care about? Did I know what I wanted? I was like one demented: all I wanted was to be near her, in the halo of her glory, in her radiance, always, for ever, all my life. I knew nothing more!
And now I am eking out my days in my corner, taunting myself with the bitter and entirely useless consolations that an intelligent man cannot seriously become anything; that only a fool can become something. Yes, sir, an intelligent nineteenth-century man must be, is morally bound to be, an essentially characterless creature; and a man of character, a man of action - an essentially limited creature. This is my conviction at the age of forty. I am forty now, and forty years - why, it is all of a lifetime, it is the deepest of old age. Living past forty... Read more »
Generally speaking, our prisoners were capable of loving animals, and if they had been allowed they would have delighted to rear large numbers of domestic animals and birds in the prison. And I wonder what other activity could better have softened and refined their harsh and brutal natures than this. But it was not allowed. Neither the regulations nor the nature of the prison made it possible.
Filled with rapture, his soul yearned for freedom, space, vastness. Over him the heavenly dome, full of quiet, shining stars, hung boundlessly. From the zenith to the horizon the still-dim Milky Way stretched its double strand. Night, fresh and quiet, almost unstirring, enveloped the earth. The white towers and golden domes of the church gleamed in the sapphire sky. The luxuriant autumn asleep till morning. The silence of the earth seemed to merge with the silence of the heavens and the mystery of the earth touched the mystery of the stars.
One's own free unfettered choice, one's own caprice-however wild it may be, one's own fancy worked up at times to frenzy-is that very "most advantageous advantage" which we have overlooked, which comes under no classification and against which all systems and theories are continually being shattered to atoms... [an]will attain his object-that is, convince himself he is a man and not a piano-key!
I don’t even know what I’m writing, I have no idea, I don’t know anything, and I’m not reading over it, and I’m not correcting my style, and I’m writing just for the sake of writing, just for the sake of writing more to you… My precious, my darling, my dearest!
Then Christ will say to us, 'Come you also! Come you drunkards! Come you weaklings! Come you depraved!' And he will say to us, 'Vile creatures, you in the image of the beast and you who bear his mark. All the same, you come too!' And the wise and prudent will say, 'Lord, why are you welcoming them? And he will say, 'O wise and prudent, I am welcoming them because not one of them has ever judged himself worthy. And he will stretch out his arms to us, and we shall fall at his feet, and burst into sobs,... Read more »
We're always thinking of eternity as an idea that cannot be understood, something immense. But why must it be? What if, instead of all this, you suddenly find just a little room there, something like a village bath-house, grimy, and spiders in every corner, and that's all eternity is. Sometimes, you know, I can't help feeling that that's what it is.