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Forum Post: We're all IN THIS TOGETHER. The time for isolation is over. See what Dostoevsky has to tell Occupy....

Posted 2 years ago on Feb. 28, 2012, 3:05 a.m. EST by therising (6643)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

We're all in this together. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. All of us are inextricably linked."

Dostoevsky seems to have addressed this when he wrote the following in the Brothers Karamazov (all of the following paragraphs are Dostoevsky):

"Today, everyone asserts his own personality and strives to live a full life as an individual. But these efforts lead not to a full life but to suicide, because instead of realizing his personality, man only slips into total isolation. For in our age, man has been broken up into self-contained individuals, each of whom retreats into his lair, trying to stay away from the rest, hiding himself and his belongings from the rest of mankind, and finally isolating himself from people and people from him.

And while he accumulates material wealth in his isolation, he thinks with satisfaction how mighty and secure he has become, because he is mad and cannot see that the more goods he accumulates, the deeper he sinks into suicidal impotence. The reason for this is that he has become accustomed to relying only on himself; he has split off from the whole and become an isolated unit; he has trained his soul not to rely on human help, not to believe in man and mankind, and only to worry that the wealth and privileges he has accumulated may get lost.

Everywhere men today are turning scornfully away from the truth that the security of the individual cannot be achieved by his isolated efforts but only by mankind as a whole.

BUT AN END to this fearful isolation is bound to come and all men will understand how unnatural it was for them to have isolated themselves from one another. This will be the spirit of the new era and people will look in amazement at the past when they sat in darkness and refused to see the light. . . . . . Until that day, we must keep hope alive, and now and then a man must set an example, even if only an isolated one, by trying to lift his soul out of its isolation and offering it up in an act of brotherly communion, even if he is taken for one of God's fools.

This is necessary to keep the great idea alive."

11 Comments

11 Comments


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[-] 2 points by Middleaged (5140) 2 years ago

Can we talk depth Here?

1) I would like to raise some points about how we are all humans with emotions, passions, faults, and a bunch of messy stuff that doesn't fit into neat productive units for our political masters.

2) US Society is full of judgementalism, but seems we have blind spots for empty speeches by politicians, unprosecuted mass mortgage fraud, common economic knowledge that spending money in a recession is mandatory, war is bad, war is a business, and that the country's founding was as much on freedom from religion as it was for freedom of religion.

3) We often Brand people with Judgements in the US. Prisoners for non-violent crimes can't easily find jobs or apartments. People convicted of illegal drugs often end up back in jail since there is no way to earn a living or get an apartment without some kind of deceit.

4) If we know people will commit fraud and accounting fraud, then we know we need the laws created after the great depression to keep Banks from creating a Criminogenic environment.

5) There is a basic Dishonest Present in the USA. We have all these secrets about sex, alcohol abuse, and drug use. And when these story come out they devastate families and communities. This is the shadow side of our lives in the US. Can we some how think about how we can learn - to accept human frailty? Accept that people will be people and won't be perfect?

6) Maybe the Shadow side of men and women won't grow so big, lopsided, and perverse if we can learn to live and let live. Let's accept each other. Well, and prosecute accounting control fraud, and mortgage fraud that led up to the Financial Crisis.

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Beautiful. One of my favorite passages in my favorite book! Dostoevsky saw beyond the left-wing - right-wing divide to that something-higher we all should strive for, despite the efforts of some to hack and hack away at those superficial divisions!

Thanks.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

So glad you share that perspective on his work, especially this book. He really nails it! Incredible how relevant it is even all these years later. Timeless.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I think the best novel ever written, and as you get older it resonates even more deeply, or at least it has with me.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

I completely agree. Just splendid.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20440) 2 years ago

Thanks for this, therising! One of my favorite authors. When I was 19 I spent the summer reading his masterpieces. Probably explains why I'm such a lefty.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

That is so cool. He really nails it in Brothers Karamazov. All the characters are there. A timeless story. So relevant today.

Glad to know we both enjoy his work. Very cool.

[-] 1 points by engineer4 (272) 2 years ago

This shows how Dr. King could say so much with so little. He covers everyone instead of dostoevsky concentrating on materialism only. An observation on the younger generation in this age of instant communication. As we talk about the need for community; the activity of impersonal texting, email, etc has removed the human contact element we used to have. I watch everyone walking isolated with their earphones on, texting and missing out in what is just within arms length. Dr King understood the need for the whole and how equal opportunity for all make us all better ( the raising of all boats).

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

King definitely understood that life in isolation is not a full life. He knew that to be truly fulfilled, a human being needs to be in community with others. Many in the U.S. have an "every man for himself" philosophy. This is sad because this perspective is life limiting and harms the nation as well.

[-] 1 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 2 years ago

very nice !!! .. Rising... Thx

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

Glad you enjoyed those quotes. They seem to sum it up for me.