Posted 9 февраля 2021,, 11:48

Published 9 февраля 2021,, 11:48

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

"The main thing is to love others as yourself": Dostoevsky is still relevant 140 years after his death

"The main thing is to love others as yourself": Dostoevsky is still relevant 140 years after his death

9 февраля 2021, 11:48
Life confirms the correctness of Dostoevsky's ideas. During the time that has passed since his death, their importance has not diminished in the least.

Alla Novikova-Stroganova

F.M. Dostoevsky's writings (1821 - 1881) - one of the summit achievements of Russian classical literature - is rightly compared to the cosmos. The artistic world created by the writer is so grandiose in terms of the scale of thought and feeling, the depth of spiritual penetration, that it represents a kind of immense universe.

The phenomenon of Dostoevsky lies in the fact that the interest in him around the world not only does not wane, but grows more and more over time. Leading universities in Western Europe, the USA, Japan and other countries have long and deeply studied the work of the great Russian classic not only at the faculties of philology, but also at the faculties of philosophy, psychology, law, sociology, and related disciplines.

But in their Fatherland Dostoevsky the prophet is remembered mainly in the years of "round" dates. With regret, we have to state that in this respect, Russia appears in the paradoxical tragicomic situation of a “shoemaker without shoes”, leaving the works of its outstanding compatriot, as well as many other spiritual values, on the periphery of public consciousness. At the same time, mastering Dostoevsky's discoveries can bring not speculative, but practically essential results for creating a solid spiritual and moral foundation of modern society.

In his writings, the writer sharply raised a number of topics and problems that are cardinal for mankind: what is the nature of good and evil; how the desire for self-destruction and self-restoration coexist in the human soul - the “Sodom ideal” with the “Madonna's ideal”; what is the essence and purpose of life; how to transform the world on the basis of spirituality, morality, and respect for the dignity of the individual; how to unite justice, legality, justice into an inseparable whole. The outstanding artist and thinker left answers to these and other "eternal" questions, over which human consciousness has been struggling since ancient times, in his works, which today are perceived as a prophecy, a proclamation, as a gift and task of continuous improvement.

Appealing to Eternal Truth, Dostoevsky expresses his firm conviction that “people can be beautiful and happy without losing the ability to live on earth. I do not want and cannot believe that evil was the normal state of people. " In the new millennium, modern humanity still lives with the same future hopes. “And yet it’s so simple: one day, one hour, everything would be settled right away! - the writer asserts through the lips of the hero of his "fantastic story" "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man" (1877). - The main thing is to love others as yourself, this is the main thing, and that's all, absolutely nothing else is needed: you will immediately find how to get settled. And yet this is only an old truth, which has been repeated and read a billion times, but it has not got along well!" Expressed in an extremely simple and understandable form, the Christian ideal, commanded in the Gospel, to which Dostoevsky refers - "love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31) - in terms of the height of the spiritual task it is still unbearable, unattainable and unrivaled. The New Testament is eternally new and still belongs to the horizon of unearthly existence.

Exploring the spiritual nature of man and the state of society, the prophet writer anticipated the future in his discoveries. “In terms of the depth of his conception, in terms of the breadth of the tasks of the moral world he elaborates, this writer stands completely apart from us”, - wrote M. Ye. Saltykov-Shchedrin. “He not only recognizes the legitimacy of those interests that excite modern society, but even goes further, enters the field of foresight and presentiments, which are the goal of not direct, but distant searches of mankind”.

The writer's “foresight” and “foreboding” are confirmed by the movement of history. V.F. Pereverzev in his article dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the classic "Dostoevsky and the Revolution" (1921), he overturned the idea of the acute modernity of his work at that "moment of the great revolutionary shift, at the moment of the catastrophic destruction of the obsolete old world and the construction of a new one. <…> Dostoevsky is still a modern writer; modernity has not yet outlived those problems that are solved in the work of this writer. For us, talking about Dostoevsky still means talking about the most painful and deepest issues of our current life Read Dostoevsky, and you will understand a lot". Having experienced once again the "catastrophic destruction" of the established, we can today with good reason join this assessment.

The chaotic state of capitalist Russia in "our quick time", when traditional values and the very concepts of good and evil began to be measured by "an yardstick of short-sighted benefit", became blurred, relative, described in the novel "Demons" (1872): "... as if they jumped from the roots as if the floor had slipped out from under everyone's feet. " The writer found a solid support in this shaky world in the Orthodox faith with its ideals of sacrificial love for God and neighbor, "because Orthodoxy is everything." Dostoevsky puts this refined formula in his notebooks, keeping equally cherished thoughts: "Nations live with great feeling and great thought that illuminates everything from outside and inside, and not by mere stock exchange speculation and the price of the ruble"; “In Europe - the benefit, we have - the victim...”; "The Russian people are all in Orthodoxy and its idea." The writer saw in Orthodoxy not only dogma, but most importantly - a living feeling, living force. “Take a closer look at Orthodoxy”, Dostoevsky urged, “this is not only churchliness and ritualism, this is a living feeling that has turned among our people into one of those basic living forces without which nations cannot live. In Russian Christianity, there is really no mysticism at all, it has one love for mankind, one Christ's image - at least this is the main thing".

Formally ostentatious, semi-official piety, largely accepted at the present time, leads to the fact that God is left with "a dead image that is worshiped in churches on holidays, but which has no place in life". The writer reflected on this in his last novel "The Brothers Karamazov" (1881). The hero of the novel - pure in heart and thoughts Alyosha Karamazov - tries to follow the Gospel covenant "give everything and follow Me". In contrast to the pharisaic pseudo-followers of Christ, who are trying to profitably adapt God's covenants “for themselves”, Alyosha strives for the absolute ideal of the highest Truth: “I cannot give two rubles instead of “only”, and instead of“ follow Me ”go only to mass”...

Dostoevsky's ideological and artistic system as a whole was formed on the basis of his deeply religious worldview. The foundations of the Christian worldview and the moral development of the individual were originally laid in the traditions of family education. The Russian family had the now lost status of a "small church", where the house is a temple; hearth - altar; family life - piety; the ideal is love for God and neighbor; friendliness and understanding between children and households. Dostoevsky recalled: "...I came from a Russian and pious family... We in our family knew the Gospel, almost from the first year". The writer kept the earliest childhood experiences of a religious nature throughout his life. He remembered how, about three years old, he read a prayer with the guests: “I put all my hope, Lord, on Thee, Mother of God, keep me under my roof”, - by which he brought everyone into a state of joyful emotion; how in church his mother gave communion to him, two years old, and how "a dove flew from one window to another." Perhaps these first innermost impressions, caused by the Light and the Word (both are the names of God in the New Testament), contributed to the awakening in the child of a “new person, already conscious of himself and the world”.

Children's direct religiosity, reconciling faith with reason, was subsequently strengthened by conscious conviction. The writer's “notebook” contains a deeply pained confession: “Not as a boy, I believe in Christ and confess Him, but my hosanna has passed through a big furnace of doubts”.

In his own family, Dostoevsky was a gentle and caring father, a talented teacher and educator, attentive to all manifestations of a child's nature. He did everything "that could be done with labor and love, tireless work on children and with children, everything that could be achieved by reason, explanation, suggestion, patience, education and example". “The main pedagogy is the parental home”, the writer is sure. The basis of his educational doctrine was the religious and philosophical idea of man as the "crown of creation", of the uniqueness and inimitable value of each human person. Dostoevsky wrote about his first-born daughter Sonya to A.N. Maikov in May 1868: "This little three-month-old "creation", so poor, so tiny - for me there was already both a face and a character." In the essay "The Fantastic Speech of the President of the Court" (1877) we read: "...a child, even the smallest, also has already formed human dignity". This thesis received a deep psychological and socio-moral development in the writings of Dostoevsky long before the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), where the first article affirms the right of everyone to dignity from birth: “All people are born free and equal in their dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards each other in a spirit of brotherhood".

The specified declarative appeal to the world community still remains an unfulfilled good wish. Largely because commodity-money relations, calculation, selfish interest are placed at the forefront of human relationships, which in turn entails the substitution of false idols and soulless idols for God. Serving the “golden calf” inevitably leads to bestial attitudes like “swallow others before you are swallowed”, as a result - to spiritual and moral savagery and degeneration.

A modern reading of the novel The Brothers Karamazov - the writer's artistic and spiritual testament - shows that his disturbing premonitions come true with amazing accuracy. Here is one of the textual confirmations: “Has the the face of God and His truth? They have science, and in science only that which is subject to feelings. The spiritual world, the highest half of the human being is rejected altogether, expelled with a certain triumph, even with hatred. Proclaimed the world freedom, especially in recent times, and what do we see in this freedom of theirs: only one slavery and suicide! For the world says: “You have needs, and therefore satisfy them, for you have the same rights as those of the noblest and richest people. Do not be afraid to saturate them, but even multiply ”And what comes out of this right to multiply needs? The rich have solitude and spiritual suicide, while the poor have envy and murder, for they have given rights, but the means to satisfy their needs have not yet been indicated. <…> Where will this slave go if he is so used to satisfying his countless needs, which he himself invented? He is in solitude, and what does he care about the whole. And we have achieved that we have accumulated more things and less joy”.

Neither science nor social reforms are capable of taking man and society out of the corrosive state of universal solitude. The writer pointed out the impotence of rational, pragmatic approaches, their spiritual and moral inconsistency: “Never people, by any science and by any profit, will be able to harmlessly divide their property and their rights. Everything will be little for everyone, and everyone will grumble, envy and destroy each other. " Dostoevsky warned that preoccupation with material interests, the growth of individualism and the catastrophic disintegration of the personality with the loss of higher ideals and faith in God will lead humanity to anthropophagy (cannibalism).

The spiritual principle, the "spark of God" is paramount, which distinguishes a person from other creatures. At the same time, "you cannot become a man at once, but you have to stand out as a man." The writer rightly believed that intelligence alone is not enough for the formation of a personality, because "an educated person is not always an honest person and that science does not yet guarantee valor in a person." Moreover - "education sometimes gets along with such barbarism, with such cynicism that you feel cold."

Parents, mentors, teachers - all those who are entrusted with the education of young souls - need to constantly take care of self-education and self-discipline: "...a zealous father sometimes even must completely re-educate himself for his children". “We shouldn't boast over children, we are worse than them”, - the writer said. - And if we teach them something to make them better, then they make us better by our contact with them. They humanize our soul”. To fathers of families who “only bought off their debt and parental responsibilities with money, but thought that they had already done everything”, Dostoevsky reminds that “little children's souls require uninterrupted and tireless contact with your parental souls, demand that you be for them, so to speak, always spiritually on the mountain, as an object of love, great unhypocritical respect and wonderful imitation". The Brothers Karamazov expresses the cherished thought about the special, “still in the angelic rank”, the nature of the child: “Children, while children, up to seven years, for example, are terribly far from people: it’s like a completely different creature and with a different nature”. All this turns to the gospel commandment "Be like children". Christ tells his disciples: “If you do not turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18: 3).

The writer followed the religious and moral formation of his children and pointed out the enormous universal educational influence of the Holy Scriptures: “The Bible belongs to everyone, atheists and believers alike. This is the book of humanity. " On the threshold of being different, he read to children the New Testament parable of the prodigal son. And he died with the Gospel in his hands. The New Testament, escorting the writer into eternity, was revealed with the words of Christ: "Do not hold back, for in this way it is necessary for us to fulfill the great truth."

Dostoevsky's contemporaries retained the memories of his attitude not only to his own, but also to other people's children. Their fates constantly disturbed their minds and souls: “Children are a strange people. They dream and appear ”. Dostoevsky's Christian educational credo was embodied in many forms in letters, diaries, notes, journalism; the most profound development is in artistic creation, in all works without exception. It can be argued that the work of the writer as a whole is a kind of "religious and pedagogical poem."

So, "Adolescent" (1875) - fully "a novel of education." The main character, the young man Arkady Dolgoruky, who is entering life, is enslaved by the false idea of "becoming a Rothschild." He believes that "money is the only way that brings even nothingness to the fore." The drafts for “Teenager” describe the situation on the basis of which the ideas of criminal profit grow up: “The foundations of society have cracked under the revolution of reforms. The sea became muddy. The definitions and boundaries of good and evil have disappeared and are erased. <…> You can't live honestly today. " At the same time, according to the writer's conviction, "the basic moral treasures of the spirit, in their basic essence, at least do not depend on economic strength." The teenager is gradually freed from the manic goal of enrichment, achieved by any means. In the pursuit of a righteous life, "the restoration of the fallen man" takes place.

In "Adolescent" and "Diary of a Writer" Dostoevsky also investigated the problem of "decomposition of the family principle" and came to the conclusion that "the accident of the modern Russian family consists in the loss of modern fathers of any common idea in relation to their families, common to all fathers , connecting them with each other, in which they themselves would believe and would teach their children to believe so, would convey to them this faith in life. the very presence of this common idea connecting society and the family is already the beginning of order, that is, a moral order, of course, subject to change, progress, amendment, let's put it this way, but order. "

With the loss of a common idea and ideals, the harmony of the modern family is also undermined from within. The concepts: marriage, family, fatherhood, motherhood, childhood - are spiritually devastated, becoming only legal categories and terms of the Family and Civil Codes. Family relationships are often built not on an unshakable "stone" of the spiritual and moral foundation, but on the "sand" of a formal legal connection between the parties to a marriage contract, a civil contract, inheritance law, etc. If there is no deep spiritual support that holds the family hearth together, then the family inevitably becomes an unreliable, unstable, "random family" - according to Dostoevsky's definition.

"Sick" questions: "how, what with and who is to blame?"; how to end childhood suffering; how "to do something so that the child does not cry anymore" - are especially posed in the "Great Pentateuch" ("Crime and Punishment", "Idiot", "Demons", "Teenager", "The Brothers Karamazov"). Among the main ideas of the last novel there is a secret thought: the achievement of world harmony "is not worth a tear of at least one only of a tortured child".

According to the memoirs of the famous Russian lawyer, writer and public figure A.F. Horses, Dostoevsky “infinitely loved children and tried to protect them with his words and often deeds both from violence and from a bad example. But with children for a lawyer, apart from the sacred task of protecting them from violence and moral damage, is another of the most important and difficult questions - about the application of criminal punishment to them. " The famous lawyer strongly advised fellow lawyers to check their decisions with Dostoevsky: "... anyone who wants to thoughtfully subject children to punitive correction will more than once have to seek advice, explanations, teachings on the pages written by their friend and intercessor".

Visiting a colony of juvenile delinquents, Dostoevsky comes to the conclusion that it is precisely the "brutally indifferent" attitude of the state and society towards the younger generation that corrodes "all traces of humanity and citizenship" in young souls. The writer found “insufficient” in the arsenal of the legal system “the means for converting perverse souls into blameless ones”.

“If something protects society even in our time and even corrects the criminal himself and transforms into another person, then this is again the only law of Christ, which manifests itself in the consciousness of his own conscience,” Dostoevsky reflected in the novel The Brothers Karamazov. He expressed his aspirations through the mouth of the "Russian monk" Elder Zosima: "...if the whole society turned only to the church, then not only the court of the church would affect the correction of the criminal in a way that it never does now, but perhaps the very crimes would decrease by an incredible fraction. And the church, there is no doubt, would understand the future criminal and future crime in many cases completely differently than now, and would be able to return the excommunicated one, to warn the plotter and to revive the fallen one”.

The loss of faith in God and immortality, drowning out the voice of conscience, leads to the criminal theory "everything is allowed", to the power of the "elite" over the "anthill", "weak rebels" who will "become obedient" in the end. The “submissive flock” is not able to endure freedom, and hence the moral responsibility given by Christ, and will bring this freedom to the feet of the “chosen ones”. In the legend of Ivan Karamazov about the "Grand Inquisitor", this heir to the Roman Empire builds his power on "miracle, mystery, authority" - on everything that Christ rejected, overcoming devilish temptations. The Inquisitor still beckons people with the ideal of Christ: “...we will say that we are obedient to You and rule in Your name. We will deceive them again, for we will no longer let you in". In reality, the power has denied God and serves the oppositely directed force: “We are not with You, but with him, this is our secret! we took from him that which You indignantly rejected, that last gift that he offered You having shown you all the kingdoms of the earth: we took from him Rome and the sword of Caesar and declared ourselves only the kings of the earth, the kings of one".

It is the anti-Christian Roman law that underlies modern Russian legislation. Today, thoughtful scientists state the undeveloped axiological and anthropological approaches in law. According to the just judgment of modern jurists, “in legal science we are accustomed to dealing with direct“ measurements ”of legal phenomena: crime, delicacy, knowledge of law by the population, etc. <…> Our law is increasingly degenerating into pseudo-scientific legislation <…> Domestic law must change. Jurisprudence, built on Roman "enslaving" formulas, should acquire a new creative form in Russian legal psychologism, the spokesman for which was F.M. Dostoevsky. "The questions raised in the work of the classic - "about absolute law, about the relation of law to eternal values - to faith, Truth, justice" - cannot and should not remain on the margins of social and legal consciousness.

Modern Europe, according to Dostoevsky, followed the path of the "Grand Inquisitor": " many cases there are no churches there at all, and only churchmen and magnificent buildings of churches remained, while the churches themselves have long been striving there for a transition from a lower kind, like a church, into a higher form, as a state, in order to completely disappear in it. So, it seems, at least in the Lutheran lands. In Rome, for a thousand years, instead of the church, the state was proclaimed. "The church in the state is assigned" as if a certain corner, and even then under supervision - and this is everywhere in our time in modern European lands". The current Russian state-church relations are developing in the same direction.

The path of Orthodox Russia, according to Dostoevsky, should be different: “According to the Russian understanding and hope, it is necessary that the church should not be reborn into a state, as from a lower to a higher type, but, on the contrary, the state should end up in order to become the only church and nothing else ”.

In the discussion about the church and the state, Elder Zosima, despite the skepticism of his opponents ("this is, therefore, the realization of some ideal, infinitely distant, in the second coming. A wonderful utopian dream of the disappearance of wars, diplomats, banks, etc." ), expresses an undoubted faith in the transformation of life: “True, <…> now the Christian society is not yet ready itself and stands only on seven righteous men; but since they do not become scarce, it still remains unshakable, in anticipation of its complete transformation from society as an almost pagan union into a single universal and dominant church. This and be, be, even at the end of the ages, for this alone is destined to be accomplished! And there is no need to confuse yourself with times and seasons, for the mystery of times and seasons is in the wisdom of God, in His foreknowledge and in His love. And what, according to human calculation, can be very distant, then according to God's predestination, it may already be on the eve of its appearance, at the door".

One of the most important in the system of Dostoevsky's ideas is the thought about the personal moral responsibility of each for the state of his own soul and for the fate of the whole world: “... every person is to blame for everyone and for everything, in addition to his sins And it is truly true that when people understand, then the Kingdom of Heaven will come for them not in a dream, but in reality. " From the point of view of the writer, engaging in socio-political transformations before the Christian transformation of the human soul is the same as putting a cart in front of a horse: “To remake the world in a new way, it is necessary that people themselves mentally turn to another road. Before you really become every brother, brotherhood will not come".

To reproaches of utopianism, the writer replied that he was only "a realist in the highest sense". Everything comes true according to Dostoevsky. Life confirms the deep truth of his cherished ideas. The writer left behind extraordinary and not easy to fulfill covenants: not to allow "to overthrow that faith, that religion, from which came the moral foundations that made Russia holy and great"; “To enter the struggle” with “terrible impressions”, “gloomy pictures”, “eradicate them and plant new ones” - “pure, holy and beautiful”. Over the past time, the importance of these tasks has not diminished in the least.

The writer's experience in the religious-philosophical, socio-psychological, ethical-aesthetic comprehension of the problems of being - "Thirst for truth and law", as Dostoevsky formulated, - still requires serious development and can play an invaluable role in the spiritual and moral development of our compatriots, if they will stop being like the biblical Jews who persecuted "the prophets in their homeland".

Alla Anatolyevna Novikova-Stroganova - Doctor of Philology, Professor, member of the Writers' Union of Russia (Moscow), literary historian.