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random nonsense at 30,000ft

January 22, 2012

Somewhere between Seattle and Detroit, after being slightly delayed due to some poorly distributed oysters in the lower-half of our plane that were destined for Boston, I finally finished Dostoyevsky’s final novel, The Brothers Karamazov. As soon as I’d read the last words, I felt at once both joy and melancholy, something quite typical for me after reading any of his works—works that seem to touch the very core of my humanity, and unleash all the contradictory thoughts and feelings that lay buried within my soul. But this work, in particular, dug so deep as to make me want to sing a ‘hymn’ rivaling that of Mitya himself. And at Alyosha’s touching and heartfelt words to Ilyusha’s schoolmates, I wanted to, for at least a moment, hug someone, anyone, out of the insufferable miasma of joy and sorrow and camaraderie and emotions indescribable that I felt; just because I could, because they were simply there and a part of the same wonderful and terrible world as I. And this shouldn’t be at all surprising, because even a wretch such as myself, who most of the time despises the world and the people in it for their inevitable faults and sins, or even for no reason at all, can feel the warmest and sincerest of feelings towards all of humanity, even if only for the blink of an eye. Especially when looking at humanity in the abstract, from an intimate distance (if that’s possible); but particularly when their multitude of failings, their collective sufferings and torments, become my own, and I see these contemptible and pitiable creatures not as separate individuals, but as myself. And their joys and accomplishments, too, I see as my own, being swept away with delight and reveling in our collective happiness. If only for a moment, it’s as if I can truly love, and am loved in return.

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