Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The House of the Dead

"There are people who are like tigers thirsting for blood. Anyone who has experienced this power, this unlimited mastery of the body, blood, and soul of a fellow man made from the same clay as himself, a brother in the law of Christ- anyone who has experienced the power and full license to inflict the greatest humiliation upon another creature made in the image of God will unconsciously lose the mastery of his own sensation.

Tyranny is a habit; it may develop, and it does develop at last, into a disease. I maintain that the very best of men may be coarsened and hardened into a brute by habit. Blood and power intoxicate; coarseness and depravity are developed; the mind and the heart are tolerant of the most abnormal things, till at last they come to relish them.

The man and the citizen is lost for ever in the tyrant, and the return to human dignity, to repentance and regeneration becomes almost impossible. Moreover, the example, the possibility of such despotism, has a pervading influence on the whole of society; such power is a temptation. Society, which looks indifferently on such a phenomenon, is already contaminated to its foundations."
Fyodor Dostoyevsky in "The House Of The Dead"


BDR said...


zencomix said...

Got half those links from you, I think.

Cirze said...

In his The Brothers K the "Grand Inquisitor" scene also speaks to this phenomenon perfectly.

Dostoyevski was concerned with the political power that had gone wild during his lifetime (among many other issues).