Literature

Inside the Mind of the Nihilist

In Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan, the erudite and tormented atheist, seeks to mock and demolish the faith of his younger brother Alyosha, the pious monk and Christian idealist. Ivan, on considering the prospect of a socially harmonious future for humanity, rejects the idea with cold, intellectual detachment. Such detachment is born of a deep awareness of history and human suffering, and that no matter what the future holds, he cannot consent to it if the price to be paid is the mere tear of one child. For him a materially affluent and socially equitable society organised around the…

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