The Grand Inquisitor, and How We Manage Our Insufficiency
Good morning and good Easter Sunday, to all who celebrate.
I had thought today to write a deep reflection on one of our most urgent struggles as a species: to live well even as we recognize the unjust parameters in which our efforts to live well always play out. There were plenty of recent events I could have drawn from, too: in the US, in Israel, in Ukraine, and a hundred other sites of pressing local crisis. And I was going to tie such a reflection into Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, of course, so that I could also tangentially promote Children of Doro, which will be releasing on May 4 in eBook and paperback via Amazon.
But then I realized that it would maybe be as fruitful, if not more, simply to share part of The Brothers Karamazov instead. And so, for a bonus episode blending my newsletter and BookTube versions of Better Worlds Theory, please enjoy my reading of “The Grand Inquisitor”: one of the most famous passages of the whole philosophical work, which expressly tackles the above theme.
The video below starts with preliminary discussion about the context of this reading, including a brief overview of The Brothers Karamazov and the Biblical story wrestled with in this conversation between Ivan and Alyosha. I also make some connections with my own novel, Children of Doro, and offer a note about choice of translation.
You can also leap ahead to 11:55 to enjoy the reading on its own. (Only a few very small trip-ups for a single, one-hour take! And so much clarity in the background.)
Happy listening, if you do.
Be well, be kind, and seek justice where you can.