Make us your slaves, but feed us. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Big Dog and others, Thanks for your post on the Terminator Gene technology. I started a new post because I didn't want know what would happen adding to a post with that spam on the bottom. Chapter 5, The Grand Inquisitor

THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, 1879

[The Grand Inquistor, taking to Christ, who has been turned over to the Spanish Inquisition by "the masses." The "we" are the brotherhood of the inquisition. ]

Thou know that the ages will pass, and humanity will proclaim by the lips of their sages that there is no crime, and therefore no sin; there is only hunger? "Feed men, and then ask of them virtue!" that's what they'll write on the banner, which they will raise against Thee, and with which they will destroy Thy temple. Where Thy temple stood will rise a new building; the terrible tower of Babel will be built again, and though, like the one of old, it will not be finished, yet Thou mightest have prevented that new tower and have cut short the sufferings of men for a thousand years; for they will come back to us after a thousand years of agony with their tower. They will seek us again, hidden underground in the catacombs, for we shall be again persecuted and tortured. They will find us and cry to us, "Feed us, for those who have promised us fire from heaven haven't given it!" And then we shall finish building their tower, for he finishes the building who feeds them. And we alone shall feed them in Thy name, declaring falsely that it is in Thy name. Oh, never, never can they feed themselves without us! No science will give them bread so long as they remain free.

In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet, and say to us, "Make us your slaves, but feed us." They will understand themselves, at last, that freedom and bread enough for all are inconceivable together, for never, never will they be able to share between them! They will be convinced, too, that they can never be free, for they are weak, vicious, worthless, and rebellious. Thou didst promise them the bread of Heaven, but, I repeat again, can it compare with earthly bread in the eyes of the weak, ever sinful and ignoble race of man? And if for the sake of the bread of Heaven thousands shall follow Thee, what is to become of the millions and tens of thousands of millions of creatures who will not have the strength to forego the earthly bread for the sake of the heavenly? Or dost Thou care only for the tens of thousands of the great and strong, while the millions, numerous as the sands of the sea, who are weak but love Thee, must exist only for the sake of the great and strong? No, we care for the weak too.

[This was written as a story within a story by the nihilistic brother in the Dostoevsky novel.]

-- Alexi (, April 19, 1999


To my mind, the Brothers K is THE greatest novel ever written. I keep intending to re-read it in the new-ish English translation, which is said to be excellent. It affords, BTW, a wonderful understanding of the Russian mind and spirit at its best AND worst through the plot and characters, quite as applicable more than a century later.

Ivan's declaration that it is possible to love mankind in the abstract (while hating individuals) or in the concrete (while being dead to the concept of mankind) but not both simultaneously is quite true.

It is a very modern thought that hunger is itself wicked and criminal. Until the twentieth-century, folks took it for granted that bodily hunger was more-or-less a broad fact of earthly life, to be ameliorated wherever possible by industry and charity, but not legislated or, as it were, countermanded by government decrees.

In our Western world of over-full bellies (it's not two chickens in every pot, but a hundred), the spiritual hunger and desperation is excruciating.

While common sense would say it doesn't have to be either-or, human history is not reassuring to this date ....

-- BigDog (, April 19, 1999.

Incredibly rich food for thought. Anybody read 'The Idiot' by Dostoevsky? Powerful book.

-- Leska (, April 19, 1999.

Greatest novel ever written...?


-- Mr. Decker (, April 19, 1999.

Mr. Decker: you're surprised? It's certainly within the realm of reason (your, uh, favorite criteria I thought)? Your recommendation? The Great Gatsby ;-) ??

Leska -- The Idiot also awesome but not as fully realized, IMO, as Brothers K.

-- BigDog (, April 19, 1999.

Leska --- "incredibly rich food for thought"?? groan .......

-- BigDog (, April 19, 1999.

From The Brothers K: "If there is no God, everything is permissible."

Read this article about those who think child molestation can be a "positive" experience to see this concept in action:

-- rick blaine (, April 19, 1999.

BigDog, yeah, it was intended  ;-)  Man does not live by bread alone ...  The BroK quote above is *very* much pickaxing the roots of weakness in life today.  When we say we'd rather starve in our own sanctuary than be herded in a shelter, some say that is suicide  -- but we feel it is going out in Christ and keeping our physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual dignity.  I can imagine Infomagic posting using that quote ...

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxx

-- Leska (, April 19, 1999.


The Idiot also awesome but not as fully realized, IMO, as Brothers K

How do you mean? I read Brothers K. last year. Just by coincidence, I had decided last night that I would pickup "The Idiot" today. I'm curious -- what did you think of "The Idiot"?

-- Codejockey (, April 19, 1999.

Uh-oh, having not read the Idiot for, gulp, 29 years, I'm functioning on fumes. Definitely worth reading, go for it. I just meant the "canvas" is not quite so large, in terms of plot, character and theme. Boy, this thread is majorly encouraging me to get back to some Dostoevsky. Leska, help!

(Side note to others: lay in a supply of really good books for your family and your children for post-Y2K reading ..... the ones that have some meat on the ribs).

.... I thought I might get flamed on this thread AS an idiot.

-- BigDog (, April 19, 1999.

Codejockey, I read 'The Idiot' when I was 13 and it changed my life.
It points out so many pitfalls that "everybody else" has just accepted and adopted as "normal" in life. My impressions would be different now that I'm much older and thus not as fresh and pure in vigor or perception as at 13. But it let me know then that it was OK with God to not buy into the "norm."
Suffice it to say that it made me proud to wear the label of "Village and Forum Idiot."
Read it! More than worth it, IMHO, to retool the thinking process for Y2K. Now, I've got to buy 'Ishmael' as so many here have recommended it and we just met a girl whose eyes are glowing and animated as she talks about how much 'Ishmael' has changed her perceptions and way of living ...

BigDog, I tried to read BroK just after The Idiot and did not finish BroK, my mind was too tenderly bruised already, so maybe soon will be the time to try again. Thanks for the recommendation! Thanks for the post, Alexi  :^)

xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx

-- Leska (, April 19, 1999.

Thanks for the reminder of more important books to add to my Y2k Library. Was always going to read everything "someday". Didn't quite plan on it being by candlelight or kerosene lantern tho.

-- sue (, April 19, 1999.

I can see it now:

Dec. 30th I check out a few dozen books from the library to read by candle/kero-lamp light. A few days later the library computer thinks all books are 99+ years past due, sends me a bill for $9 million. But, thankfully, the Post Office can't deliver the bill for seven years due to computer glitches!

-- rick blaine (, April 19, 1999.

IDIotS!!!!!! HoW DuLL arE YoU Not to knOW THaT THe grEATesT NovEL evER WRittEN IS aLFreD HITChcoCK's thREE inVEStigATorS In "thE SECreT Of tERrOr CAsTLe"!!!!!! SucH LIterARy geNIouS Has NEver BeEn maTCHed, beFORe oR SInce!!!!!! DuLLard HYenAS!!!!! ReaD And bE AMazED By thE ADventURes oF jupITEr, pETe, ANd BOb!!!!!! jacKAls!!!!!

-- Dieter (, April 19, 1999.

Sorry, Dieter,..but I'm not sure it's possible to say "the greatest novel ever written". My significant other constantly wants me to tell me if the trumpet is better than the french horn...or if this book is better than that book. I really reject such dualisms...But I add to the list: Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five, and George Orwell's, 1984, and Island. I have more but I'll restrain myself.

Bad, good, better, and best is what has made the planet Earth the cesspool of violence that it has been for the last 5000 years....It's way past time to stop the dualism, Lovelies.

-- Donna Barthuley (, April 19, 1999.

Hey, if having an opinion about the world's best novel is "dualistic", whatever that means in this contdxt, then count me in .......

-- BigDog (, April 19, 1999.

Animal Farm!

-- R. Wright (, April 20, 1999.

Just last night got to the passage in Karamazov where the old monk relates the story of his older brother's death, and of how before dying he realized that 'paradise is all around us, if only we'd see it. Why don't we see that we are all responsible for one another..." and similar wonderfulisms. He is accepted in saying these things, being on death's door. Prince Mishkin, the protag in 'The Idiot,' in trying to make his way in the world as a naif, an innocent, finds only rejection. Wish I could write more--maybe we should start a 'post-Y2K book club...'

-- Spidey (in@jam.commie), April 20, 1999.

"The Idiot" gets my vote as favorite. I also loved "Crime and Punishment" by Dostoevski.

Victor Hugo's "The Laughing Man," is one of my favorites.

I retired from my book store 3 years ago, and brought much of the stock home with me. My all time favorite American authors are Mark Twain and Edward Abbey. Abbey's "Desert Solitaire" is a must read. I also love "The Monkey Wrench Gang." They're making a movie of it with Woody Harrelson.

"When a dog howls at the moon, we call it religion. When he barks at strangers, we call it patriotism." Abbey

Twain's "Letters from Earth" and "Huckleberry Finn" are my favorites. I felt the same about church as Huck..

I belong to a book club, called The Gang of Six, a satirical name from the book of the same name. We have a great time. Our favorite game is name that book. Recently we read, or reread the following as a companion discussion to Y2K; all are about nuclear holocausts. "The Last Ship" by David Brinkley, "Malevil," by author of "Day of the Dolphin." (having a senior moment here) "A Gift Upon the Shore" by M.K. Wren, and finally "Alas Babylon" by Pat Frank. It took four meetings to get through all the babble, discussion, and roaring opinions. Great fun! We analyzed all their mistakes--easy when not involved. ha

Our conclusion was that readers are more concerned about, or aware of Y2K than nonreaders.

-- gilda jessie (, April 20, 1999.

Maybe it's just state of mind. Of all the books I've read, I think C.S. Lewis's "Perelandra" and Robert Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" are two of my favorites. Both, of course, deal with a thoughtful stranger -- in a strange land. Which sums up planet earth, if you ask me. :-)

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (, April 21, 1999.

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