Saturday 23 April 2016

#149 The Grand Inquisitor

The Brothers Karamazov is a philosophical and moral drama written in 1880 by, I think, a Russian named Fyordor Dostoyovski. I may have spelled that incorrectly.

I am not in the habit of reading fiction, let alone a book penned so long ago. The sequence of events that led me to finding it however seems anything but unlikely.

The story of my friendship with the Brazilian girl, my conversations with the Turkish paragliding instructor and the days I spent in south west London with a woman, who also happened to be Turkish, are well recorded in this blog. An outcome from that chain of interactions was that I discovered the Indian mystic Rajneesh, a man whose discourses I enjoy from time to time.

It would probably irritate me if my interest in a particular philosopher were misinterpreted as an indication that I believed in their views. Indeed, I have enjoyed stories from The Bible as much as the lectures of Shelly Kagan or the celebrity Dan Dennett, though they might seem at odds with each other.

An element of what fascinates me about Rajneesh is that he was relatively well read and would often compare a religious viewpoint with that of an alternative religion or an atheist perspective without leaning toward any one belief system. It seemed likely therefore that were he to find any one book remarkable then it would be something of an apex in literature. Indeed this is true of The Brothers Karamazov, which I recently heard him mention and decided to read.

For all I know, it's on the reading list of every GCSE philosophy candidate and sits on many a UK bookshelf. I'm not sure and am perhaps glad that I found my own way to it. I'm enjoying it so far.

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