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Demons Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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Demons Quotes Showing 1-30 of 422
“If you want to overcome the whole world, overcome yourself.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“There are seconds, they come only five or six at a time, and you suddenly feel the presence of eternal harmony, fully achieved. It is nothing earthly; not that it's heavenly, but man cannot endure it in his earthly state. One must change physically or die. The feeling is clear and indisputable. As if you suddenly sense the whole of nature and suddenly say: yes, this is true. God, when he was creating the world, said at the end of each day of creation: 'Yes, this is true, this is good.' This . . . this is not tenderheartedness, but simply joy. You don't forgive anything, because there is no longer anything to forgive. You don't really love — oh, what is here is higher than love! What's most frightening is that it's so terribly clear, and there's such joy. If it were longer than five seconds — the soul couldn't endure it and would vanish. In those five seconds I live my life through, and for them I would give my whole life, because it's worth it. To endure ten seconds one would have to change physically . . . .”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“In sinning, each man sins against all, and each man is at least partly guilty for another's sin. There is no isolated sin.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“God is necessary, and therefore must exist...But I know that he does not and cannot exist...Don't you understand that a man with these two thoughts cannot go on living?”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“My friend, the truth is always implausible, did you know that? To make the truth more plausible, it's absolutely necessary to mix a bit of falsehood with it. People have always done so.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“I do not wish you much happiness--it would bore you; I do not wish you trouble either; but, following the people's philosophy, I will simply repeat: 'Live more' and try somehow not to be too bored; this useless wish I am adding on my own.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“God is the pain of the fear of death”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Demons
“You cannot imagine what sorrow and anger seize one's whole soul when a great idea, which one has long and piously revered, is picked up by some bunglers and dragged into the street, to more fools like themselves, and one suddenly meets it in the flea market, unrecognizable, dirty, askew, absurdly presented, without proportion, without harmony, a toy for stupid children.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Demons
“One must be a great man indeed to be able to hold out even against common sense."
"Or else a fool.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“Do you believe in a future everlasting life?

No, not in a future everlasting but in an everlasting life here. There are moments, you reach moments, and time comes to a sudden stop, and it will become eternal.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Demons
“It must be true that the whole second half of a man's life is most often made up only of habits accumulated during the first half.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“Man is unhappy because he doesn't know he's happy; only because of that. It's everything, everything, Whoever learns will at once immediately become happy, that same moment...
"And when did you find out that you were so happy?"
"Last week, on Tuesday, no, Wednesday, because it was Wednesday by then, in the night."
"And what was the occasion?"
"I don't remember, just so; I was pacing the room...it makes no difference. I stopped my clock, it was two thirty-seven."
"As an emblem that time should stop?"
Kirillov did not reply.
"They're not good," he suddenly began again, "because they don't know they're good. When they find out, they won't violate the girl. They must find out that they're good, then they'll all become good at once, all, to a man.
"Well, you did find out, so you must be good?"
"I am good."
"With that I agree, incidentally," Stavrogin muttered frowningly.
"He who teaches that all are good, will end the world."
"He who taught it was crucified."
"He will come, and his name is the man-god."
"The God-man?"
"The man-god--that's the whole difference."
"Can it be you who lights the icon lamp?"
"Yes, I lit it."
"You've become a believer?"
"The old woman likes the icon lamp...she's busy today," Kirillov muttered.
"But you don't pray yet?"
"I pray to everything. See, there's a spider crawling on the wall, I look and am thankful to it for crawling."
His eyes lit up again. He kept looking straight at Stavrogin, his gaze firm and unflinching. Stavrogin watched him frowningly and squeamishly, but there was no mockery in his eyes.
"I bet when I come the next time you'll already believe in God," he said, getting up and grabbing his hat.
"Why?" Kirillov also rose.
"If you found out that you believe in God, you would believe; but since you don't know yet that you believe in God, you don't believe," Nikolai Vsevolodovich grinned.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“Full freedom will come only when it makes no difference whether to live or not to live. That’s the goal for everyone.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“People who can speak well, speak briefly.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Possessed
“Marriage is the moral death of every proud soul, of all independence.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Devils
“Man is unhappy because he doesn't know he's happy; only because of that.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“My friends, God is necessary for me if only because he is the one being who can be loved eternally.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“One cannot love what one does not know.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“So, according to you, the other God does exist after all?'
'He doesn't exist, but He is. There's no pain in a stone, but there's pain in the fear of a stone.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Demons
“I got entangled in my own data, and my conclusion directly contradicts the original idea from which I start. Starting from unlimited freedom, I conclude with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that apart from my solution of the social formula, there can be no other.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“if Stavrogin believes, he does not believe that he believes. And if he does not believe, he does not believe that he does not believe.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“My friend, I've been lying all my life. Even when I was telling the truth. I never spoke for the truth, but only for myself, I knew that before, but only now do I see...Oh, where are those friends whom I have insulted with my friendship all my life? And everyone, everyone! Savez-vous, perhaps I'm lying now; certainly I'm also lying now. The worst of it is that I believe myself when I lie. The most difficult thing in life is to live and not lie...and...and not believe one's own lie, yes, yes, that's precisely it!”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“All my life I did not want it to be only words. This is why I lived, because I kept not wanting it. And now, too, every day I want it not to be words.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“Listen," Kirillov stopped, gazing before him with fixed, ecstatic eyes. "Listen to a big idea: There was one day on earth, and in the middle of the earth stood three crosses. One on a cross believed so much that he said to another: 'This day you will be with me in paradise.' They day ended, they both died, went, and did not find either paradise or resurrection. What had been said would not prove true. Listen: this man was the highest on all the earth, he constituted what it was to live for. Without this man the whole planet with everything on it is--madness only. There has not been one like Him before or since, not ever, even to the point of miracle. This is the miracle, that there has not been and never will be such a one. And if so, if the laws of nature did not pity even This One, did not pity even their own miracle, but made Him, too, live amidst a lie and die for a lie, then the whole planet is a lie, and stands upon a lie and a stupid mockery. Then the very laws of the planet are a lie and a devil's vaudeville. Why live then, answer me, if you're a man.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“If there is God, then the will is all his, and I cannot get out of his will. If not, the will is all mine, and it is my duty to proclaim self-will."
"Self-will? And why is it your duty?"
"Because the will has all become mine. Can it be that no one on the whole planet, having ended God and believed in self-will, dares to proclaim self-will to the fullest point? It's as if a poor man received an inheritance, got scared, and doesn't dare go near the bag, thinking he's too weak to own it. I want to proclaim self-will. I may be the only one, but I'll do it.
"Do it, then."
"It is my duty to shoot myself because the fullest point of my self-will is--for me to kill myself...to kill someone else would be the lowest point of my self-will, and there's the whole of you in that. I am not you: I want the highest point, and will kill myself...It is my duty to proclaim unbelief," Kirillow was pacing the room. "For me no idea is higher than that there is no God. The history of mankind is on my side. Man has done nothing but invent God, so as to live without killing himself; in that lies the whole of world history up to now. I alone for the first time in world history did not want to invent God. Let them know once and for all.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“Because reading books and having them bound represent two enormously different stages of development. First, people gradually get used to reading, over centuries naturally, but they don't take care of their books and toss them around. Having books bound signifies respect for the book; it indicates that people not only love to read, but they view it an important occupation. Nowhere in Russia has that stage been reached. Europe has been binding its books for sometime.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“Each man cannot judge except by himself," he said, blushing. "There will be entire freedom when it makes no difference whether one lives or does not live. That is the goal to everything."
"The goal? But then perhaps no one will even want to live?"
"No one," he said resolutely.
"Man is afraid of death because he loves life, that's how I understand it," I observed, "and that is what nature tells us."
"That is base, that is the whole deceit!" his eyes began to flash. "Life is pain, life is fear, and man is unhappy. Now all is pain and fear. Now man loves life because he loves pain and fear. That's how they've made it. Life now is given in exchange for pain and fear, and that is the whole deceit. Man now is not yet the right man. There will be a new man, happy and proud. He for whom it will make no difference whether he lives or does not live, he will be the new man. He who overcomes pain and fear will himself be God. And this God will not be.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“mankind can still continue to live without the Englishman, can continue without Germany, can continue all too well without the Russian, can continue without science, can continue without bread — it is only without beauty that we cannot continue, for there will be nothing at all to do in the world! That’s where the whole secret lies, that’s where the whole of history lies! Science itself would not last a minute without beauty —”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“Have you seen a leaf, a leaf from a tree?"
"I have. "
"I saw one recently, a yellow one, with some green,decayed on the edges. Blown about by the wind. When I was 10 years old, I'd close my eyes on purpose, in winter, and imagine a leaf – green, bright, with veins, and the sun shining. I'd open my eyes and not believe it, because it was so good, then I'd close them again. "
"What's that, an allegory?"
"N-no... Why? Not an allegory, simply a leaf, one leaf. A leaf is good. Everything is good."
"Everything? "
"Everything. Man is unhappy because he doesn't know he's happy; only because of that. It's everything, everything! Whoever learns will at once immediately become happy, that same moment. This mother-in-law will die and the girl won't remain – everything is good. I discovered suddenly. "
"And if someone dies of hunger, or someone offends and dishonors the girl – is that good? "
"Good. And if someone's head get smashed in for the child's sake, that's good, too; and if it doesn't get smashed in, that's good, too. Everything is good, everything. For all those who know that everything is good. If they knew it was good with them, it would be good with them, but as long as they don't know it's good with them, it will not be good with them. That's the whole thought, the whole, there isn't any more! "
"And when did you find out that you were so happy? "
"Last week, on Tuesday, no, Wednesday, because it was Wednesday by then, in the night. ”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons
“And a real, undoubted grief is sometimes capable of making a solid and steadfast man even out of a phenomenally light-minded one, if only for a short time; moreover, real and true grief has sometimes even made fools more intelligent, also only for a time, of course; grief has this property.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons

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