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Tragedy exists so man can watch man self-destruct so that he does not have to.

During life, man is both an actor and a spectator.
Theatre and plays remove the necessity for man’s participation,
rending him above all
the spectator.

With literature, with the written text,
man does not get off so lightly.
He is required to act; compose; rearticulate to himself
the written word,
as he simultaneously sits back and watches any and all
masquerades unfold.

 

The comic is always aware of the tragic,
otherwise how would it remember its own name?
Take it as seriously as stone
before you let it skip Christ-like; unnaturally.

At the end it’s always been about the same thing.
That’s why the end doesn’t matter.
And you still can’t wait to get there.

Keep checking your phone.
Pretend it’s for time.
Pretend you miss the ringing in your ears.
Pretend to be personable
—to be able to person.

 

Paradoxical Dostoevsky by Gary Saul Morson

If Dostoevsky has ever flashed through your mind as an interest, I highly recommend giving the article Paradoxical Dostoevsky by Gary Saul Morson; one of the most eloquent and illustrative pieces I have read written about Dostoevsky. And for my own purposes, it creates a phenomenal stepping stone for comparing Dostoevsky and Nietzsche in a new and playful manner.

To any reader of Dostoevsky’s the presence of paradox is difficult to miss. As Morson notes, a great deal of the time Dostoevsky will narrate what happens by articulating what does not happen, or by listing all the potential possibilities because he himself had not planned how the story would end, so he set himself up for as many possibilities as he could.

It’s almost as though Dostoevsky was playing chess with language whenever he wrote. At the beginning of the text/game, there are many potential moves, and as good chess players know, it’s important to go through all of these potential moves in one’s mind in order to be prepared for whatever your opponent offers. And in this case, Dostoevsky is merely playing chess against himself.

The paradoxes in Dostoevsky are the diving board from which Nietzsche will dive into the abyss, only to find that Dostoevsky is already down there. (Morson even relates the notion of eternal recurrence to Dostoevsky) The humor in Dostoevsky is not as easily found as it is in Nietzsche (although the laughter and pity in Nietzsche have been overlooked until recently). Whether or not it has to do with translations and differing cultural humor is unclear, but if anything the paradoxes should be the first to send the reader into a chuckle.

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