Principal Myshkin - Idiot
"What God hid from wise men and rationals, revealed to the babies..."
Lev Nikolajevic Myshkin belongs between most beautiful and complex characters in Dostojevsky ´ novels. Prube´ stone of geniality was to securely, consequently and livelily create wonderful human being: child and even deep thinker; feeble, humbly retreating - and in addition full of enthusiasm and great feelings; who was loved by people of pure heart, who´s scorned by people of "practical" reason. Dostojevsky passed this examination in way, which is worthy of master. On probable argument, which is as accustomed as cheap, that anyone can lay it, namely argument, that in real life is such Myshkin impossible, I answer with words of Dostojevsky himself:
"Writers are at their tales and novels in most parts trying to select types from society, and to draw them figuratively and artistically - types, which generally are through reality sporadical, and which are though nearly more real than reality self. And so leaving from making next and serious elaborations we just say, that in real charactericity of persons dilutes somehow in water, and all those Myshkins and all those Ivolgins (Originally Dundins and Podkolhecins) really exist, swarming and walking on our eyes every day, but somehow in diluted state."
Studying personality of principal Myshkin is made much difficultier with that Lev Nikolajevic is an epileptic. His illness could lead psychologist or medician to throw himself on some diagnosis, and so would revealed most beuatiful sites of Myshkin´ spirit in pathological perspective, and finally added few general thoughts biological, if not directly eugenically educative. Poor principal would appeared here as individual subordinate, thoughtlessly begeted by parents troubled, in subjects of medicine and eugenics insuficiently instructed.
This way but I don't mean to walk. Medicinal and eugenical page of thing is for me totally ignorable. I'm not interested if and how someone is going to explain biologically this or that movement of this big and beautiful spirit. Biological psychology has two endings: it can easily serve to kindness and forgiveness to unhappy sinners as for absolute negation and destruction of all values of morality. In first case system of "punishments" could be well replaced by configuration of "comunity protection", what is at the end only conflict of terms. However, in second case it leads directly to moral nihilism, because human doings turn itself into functions of animal goods, as blood circulation or disgestion.
And it's not Truth. Because principal Myshkin - although an epileptic - feels both happiness and pain for his doings, eo ipso he feels responsibility. And this reality, which we all are feeling, desintegrates circle of determinism, row of mechanically connected effects and causes. Here is internal being - myself - which judges its doings and suffers or rejoice with its responsibility for them. Without this general, and all arguments or proofs passing by reality, would turned life into sandy desert without hope and without consolation.
So, for what was epilepsy and idiotism necessary in Myshkin´
case? For this question, before all, I'm answering, that in this season, when we watch principal, namely his recovery in Switzers until eclipse of his spirit forever - that in this season is no mark of idiotism in thoughts of principal Myshkin. Oppositely it's evident for anyone, who reads carefuly, that almost always, when someones mouth spells word "idiot" - it reveals mostly real "idiocy" of such, who did tell that, namely his inability to recognize and estimate humanly internal level and beauty - or his nonthinking, darkened wreath. By todays level of human crowd anyone has chance to be called idiot, who's morally clear, unhackneyed and truly humanial human. Although two real seizures (by murderly raising of Rogozhin and after breaking chinese vase in Jepanchins house) show excitation, pathologically enlightened imaginations and even moment, which appears "to be highest harmony and beauty, and proffers yet unheard and unforboded feelings of fullness, temper, reconciliation and devout joint with highest synthesis of life" - but doesn't leave any track of confusion; memory and selfconscience are returning and after-seizure life continues there, where it was terminated by seizure.
However Myshkins epilepsy has big and extensive sense: lifes twenty one years had principal spent covered by darkness of idiotism. Then first - in Switzern - they uncovered this veil and he stept into life, man by body, spiritually child. It feels to me like if after centuries they carefuly take down roughcast and they bring to light immaculate frescos, protected by just such layer against evil of winds and times. Myshkin steps on scene of life unspoiled, armed with purity of child - purity of god. Immediately by first visit to Jepanchins narrates Lev Nikolajevich how he was chastised by his medic and lector Schneider in Switzers for his friendship with children and tells: "Finally Schneider told me one very strange of his ideas - it was already before my departure; he told me, that he's absolutely convinced, that I'm perfect child myself, it means absolutely child, and that only by figure and face I am similar to adult, but evolution, spirit, character, and maybe even with reason I'm not an adult and that it stays so, even if I lived until sixties of mine. I laughed to that much, cause he was not right; or'm I child?"
Child in correct sense of word Myshkin hasn't stood. His love to Agtaja, his painful sympathy to Nastasia Filipovna, his relation to Rogozhin, manner, how he's doing with general Ivolgin (e. g. after accident of stolen money) and also his relation to Hipolytus - that all and much of another shows L. N. Myshkin as man, who is extraordinary, deep soul. For the place of many citations I would introduced from fourth part (chap. V.) way, how on (childish and vain) question of Hipolyt principal answers.
Hipolyt says ".... So, well, tell me yourself; so, how by your opinion I should die in best way? .... To make it look as far .... most virtuously, most decently so far? So speak!"
Principal responds with silent voice: "Pass by ourselves and forgive us our happiness!" --
By the way what principal narrates about death punishment - about last moments of hangman, that agrees with deep and mature spirit. An opinion occured, that Dostojevsky somehow violently introduced into narration on Myshkin his own impressions - maybe to interwine it to drawing, to use them. But I think, that it's reproof ilegitimate. It could be really doubt on correctness of Schneiders acting, if he would allowed his pupil to see such horrible thing. Maybe it was an experiment, maybe plan to obtain rash reaction of spirit, yet not completely awake. Toward that it's clear I guess, that consciousness as sensitive and heart as opened for ones suffering had to live deeply through scene of lyonese execution, especially when reflection was magnified by narration of condemned, who at last moments before execution recieved amnesty. That is really own experience of Dostojevsky. But in fact, that principal with excitation narrates reflections, his own or token from condemned, that it again and again almost obsesses his mind, so that he speak of that for first meeting with anyone -- I don't see nothing inatural nor violent. Opositely, it introduces us to characteristic of principal, which at next stage evolves with great psychological consistency. Emotional oscillations, which "are missing its limits", really lunatic distortions of sympathy and selfacusations (feeling of accomplishion) - that is principals size and curse.
....... next 5 pages maybe in future.......