100 amazing Fyodor Dostoevsky quotes full of wisdom

He is one of the most famous Russian writers and the quality of his books has inspired generations. 100 amazing Dostoevsky quotes.

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Dostoevsky
Dostoevsky

Dostoevsky quotes reflect not only his literary quality but also his thoughts on human life. They are quotes where suffering, love, death and the human condition are always present. Fyodor Mikhailevich Dostoevsky (1821-1881) was born on October 30, 1821, in one of the worst neighborhoods of Moscow. His childhood home was flanked by filthy streets, which also housed a criminal cemetery, an insane asylum, and an orphanage for unwanted children. Dostoevsky’s father taught the child that these economic hardships were laden onto him by God. As he studied his Bible, it was the story of Job that was most resonant for young Fyodor. As he of a man who endured tribulations to demonstrate his faith in God, Fyodor saw his own father’s teachings reflected. Dostoevsky quotes make us think, reflect, and even feel some bitterness about life.

 

Dostoevsky quotes

 

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart.

“But to fall in love does not mean to love. One can fall in love and still hate.”

“Sorrow compressed my heart, and I felt I would die, and then… Well, then I woke up.”

“I will not and cannot believe that evil is the normal condition of mankind.”

“There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.”

“To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.”

“What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.”

“The darker the night, the brighter the stars,

“Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn’t calculate his happiness.”

“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.”

“Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms. It’s by talking nonsense that one gets to the truth! I talk nonsense, therefore I’m human”

“The soul is healed by being with children.”

“People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.”

“We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.”

“I love mankind, he said, “but I find to my amazement that the more I love mankind as a whole, the less I love man in particular.”

“It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently.”

“But how could you live and have no story to tell?”

“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”

“Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”

“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.”

“Right or wrong, it’s very pleasant to break something from time to time.”

“Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.”

“The world says: “You have needs — satisfy them. You have as much right as the rich and the mighty. Don’t hesitate to satisfy your needs; indeed, expand your needs and demand more.” This is the worldly doctrine of today. And they believe that this is freedom. The result for the rich is isolation and suicide, for the poor, envy and murder.”

“To love someone means to see them as God intended them.”

“Man is a mystery. It needs to be unravelled, and if you spend your whole life unravelling it, don’t say that you’ve wasted time. I am studying that mystery because I want to be a human being.”

“I swear to you gentlemen, that to be overly conscious is a sickness, a real, thorough sickness.”

“The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.”

“Man is sometimes extraordinarily, passionately, in love with suffering…”

“I can see the sun, but even if I cannot see the sun, I know that it exists. And to know that the sun is there – that is living.”

“You can be sincere and still be stupid.”

“If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man, don’t bother analyzing his ways of being silent, of talking, of weeping, of seeing how much he is moved by noble ideas; you will get better results if you just watch him laugh. If he laughs well, he’s a good man.”

“It is not the brains that matter most, but that which guides them — the character, the heart, generous qualities, progressive ideas.”

“Beauty will save the world”

“Don’t let us forget that the causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex and varied than our subsequent explanations of them.”

“I think the devil doesn’t exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness.”

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart.”

“It is better to be unhappy and know the worst, than to be happy in a fool’s paradise.”

“If you want to be respected by others, the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.”

“To love is to suffer and there can be no love otherwise.”

“Sarcasm: the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the PRIVACY of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded.”

“Besides, nowadays, almost all capable people are terribly afraid of being ridiculous, and are miserable because of it.”

“Yet, I didn’t understand that she was intentionally disguising her feelings with sarcasm; that was usually the last resort of people who are timid and chaste of heart, whose souls have been coarsely and impudently invaded; and who, until the last moment, refuse to yield out of pride and are afraid to express their own feelings to you.”

“This is my last message to you: in sorrow, seek happiness.”

“Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.”

“The more stupid one is, the closer one is to reality. The more stupid one is, the clearer one is. Stupidity is brief and artless, while intelligence squirms and hides itself. Intelligence is unprincipled, but stupidity is honest and straightforward.”

“The cleverest of all, in my opinion, is the man who calls himself a fool at least once a month.”

“My God, a moment of bliss. Why, isn’t that enough for a whole lifetime?”

“I used to analyze myself down to the last thread, used to compare myself with others, recalled all the smallest glances, smiles and words of those to whom I’d tried to be frank, interpreted everything in a bad light, laughed viciously at my attempts ‘to be like the rest’ –and suddenly, in the midst of my laughing, I’d give way to sadness, fall into ludicrous despondency and once again start the whole process all over again – in short, I went round and round like a squirrel on a wheel.”

“There is something at the bottom of every new human thought, every thought of genius, or even every earnest thought that springs up in any brain, which can never be communicated to others, even if one were to write volumes about it and were explaining one’s idea for thirty-five years; there’s something left which cannot be induced to emerge from your brain, and remains with you forever; and with it you will die, without communicating to anyone perhaps the most important of your ideas.”

“When reason fails, the devil helps!”

“Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams.”

“We’re always thinking of eternity as an idea that cannot be understood, something immense. But why must it be? What if, instead of all this, you suddenly find just a little room there, something like a village bath-house, grimy, and spiders in every corner, and that’s all eternity is. Sometimes, you know, I can’t help feeling that that’s what it is.”

“I am alone, I thought, and they are everybody.”

“I did not bow down to you, I bowed down to all the suffering of humanity.”

“If you want to overcome the whole world, overcome yourself.”

“I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world’s finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, for all the blood that they’ve shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify all that has happened.”

“Killing myself was a matter of such indifference to me that I felt like waiting for a moment when it would make some difference.”

“Lack of originality, everywhere, all over the world, from time immemorial, has always been considered the foremost quality and the recommendation of the active, efficient and practical man.”

“A beast can never be as cruel as a human being, so artistically, so picturesquely cruel.”

“I could not become anything; neither good nor bad; neither a scoundrel nor an honest man; neither a hero nor an insect. And now I am eking out my days in my corner, taunting myself with the bitter and entirely useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot seriously become anything, that only a fool can become something.”

“And the more I drink the more I feel it. That’s why I drink too. I try to find sympathy and feeling in drink…. I drink so that I may suffer twice as much!”

“You will burn and you will burn out; you will be healed and come back again.”

“I am a dreamer. I know so little of real life that I just can’t help re-living such moments as these in my dreams, for such moments are something I have very rarely experienced. I am going to dream about you the whole night, the whole week, the whole year.”

“The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness.”

“A hundred suspicions don’t make a proof.”

“Destroy my desires, eradicate my ideals, show me something better, and I will follow you.”

“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”

“Grown-up people do not know that a child can give exceedingly good advice even in the most difficult case.”

“The fear of appearances is the first symptom of impotence.”

“Man grows used to everything, the scoundrel!”

“Power is given only to him who dares to stoop and take it … one must have the courage to dare.”

“The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love, and in order to occupy and distract himself without love he gives way to passions and coarse pleasures, and sinks to bestiality in his vices, all from continual lying to other men and to himself.”

“A fool with a heart and no sense is just as unhappy as a fool with sense and no heart.”

“I used to imagine adventures for myself, I invented a life, so that I could at least exist somehow.”

“Love all God’s creation, both the whole and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of light. Love the animals, love the plants, love each separate thing. If thou love each thing thou wilt perceive the mystery of God in all; and when once thou perceive this, thou wilt thenceforward grow every day to a fuller understanding of it: until thou come at last to love the whole world with a love that will then be all-embracing and universal.”

“Without God all things are permitted.”

“And what’s strange, what would be marvelous, is not that God should really exist; the marvel is that such an idea, the idea of the necessity of God, could enter the head of such a savage, vicious beast as man.”

“Existentialism isn’t so atheistic that it wears itself out showing that God doesn’t exist. Rather, it declares that even if God did exist, that would change nothing.”

“There is nothing in the world more difficult than candor, and nothing easier than flattery. If there is a hundredth of a fraction of a false note to candor, it immediately produces dissonance, and as a result, exposure. But in flattery, even if everything is false down to the last note, it is still pleasant, and people will listen not without pleasure; with coarse pleasure, perhaps, but pleasure nevertheless. ”

“We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken”

“I am a fool with a heart but no brains, and you are a fool with brains but no heart; and we’re both unhappy, and we both suffer.”

“Only to live, to live and live! Life, whatever it may be!”

“Do you understand, sir, do you understand what it means when you have absolutely nowhere to turn?” Marmeladov’s question came suddenly into his mind “for every man must have somewhere to turn…”

“The man who has a conscience suffers whilst acknowledging his sin. That is his punishment.”

“Be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education.”

“Perhaps I really regard myself as an intelligent man only because throughout my entire life I’ve never been able to start or finish anything.”

“They were like two enemies in love with one another.”

“Truly great men must, I think, experience great sorrow on the earth.”

“Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others.”

“The more I love humanity in general the less I love man in particular. In my dreams, I often make plans for the service of humanity, and perhaps I might actually face crucifixion if it were suddenly necessary. Yet I am incapable of living in the same room with anyone for two days together. I know from experience. As soon as anyone is near me, his personality disturbs me and restricts my freedom. In twenty-four hours I begin to hate the best of men: one because he’s too long over his dinner, another because he has a cold and keeps on blowing his nose. I become hostile to people the moment they come close to me. But it has always happened that the more I hate men individually the more I love humanity.”

“Love a man, even in his sin, for that love is a likeness of the divine love, and is the summit of love on earth.”

“It’s the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet tender joy.”

“Man has it all in his hands, and it all slips through his fingers from sheer cowardice.”

“One can fall in love and still hate.”

“It was a marvelous night, the sort of night one only experiences when one is young. The sky was so bright, and there were so many stars that, gazing upward, one couldn’t help wondering how so many whimsical, wicked people could live under such a sky.”

“People with new ideas, people with the faintest capacity for saying something new, are extremely few in number, extraordinarily so, in fact.”

“Love children especially, for they too are sinless like the angels; they live to soften and purify our hearts and, as it were, to guide us.”

“Forgive me… for my love -for ruining you with my love.”

“Break what must be broken, once for all, that’s all, and take the suffering on oneself.”

“I swear, gentlemen, that to be too conscious is an illness – a real thorough-going illness.”

“Compassion is the chief law of human existence.”

“Nothing has ever been more insupportable for a man and a human society than freedom.

“Don’t be overwise; fling yourself straight into life, without deliberation; don’t be afraid – the flood will bear you to the bank and set you safe on your feet again.”

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