Remarkable Prose: “I Won’t Put It Down Until I Have Emptied It To The Last Drop”

August 31, 2010 § 1 Comment

IVAN KARAMAZOV to ALYOSHA KARAMAZOV:

“Will you believe me if I tell you that, after I left you this morning, after that scene there, I was thinking to myself that, after all, I’m just a callow twenty-three-year old, and you, you saw it right away and it’s from that that you start. I was sitting here, before you came, and do you know what I was thinking about?

I was thinking that even if I believed that life was pointless, lost faith in the woman I loved, lost faith in the order of things, or even became convinced that I was surrounded by a disorderly, evil, perhaps devil-made chaos, even if I were completely overcome by the horrors of human despair- I would still want to live on; once I have started drinking from this cup, I won’t put it down until I have emptied it to the last drop.

It’s quite possible, though, that by the time I’m thirty I will have tossed away the cup without really having finished it, and I will go off in who knows what direction. I know for sure that until then my youth will have overcome everything- every disappointment, every disgust caused by life.

Many times I’ve asked myself whether there is anything in the world that could crush my frantic, indecent appetite for life, and have decided that it looks as though nothing of the sort exists. But, of course, that may be true only until I reach the age of thirty, for then I may lose interest in life altogether, at least so it seems to me.

This appetite for life is often branded as despicable by various spluttering moralists and even more so by poets.”

-Fyodor Dostevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

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