Alyosha stood gazing; suddenly he fell to the ground, as though stunned.
He did not know why he was embracing the earth, he could not explain to himself why it was that he wanted to kiss it with such abandon… something as firm and immutable as the vault of heaven was entering his soul. An idea seemed to be taking possession of his mind- and it would be for his whole life and for eternity. He fell to the ground a weak adolescent, but when he rose to his feet he was a hardened warrior for life, and he felt and recognised this in a flash of ecstasy.
Alyosha the saint, saving the soul of Ilya the dying boy, balances Smerdyakov the devil. Farcical events surround the death of his teacher, Starets Zosima- if he were a real saint, the superstitious monks claim his body would have the odour of sanctity, so finding an odour of putrefaction disturbs or delights them. Then he has a vision of Zosima, called to the wedding at Cana, inviting him, “Let us drink the new wine of great happiness”. Then he has this moment, where his life changes.
Maître Karlsson, listening repeatedly to the voicemail declaration of Love from Pierre, recorded just before he was shot dead, is ripe for a bit of character development. Perhaps she will cease her rebellion against her father’s values, and find her own. Though she could just make lots of money working for the rich.
I am ripe for a bit of character development too.
I think of these things as spiritual growth moments, though “life lessons” is perhaps a better model. There is no need to bring in spiritual-mystic ideas, and while the lesson may come in a moment of apparent revelation, I still need to make it real in my life. I have come so far already. I have come to know my own character, and slowly and patiently I did the work of self-acceptance- fighting it has only harmed me. Then with Menis Yousry‘s help, I found it Good.
This turns my world upside down. Almost all I did was designed to protect me from my world, and it just gets in my way. I actively shut out observations of other people, as they would read me and despise me and condemn me, with all the fervour and enthusiasm of my own inner critic. But that is not so.
If I can observe others and begin to see who they are, I might not need to push them away.
I cannot see these lessons properly before they happen, but
I am going to die
may be useful to consider. I want to survive, so I hide myself away, as the world is too painful. No, I do not want to meet people, they are all horrible. But mere survival is just dull, death before my time.
All this leads me to consider, well, what would I like to do? Might it be possible?
What do I want?