Fyodor Dostoevsky makes me laugh. Snicker, even, over my morning toast and my lunch.
Yes, I eat while I read.
My children's worse fears about their mother are confirmed. She really is off her rocker. I know this because instead of asking, "What's so funny?" when I snort, they just look at one another over their toast and say nothing. Mother is laughing over a textbook again.
I'm not sure he meant to be as funny as I find him, but I honestly didn't know that there were men, even 200 years ago, sitting in their morose little corners muttering about how their extraordinary intelligence dooms them to a life of utter misery. Intelligence, they assert, precludes happiness.
They are so intelligent–and uniquely so–that only they can see what a miserably useless existence man leads. They consider the rest of us poor stupid creatures, scampering about our daily lives, with a scarcely concealed disdain for our simple-minded immersion in life and all the details of it.
Infants and imbeciles, they assume, are the happiest of creatures–they do not comprehend danger or fear the needs of the next moment or consider the meaning of life–they eat, they watch the pretty colors, and occasionally they bang objects together to make interesting sounds and then they start all over the next day.
Men, on the other hand, especially a chosen few like themselves–if they even accede that they have any intellectual peers–grow into an awareness of the utter futility of pretty colors, noises, faces and laboring in order to eke out a survival from one day to the next.
God, I assume (in their view of things) must be the most miserable creature in all the universe, being supremely intelligent and all. Or…. Maybe they think they are more intelligent than Him, even. Who knows?
I know people like this, and so, I'm willing to bet, do you. People who never graduated from school because they couldn't stomach the idiocy of either their peers or their professors; they cannot hold a job because they are too intelligent to stomach the banality of every occupation known to or invented by man; they cannot form meaningful, lasting relationships, because, well, the rest of us are so clearly beneath them as to be painful. Really, they are protecting our feelings by remaining aloof.
And Dostoevsky lets us in on the mind of an embittered little man who thought like this two hundred years ago in such a manner that I'm snorting over my breakfast. I don't know how he does it, but there I am, with toast crumbs and milk threatening to come out my nose.
Who knew I'd fall in love with a Russian, and at my age!