Six Deep Psychological Lessons From Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky’s named in the listed of greatest philosophers and literary giants. Growing up in a hospital complex and reading Russian fairy tales as a child, he had insights into the human mind that a normal child would not have.

For this reason, he is considered less a philosopher or novelist and more a psychologist.

 Dostoevsky’s Key Books remind us that understanding human behaviour requires more friction than psychology, books, research papers or studies of the mind. Because of the things and the truth of the world that a story can explain to us, we will never find them in any science paper or nonfiction books.

So in this article, we will understand 6 deep teachings of Fyodor Dostoevsky

Life cannot be understood through rationality

Fyodor Dostoevsky writes in his novel The Idiots that we should not forget that our actions are much more complex than the explanation of those actions.

We can try to understand our behaviour, but when we open our mouths and try to explain our experience to someone, then our words always give an incomplete message. They get close to our experience to an extent, but there always remains a part of the truth which cannot be fit into words.

 For this reason, Dostoevsky says that man is very illogical, his love also does not make any sense and neither his suffering nor his friendship. Trying to define human beings in words would itself be an insult to humanity.

This is the reason that logic diminishes the beauty and charm of life and is not the most effective tool to understand life.

Deep people suffer more

 Dostoevsky says that an intelligent and deep heart can’t break away from sorrow and pain. Every great man has to pay the price of his greatness through his sadness.

Look at reality as a package deal, with everything its opposite is always free. If you run after happiness, you will get unhappiness along with it, and if you run after success, you will have to collect many failures before you reach success.

 The world follows this rule means balance, that’s why any person who has been given many talents by nature or the potential of greatness, gets free from suffering with this potential. The more a person has the potential for goodness, the more will be his relationship with evil.

A person cannot understand the real value of love and happiness without first making a relationship with hate and sorrow. That’s why don’t be afraid of suffering, give him a place in your home too.

Morality is inbuilt into us

 In his novel Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky speaks of a poor intellectual, who has no proof of his greatness but has so much arrogance that he compares himself to a leader like Napoleon and thinks that every such leader only a criminal is there who makes new rules by breaking old rules and killing people.

Once when he is in dire need of money, his same toxic philosophy tells him to kill an old lady and steal all her money.

 He rationalizes this murder in his mind that how bad that woman is anyway, she doesn’t talk to anyone properly, doesn’t treat anyone properly, she won’t live long anyway and his money can be of more use to a smart and intellectual like me and he kills that woman and he doesn’t even get caught by the police, but slowly the guilt starts increasing inside him and he tortures himself. After a point of doing this, he hands himself over to the police.

We do not kill any human being, but here it is a matter of understanding that no matter how much we lie to ourselves and convince ourselves to do bad things, to be lazy or to be selfish, this lie is not ours consciously. So, he tortures him unconsciously.

We cannot change the rules of the world even if we want to because these rules are written in every cell of our body. Morality does not come from the pages of paper or our constitution, but it comes from within us.

 That’s why whenever you get angry with any person, guilty or have bad thoughts about yourself, then understand that you are doing something wrong and you need to change your behaviour.

Don’t take life too seriously

Dostoevsky says that according to me, the most intelligent person is the one who calls himself crazy at least once a month.

 Dostoevsky is well aware of the danger of being one-sided because whoever does not consider himself to be a combination of good and bad or clever and naive like others, rejects half of his life’s experience and thus It’s potential also remains half.

The person who goes to the office every day wearing a coat and pants, comes back home after working there and watches TV to reduce stress, eats something and then goes to sleep, no matter how intelligent the person is to the world, there is no wisdom in him at all.

 Exactly this is the case of those people who all the time promote only hate or only love. While these two things cannot be separated.

 We can simply delude ourselves that something is only good or only bad. But in reality, where there is hate, there is love and where it is evil, there must be goodness in its centre.

 The person who has never made love, only he is afraid of hate because whenever your love is just a pretence then hate will destroy it.

 Similarly, many people who are always serious are also living in their bubble and they are afraid to have fun because even a little bit of fun or play can destroy their pretence of seriousness.

Lying narrows your consciousness

Dostoevsky says that a person who lies to himself and accepts his lies as truth, he is not able to recognize the truth. In this way, he loses respect for himself as well as for others and when there is no respect left for others inside him then he cannot love.

To distract himself from the fact that he is lacking love, he starts looking for love in the lowest form of pleasure through his basic instinct and starts bragging like an animal. It all started with just his lies.

By speaking here Dostoevsky is making the point out that almost every human being has the desire to know the truth or at least to reach it, but when a person starts lying for some reason his pain is reduced or he does not get any punishment. When he meets, this new habit of his takes him away from the light of truth and towards darkness.

Many people make their awareness very small by deceiving themselves in this way and then suffering. So if you want to be more conscious then start by telling the truth.

Every human has a dark side

No human being can be a hundred per cent good, even a priest, a monk or a believer who never said anything bad, he also has evil and dark qualities. Dostoevsky says that there are many things that a person is afraid to tell himself and every good person has many such things hidden in the corner of his mind.

 This means that the way many such good deep and meaningful things happen that as soon as those experiences are put into words, they get spoiled, similarly, there are many dark experiences, memories and bad thoughts in our life, which are far from being put into words, we do not even allow them to enter our conscious mind.

Key Take Away – Summary

 Dostoevsky mainly deals with problems like existence and human suffering and in each of his writings, you can get as much insight as you would get from any treatise. He believed that if a person wants to become great, then he will get suffering, so don’t be afraid of suffering, give him a place in your life.

 Dostoevsky’s teachings can be very useful in your personal growth because until you become aware of your dark side, you are in control of it.

 So chase away any thoughts that tell you to be selfish or put others down. This thought will make you realize your dark side and get you out of its clutches.

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