August 12, 2013

“We shall persuade them that they will only become free when they renounce their freedom to us and submit to us.”

cardinalportrait1600-1604elgreco.jpg
El Greco, Oil, 1600-1604 Detail | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your answers for the Inquisitor
In his blood-stained satin lace,
Are as irrelevant as answers
Deduced from deepest space.

Your presence in his universe
Confirms him of your crime.
He seeks to seal all passages
Divined from space and time.

Behind the science of his spectacles
Lives a mind reduced by power.
A gesture from his languid wrists --
All's over in an hour.

"We seek to keep our faithful
Baptized, confirmed and saved
From those dark, unknown questions
That live beyond the grave.

"Hunched within my velvet throne,
My pen controls the door
That opens to the vaults of night
Above the killing floor."

From The Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Mankind as a whole has always striven to organize a universal state. There have been many great nations with great histories, but the more highly they were developed the more unhappy they were, for they felt more acutely than other people the craving for world-wide union.

“The great conquerors, Timours and Ghenghis-Khans, whirled like hurricanes over the face of the earth striving to subdue its people, and they too were but the unconscious expression of the same craving for universal unity. Hadst Thou taken the world and Caesar's purple, Thou wouldst have founded the universal state and have given universal peace. For who can rule men if not he who holds their conscience and their bread in his hands?

“We have taken the sword of Caesar, and in taking it, of course, have rejected Thee and followed him. Oh, ages are yet to come of the confusion of free thought, of their science and cannibalism. For having begun to build their tower of Babel without us, they will end, of course, with cannibalism.

“But then the beast will crawl to us and lick our feet and spatter them with tears of blood. And we shall sit upon the beast and raise the cup, and on it will be written, "Mystery."

“But then, and only then, the reign of peace and happiness will come for men.

“Thou art proud of Thine elect, but Thou hast only the elect, while we give rest to all. And besides, how many of those elect, those mighty ones who could become elect, have grown weary waiting for Thee, and have transferred and will transfer the powers of their spirit and the warmth of their heart to the other camp, and end by raising their free banner against Thee.

“Thou didst Thyself lift up that banner. But with us all will be happy and will no more rebel nor destroy one another as under Thy freedom.

“Oh, we shall persuade them that they will only become free when they renounce their freedom to us and submit to us. And shall we be right or shall we be lying?

“They will be convinced that we are right, for they will remember the horrors of slavery and confusion to which Thy freedom brought them.

“Freedom, free thought, and science will lead them into such straits and will bring them face to face with such marvels and insoluble mysteries, that some of them, the fierce and rebellious, will destroy themselves, others, rebellious but weak, will destroy one another, while the rest, weak and unhappy, will crawl fawning to our feet and whine to us: "Yes, you were right, you alone possess His mystery, and we come back to you, save us from ourselves!"

Posted by gerardvanderleun at August 12, 2013 9:49 AM
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