Monday, August 9, 2010

The Grand Inquisitor and the Brave New World

Caitrin Nicol writes, "...Rebecca West, a prominent novelist and literary critic (and erstwhile mistress of H. G. Wells) said [Aldous] Huxley had [in Brave New World] “rewritten in terms of our age” Dostoevsky’s famous parable of the Grand Inquisitor from The Brothers Karamazov—“a symbolic statement that every generation ought to read afresh.”

“The Grand Inquisitor” is a story within the story, a troubled Karamazov brother’s case against both man and God. In his legend, Christ returns to earth in the fifteenth century and raises a child from the dead; this miracle causes a crowd and a commotion. The Grand Inquisitor, the cardinal of Seville, has Christ arrested and, sentencing Him to death, denounces Him for condemning mankind to misery when He could have made for them a paradise on earth. Underpinning his accusation is the problem of evil: how, if God is all-loving and all-powerful, could He allow man the autonomy to sin? Christ’s life and work held out the possibility of redemption, but left man the freedom not only to doubt but to cause unspeakable suffering. Man has not been equal to that responsibility. “For nothing has ever been more insufferable for man and for human society than freedom,” the cardinal tells Christ. “Turmoil, confusion, and unhappiness—these are the present lot of mankind, after you suffered so much for their freedom!” In the Grand Inquisitor’s indictment, he pits Christ’s offer of redemption against the church’s promise of security" ---Caitrin Nicol, Brave New World at 75

Note: Dostoevksy has given us a perverse and ironic literary twisting of the Church's message which takes Christ's gift of perilous freedom seriously above all else in this world. But the point is driven home powerfully by him, and, derivatively in a timely way, by Huxley: We are either free or we are "standardized" for security, in effect become robots for the "security" of the Brave New World.

--->The Christian Response to Atheism: Dostoevsky by Ralph McInerny

--->Russia Marks Holiday of Adopting Orthodoxy. Moscow - "In a stunning example of the resurgence of Christianity in general and the Russian Orthodox Church in particular, President Medvedev marked the adoption of Christianity in 988 with a new public holiday. This is the latest demonstration of the Kremlin's support for an Orthodox Church that has grown increasingly powerful since the fall of Communism.

--->Afghan civilian casualties up 31%, UN says...

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