“You will scream at me (that is, if you condescend to do so) that no one is touching my free will, that all they are concerned with is that my will should of itself, of its own free will, coincide with my own normal interests, with the laws of nature and arithmetic. Good heavens, gentlemen, what sort of free will is left when we come to tabulation and arithmetic, when it will all be a case of twice two make four? Twice two makes four without my will. As if free will meant that!”
“Once you have mathematical certainty there is nothing left to do or to understand. There will be nothing left but to bottle up your five senses and plunge into contemplation.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground
On this day, I bring to you two quotes from different sections of the same book which I think make sense together (as well).
Fyodor Dostoyevsky has been one of the many Russian authors I have always wanted to read (understandably for my love of Russian literature). And so I was glad to have finally started Notes From Underground some time back. Presently, I have finished reading the book and it is one book I want to encourage you to read if you’re into philosophy. This book, for me, means a heavy dose of perspective – it makes you reflect and relate. It moves you to nod your head when you agree with the narrator and shake it when you don’t, thinking of all the arguments you could’ve given against his opinion.
Notes From Underground is a book full of many ideas, the quotes above being some.
It compels you to look deep within and assess what the real nature of your will is, what your idea of a free will is. Personally, I agree with the narrator’s idea of it (which I have made apparent in some of my previous posts too).
Your will is not free if you are not thinking when you’re doing things, if you’re doing them with a ‘mathematical certainty’. After all, it is not really your volition when you do things according to rules that others have set for you.