Crime & Punishment

April 16, 2007

A really excellent post today in Neurophilosophy on Dostoyevsky. The picture is of his statue outside the main Library near Red Square in Moscow, taken on my recent visit. Back in school days I won a County Prize for contributions over and above the academic. It was a £60 book token. Now the idea was that you went out and bought an Encyclopedia or something similar, but I had different ideas. In those days Penguin classics cost 30p or 6/- (we had just decimalised and mental arithmetic suffered in consequence). So I got my father to park outside the bookshop in Liverpool (the nearest big town to Yr Wyddgrug where I grew up) and came out half an hour later with 200 paperbacks. Youthful pretension ensured that they were all serious. The whole of Plato & Aristotle, coupled with the Greek & Roman histories was followed by a full set of Russian Literature.

A long three week holiday near Llangwynadl in a caravan with unseasonable heavy rain meant that I could not sail my Fireball, so I settled in and read. By luck I started with Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment which taught me more about ethics than the first year course at University some time later. Then to the Brothers Karamazov which transformed my understanding of religion and introduced me to a whole range of issues around ecstacy and vision. Now at that time I knew nothing of epilepsy, a position that has changed in recent years; although I do not, thank God, suffer from it myself. Dostoyevsky’s writing was influenced strongly by that condition and I returned to his writing to gain more insight when I had to deal more directly with the phenomenon. This essay adds considerably to my understanding and I commend it.

Now back to proposals, expenses and invoicing – see Dilbert below

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