“A dream is a strange thing. Pictures appear with terrifying clarity, the minutest details engraved like pieces of jewelry, and yet we leap unawares through huge abysses of time and space.”
This is a short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky written in 1877. It chronicles the experiences of a man who decides that there is nothing of any value in the world. – Wikipedia
The journey of a man from a nihilist to a believer, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man walks us through his suicidal inclinations, a small encounter that changes the course of a lifetime, a sudden sleep, a vivid dream, travel through space and time, a parallel universe, corruption, social constructs, a change of mind and the attainment of ‘truth’.
Dostoevsky writes this story based on his own experience; a dream that changed his view on life and the human condition. He examines the self intensely, asks questions that he seemingly can’t get answers to and when he does, rejects the notion of knowledge being more important than love. He maintains the belief that suffering gives life meaning and changes us, how we interact with the world.
“On our earth we can only love sincerely with suffering and through suffering. We do not know how to love any other way and know no other love. I want to suffer so that I can love.”
This short story is also full of allusions to Christian faith; a figure of grace, references to crucifixion, humanity’s ‘fall from grace’ shows a hint of the fall from Eden, and the realization “love others as you love yourself.”
A work that untangles fold by fold and seeks to talk about a multitude of themes, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man is a compelling story on nihilism, faith and humanity.