Monday, March 31, 2008

Outlet from the Underground

"We've all become estranged from life, we're all cripples, every one of us, more or less. We've becomes so estranged that at times we feel some kind of revulsion for genuine 'real life,' and therefore we can't bear to be reminded of it…We don't know ourselves. It'd be even worse if all our whimsical desires were fulfilled. Go on, try it. Give us, for example, a little more independence; untie the hands of any one of us, broaden our sphere of activity, relax the controls, and…I can assure you, we'll immediately ask to have the controls reinstated…What concerns me in particular, is that in my life I've only taken to an extreme that which you haven't even dared to take halfway; what’s more, you've mistaken your cowardice for good sense; and, in so deceiving yourself, you've consoled yourself…We're even oppressed by being men - men with real bodies and blood of our very own. We're ashamed of it; we consider it a disgrace and we strive to become some kind of impossible 'general-human-beings.'"
-Dostoevsky, "Notes from Underground"

Dostoevsky's scathing observation is striking. How many of us are so estranged from life, that we don't even know what we want? We wake up in the morning, run around in circles, go to bed, and do it again the next day. What can get us out of this routine of nothingness, this underground that Dostoevsky so severely desired to escape? We need to begin to use our heart, the bundle of infinite needs given to us, our elementary experience of life. We need to make judgments that stem from the core of life, from this heart. This is 3:59, where we take those needs, and the need for judgment, seriously.

As Fr. Giussani said, "Let us begin to judge. Judgment is the beginning of liberation."

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