The Grand Inquisitor

The Grand Inquisitor is a straw man, the informal fallacy of refuting an argument different from the one actually under discussion, while not recognizing or acknowledging the distinction.

His attack is deceived, though he himself may not even recognize it.

His argument is entirely invalid because:

The Grand Inquisitor fights in two worlds, two incompatible worlds.

The Inquisitor lives in our world, the world of reality,
but his accused exists in a different world, a different view of reality.

That is, his position is based in reality,
while his opponent is based in that old concept of an omnipotent, omniscient God.

To state this clearly,

The first world is the world of reality, there is no God visible, only humans are here.

The second world is a world in which God exists and is in Heaven and is the causation of all of the things that occur.

Ivan describes these two worlds and I will break them down simply.

The first world is Ivan's Euclidian world.

This is what it contains.
"And so I accept God and am glad to, and what's more, I accept His wisdom, His purpose which are utterly beyond our ken; I believe in the underlying order and the meaning of life; I believe in the eternal harmony in which they say we shall one day be blended. I believe in the Word to Which the universe is striving, and Which Itself was 'with God,' and Which Itself is God and so on, and so on, to infinity."

The first world is the Ivan and the Inquisitor's world.
It contains
divine purpose,
the meaning of life,
eternal harmony,
the Word that the universe creates itself out of [say, the image]

It does not contain a God of causation behind the curtain.

Ivan is smart enough to see that 'the prophecies' are true as the way the universe plays itself out,
"the suffering will be healed"
"the absurdity of human contradictions will vanish"
and something will be gained at the end that made it all worth it,

"a philosopher's stone will have been created" if you like.

In this world, horrible suffering happens including to children.

Now, Ivan explains what he believes about this world.
"I think if the devil doesn't exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness."

"Just as he did God then?" Alyosha replies.

See, Ivan can believe in wisdom, divine purpose, all of these things, but he is unable to believe in a divine, Omnipotent, Omnipresent God outside of this universe is responsible for the creation of this world.
He says, "I have a Euclidian earthly mind, and how could I solve problems that are not of this world?"

Ivan might wish he could believe in a world with a divine creator for a reason, but he cannot, because he cannot reconcile how this creator could justify the suffering of children.

Ivan can only believe that man has created the Devil and God. He could never accept a God that would allow these things to happen, it would break his soul.
This is his world of atheism.

At the same time, Ivan also must live in a second world, the world with an afterlife and a loving God.

"All I know is there is suffering and that there are none guilty; that cause follows effect, simply and directly; that everything flows and finds its level - but that's only Euclidian nonsense, I know that, and I can't consent to live by it!
What comfort is it to me that there are none guilty and that cause follows effect simply directly, and that I know it? – I must have justice, or I will destroy myself. And not justice in some remote time or space, but here on earth, and that I could see myself."

Ivan is stuck between these two incompatible worlds.

The world he actually believes in because it's the one is mind understands is the Athiest's world. There is no cause, there is no reason, everything works itself out.
Ivan believes in this world, but he cannot accept it because then "my crimes and my sufferings" would all be for nothing. His soul needs justice, he needs retribution, he needs payment.

Therefore, a part of him needs to believe in God and Salvation and the afterlife so that he can have a reason to exist and not feel his life is for nothing.
That nothing would break his heart too.

When Ivan is telling this part, his mind is so distressed that he's actually blending these two worlds in these paragraphs.

He is caught between these two problems in his soul,

he can't believe in a God that would cause this suffering, nor can he force his mind to believe it,
he does believe in an meaningless world, but he cannot accept what he believes or the meaninglessness of it would cause him to feel it would all have been for nothing, and he needs that longing of hope to go on.
He writes, "all the religions of the world are built on this longing, and I am a believer."

Ivan is caught between the two worlds.

To simplify,
In world 1: Man creates God.

In world 2: God creates Man.

Ivan and the Inquisitor believe in world 1.

The Inquisitor has two main attacks.

The First Attack

His main but most invalid attack is that God is responsible for crimes against humanity by creating his grand design,

but he positions his evidence from a model of reality in this world and circumstance we live in, not from a perspective of God.

The Second Attack

his more valid yet weaker argument is against Christ for being the bringer of new ideas that caused the last 1500 years,
but this loses its weight without the strength of the first.

The Inquisitor attacks God as responsible, but he does not believe in God.

This is why Alyosha so quickly proclaims,

"Your Inquisitor does not believe in God, that's his secret!”

His evidence to justify his evils is this:

[i.e.] That human souls have not yet matured to receive such things as freedom and so God is mistaken in his attempts to give it to man,
and that his Church does a necessary evil and provides the control and structure for those souls.

This evidence is not based in world model 2 where God is the all controlling force and grand designer.

This based in the model of the circumstance we find ourselves in this reality, in which humans are what they are, they are at the state they are at. The state of the human has nothing to do with God. This is World 1.

The omnipotent God would be able to model the human soul to his goal, to return on his promises and freedom, but this is not seen to be the case.

As this is his evidence, the Inquisitor does not believe in World 2, where a grand architect is pulling all strings and is the cause of all, at least not from our ability to understand.

In World 1, it would be the case that the Spirit of Goodness and Freedom which Christ represents is helping mankind achieve that end to the utmost of its ability.

World 2, in which the Spirit is the omnipotent force is not experienced by us in this reality.

The Grand Inquisitor's first attack, his attack against God as the responsible party falls apart because of his own reality.

The Second Argument

The responsibility does not fall onto a God which does not exist –or does exist but is not omnipotent,

the responsibility falls onto The Grand Inquisitor and Christ as the two responsible parties.

In World 1,

The spirit of the wilderness and the spirit of freedom are not the ones in control of outcome in the present moment, it's the humans who hold the control.
Then, it is a question of which spirit is aligned with to further the end result.

The ones who have to justify their actions in the interests of mankind are not God, but these two men.

The Inquisitor alone is responsible for his own atrocities to further his ends.
While Christ may be responsible for releasing new ideas into the world, the Inquisitor is responsible alone for his application of those ideas.
The choices and consequences of life have always been in his hands because he lives in world 1.
He can attempt to justify the world he has aimed to build and the costs,
but now the costs do not fall onto God, they rest on the man's shoulders.

His argument against Christ has weakened because no one can see the future, so there is no real telling what the outcomes will be.

The Inquisitor's Position

The Grand Inquisitor's position is that: he caused harm to create a better world in which he controls the people for their own good, but there is no conclusive proof that this is the case.
This is because he cannot see what the outcome would have been if he had believed in the people, raised them up in strength and freedom.

No one could know what the outcome would be if he stopped intentionally causing harm to the world.

Christ's Position

No one knows what the outcome will be from pursuing the ideas of the Spirit of Goodness either.

The Grand Inquisitor and Christ are two men in the same position, both have an ideology and beliefs and have chosen a side with an undetermined result.

Christ can be held accountable, but so can the Inquisitor.

With all things considered, Christ's choice may be more uncertain, but there is a hope for humanity in it.
The Inquisitor has no hope in humanity.

If the goal is for a better humanity, then logically speaking, even if Christ is wrong, even if his freedom is madness and has no basis in reality or human nature and has no tangible, productive outcome,
even if he is wrong about humans being able to love one another,
he still holds the better position when it comes to this goal.

He actually believed in his cause.

This is the Inquisitor's grand deception, to himself and others. It is impossible for him to be right because it is impossible to fight for a cause you do not believe in.

Doestoevsky later expands on this again through Zosima,
"One who does not believe in God will not believe in God's people. He who believes in God's people will see His Holiness too, even though he had not believed in it till then."

It is impossible to achieve an aim that you have no faith in. You cannot at the same time believe you are bettering humanity yet not believe in a better humanity.
A better humanity is not his truth. If he succeeds in creating his truth, it cannot be a better humanity. He has no hope, only despair.
Despair cannot result in positive outcome.

Dostoevsky's alternative hope is this,

"Salvation will come from the people, from their faith and their meekness. Fathers and teachers, watch over the people's faith and this will not be a dream."

His hope is in human dignity,

"I've been struck all my life in our great people by their dignity, their true and seemly dignity.

Equality is to be found only in the spiritual dignity of man, and that will only be understood among us."

Dostoevsky is pulling from the words and dreams of another voice, but I will not write about that until a future piece.

From this shared dignity, Dostoevsky's alternative dream is this,

"And can it be a dream, that in the end man will find his joy only in deeds of light and mercy, and not in cruel pleasures as now, in gluttony, fornication, ostentation, boasting and envious rivalry of one with the other?"

The Inquisitor uses man's weakness and sin to justify his aims. Unlike Zosima, who believes that man could rise above his weakness.

The Fate of the Inquisitor

Targeting the Inquisitor, Dostoevsky says that the Inquisitor knows he is not building towards unity.

"And we may ask the scornful themselves: If our hope is a dream, when will you build up your edifice and order things justly by your intellect alone, without Christ? If they declare that it is they who are advancing towards unity, only the most simple-hearted among them believe it, so that one may positively marvel at such simplicity.
Of a truth, they have more fantastic dreams than we. They aim at justice, but, denying Christ, they will end by flooding the earth with blood, for blood cries out for blood, and he that taketh up the sword shall perish by the sword. And if it were not for Christ's covenant, they would slaughter one another down to the last two men on earth. And those two last men would not be able to restrain each other in their pride, and the one would slay the other and then himself."


The Grand Inquisitor may be the active pole of the passive prideful old man who refuses the money from Alyosha.

This is the end of this piece.

On The Grand Adversary - Part I

Introduction: A Real Freedom

Real Freedom is something like, as we say, to be allowed to be authentically you, an environment that allows your Spirit to flourish. It is like: having the conditions necessary for your joys, happiness, and spontaneity to arise from within you.

We often call environments such as these a nurturing and supportive environment.

This same real freedom is captured in the phrase, "Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

Freedom is addressed beautifully in the book The Brothers Karamazov, as Ivan and his character, The Grand Inquisitor, are the same person.

False freedom:

The false freedom represented by the Inquisitor is something like "the freedom a man can have while enslaved."

Slavery has altered his behavior, though he does not know it. An oppressed person does not make choices based in Spirit, as the environment does not support that behavior.

Real freedom:

"And I shall not weep from despair, but simply because I shall be happy in my tears, I shall steep my soul in emotion. I love the sticky leaves in spring, the blue sky – that's all it is. It's not a matter of intellect or logic, it's loving with one's inside, with one's stomach. One loves the first strength of one's youth." - Ivan
[God is standing] for the sake of freedom and bread from Heaven.
- The Grand Inquisitor

This book makes a correlation between freedom and bread from Heaven.
The bread from Heaven is a food for Spirit, and so this freedom is also related to a freedom for Spirit.

On Environment

Although Environment makes it more difficult for freedom of Spirit to arise spontaneously,
-- as psychology understands that people have an unconscious change in behavior when monitored by a camera, as it is an oppressive environment--
A person who gains access to freedom of Spirit can retain that regardless of external environment.

Free love and wisdom of Spirit is usually judged by men as: childish, madness, unrealistic, and foolish.

which includes The Grand Inquisitor, he says,

"But I awakened and would not serve madness. I turned back and joined the ranks of those who have corrected Thy work. "

The Inquisitor calls real human freedom madness.

his mind does not possess the amount of faith in something so uncertain,

'How could love win out over darkness?' 'How could the weak overtake the strong?'

but even in the Tao it is written that the soft will overcome the hard.

It would be miraculous by human definition for love to win out, and yet it will,
and this is why the truth is miraculous in nature, at least by human perspective.

The Grand Adversary - Part II

The Inquisitor is Pride.

Fyodor Dostoevsky expands on the pride of The Grand Inquisitor later through Father Zosima's words here,
"Of the pride of Satan what I think is this: it is hard for us on earth to comprehend it, and therefore it is so easy to fall into error and to share it, even imagining that we are doing something grand and fine. Indeed, many of the strongest feelings and movements of our nature we cannot comprehend on earth."

The Inquisitor is tempted to accomplish all that man seeks on Earth,

in contrast to Ivan's youthful Spirit which still loves.

The character of Thou in contrast to the spirit in the wilderness:
- The earthly bread is what Thou has rejected for the sake of that freedom which Thou has exalted over everything.
- the banner of earthly bread, Thou has rejected it for the sake of freedom and the sake of heaven.
- Thou did choose all that is exceptional, vague and enigmatic.
- Thou didst desire man’s free love, that he should follow Thee freely, enticed and
taken captive by Thee. In place of the rigid ancient law,
man must hereafter with free heart decide for himself
what is good and what is evil, having only Thy image before him as his guide.

Thou's plan seems childish in the face of The Church, but it is not childish nor madness.

It is easy for the ego to underestimate humanity, to see the people as helpless.
But that is not all that they are, that is only a veil.
The majority of the people are not so unconscious as they seem, that is only surface level behavior and character.

With a single prompt you can awaken the same insight and intelligence as the greatest genius' whom ever lived, it is the same wisdom and understanding hiding within all men.
I have seen it myself without fail.

Dostoevsky's real hidden warning in this text is here:
"how many of those elect, those
mighty ones who could become elect, have grown weary
waiting for Thee, and have transferred and will transfer the
powers of their spirit and the warmth of their heart to the
other camp"

This is the warning that just because you still operate through the power of your spirit and heart, does not mean that you cannot use these for the agenda of this Inquisitor.

This is an an interpretation of eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.
This is the knowledge of how to use the good for the agenda of the Inquisitor.

The mind of the Inquisitor is the real threat to this Spirit. It will, as it watches others and as the person ages, inevitably consume a person. You will become a believer that the people are weak,
that they are incapable of determining good and evil in their own heart, incapable of the pursuit of freedom, incapable of the avoidance of self-destruction, and that they only can be saved by the Intellects.

Again, Fyodor Dostoevsky expands on this result through Father Zosima's final testament of the Inquisitor's fate here,

"Oh, there are some who remain proud and fierce even in hell, in spite of their certain knowledge and contemplation of the absolute truth; there are some fearful ones who have given themselves over to Satan and his proud spirit entirely.

For such, hell is voluntary and ever consuming; they are tortured by their own choice. For they have cursed themselves, cursing God and life. They live upon their vindictive pride like a starving man in the desert sucking blood out of his own body. But they are never satisfied, and they refuse forgiveness, they curse God Who calls them.
They cannot behold the living God without hatred, and they cry out that the God of life should be annihilated, that God should destroy Himself and His own creation. And they will burn in the fire of their own wrath for ever and yearn for death and annihilation. But they will not attain to death...."
Here Alexey Fyodorovitch Karamazov's manuscript ends."

And then, you have joined Sigmund Freud. When you begin to think like this, you have no real faith in humanity.

Doestoevsky expands on this.

Alyosha claims to Ivan:
"Your Inquisitor does not believe in God, that's his secret!”

Doestoevsky later expands on this again through Zosima,
"One who does not believe in God will not believe in God's people. He who believes in God's people will see His Holiness too, even though he had not believed in it till then."

Finally, Alyosha again speaks regarding this,
β€œHe will either rise up in the light of truth, or ... he'll perish in hate, revenging on himself and on every one his having served the cause he does not believe in,”

Yes, there are wickedly unconscious malevolent actors in the masses, but the simple people, the poor, they are not stupid creatures. They hold the same brilliance as the best of mankind.

This is not theory, not a thesis, not a hypothesis, not philosophy, not idealism. The poor reveal their capacity for insightful genius and conscientiousness to me every day, simply waiting to be prompted.

Dostoevsky's faith in the people is in the dignity he has found in them,
"I've been struck all my life in our great people by their dignity, their true and seemly dignity. I've seen it myself, I can testify to it, I've seen it and marveled at it, I've seen it in spite of the degraded sins and poverty-stricken appearance of our peasantry."

"Equality is to be found only in the spiritual dignity of man, and that will only be understood among us."

His faith in the people is to this end,
"And can it be a dream, that in the end man will find his joy only in deeds of light and mercy, and not in cruel pleasures as now, in gluttony, fornication, ostentation, boasting and envious rivalry of one with the other?" "

Dostoevsky is pulling from the words and dreams of another voice, but I will not write about that until a future piece.