Neuroscience in Dostoevsky's Words


"What do you mean by ‘sorry to lose God’?"
"Imagine: inside, in the nerves, in the head — that is, these nerves are there in the brain... (damn them!) there are sort of little tails, the little tails of those nerves, and as soon as they begin quivering... that is, you see, I look at something with my eyes and then they begin quivering, those little tails... and when they quiver, then an image appears... it doesn’t appear at once, but an instant, a second, passes... and then something like a moment appears; that is, not a moment — devil take the moment! — but an image; that is, an object, or an action, damn it! That’s why I see and then think, because of those tails, not at all because I’ve got a soul, and that I am some sort of image and likeness. All that is nonsense! Rakitin explained it all to me yesterday, brother, and it simply bowled me over. It’s magnificent, Alyosha, this science! A new man’s arising — that I understand.... And yet I am sorry to lose God!"

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (1880)

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