👍 The Lockdown Lessons of “Crime and Punishment”

Liked The Lockdown Lessons of “Crime and Punishment” (The New Yorker)

Every day, in Trump’s America, it seemed as though we were coming closer to the annihilating turmoil—the mixed state of vexation and fear—in Raskolnikov’s dream. The disease was everywhere, and it only heightened our world’s fissures and inequities. More than a hundred thousand had died, tens of millions were unemployed, many were hungry, and, at times, the country appeared to be unravelling. Some spoke of racism as a “virus,” the American virus; and the language of disease, though it miscasts a human-made scourge as a natural phenomenon, captures just how profoundly it has infiltrated the life of the country. The President’s every statement, meanwhile, was designed to widen chaos. He spoke of the need to “dominate,” and many of us were determined not to be dominated. We would not lose our individuality, like the poor murderer in his exile. But neither could we escape responsibility for the mess we had made, a mess we had bequeathed to the students, and to all of the next generation. I kept returning to Dostoyevsky’s book, looking for signs of how collective purpose can heal social divisions and injustices, stoking hope and resolve alongside fear, anything that would overtake the desperate anomie that Raskolnikov’s dream had conjured: “In the cities, the bells rang all day long: everyone was being summoned, but no one knew who was summoning them or why.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *