Last week we ended up discussing a different topic than intended, so this week we will discuss what has been often referred to as Dostoevsky’s “Russian Soul.” Here is an extract from an article about this theme:
The Beauty of the Russian Soul
The term Russian soul (Русская душа) has been used in literature to describe Russian spirituality. The writings of many Russian writers such as Nikolai Gogol, Leo Tolstoy, and Fyodor Dostoevsky offer descriptions of the Russian soul.
According to Dostoevsky, "the most basic, most rudimentary spiritual need of the Russian people is the need for suffering, ever-present and unquenchable, everywhere and in everything" 1
Dostoevsky's ideas about the Russian soul are closely connected with Eastern Orthodox Christianity, its ideal of Christ, His suffering for others, His willingness to die for others and His quiet humility about it.
The Russian soul has been described as: sensitive, imaginative, compassionate, patient, strong (well-known for survival in unbearable circumstances), poetic, mystical, fatalistic, introspective, mistrusting of rational thought, trusting intuition, fascinating, having ability to feel a wide array of extreme human emotions (from absolute joy and peace to the darkest despair) — the list goes on.
For this reason, Russian wives are very patient and always ready to compromise in their home life. The situation which will be regarded by the Western woman as an infringement of her interests may be ignored by a Russian woman. The Russian wife is always ready to a compromise. This sincere mobility and patience is peculiar to Russians which is often lacked by Westerners. 4
The impact that men such as Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, Leo Tolstoy, and others have had on Russian culture has been profound. These men were certainly products of their generation, but they also influenced and continue to influence countless generations that have come after them.
As long as the spirit of these men remains alive in the East the “Russian soul” will also remain alive. Suffering for its own sake makes no sense, but since suffering is a part of human life it is easier to suffer knowing that one’s suffering is united to the suffering of Jesus than believing that it has no point at all. This is one aspect of the Russian soul. It is an indication of the resilience of the human spirit and confirmation of the words of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) who said, “Anything which does not kill you, will only make you stronger.” 5
The Russian woman not only personifies the “Russian soul” but provides a setting within which the beauty of this soul can be expressed. Cosiness and a warm home atmosphere is a point of honour for the Russian housewife. She considers her house a continuation of herself, as a symbol of a happy home life.
So come prepared to discuss this theme. Your preparation will include your choice of which big smile you will wear on the evening! The group is “bez platna” but you can bring a small gift of healthy food to contribute at tea time.
Please open the file attachment in this email to see a map and directions how to get here.