“Dostoevsky not only preached, but, to a certain degree also demonstrated in his own activity this reunification of concerns common to humanity–at least of the highest among these concerns–in one Christian idea. Being a religious person, he was at the same time a free thinker and a powerful artist. These three aspects, these three higher concerns were not differentiated in him and did not exclude one another, but entered indivisibly into all his activity. In his convictions he never separated truth from good and beauty; in his artistic creativity he never placed beauty apart from the good and the true. And he was right, because these three live only in their unity. The good, taken separately from truth and beauty, is only an indistinct feeling, a powerless upwelling; truth taken abstractly is an empty word; and beauty without truth and the good is an idol. For Dostoevsky, these were three inseparable forms of one absolute Idea. The infinity of the human soul–having been revealed in Christ and capable of fitting into itself all the boundlessness of divinity–is at one and the same time both the greatest good, the highest truth, and the most perfect beauty. Truth is good, perceived by the human mind; beauty is the same good and the same truth, corporeally embodied in solid living form. And its full embodiment–the end, the goal, and the perfection–already exists in everything, and this is why Dostoevsky said that beauty will save the world” (Vladimir Soloviev, The Heart of Reality, trans V. Wozniuk, p. 16).
7 thoughts on “Soloviev: The meaning of Dostoevsky’s “Beauty will save the world””
I heard this, “Beauty will save the world” quoted for the first time this morning in an interview on the radio by talk show host Patrick Coffin. I would say that would be when heaven is on earth as predicted:
“Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which animates all whom it floats, and you are without effort impelled to truth, to right, and a perfect contentment. Then you put all gainsayers in the wrong. Then you are the world, the measure of right, of truth, of beauty. If we will not be mar-plots with our miserable interferences, the work, the society, letters, arts, science, religion of men would go on far better than now, and the heaven predicted from the beginning of the world, and still predicted from the bottom of the heart, would organize itself, as do now the rose, and the air, and the sun.”
is this religious? in todays world, i hope it means that we will see the world around us and the beauty and not destry it through pollution and war in the name of progress.
if city dwellers saw the country more often would they be so quick to scoff at global warming, over fishing etc…..is this naive??
in my opinion, he meant the spiritual beauty, the beauty of our intentions, thoughts and actions… the true beauty has its origin in our soul, but it requires love. We should learn to love, in order to spread beauty around us. But love has a price, it is not given, it is earned…and in the end, looking at the life drama, one could easily understand, only love (beauty) will save the world.
( Love in this context has nothing in common with the kind of so-called “love” between two opposite sexes).
Faith without works is dead. An intention without the out-working of that intent is a mere wish.
Love is never earned, but freely given, or it is not “love” but something else: a sinister approval.
Respect, perhaps, is earned. Honor, too — perhaps.
But NEVER love.