If the romantic rebel extols evil and the individual, this does not mean that he sides with mankind, but merely with himself. Dandyism, of whatever kind, is always dandyism in relation to God. The individual, in so far as he is a created being, can oppose himself only to the Creator.
In this famous chapter of Dostoyevsky’s classic novel The Brothers Karamozov, Ivan and Alyosha—two of the book’s four brothers—meet at a restaurant. Though both in their early twenties, the brothers possess dramatically different personalities. Alyosha has just asked Ivan the question: “Will you explain why you don’t accept the world?” What follows is Ivan’s answer.
Rodion Raskolnikov is a young intellectual in his early twenties. Crushed by poverty, he has been forced to drop out of the university and now lives in a shabby little garret unable to pay the rent or buy food. With no prospects for the future, finding no outlet for his talents, he rages against a society callously indifferent to people like him.