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The Brothers Karamazov: Baruch Spinoza's Philosophical Assessment Review

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This quotation mainly emphasizes the characteristics of one’s life regarding how fast life passes by, how unpredictable life is, and sometimes how unfortunate life is. The feeling of the quickness of life was created by the phrase “transient as autumn clouds” which gives the reader a vision of clouds quickly passing by, as the time in one’s life does, without no turning back, without any say on their part. The unpredictability within the poem was created from the phrases “to watch the birth and death of beings, a lifetime is like a flash of lightening in the sky,” almost as if implicating that some events take place as sudden as a flash of lightening in the sky takes place. Last, but not least, the sense of terror and unfortunate events can be seen in the use of words like “torrent down a steep mountain,” and “death of beings” which fosters a sense of darkness and irreversible.

One can say that this poem embraces the idea of determinism, the idea that all actions and events are determined or happen necessarily and that human actions are no different. All the actions implied within the poem give the suggestion that life goes by very quickly, usually not in the control of human hands, and a lifetime is like a flash of lightening in the sky, sometimes that finishes and comes to an end as suddenly as it begins. The events in life are given the same implication; they take place as transient as autumn clouds, meaning they lack free will, and are simply following the order of the universe. If one follows the train of thought of Baruch Spinoza, who believed that all actions unfold according to the necessary laws that govern the universe, than one would state that the ultimate reason that humans are alive in the first place is due to the cause-and-effect relationship between God and universe, where God is the initial and primary cause of everything. And according to Spinoza, if there was no antecedent cause, there could be no effect, and therefore, if there was no God, there could be no lightning in the sky or autumn clouds, or comparatively, order in the universe.

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Continuing on Spinoza’s ideology, if God has pre-determined all reality for humanity already, than it is not up to humans to truly decide if life is rational or absurd since at the end of the day God can be considered a perfect being, and human beings, who are anything far from perfect, cannot come to comprehend the proceedings of something or someone that is perfect. Thus. although everything is determined, as is implicated in this poem, everything also has a reason, unlike Camus’ belief in the concept of absurdity which states that life is absurd because we keep asing the world for reasons, and the world remains and always will remain silent; we are alone and yet we have a choice. Just because we can’t come to understand these reasons, doesn’t mean that these reasons are absurd, as Camus claims. On the contrary, just as the problem of evil brings up, there are things within this universe and reality that can be beyond human comprehension, such as the unfortunate event of Alyosha’s father’s death. Although this event allowed Alyosha to believe the illusion that he has a freedom of choice just because he can choose between believing or not believing, it also showed that Alyosha nevertheless never understood why his father was not the way he had expected him to be.


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