149+ Best Fyodor Dostoevsky Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, sometimes transliterated Dostoyevsky, was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher. Profoundly inspirational Fyodor Dostoevsky quotes will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.

Famous Fyodor Dostoevsky Quotes

A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and for others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and, in order to divert himself, having no love in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest forms of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal. And it all comes from lying – lying to others and to yourself. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

To kill someone for committing murder is a punishment incomparably worse than the crime itself. Murder by legal sentence is immeasurably more terrible than murder by brigands. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Nature doesn’t ask your permission; it doesn’t care about your wishes, or whether you like its laws or not. You’re obliged to accept it as it is, and consequently all its results as well. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Suffering is part and parcel of extensive intelligence and a feeling heart. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

If everything on earth were rational, nothing would happen. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

But what are years, what are months! he would exclaim. Why count the days, when even one day is enough for man to know all happiness. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Be the sun and all will see you. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I believe there is no one deeper, lovelier, more sympathetic and more perfect than Jesus. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Bad people are to be found everywhere, but even among the worst there may be something good. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Love is such a priceless treasure that you can buy the whole world with it and redeem not only your own but other people’s sins. Go, and do not be afraid. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Yet, I didn’t understand that she was intentionally disguising her feelings with sarcasm; that was usually the last resort of people who are timid and chaste of heart, whose souls have been coarsely and impudently invaded; and who, until the last moment, refuse to yield out of pride and are afraid to express their own feelings to you. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Such power! Adelaida cried all at once, peering greedily at the portrait over her sister’s shoulder. Where? What power? Lizaveta Prokofyevna asked sharply. Such beauty has power, Adelaida said hotly. You can overturn the world with such beauty. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Hell is the inability to love. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Life is what matters, life alone – the continuous, eternal process of discovering life – and not the discovery itself. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Only to live, to live and live! Life, whatever it may be! – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

She looked much younger than her age, indeed, which is almost always the case with women who retain serenity of spirit, sensitiveness and pure sincere warmth of heart to old age. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Life is paradise, and we are all in paradise, but we refuse to see it. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Man is sometimes extraordinarily, passionately, in love with suffering. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

But how could you live and have no story to tell? – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Life had replaced logic. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Right or wrong, it’s very pleasant to break something from time to time. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I swear to you, sirs, that excessive consciousness is a disease–a genuine, absolute disease. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

One can know a man from his laugh, and if you like a man’s laugh before you know anything of him, you may confidently say that he is a good man. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I did not bow down to you, I bowed down to all the suffering of humanity. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

In sinning, each man sins against all, and each man is at least partly guilt for another’s sin. There is no isolated sin. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The best way to keep a prisoner from escaping is to make sure he never knows he’s in prison. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Shower on him every blessing, drown him in a sea of happiness, give him economic prosperity such that he should have nothing else to do but sleep, eat cakes, and busy himself with the continuation of the species, and even then, out of sheer ingratitude, sheer spite, man would play you some nasty trick. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Because I’m a Karamazov. Because when I fall into the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up, and I’m even pleased that I’m falling in just such a humiliating position, and for me I find it beautiful. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

A just cause is not ruined by a few mistakes. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I cannot truly imagine a truly great person who hasn’t suffered. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Let us be servants in order to be leaders. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Oh, I’ve plenty of time, my time is entirely my own. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Civilization merely develops man’s capacity for a greater variety of sensations, and … absolutely nothing else. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Love life more than the meaning of it? – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Every member of the society spies on the rest, and it is his duty to inform against them. All are slaves and equal in their slavery… The great thing about it is equality… Slaves are bound to be equal. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

People speak sometimes about the bestial cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

One can tell a child everything, anything. I have often been struck by the fact that parents know their children so little. They should not conceal so much from them. How well even little children understand that their parents conceal things from them, because they consider them too young to understand! Children are capable of giving advice in the most important matters. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The darker the night, the brighter the stars, The deeper the grief, the closer is God! – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I’ve always considered myself smarter than everyone around me, and sometimes, believe me, I’ve been ashamed of it. At the least, all my life I’ve looked away and never could look people straight in the eye. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

To begin with unlimited freedom is to end with unlimited despotism. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Let us not forget that the reasons for human actions are usually incalculably more complex and diverse than we tend to explain them later and are seldom clearly manifest. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

A society should be judged not by how it treats its outstanding citizens but by how it treats its criminals. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I utter what you would not dare think – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

When I look back on my past and think how much time I wasted on nothing, how much time has been lost in futilities, errors, laziness, incapacity to live; how little I appreciated it, how many times I sinned against my heart and soul-then my heart bleeds. Life is a gift, life is happiness, every minute can be an eternity of happiness. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Love a man, even in his sin, for that love is a likeness of the divine love, and is the summit of love on earth. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I have no self-respect. But can a man of acute sensibility respect himself at all? – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The cleverest of all, in my opinion, is the man who calls himself a fool at least once a month. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I believe the best definition of man is the ungrateful biped. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Since man cannot live without miracles, he will provide himself with miracles of his own making. He will believe in witchcraft and sorcery, even though he may otherwise be a heretic, an atheist, and a rebel. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There is, indeed, nothing more annoying than to be, for instance, wealthy, of good family, nice-looking, fairly intelligent, and even good-natured, and yet to have no talents, no special faculty, no peculiarity even, not one idea of one’s own, to be precisely like other people. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Man has such a predilection for systems and abstract deductions that he is ready to distort the truth intentionally he is ready to deny the evidence of his senses only to justify his logic. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There were moments when I hated everybody I came across, innocent or guilty, and looked at them as thieves who were robbing me of my life with impunity. The most unbearable misfortune is when you yourself become unjust, malignant, vile; you realize it, you even reproach yourself – but you just can’t help it. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

He was one of the numerous and varied legion of dullards, of half-animated abortions, conceited, half-educated coxcombs, who attach themselves to the idea most in fashion only to vulgarize it and who caricature every cause they serve, however sincerely. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Schoolboys are a merciless race, individually they are angels, but together, especially in schools, they are often merciless. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

It’s not miracles that generate faith, but faith that generates miracles. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

You see, gentlemen, reason is an excellent thing, there’s no disputing that, but reason is nothing but reason and satisfies only the rational side of man’s nature, while will is a manifestation of the whole life, that is, of the whole human life including reason and all the impulses. And although our life, in this manifestation of it, is often worthless, yet it is life and not simply extracting square roots. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

For broad understanding and deep feeling, you need pain and suffering. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I don’t need money, or, better, it’s not money that I need; it’s not even power; I need only what is obtained by power and simply cannot be obtained without power: the solitary and calm awareness of strength! That is the fullest definition of freedom, which the world so struggles over! – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

In the realist, faith is not born from miracles, but miracles from faith. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Never mind a little dirt, if the goal is splendid! – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Sarcasm: the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Happiness does not lie in happiness, but in the achievement of it. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Learning to love is hard and we pay dearly for it. It takes hard work and a long apprenticeship, for it is not just for a moment that we must learn to love, but forever. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

One must love life before loving its meaning … yes, and when the love of life disappears, no meaning can console us. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find someone to worship. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Gentlemen, let us suppose that man is not stupid. (Indeed one cannot refuse to suppose that, if only from the one consideration, that, if man is stupid, then who is wise?) But if he is not stupid, he is monstrously ungrateful! Phenomenally ungrateful. In fact, I believe that the best definition of man is the ungrateful biped. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

To achieve perfection, one must first begin by not understanding many things! And if we understand too quickly, we may not understand well. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Loving someone is different from being in love with someone. You can hate someone you’re in love with. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Through error you come to the truth! I am a man because I err! You never reach any truth without making fourteen mistakes and very likely a hundred and fourteen. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery of things. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

You cannot imagine what sorrow and anger seize one’s whole soul when a great idea, which one has long and piously revered, is picked up by some bunglers and dragged into the street, to more fools like themselves, and one suddenly meets it in the flea market, unrecognizable, dirty, askew, absurdly presented, without proportion, without harmony, a toy for stupid children. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

A man is no example for a woman. It’s a different thing. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Inventors and geniuses have almost always been looked on as no better than fools at the beginning of their career, and very frequently at the end of it also. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Don’t be overwise; fling yourself straight into life, without deliberation; don’t be afraid – the flood will bear you to the bank and set you safe on your feet again. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I am strongly convinced that not only too much consciousness but even any consciousness at all is a sickness. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I may be mistaken but it seems to me that a man may be judged by his laugh, and that if at first encounter you like the laugh of a person completely unknown to you, you may say with assurance that he is good. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I tell you, the old-fashioned doctor who treated all diseases has completely disappeared, now there are only specialists, and they advertise all the time in the newspapers. If your nose hurts, they send you to Paris: there’s a European specialist there, he treats noses. You go to Paris, he examines your nose: I can treat only your right nostril, he says, I don’t treat left nostrils, it’s not my specialty, but after me, go to Vienna, there’s a separate specialist there who will finish treating your left nostril. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Luxuries are easy to take up but very difficult to give up. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

It is better to be unhappy and know the worst, than to be happy in a fool’s paradise. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

And, indeed, I will at this point ask an idle question on my own account: which is better — cheap happiness or exalted sufferings? Well, which is better? – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Drive nature out of the door and it will fly in at the window. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I gave up caring about anything, and all the problems disappeared. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Love all God’s creation, both the whole and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of light. Love the animals, love the plants, love each separate thing. If thou love each thing thou wilt perceive the mystery of God in all; and when once thou perceive this, thou wilt thenceforward grow every day to a fuller understanding of it: until thou come at last to love the whole world with a love that will then be all-embracing and universal. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There is no idea, no fact, which could not be vulgarized and presented in a ludicrous light. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I am a fool with a heart but no brains, and you are a fool with brains but no heart; and we’re both unhappy, and we both suffer. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Neither man nor nation can exist without a sublime idea. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

To love is to suffer and there can be no love otherwise. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There is only one way to salvation, and that is to make yourself responsible for all men’s sins. As soon as you make yourself responsible in all sincerity for everything and for everyone, you will see at once that this is really so, and that you are in fact to blame for everyone and for all things. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

To think too much is a disease. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

People with new ideas, people with the faintest capacity for saying something new, are extremely few in number, extraordinarily so, in fact. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

It is amazing what one ray of sunshine can do for a man! – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There are things which a man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Above all, avoid lies, all lies, especially the lie to yourself. Keep watch on your own lie and examine it every hour, every minute. And avoid contempt, both of others and of yourself: what seems bad to you in yourself is purified by the very fact that you have noticed it in yourself. And avoid fear, though fear is simply the consequence of every lie. Never be frightened at your own faintheartedness in attaining love, and meanwhile do not even be very frightened by your own bad acts. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The death of a child is the greatest reason to doubt the existence of God. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Drowning men, it is said, cling to wisps of straw. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Power is given only to those who dare to lower themselves and pick it up. Only one thing matters, one thing; to be able to dare! – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

It seems, in fact, as though the second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing, but the habits he has accumulated during the first half. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Only the heart knows how to find what is precious. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The greater the stupidity, the greater the clarity. Stupidity is brief and guileless, while wit equivocates and hides. Wit is a scoundrel, while stupidity is honest and sincere. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Wealth is the number of things one can do without. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

When reason fails, the devil helps! – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

If you can put the question, ‘Am I or am I not responsible for my acts?’ then you are responsible. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man … just watch him laugh. If he laughs well, he’s a good man. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There is immeasurably more left inside than what comes out in words. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Remember, too, every day, and whenever you can, repeat to yourself, Lord, have mercy on all who appear before Thee today. For every hour and every moment thousands of men leave life on this earth, and their souls appear before God. And how many of them depart in solitude, unknown, sad, dejected that no one mourns for them or even knows whether they have lived or not! – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Man is a pliable animal, a being who gets accustomed to everything! – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

My soul bleeds and the blood steadily, silently, disturbingly slowly, swallows me whole. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The man who is happy is fulfilling the purpose of existence – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

With love one can live even without happiness. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The soul is healed by being with children. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

At some thoughts one stands perplexed, especially at the sight of men’s sin, and wonders whether one should use force or humble love. Always decide to use humble love. If you resolve on that once for all, you may subdue the whole world. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I’m drunk but truthful. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The world says: You have needs – satisfy them. You have as much right as the rich and the mighty. Don’t hesitate to satisfy your needs; indeed, expand your needs and demand more. This is the worldly doctrine of today. And they believe that this is freedom. The result for the rich is isolation and suicide, for the poor, envy and murder. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

All people seem to be divided into’ordinary’and ‘extraordinary’. The ordinary people must lead a life of strict obedience and have no right to transgress the law because?theyare ordinary.Whereas the extraordinary people have the right to commit any crime they like and transgress the law in any way just because they happen to be extraordinary. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

You can be sincere and still be stupid. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

But I always liked side-paths, little dark back-alleys behind the main road- there one finds adventures and surprises, and precious metal in the dirt. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

If you want to overcome the whole world, overcome yourself. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I will put up with any mockery rather than pretend that I am satisfied when I am hungry. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

My friend, the truth is always implausible, did you know that? To make the truth more plausible, it’s absolutely necessary to mix a bit of falsehood with it. People have always done so. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

And if there’s love, you can do without happiness too. Even with sorrow, life is sweet. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I think the devil doesn’t exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The jealous are the readiest of all to forgive, and all women know it. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

If I seem happy to you . . . You could never say anything that would please me more. For men are made for happiness, and anyone who is completely happy has a right to say to himself, ‘I am doing God’s will on earth.’ All the righteous, all the saints, all the holy martyrs were happy. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The perpetration of a crime is accompanied by illness! – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Perhaps I really regard myself as an intelligent man only because throughout my entire life I’ve never been able to start or finish anything. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There are chance meetings with strangers that interest us from the first moment, before a word is spoken. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The secret of man’s being is not only to live but to have something to live for. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Yes, that’s right… love should come before logic … Only then will man come to understand the meaning of life. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There is nothing easier than lopping off heads and nothing harder than developing ideas. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Reason is the slave of passion. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

From a hundred rabbits you can’t make a horse. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Taking a new step is what people fear most. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

If one wanted to crush and destroy a man entirely, to mete out to him the most terrible punishment, all one would have to do would be to make him do work that was completely and utterly devoid of usefulness and meaning. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

May you be for ever blessed for that moment of bliss and happiness which you gave to another lonely and grateful heart. Isn’t such a moment sufficient for the whole of one’s life? – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I do not wish you much happiness–it would bore you; I do not wish you trouble either; but, following the people’s philosophy, I will simply repeat: ‘Live more’ and try somehow not to be too bored; this useless wish I am adding on my own. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There is no object on earth which cannot be looked at from a cosmic point of view. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

You will burn and you will burn out; you will be healed and come back again. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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