I read the novel about twenty-five years ago (a beat-up paperback copy titled The Possessed) and I remember being incredibly moved by it. Though I recall the overall plot and some of the characters, my most lasting impression was the tragedy Dostoevsky masterfully invokes as the revolutionaries become possessed by the ideology they wield, the horrible descent that occurs when their ideology poisons their souls leaving them in a desert of political and moral nihilism where violence becomes the only viable solution to the obstacles they face. Put briefly, it is an intense, violent, and deeply-troubling novel that is made all the more profound by its uncanny prophetic vision (remember, the Bolshevik Revolution flared up a mere half-century after Demons was published and Russia eventually became privy to horrors the likes of which the world has rarely seen).
When I look at the world today, I see people from across the political spectrum firmly entrenched in the gutters of ideology. In the West, ideology reigns supreme. Like Dostoevsky's revolutionaries, many of today's ideologues are possessed, beyond the point of no-return. I am wary of these kinds of people and I humbly suggest that you should be wary of them too. I plan to re-read Dostoevsky's masterpiece in the coming weeks; I firmly believe doing so will fortify my sensibilities when it comes to the dangers of ideologies. If you want a better understanding the force that fuels contemporary ideologues, I can offer no better novel and I humbly suggest you allow yourself to be Possessed by Demons or Devils in order to be able to identify and gain a better understanding of the possessed demons and devils that lurk among us. The times may have changed, but the demonic forces behind ideology have not
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