Chapter Seven: Dostoevsky’s Final Subject

Table of Contents

The age of the tourist is also the age of terrorism. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s literature features terrorists. In this chapter, I consider the subject of the tourist while tracing the dialectical developments seen in the work of Dostoevsky.

Dostoevsky gave life to the Underground Man in his 1864 novel Notes from Underground. He is an entity critical of socialists at a time when utopian socialists such as Nikolay Chernyshevsky enjoyed great popularity in Russia. The contemporary political equivalent of the utopian socialist is the liberal intellectual who places hope in information technology and globalism. The Underground Man is a masochist who harshly criticizes them and exposes their hypocrisy, resonating greatly with today’s terrorists.

Dostoevsky presented Nikolai Stavrogin in Demons (1871-72), a new antagonist that overcomes the Underground Man. Stavrogin is a sadist. In today’s world, his position corresponds to that of libertarian IT billionaires. Gilles Deleuze posited that a masochist is nothing but ego while a sadist is nothing but superego. Following such a logic, the Underground Man has only ego while Stavrogin has only superego. Though Stavrogin manipulates the fate of other terrorists, he is a nihilist with no goal. I argue that Dostoevsky’s dialectical relationship among utopian socialists, the Underground Man, and Stavrogin here is the narrative counterpart of the philosophical dialectics among liberalism, communitarianism (nationalism), and libertarianism (globalism) I discuss in Part One.

In his posthumous The Brothers Karamazov (1879-80), Dostoyevsky offers a fourth subject that transcends all three of these: Alyosha. The logic behind this conquest, however, is not clearly elucidated in the Karamazov we have today. It is known that Dostoyevsky planned a sequel to this work. To reconstruct his narrative dialectic, I reference the sequel as imagined by renowned scholar of Dostoevsky, Ikuo Kameyama. My study arrives at the conclusion that the final (but not actually written) Dostoevskian subject must be imagined as an impotent (funo) father surrounded by Underground Man-like children. It will be the model of the new subjectivity of the postal multitude.

The word father and family here do not necessarily assume a biological position or relationship. They are much broader in scope. The philosophy of an individual is not capable of transcending Stavrogin’s superhuman ideology. In other words, as long as we live as isolated children we are not capable of transcending Heidegger’s existentialism which in turn leads us to the affirmation of the nation. To overcome both the individual and the nation, we must stand in the position of a parent within intertwined communications of misdelivery and family resemblance. That is the experience of the tourist.