DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Both Samarin and Balashov took their beliefs to extreme lengths and both considered themselves to have failed. Did they? Can a person be held to such a high standard?
Balashov had a dilemma caused by the extreme beliefs of the Skoptsy. He knew he had a good chance of saving those who lived in Yazyk, but by doing so he would be condemned to hell. If he failed to act he was condemning most of those who lived in the village to death.
( to Anna as he was leaving)'If an angel falls so as to save someone, it must please God, though never so greatly that God can save the angel,' said Balashov.
He told Develchen that he was going to hell as he left Anna's house after his visit to Alyosha.
He chose to save the people he cared about rather than stand by and accept "God's will" therefore, he considered himself a failure in his quest for paradise. His fellow Skoptsy would not even accept his body for burial for fear of contaminating themeselves, so they too saw him as a failure.
Now, do I think he failed, no, I think he redeemed himself.
Samarin, felt he failed because he did not follow one of the main tenets of the catechism of a revolutionary and put the hope of rescueing one person above his mission of destruction. It also seems he is being haunted by his act of cannibilism, committed not for the cause but for his own "selfish" reasons as he puts it to Balashov. The third reason he feels he failed is putting his feelings for Anna above his need to escape.
From my point of view I think some of his humanity survived the terrible things he had done, I wouldn't call that failure.
So I don't think the standard is to high unless we attach too much importance to the goal itself, it's the working towards the goal that's important. We must also give ourselves permission to fail along the way because "we learn more from our failures than we do from success." (I can't remember the author at the moment)A man's reach should always exceed is grasp - Robert Browning