Page "learned" Paragraph 909
from Brown Corpus
Whatever the unhappy inmates of such camps are like today, Dostoevsky's companions were about as grim a lot as can be imagined.
`` I have heard stories '', he writes, `` of the most terrible, the most unnatural actions, of the most monstrous murders, told with the most spontaneous, childishly merry laughter ''.
Most of us would say that in this delight at the killing of others or the causing of suffering there is something very unfitting.
If we were asked why we thought so, we should say that these things involve great evil and are wrong, and that to take delight in what is evil or wrong is plainly unfitting.
For before someone takes up an attitude toward death, suffering, or their infliction, they have no moral quality at all.
There is therefore nothing about them to which an attitude of approval or condemnation could be fitting.
They are in themselves neutral, and, so far as they get a moral quality, they get it only through being invested with it by the attitude of the onlooker.
Would applause, for example, be fitting if, apart from the applause, there were nothing good to applaud??
Would condemnation be fitting if, independently of the condemnation, there were nothing bad to condemn??
In such a case, any attitude would be as fitting or unfitting as any other, which means that the notion of fitness has lost all point.