Carrying out Shakespeare’s trash

In A Writer’s Diary, Dostoevsky affirms the equality of human dignity and the inequality of talents, which is the basis of social stratification.

In Christianity, genuine Christianity, there are and will be masters and servants, but it is impossible even to think of a slave . . . . The masters will no longer be masters, and the servants will not be slaves. Imagine that Kepler, Kant, and Shakespeare live in the future society: they are engaged in great work for all, and everyone acknowledges and reveres them. But Shakespeare has no time to break off work, tidy up around him, clean his room, and carry out the trash. I assure you that without fail some other citizen will come to serve him; he will want to do it, will come of his own free will, and will carry out Shakespeare’s trash. Will he then be humiliated, a slave? Far from it. He knows that Shakespeare is infinitely more useful than he: . . . . “Ackn0wledging that you are superior to me in genius, Shakespeare, and coming to serve you,” he would say, “by that very acknowledgement I have shown that I am by no means inferior to you in moral human worth and that, as a person, I am your equal.” . . . . For in truth all will be new people, children of Christ, and the erstwhile animal will be conquered.


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