Lecture 6, AK - Thursday November 14th 2013 LECTURE 6 ANNA KARENINA Kitty understandably wants to make her life different She has become disenchanted

Lecture 6, AK - Thursday November 14th 2013 LECTURE 6 ANNA...

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Thursday, November 14 th , 2013 L ECTURE 6: A NNA K ARENINA . Kitty understandably wants to make her life different. She has become disenchanted with the life she’s lived before and of proper young women of her social class, which is a social world leading to marriage. She believes that there should be something deeper and more meaningful – something of her own: philanthropy. She goes about this impulse in the wrong way. The problem with this is that it is fake; she is trying to put on the uniform of somebody else. The intention is good, but the action is fake. o It is a similar idea to the attempt to apply cultural reforms across cultures. o Pg. 256 (Check): She does more harm than good even though she has the best of intentions (runs parallel to Levin, who is attempting to reform agriculture.) What was well-intentioned, what should – on paper – have worked, what has worked for someone else, goes wrong, because it doesn’t fit the elemental force. You cannot find a person out there to admire and just try to behave like them: this is not you, 90% of what you do is shaped by your own habits (you are the sum total of thousands of habits) and copying someone else will conflict with everything you are and it will conflict with the elemental force of your personality. This will cause more harm than good. This is what Kitty finds here: this is not an effective or authentic way to make herself better. o Kitty’s key realization happens when her father who was travelling returns and he’s a little bit ironic about her new enthusiasm. Pg. 261-262: “Varenka made – simply and naturally – as she did everything …” o Pietist: suggests that it is not authentic, it is borrowed. You cannot just decide ‘tomorrow I’m going to become a Buddhist’. It is not likely that you will be a real Buddhist. It is likely that you will just be wearing it with the uniform. It suggests that it is something fake – it didn’t grow out of who she is but it is a role she is playing (Kitty’s realization on Madame Stahl). Pg. 263-264: “but it’s better when one does good in such a manner that no one knows of it.” If you are really doing good, you don’t call attention to it. The people who are really doing good in the world do not need to be recognized, like Dolly. ‘Do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing’. Do not advertise the good you are doing; this is fakeness. It’s a show. Pg. 268: Kitty believes that she has tried to make herself better but actually caused harm so just decides to be who she really is with all her flaws and rather be a bad person with flaws than fake. This would be the equivalent of Levin subscribing to progressive opinion and accepting defeat in that this way of doing things won’t work and accepting inefficiency; the wrong way of thinking (as Kitty and Levin both do) is to just give up. The right way of thinking is to find a way to make yourself better NOW – one small thing at a time. You cannot change everything about yourself at once: change one thing at a time.

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