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Wilson Gavin (Image: YouTube/Pellowe Talk)

The most striking scene in The Brothers Karamazov is when Dmitri, the eldest brother, humiliates a poor career officer, Captain Snegiryov, in front of his small son Ilyusha.

Of all the terrible things that happen to people in that novel, that is the worst, and we understand why: Snegiryov is shamed beyond recovery in the eyes of his son, whose capacity for unquestioning trust in the world is too damaged, too early.

The fact that the scene strikes almost everyone who reads it so deeply suggests a universal truth is at play, a rule you don't break.