It’s a quote from Ivan, who, through most of the story tries to convince others that there is no God, and is ultimately unsuccessful in convincing himself. In a conversation with his saintly brother, Alyosha, he says:
"It's a feature of the Karamazovs, it's true, that thirst for life regardless of everything...I have a longing for life, and I go on living in spite of logic. Though I may not believe in the order of the universe, yet I love the sticky little leaves as they open in the spring. I love the blue sky. I love some people, whom one loves you know sometimes without knowing why. I love some great deeds done by men, though I've long ceased perhaps to have faith in them, yet from old habit one's heart prizes them."
It is a confounding thing how any of us can continue to thirst for life--can continue to laugh and indulge in daily frivolities, "regardless of everything.” The same mind that ruminates on the slaughters of ISIS and choleric Haitian children also takes keen interest in baseball scores, and is enamored with wildflowers and the colors of a twilight sky. In one way or another, most of us give daily illustrations of C.S. Lewis’ description of the illogical human character: "Men are different [from insects]. They propound mathematical theorems in beleaguered cities, conduct metaphysical arguments in condemned cells, make jokes on scaffolds, discuss the last new poem while advancing to the walls of Quebec, and comb their hair at Thermopylae. This is not panache; it is our nature."
We are creatures of two minds--a mind of the heart and a mind of the head. The mind of the head is a prudent school master who soberly keeps himself from succumbing to the wishful thinking and childish dreams of his youth. The mind of the heart is a child who sees the magic in lightning and lavender, who prefers ice cream to IRAs, and who knows he’ll live forever.
And for most of us, the story of our lives is an argument between the two minds. The head is constantly echoing the cold scientific projection of Bertrand Russell, "that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins.” And the heart is constantly echoing the words of Jesus: "My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Thank God it wasn’t Bertrand Russell who rose on the third day.
Because of that historical event by which we set the calendar, we know those who “go on living in spite of logic” are actually the ones in their right mind.