As he gets into more and more of the busywork of daily life in Petersburg, Andrei starts to stress about the fact that everything he’s doing there is meaningless and that he doesn’t have to time to ponder deep thoughts.
He’s really into Speransky, though. Speransky also knows how to work Andrei, making him feel like they are the only two smart people in a sea of idiots. Andrei laps that stuff right up.
Mostly Andrei goes along with everything Speransky says, but there are a couple things that bother him: 1) Speransky is contemptuous of most other people; and 2) he is so logical that he’s almost like a robot defending his arguments. It’s all reason, all the time, with no space for things that Andrei believes are above reason – the great unknowables, the mystical and the spiritual.
But still, Speransky appoints Andrei to head part of the legislative commission, meaning that he gets to work on the new legal code of the country. That's huge. Andrei uses the Code Napoleon and the Justiniani to start figuring it all out.
Wait, hang on, Shmoop – he uses what? OK, so back in ancient Rome, the very first collection of laws was put together by Emperor Justinian. This was a huge deal because for the very first time, you had all the laws all in one place, all systematized and easy to navigate. Much later, when Napoleon came to power, he created something similar for the laws of France. He made the laws work together, rather than just being a crazy mishmash with no rhyme or reason.