On the Significance of Science and Art
(1828 - 1910) ~ Father of Christian Anarchism : In 1861, during the second of his European tours, Tolstoy met with Proudhon, with whom he exchanged ideas. Inspired by the encounter, Tolstoy returned to Yasnaya Polyana to found thirteen schools that were the first attempt to implement a practical model of libertarian education. (From : Anarchy Archives.)
• "...the dissemination of the truth in a society based on coercion was always hindered in one and the same manner, namely, those in power, feeling that the recognition of this truth would undermine their position, consciously or sometimes unconsciously perverted it by explanations and additions quite foreign to it, and also opposed it by open violence." (From : "A Letter to a Hindu: The Subjection of India- Its....)
• "People who take part in Government, or work under its direction, may deceive themselves or their sympathizers by making a show of struggling; but those against whom they struggle (the Government) know quite well, by the strength of the resistance experienced, that these people are not really pulling, but are only pretending to." (From : "A Letter to Russian Liberals," by Leo Tolstoy, Au....)
• "It usually happens that when an idea which has been useful and even necessary in the past becomes superfluous, that idea, after a more or less prolonged struggle, yields its place to a new idea which was till then an ideal, but which thus becomes a present idea." (From : "Patriotism and Government," by Leo Tolstoy, May 1....)
This document contains 7 sections, with 32,292 words or 189,045 characters.
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CHAPTER I. . . . The justification of all persons who have freed themselves from toil is now founded on experimental, positive science. The scientific theory is as follows: For the study of the laws of life of human societies, there exists but one indubitable method,the positive, experimental, critical method Only sociology, founded on biology, founded on all the positive sciences, can give us the laws of humanity. Humanity, or human communities, are the organisms already prepared, or still in process of formation, and which are subservient to all the laws of the evolution of organisms. One of the chief of these laws is the variation of destination among the portions of the organs. Some people command, others obey. If some have in superabundance, and others in want, this arises not from the will of God, not because the empire is a form of manifestation of pe...
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CHAPTER II. This doctrine had its rise not so very longfifty yearsago. Its principal founder was the French savant Comte. There occurred to Comte,a systematist, and a religious man to boot,under the influence of the then novel physiological investigations of Biche, the old idea already set forth by Menenius Agrippa,the idea that human society, all humanity even, might be regarded as one whole, as an organism; and men as living parts of the separate organs, having each his own definite appointment to serve the entire organism. This idea so pleased Comte, that upon it he began to erect a philosophical theory; and this theory so carried him away, that he utterly forgot that the point of departure for his theory was nothing more than a very pretty comparison, which was suitable for a fable, but which could by no means serve as the foundation for science. He, as frequently happens, mistook his pe...
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CHAPTER III. Division of labor is the law of all existing things, and, therefore, it should be present in human societies. It is very possible that this is so; but still the question remains, Of what nature is that division of labor which I behold in my human society? is it that division of labor which should exist? And if people regard a certain division of labor as unreasonable and unjust, then no science whatever can convince men that that should exist which they regard as unreasonable and unjust. Division of labor is the condition of existence of organisms, and of human societies; but what, in these human societies, is to be regarded as an organic division of labor? And, to whatever extent science may have investigated the division of labor in the cells of worms, all these observations do not compel a man to acknowledge that division of labor to be correct which his own sense and conscience do not recognize as correct. No...
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CHAPTER IV. Science and art have arrogated to themselves the right of idleness, and of the enjoyment of the labor of others, and have betrayed their calling. And their errors have arisen merely because their servants, having set forth a falsely conceived principle of the division of labor, have recognized their own right to make use of the labor of others, and have lost the significance of their vocation; having taken for their aim, not the profit of the people, but the mysterious profit of science and art, and delivered themselves over to idleness and visenot so much of the senses as of the mind. They say, Science and art have bestowed a great deal on mankind. Science and art have bestowed a great deal on mankind, not because the men of art and science, under the pretext of a division of labor, live on other people, but in spite of this. The Roman Republic was powerful, not because her citizens had the powe...
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CHAPTER V. But art,science! You repudiate art and science; that is, you repudiate that by which mankind lives! People are constantly making thisit is not a replyto me, and they employ this mode of reception in order to reject my deductions without examining into them. He repudiates science and art, he wants to send people back again into a savage state; so what is the use of listening to him and of talking to him? But this is unjust. I not only do not repudiate art and science, but, in the name of that which is true art and true science, I say that which I do say; merely in order that mankind may emerge from that savage state into which it will speedily fall, thanks to the erroneous teaching of our time,only for this purpose do I say that which I say. Art and science are as indispensable as food and drink and clothing,more indispensable even; but they become...
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CHAPTER VI. But you only furnish a different definition of arts and sciences, which is stricter, and is incompatible with science, I shall be told in answer to this; nevertheless, scientific and artistic activity does still exist. There are the Galileos, Brunos, Homers, Michael Angelos, Beethovens, and all the lesser learned men and artists, who have consecrated their entire lives to the service of science and art, and who were, and will remain, the benefactors of mankind. Generally this is what people say, striving to forget that new principle of the division of labor, on the basis of which science and art now occupy their privileged position, and on whose basis we are now enabled to decide without grounds, but by a given standard: Is there, or is there not, any foundation for that activity which calls itself science and art, to so magnify itself? When the Egyptian or the Grecian priests produced their myst...
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CHAPTER VII. Then, what is to be done? What are we to do? This question, which includes within itself both an admission that our life is evil and wrong, and in connection with this,as though it were an exercise for it,that it is impossible, nevertheless, to change it, this question I have heard, and I continue to hear, on all sides. I have described my own sufferings, my own gropings, and my own solution of this question. I am the same kind of a man as everybody else; and if I am in any wise distinguished from the average man of our circle, it is chiefly in this respect, that I, more than the average man, have served and winked at the false doctrine of our world; I have received more approbation from men professing the prevailing doctrine: and therefore, more than others, have I become depraved, and wandered from the path. And therefore I think that the solution of the problem, which I have found in my own case,...
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