The Journal of Leo Tolstoi, Volume 1 : 1897
(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.)
• "...for no social system can be durable or stable, under which the majority does not enjoy equal rights but is kept in a servile position, and is bound by exceptional laws. Only when the laboring majority have the same rights as other citizens, and are freed from shameful disabilities, is a firm order of society possible." (From : "To the Czar and His Assistants," by Leo Tolstoy, ....)
• "Only by recognizing the land as just such an article of common possession as the sun and air will you be able, without bias and justly, to establish the ownership of land among all men, according to any of the existing projects or according to some new project composed or chosen by you in common." (From : "To the Working People," by Leo Tolstoy, Yasnaya P....)
• "...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....)
There is still nothing good to write about myself. I feel no need of working and the devil does not leave me. Have been ill for about 6 days.
Began to reread Resurrection and reached up to his decision to marry and threw it away with disgust. It is all untrue, invented, weak. It is hard to repair a spoiled thing. In order to repair it, there is necessary: 1) alternately to describe his feeling and life, and hers, and 2) sympathetically and seriously hers, and critically and with a smile, his. I shall hardly finish it. It is all very spoiled.
Yesterday I read Arkhangelsky’s article “Whom to Serve” and was very delighted.
Have finished the notebook. And here I am writing from it:
1) My article on ... must be written for the people ...
2) (For The Notes of a Madman or for The Drama). Despair because of madness and wretchedness of life. Salvation from this despair in the recognition of God and one’s filiality to Him. The recognition of filiality is the recognition of brotherhood. The recognition of the brotherhood of man and the cruel, brutal, unbrotherly arrangement of life which is justified by people—leads inevitably to a recognition of one’s own insanity or that of the whole world.
3) I read Nakashidze’s letter about the Congress of the Dukhobors, where they discussed social questions. Here is an instance of the possibility of administration without violence. One condition is necessary—no, two conditions: the respect of the youth and of the spiritually weak in general, to the resolutions of the elected elders, the spiritually stronger—the “little old men” as the Dukhobors call them; and the second condition that these “little old men” be rational and loving. At this Congress the question of uniting property (in common), was discussed and the “little old men” were in favor of it, but constantly repeated: “Only let there be no violence, let things be done voluntarily.”
Among the people and the Dukhobors this respect and recognition of the necessity of fulfilling the resolutions of the old men exist. And all this without forms; the election of the elders and the methods of agreement.
4) No matter how you grind a crystal, how you dissolve it, compress it, it will mold itself again at the first opportunity into the same form. And so the structure of society will be always the same, no matter to what changes you submit it. The form of a crystal will only then be changed when chemical changes occur in it, inner ones; the same with society.
5) It would be good to write a preface to Spier containing the following:
The world is such as we see it, only if there do not exist any other beings differently built from us and endowed with other senses than ours. If we see not only the possibility, but the necessity, of the existence of other beings endowed with other senses than ours, then the world is in no case, merely such as we see it. Our imagination of the world shows only our attitude to the world, just as the visual picture which we form for ourselves from what we see as far as the horizon and the sky represents in no way the actual outlines of the objects seen. The other senses, hearing, smell, principally—touch, in verifying our visual impressions give us a more definite conception of the seen objects; but that which we know as broad, thick, hard or soft or how the things seen by us sound or smell, do not prove that we know these things fully and that if a new sense (above the five) were given us, it would not disclose to us that our conception of things formed by our five senses was not just as deceptive as that conception of the flatness of objects and their diminishing in perspective which sight only gives us.
I see a man in the mirror, hear his voice and am fully convinced that he is a real man; but I approach, I want to grasp his hand and I touch the glass of the mirror and see my delusion. The same thing must come to pass in a dying man; a new feeling is born which discloses to him (through his new feeling and the new knowledge it gives him) the delusion of recognizing his body as himself, and of all that he recognized as existing through the means of the senses of this body.
So that the world is certainly not such as we know it to be: let there be other instruments of knowledge—and there will be another world.
But no matter how that which we consider as the world, our attitude to the world, should change—one thing is unalterably such as we know it and is always unchanging, it is that which knows. And it knows not only in me, but in everything which knows. This thing which knows is the same everywhere and in everything and in itself. It is God, and it is that for some reason limited particle of God which composes our actual “self.”
But what then, is this God, i. e., something eternal, infinite, omnipotent, which has become mortal, finite, weak? Why did God divide himself within himself? I do not know, but I know that this is so, and that in this is life. All that we know is nothing else than just such divisions of God. All that we know as the world is the knowledge of these divisions. Our knowledge of the world (that which we call matter in space and time) is the contact of the limits of our divinity with its other divisions. Birth and death are the transitions from one division into another.
6) The difference between Christian happiness and pagan is this, that the pagan seeks happiness, prepares it for himself, awaits it, demands it—the Christian seeks, prepares, awaits and demands the kingdom of God and accepts happiness when it comes as something unexpected, undeserved, unprepared. And it is no less.
Jan. 18. Moscow.
Dismal, horrid. Everything repels me in the life they lead around me. Now I free myself from sadness and suffering, then again I fall into it. In nothing is it so apparent, as in this, how far I am from what I want to be. If my life were really entirely in the service of God, there would be nothing which could disturb it.
I am still writing on art. It is bad. A Dukhobor was here.
I am already here the 4th day and am inexpressibly sad. I am writing badly on art. I just now prayed and became horrified at how low I have fallen. I think, I ask myself, what am I to do; I doubt, I hesitate, as if I did not know or had forgotten who I was and therefore what I was to do. To remember that I am not master, but servant and to do that to which I have been put. With what labor have I struggled and attained this knowledge, how undoubted is this knowledge and how I can forget it nevertheless—not exactly forget it, but live without applying it.
... Well, enough about this.
I am going to write out what I thought during this time:
1) When all is said and done, it is those people over whom violence is used who always rule, i.e., those who fulfill the law of nonresistance. So women seek rights, but it is they who rule, just because they are the ones subjected to force—they were and they still are. Institutions are in the power of men, but public opinion is in the power of women. And public opinion is a million times stronger than any laws and armies. The proof that public opinion is in the hands of women is that not only the construction of homes, food, are determined by women, and not only do the women spend the wealth, consequently control the labor of men, but the success of works of art, of books, even the appointment of rulers, are determined by public opinion; and public opinion is determined by women. Some one well said that men must seek emancipation from women, and not the contrary.
2) (For The Appeal). Unmask the deceivers, spread the truth and do not fear. If it were a matter of spreading deception and murder, then of course, it would be terrible, but here you would be spreading the freedom from deception and murder. Besides, there is no ground for fear. Of whom? They ... are themselves afraid.
I remember there worked for us in our village a weak and phlegmatic 12 year-old boy who once caught on the road and brought back, an enormous healthy peasant, a thief, who had taken a coat from the hall.
3) The poets, the verse-makers torture their tongues in order to be able to say every possible kind of thought in every possible variety of word and to be able to form from all these words something which resembles a thought. Such exercise can only be indulged in by unserious people. And so it is.
4) If we never moved, then everything which we saw would appear to us flat and not in perspective. Motion gives us a conception of things in three dimensions of space. The same thing is true concerning the material side of things: if we weren’t living, were not moving in life, we would see only the material side of things; but moving in life, moving our spiritual side across the material side of the world, we recognize the falseness of the idea that the material is actually such as it appears to us.
5) Twenty times I have repeated it, and 20 times the thought comes to me as new, that release from all excitement, fear, suffering, from physical and especially from spiritual, lies in destroying in one’s self the illusion of the union of one’s spiritual “self” with one’s physical. And this is always possible. When the illusion is destroyed then the spiritual “self” can suffer only from the fact that it is joined to the physical, but not from hunger, pain, sorrow, jealousy, shame, etc. In the first case, as long as it is joined it does that which the physical “self” wants: it gets angry, condemns, scolds, strikes; in the second case, when it is separated from the physical, it does only that which can free it from the torturing union. And only the manifestations of love frees it.
6) For the article on Art. When it is beauty that is recognized as the aim of art, then everything will be art which for certain people will appear as beauty, i.e., everything which will please certain people.
7) I have noted, “the harm of art, especially music” and I wanted to write that I had forgotten, but while I was writing, I remembered. The harm of art is principally this, that it takes up time, hiding from people their idleness. I know that it is harmful when it encourages idleness both for the producers and those who enjoy it, but I cannot see a clear definition of when it is permissible, useful, good. I should like to say only then when it is a rest from labor, like sleep, but I do not yet know if that is so.
8) (For The Appeal). You are mistaken, you poor, if you think that you can shame or touch or convince the rich man to divide with you. He cannot do that because he sees that you want the same thing that he wants and that you are fighting him with the same means with which he fights you. You will not only convince him, but you will compel him to yield to you only by ceasing to seek that which he seeks, ceasing to struggle with him, but if you cease to struggle you will cease also ... (very important).
9) If the end of art is not the good, but pleasure, then the distribution of art will be different. If its end is the good, then it will inevitably be spread among the greatest number of people; if its end is pleasure, then it will be confined to a small number (not exact and still unclear).
10) Art is—I was going to write food, but it is better to say—sleep, necessary for the sustenance of the spiritual life. Sleep is useful, necessary after labor. But artificial sleep is harmful, does not refresh, does not stimulate, but weakens.
11) I heard counterpoint singing and ... This is the destruction of music, a means of perverting it. There is no sense to it, no melody, and any first senseless sequence of sounds are taken and from the combination of these insignificant sequences is formed some kind of a tedious resemblance to music. The best is when the last chord is finished.
12) The most severe and consequential agnostic, whether he wants it or does not want it, recognizes God. He cannot but recognize that in the first place, in the existence both of himself and of the whole world, there is some meaning inaccessible to him; and in the second, there is a law of his life, a law to which he can submit or from which he can escape. And it is this recognition of the highest meaning of life, inaccessible to man but inevitably existing, and of the law of one’s life, which is God and His will. And this recognition of God is immensely stronger than the recognition of ... etc. To believe like this means to dig to bedrock, to the mainland, and to build the house on that.
13) Stepa related the physiologic process which takes place in the infant when it separates from its mother. Truly it is a miracle.
This thought occupied me in relation to the doctrine that everything material is illusion. How can illusion take place there where I do not see it? As you see it, so it takes place. You see everything through your glasses. That is well enough as regards all other phenomena, but here the most fundamental thing is taking place, that from which the whole of my life and of everything living is composed: the detachment from the world. And here right in front of my eyes this detachment is taking place; there was one and there became two, like among the first cells, (unclear.)
14) Every living being carries within himself all the possibilities of its ancestors. Having been detached, he manifests several of them, but carries in himself the remaining ones and acquires new ones. In this lies the process of life; to unite and to separate. (Still more unclear.)
I have decided no matter what happens, to write every day. Nothing strengthens one so much for the good. It is the best prayer.
Evening, February 4. Nicholskoe.
In the morning I wrote this diary and later tried to write, but could do nothing; had no desire. Undoubtedly if there be strength and capacity to write, then one ought to serve God.
It is just as gloomy. I do not pray enough, hourly.
February 5, Nicholskoe. If I live.
February 5, Nicholskoe.
Still the same intellectual, creative, weakness. But I think it is almost hopeless. There was a search at Chertkov’s. S. arrived.
I thought: I, a worker, am I doing the work commanded? In this is everything. Lord, help me.
Feb. 6. Nicholskoe.
Feb. 7. Petersburg.
Went to Chertkov. It is joyous there. Then to Yaroshenko.
... I pray that I do not abandon here or anywhere the consciousness of my mission, to be fulfilled by kindness.
Feb. 8. Petersburg. If I live.
I was alive, but made no entries the two days. To-day, Feb. 10.
It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, silence. I was at Stasov’s and Tolstoi’s. Did nothing bad, but nothing good either. Rather some good. Lord keep me from a spell, but I am better. Have thought nothing.
Again at the Olsuphievs in Nicholskoe, Feb. 16.
I returned on the morning of the day before yesterday, and fell ill. Yesterday I was better, wrote on art. Good.
... Women do not consider the demands of reason binding upon themselves and cannot progress according to them. They haven’t got this sail spread. They row without a rudder.
I am again feeling unwell and very sweetly sad. Wrote a letter to the Chertkovs and to Posha. Am not working.
Feb. 17. Nicholskoe.
I do not feel well. I tried to write on art....
Having been thinking even before Petersburg:
1) (For The Appeal): To describe the condition of the factory workers, the servants, soldiers, agricultural laborers in comparison with the rich, and show that it all comes from....
2) In the Middle Ages, in the XIth Century, poetry was general—the people and the masters, les courtois et les vilains; then they separated and les vilains began to mimic the masters’ and the masters the people’s. A union ought to take place again.
3) A hundred times I have said it to myself and have written it down: the real and only salvation from all sorrow is the knowledge of one’s mission, the anxiety whether you have done that for which you were sent.
4) Nearly every husband and wife reproach each other for things for which they do not consider themselves guilty. But on the one side there is no ceasing to accuse, nor on the other to vindicate.
5) They do not run after a poet or a painter so much, as after an actor, and especially after a musician. Music calls forth a direct physical effect, sometimes acute, sometimes chronic.
6) We absolutely falsely ascribe intelligence and goodness to talent, and the same to beauty. In this lies great self-delusion.
7) It came into my head with remarkable clearness that in order to always feel good, it is necessary always to think of others, especially when you speak with some one.
8) The movement of life, the broadening of a separate being gives time. If there would be no movement, no enlarging of love, then there would be no time; as to space, it is the representation of other beings. If there were no other beings, there would be no space. (All nonsense, unthought).
9) Women are deprived of a moral sense for a motor. They haven’t got this sail spread and therefore it does not carry.
Feb. 18, Nicholskoe. If I live.
Feb. 18. Nicholskoe.
Forty-five years ago I was in battle.
I feel a great sinking in energy. I am very weak, cannot work. But is it not possible to live unceasingly before God, doing His work in proportion to His strength. I shall try. Help me, Lord. I shall take up the letters. Here demands are made, and it is possible to fulfill His work.
Evening. Indisposed. Apathy, weakness. Am not taking up the essay, wrote letters. Just now a letter from Biriukov. I answered it.
February 19. Nicholskoe.
I am just as apathetic, but am not worried. Wrote letters. Wrote to every one. I am going to bed, it is past twelve.
To-day, Feb. 20, Nicholskoe. Seven o’clock in the evening.
I still feel just as badly; constipation and heart-burn. I fell asleep in the morning. Then, not trying to work, I took a walk. Extreme weakness. My soul is calm, only it is a bore that I am unable to work. The house is full of people.
... Yesterday I wrote many letters.
I walked and thought:
There is no greater cause for error and confusion of ideas, the most unexpected ones, and inexplicable in any other way, than the recognition of authorities, i.e., the infallible truthfulness or beauty of certain persons, of books or of works of art. M. Arnold was a thousand times right when he said that the business of criticism lies in detaching the good from the bad, from all that has been written and done, and mainly the bad from that which is recognized as splendid, and the good from that which is recognized as bad, or is not recognized at all. The most striking instance of this error and its terrible consequences, holding back for ages the forward movement of Christian mankind, is the authority of the Holy Scriptures and the Gospels. How many of the most unexpected and remarkable absurdities, sometimes necessary for its own justification, sometimes not necessary for anything, are said and written in the text of the Holy Scriptures.... The same thing happens in the Greek Tragedies, in Vergil, Shakespeare, Goethe, Bach, Beethoven, Raphael and in the new authorities.
Perhaps I omitted the 21st. To-day, perhaps the 22nd. February, Saturday. Nicholskoe.
Yesterday I did not work. I read through the first draft on art—pretty good. I went for Yushkova’s dress. It was a nice trip. In the evening they spoke about Art and then I heard the brothers Konius who arrived....
To-day I am a little better in my health, I went on skiis and felt weak at heart and uneasy when I went far. It is evening now. I feel like writing letters.
I thought for The Appeal when I looked at the numberless sons of N. in their overcoats: He is bringing them up, “making” men of the world of them. What for?
You will say: you live as you do for the sake of the children. What for? Why bring up another generation of the same cheated slaves, not knowing why they live, and living such a joyless life?
Feb. 23. Nicholskoe. If I live.
February 23, Nicholskoe.
To-day I wrote willingly and eagerly all morning and it seems to me I advanced on the essay on art. Then I took a walk before dinner. There is still a pile of people. No serious talk. Yesterday there was music.... To-day an amateur theatrical. Tania and Michail Adamovich played very well. It is now evening. The day has passed almost without heart-burn.
February 24. Nicholskoe.
To-day I arose apathetic and fell asleep again right after luncheon. After one, I went to meet the riders. Came home, dined. Am struggling successfully with heart-burn. Went for a walk in the evening.
Read and am reading Aristotle (Bénard) on æsthetics. Very important.
Thought during these days:
1) Thought; why is it impossible to even speak to some people ... about truth and good—so far are they away from it. This is so, because they are surrounded by such a thick layer of temptations that they have become impenetrable. They are unable to struggle with sin, because they do not see the sin for the temptations. In this lies the principal danger and all the horror of temptations.
2) They say to me when I condemn religious propaganda: You also are preaching. No, I do not preach—mainly because I have nothing to preach. Even to atheists I am not going to preach God (if I preached, I erred). I only draw conclusions from what people accept, pointing out the contradictions which are enclosed in what they accept, and which they do not notice.
3) ... a general, respectable, clean, correct, with thick eye-brows and important mien (and uncommonly good-natured, but deprived of every moral motive sense) gave me the striking thought, as to how and by what means those most indifferent to social life, to the good of society—as to how just those people rise involuntarily to the position of rulers of people. I see how he will manage institutions upon which a million lives depend, and just because he likes cleanliness, elegance, refined food, dancing, hunting, billiards and every possible kind of amusement, and not having the means to keep himself in those regiments, or institutions, or societies where all this exist, is advanced little by little as a good and harmless man and made a ruler of people. All are like N. and their name is legion.
4) I am reading Aristotle. He says in Politics (Book VII, Chapter VIII): “Dans cette république parfaite, où la vertu des citoyens sera réele, ils s’abstiendront de toute profession méchanique, de toute spéculation mercantile, travaux dégradés (dégradants?) et contraires à la vertu. Ils ne se livreront pas davantage á l’agriculture. Il faut du loisir pour acquérir la vertu” ...
Feb. 25. Nicholskoe. If I live.
February 25. Nicholskoe.
I am alive. I have written a little—not as easily as yesterday. The guests have departed. Went for a walk twice. Am reading Aristotle. To-day I received letters ...
Yesterday, while walking, I prayed and experienced a remarkable sensation which is perhaps similar to that which the mystics excite in themselves by spiritual works; I felt myself to be a spiritual, free being bound by the illusion of the body.
Feb. 26. Nicholskoe. If I live.
Feb. 26, Nicholskoe.
I am alive. I am writing, so as to keep my resolution. To-day I wrote letters all morning, but I had no energy for work.
I copied the letter to Posha.
Feb. 27. Nicholskoe.
Wrote this morning poorly, but cleared up something or other. Am well. Took a walk. Spoke with Tania. And that is all.
Yesterday was Feb. 28. Nicholskoe.
I have written nothing. In the morning I worked badly. Received a letter from Chertkov and Ivan Michailovich and wrote to both. Walked and went to Safonovo.
This morning I thought of something which seemed to me important, namely:
1) I wiped away the dust in my room and walking around, came to the divan and could not remember whether I had dusted it or not. Just because these movements are customary and unconscious I could not remember them and I felt that it was impossible to. So that if I dusted and forgot it, i.e., if I did an act unconsciously; then it is just the same as if it never existed. If some one conscious saw it, then perhaps it could be restored. But if no one saw it, or saw it unconsciously; if the whole complex life of many people pass along unconsciously, then that life is as if it had never existed. So that life—life only exists then, when it is lit by consciousness.
What, then, is this consciousness? What are the acts which are lit by consciousness? The acts which are lit by consciousness are those acts which we fulfill freely, i.e., fulfilling them we know that we might have acted otherwise. Therefore, consciousness is freedom. Without consciousness there is no freedom and without freedom there can be no consciousness (if we are subjected to violence and we have no choice as to how we should bear that violence, we do not feel the violence).
Memory is nothing else than the consciousness of the past, of the past freedom. If I were unable to dust or not to dust, I would not be conscious of dusting, if I were not conscious of dusting, I would not have the choice of dusting or not dusting. If I did not have consciousness and freedom, I would not remember the past, I would not unite it into one. Therefore the very basis of life is freedom and consciousness—a freedom-consciousness.
(It seemed to me clearer when I was thinking.)
... To-day I could not write anything in the morning at all—fell asleep. I took a walk both in the morning and in the evening. It was very pleasant.
I thought two things:
1) That death seems to me now just as a change: a discharge from a former post and an appointment to a new one. It seems that I am all worn out for the former post and I am no longer fit.
2) I thought about N as a good character for a drama; good-natured, clean, spoiled, loving pleasure but good, and incapable of conceiving a radical moral requirement.
3) There is only one means for steadfastness and peace: love, love towards enemies.
Yes, here this problem was presented to me from a special, unexpected angle and how badly I was able to solve it. I must try harder. Help me, Father.
March 2, Nicholskoe. If I live.
I am alive. Entirely well. To-day I wrote pretty well. In the evening after dinner I went to Shelkovo. It was a very pleasant walk in the moonlight.
Wrote a letter to Posha. Received a letter from Tregubov. He is irritated because they intercept the letters. But I am not vexed. I have understood that one has to pity them, and I pity truly. To-morrow we go. We have been here a whole month.
Yesterday was March 3rd. Moscow.
In the morning I did almost nothing. I stumbled up against the historic course of art. I took a walk. After dinner I left. I arrived at 10.
March 4, Moscow.
Got up late. Handled my papers, wrote letters to Posha, Nakashidze. Went to the public library, took books. In the evening Dunaev and Boulanger were here. It is now late. I am going to bed. S. is at a concert.
March 5. Moscow. If I live.
Heavens, how many days I have skipped: To-day, March 9. Moscow.
Out of the four days, I wrote two days on art and to-day pretty much. I wanted to write Hajji Murad very much and thought out something pretty well—touching. A letter from Posha. Wrote to Chertkov and Koni about the terrible thing that happened to Miss Vietrov. I am not going to write out what I have noted.
I am still in the same peaceful, because loving, mood. As soon as I feel like being hurt or wearied I remember God and that my work is only one, to love, not to think of that which will be—and I feel better right away.
Tania is going to Yasnaya.
To-day, March 15, Moscow.
Lived not badly. I see the end of the essay on art. Still the same peace. I thank God. I have just now written letters. It is evening. I am going into the tedious drawing-room.
Almost a month I have not written (20 days), and I have lived the time badly, because I worked little. Wrote all the time on art, became confused these last days. And now for two days I haven’t written.
I have not lost my peace, but my soul is troubled, still I am master of it. Oh, Lord! If only I could remember my mission, that through oneself must be manifested (shine) divinity. But the difficulty is, that if you remember that alone you will not live; and you must live, live energetically, and yet remember. Help me, Father.
I have prayed much lately that my life be better. But as it is, the consciousness of the lawlessness of my life is shameful and depressing.
Yesterday I thought very well about Hajji Murad—that in it the principal thing was to express a deception of trust. How good it would have been, were it not for this deception. Also I am thinking more and more often of The Appeal.
I am afraid that the theme of art has occupied me lately for personal, selfish and bad reasons. Je m’entends.
During this time I made few notes and if I had been thinking about anything I have forgotten it.
1) The world which we know and represent for ourselves, is nothing else than laws of co-relation between our senses (sens), and therefore, a miracle is a violation of these laws of co-relation, it therefore destroys our conception of the world. In the crudest form, it is thus: I know that water (not frozen) is always liquid. And its specific gravity is less than that of my body. My eyes, hearing, touch, demonstrate to me liquid water; and suddenly a man walks on this water. If he walked on the water, then it proves nothing, but only destroys my conception of water.
2) A very common mistake: To place the aim of life in the service of people and not in the service of God. Only in serving God, i.e., in doing that which He wants, can you be certain that you are not doing something vain and it is not impossible to choose whom you are to serve.
3) Church Christians do not want to serve God, but want God to serve them.
4) Shakespeare began to be valued when the moral criterion was lost.
5) (For The Appeal.) We are so entangled that every one of our steps in life is a participation in evil: in violence, in oppression. We must not despair, but we must slowly disentangle ourselves from those nets in which we are caught; not to tear ourselves through,—that would entangle us worse—but to disentangle ourselves carefully.
I am in a very bad physical condition, almost fever, and the black gloom that comes before, but up to now the spiritual is the stronger. Escorted Maude’s colony. Ivan Michailovich is still free. Everything is all right.
Outwardly I am entirely calm, inwardly not entirely. It is enough to bear in mind that everything is for the good, and when I bear that in mind as I do now—it is good.
Almost a month I have made no entries. A bad and sterile month.
I cut out and burned that which I wrote in heat.
It is not one month that I have made no entries, but two and a half. I have lived through much, both the difficult and the good. Have been ill. Very severe pains—I think in the beginning of July.
I worked all this time on the essay on art, and the farther I get the better. I finished it and am correcting it from the beginning.
We do not quiet, moderate passion, the source of the greatest calamities, but kindle it with all our strength and then we complain that we suffer....
Good letters from Chertkov. A Kiev peasant was here, Shidlovsky.
I feel that I am alone—that my life not only does not interest any one, but that they are bored and ashamed that I continue to occupy myself with such trifles.
I thought during this time:
1) A type of woman—there are men such also, but mostly it is women who are incapable of seeing themselves, as if their necks were stationary and they could not look back at themselves. It isn’t exactly that they don’t want to repent: but they can’t see themselves. They live as they do and not in another way, because this way seems good to them. And therefore if they do anything it is because it seems good to them. Such people are terrifying. And such people may be intelligent, stupid, good, wicked. When they are stupid and wicked it is terrible.
2) With a low moral standard, a firmness of judgment. The acts of all the best people are explained by what I would have done. Christ preached out of vanity, condemned the Pharisees from envy, etc.
3) The second condition of art is novelty. To a child everything is new and therefore it has many artistic impressions. The new for us, is a certain depth of feeling, that depth in which a man finds his separate individuality from all. That is for indifferent art. For the highest, novelty lies only in religion, as religion is the most advanced world point of view.
4) (For the drama.) They bring to the table a man in tatters and they laugh at the inconsistency of it and at his awkwardness. Revolt.
5) When it happens that you thought of something and then forgot what you thought, but you remember and know the character of your thoughts: sad, dismal, oppressive, joyous, keen—and even remember their order: first it was sad, and then it became calm, etc.,—when you remember things that way, then it is exactly what music expresses.
6) A theme: A passionate young man in love with a mentally diseased woman.
7) God gave us His spirit—love, reason—in order to serve Him; but we use His spirit to serve ourselves—we use the ax to plane the handle.
I feel fully well and strong physically, but morally, weak. I feel like working and am able. I am going to make notes.
July 17. Yasn. Pol. If I live.
July 17. Y. P.
Got up late, worked badly. There is neither concentration nor capacity to embrace everything. Nevertheless I have advanced. Masha came with Kolia ...
Yesterday I talked about love with N: that we madly kindle this passion and then we suffer from its exaggerations and excesses.
Went on my bicycle to Yasenki. I love this motion very much. But I am ashamed.
A letter from Chertkov; he is very ill. I value him very much. And how not value him.
It is now 10 o’clock. The Shenshins have left just now. I feel solemn and gloomy.
July 18, 1897. Y. P. If I live.
I skipped three days. To-day July 21. Y. P.
I am working well enough. I am even satisfied with my work. Though I change much. Everything has come to a head and has gained much. I have been reviewing everything again from the beginning.
The life around me is very wretched....
I do not know why: whether from the stomach or the heat or from excessive physical exercise—but in the evenings I feel very weak.
A good speech by Crookes as to how a microscopic man would look upon the world.
July 22. Y. P. If I live.
July 28. Y. P.
Six days that I haven’t written. Three or four days ago at night, I had an attack of cholera morbus and the day after I was absolutely ill and for two days I have been very weak and have written very poorly. To-day I am a little better.
The children were here: Iliushin’s family. They are sweet grandchildren, especially Andrusha. Whatever notes I made, I will not write out to-day. Longinov was here, a friend of Mme. Annenkov’s and to-day Maude and Boulanger.
July 29. Y. P. If I live.
During this time a pile of guests ... two Germans, decadents; a naïve and a somewhat stupid one.... There were here: Novikov, the scribe, a very powerful man, and Bulakhov, also a powerful one morally and intellectually. I live very badly, weakly. Very little goodness. To-day the Stakhoviches and the Maklakovs arrived also.
I continue to work on my essay on art and, strange to say, it pleases me. Yesterday and to-day I read it to Ginsburg, Sobolev, Kasatkin and Goldenweiser. The impression it produces on them is exactly the same as it produces on me.
A letter from Crosby with a joyful letter from a Japanese. From Chertkov good letters. The correspondence has been very neglected.
I am entirely alone and I weaken. I often say to myself that one must live serving, but when I enter life, though I do not exactly forget, yet I scatter myself.
I have written down much, but to-day I have no time to write it out.
Father, help me. I weaken.
I am going to write absolutely every day.
Aug. 8. Y. P. If I live.
A peasant was here who had his arm torn by a tree and amputated. He plows with a loop attached.
Stakhovich arrived. Read the essay. The tenth chapter is bad. I worked pretty much. Have written poor letters. I must write to Posha and to Ivan Michailovich.
There is noted in the book:
1) A servant makes life false and corrupt. As soon as you have servants, then you increase your wants, complicate life and make it a burden. Instead of joy when you do things yourself, you have vexation and the principal thing, you renounce the main duty of life; the fulfillment of the brotherhood of man.
2) The æsthetic and the ethical are two arms of one lever: to the extent that you lengthen and lighten one side, to that extent you shorten and make heavier the other side. As soon as a man loses his moral sense, he becomes particularly responsive to the æsthetic.
3) People know two Gods: one whom they want to force to serve them, demanding from him by prayers the fulfillment of their desires, and another God, one whom we ought to serve, to the fulfillment of whose will, all our desires ought to be directed.
4) It is a common phenomenon that old people love to travel, to go far and to change places. Is it not a foreseeing and a readiness for the last journey?
Aug. 15. Y. P.
I am continuing to work. Am advancing.
Lombroso was here—a limited, naïve little old man. The Maklakovs. Leo arrived with his wife. Boulanger—a nice man. Wrote letters to everybody: Posha and Ivan Michailovich and Van-der-Veer. The oppressive Leontev was here.
There was something I wanted to write very much, but have forgotten....
A revolting report concerning the missionary congress in Kazan.
There is noted: “Woman’s character”—and I remember that it was something very good. Now I have forgotten. It seems to me that it was that the peculiarity of woman’s character is that her feeling alone guides her life, and that reason only serves her feeling. She cannot even understand that feeling can be made subservient to reason.
2) But there are not so many women—as there are such men—who do not hear, do not see, the unpleasant, do not see it just as if it didn’t exist.
3) When people haven’t the power to get rid of superstition and they continue to pay tribute to it, and at the same time when they see that others have freed themselves, they grow angry at those who have freed themselves. “But I suffer when I commit stupidities and he is free.”
4) Art, i.e., artists, instead of serving people, exploit them.
5) From the time I became old, I began to confuse people, ... belonging or being marked in my mind as one type. So that I do not know N, N N, but I know a collective personality to which N, N N, belong.
6) We are so accustomed to the thought that everything is for us, that the earth is mine, that when we have to die, we are surprised that my earth, something belonging to me, will remain and I won’t. Here the principal mistake is in thinking the earth as something acquired and complementary to me, when it is I who am acquired by the earth, an appendage to it.
7) How good it would be if we could live with the same concentration, do the work of life—principally; communion among people—with that concentration with which we play chess, read music, etc.
Aug. 16. Y. P. If I live.
More than a month I have made no entries. Things are the same and the work has been advancing all the time. And it could advance still more as to form, but there is absolutely no time. Such an amount of work! A typist is making the final copy on a Remington. I have reached the 19th chapter, inclusive.
During this time the important thing was the expulsion of Boulanger.
My work has been interrupted occasionally only by a letter to the Swedish papers about the Dukhobors on the occasion of the Nobel prize.
Also ill health interrupted: a terrible boil on the cheek. I thought it was a cancer, and I am happy that it was not very unpleasant to think that: I am receiving a new appointment; one which in any case, isn’t slipping past me.
St. John was here.
My work was interrupted also by the arrival of the Molokans from Samara—in reference to their children which were taken away. I wanted to write abroad and even wrote a very violent, and what seemed to me, strong letter, but changed my mind. It was not to be done before God. I have to try again.
I wanted to write from my notebooks, but it is late. I am going to bed.
Sept. 20. Yasn. P. If I live.
Sept. 20. Y. P.
Let me write even a few words. The boil still bothers me very much. I have no full liberté d’esprit. I wrote the Swedish letter to-day, and in the evening translated it into Swedish with the Swede.
I am not writing from the notebook, but I will note that which entered my head with special vividness.
Our life is so arranged that all our care for ourselves, the use of our reason (our spiritual forces) for the care of ourselves, brings only unhappiness. And yet this egotism is necessary in order to live a separate life. That is His mysterious will. As soon as you live for yourself, you perish; when you live beyond yourself, there is peace and joy both for yourself and for others.
Sept. 20. Y. P. If I live.
To-day Sept. 22. Y. P.
... Yesterday I finished the translation with Langlet.
To-day I was busy with Art, but it didn’t go at all, and therefore the preceding did not please me.
S. arrived to-day.
At night I thought of the separation of lust from love, and that ether is a conception outside of the senses.
It is now past twelve in the morning. I am waiting for Ilya and Andrusha. I have just now written a letter to the editor of the Tagblatt Stockholm, and to Chertkov.
September 23. Y. P. If I live.
I am working all the time on Art. The abscess is going away. I should have liked more peace. Yes ...
To-day Oct. 14. Y. P.
... I am still writing on art. To-day I corrected the 10th chapter. I cleared up the vague parts.
I must write out the notebooks; I am afraid I have forgotten much.
1) There is no greater prop for a selfish, peaceful life, than the occupation of art for art’s sake. The despot, the villain, must inevitably love art. (I have jotted down something on this order, but I can’t recall it now.)
2) I imagined clearly to myself how joyous, peaceful, and fully free a life could be, if one gave oneself entirely to God, i.e., in every instance in life to seek only one thing: to do that which He wants—to do that in sickness, in offense, in humiliation, in suffering, in all temptations and in death—which would then be only a change in appointment. Weakness, the non-fulfillment of that which God wants—what happens then? Nothing: There is a return to the consciousness that only in its fulfillment is life. The moments of weakness—they are the intervals between the letters of life, not life. Father, help me.
3) I saw in my sleep how I think, I say, that the whole matter lies in making an effort, that very effort which is spoken of in the Gospels: “The Kingdom of God is attained by effort.” Everything that is good, everything that is real, every true act of life is accomplished through efforts; make no effort, swim with the current and you do not live. But, however, the ... doctrine preaches that effort is sin, it is pride, it is relying on one’s own strength: the lay doctrine says the same thing: effort by oneself is useless; organization, surroundings do everything. What error! Effort is more important than anything. Every least little bit of effort: the conquering of laziness, greed, lust, wrath, depression—is the most important of important things; it is the manifestation of God in life; it is Karma; it is the broadening of one’s “self.” Whatever had been marked off is guess work.
4) Details for Hajji Murad: 1) The shadow of an eagle over the slope of a mountain; 2) at the river, on the sands, are tracks of horses, animals, people; 3) riding into the forest, the horses snort keenly; 4) from behind a clump of trees a goat jumped out.
5) When people are enthusiastic about Shakespeare, Beethoven, they are enthusiastic about their own thoughts, dreams, which are called forth by Shakespeare, Beethoven, just as people in love do not love the object of their love, but what it calls forth in them. In this enthusiasm, there is no true reality of art, but absolute boundlessness.
6) Only then can one understand and feel God when one has understood clearly the unreality of everything material.
7) Not long ago, in the summer, I felt God clearly for the first time; that He existed and that I existed in Him; and that the only thing that existed was I in Him: in Him, like a limited thing in an unlimited thing, in Him also like a limited being in which He existed.
(Horribly bad, unclear. But I felt it clearly and especially keenly for the first time in my life.)
In general, I don’t know why, but I haven’t the same religious feeling which I had when I formerly wrote my Journal for no one. The fact that it was read and that it can be read, kills this feeling. But the feeling was precious and helped me in life. I am going to begin anew from the present date, the 14th, to write again as before—so that no one will read it during my life time. If there will be thoughts worth it, I can write them out and send them to Chertkov.
8) A man incapable of repentance has no salvation from his sins. Even if his sins are pointed out to him, he only gets angry at those who point them out, and a new sin is added.
9) All attempts to live on the land and feed oneself by one’s own labor have been unsuccessful, and could not help being unsuccessful in Russia, because it is necessary for a man of our education feeding himself by his own labor, to compete with the peasant—who fixes the prices, beating them down by his offer. But he was brought up for generations in stern life and stubborn work, while we were brought up for generations in luxurious life and idle laziness. From this it does not follow that one ought not to try to feed one’s self by one’s own labor, but only that it is impossible to expect its realization in the first generation.
10) All calamities which are born from sex relations, from being in love, come from this, that we confuse fleshly lust with spiritual life, with—terrible to say—love; we use our reason not to condemn and limit this passion, but to adorn it with the peacock feathers of spirituality. Here is where les extremes se touchent. To attribute every attraction between the sexes to sex desire seems very materialistic, but, on the contrary, it is the most spiritual point of view: to distinguish from the realm of the spiritual everything which does not belong to it, in order to be able to value it highly.
11) Everything that I know is the product of my senses. My senses demonstrate to me my limits, coming in contact with the limits of other beings. This sensation, or the knowledge of limits, we recognize and cannot recognize otherwise, than as matter. And in this matter we see either only matter or beings who like us are bound by limits. The beings near to us in size, from the elephant to the insect, we know—we know their limits. The beings that are far from us in size, like atoms or like the stars, we recognize as matter only. But besides these two kinds of beings which we know by our senses, we must inevitably acknowledge still other beings (not spiritual beings like us,—that is obvious) not recognizable by our senses, but which are material, i.e., they also form limits. Such beings are atoms, ether. The presence of these beings, the admission of which is demanded by our reason, undoubtedly proves that our senses give us only a one-sided and a very limited knowledge of other beings and of the outer world. So that we can imagine for ourselves such beings endowed with such senses (sens) for whom ether would give the very same reality, as matter for us.
(It is still unclear, but understandable.)
12) If we would always remember that our tongue was given us for the transmission of our thoughts, and the capacity of thinking for the understanding of God and His law of love, and that therefore you must talk only then when you have something good to say! But when you cannot say anything good, cannot keep back the bad—then be silent, even all your life.
13) As soon as you have a disagreeable feeling towards a man, it means there is something you don’t know. And you ought to find out: you ought to find out the motives of that act which was disagreeable to you. And as soon as you have understood the motives clearly then it can anger you as little as a falling stone.
14) You get angry at a woman because she does not understand—or she understands, but does not do that which her reason tells her. She is unable to do it. Just as a magnet acts on iron and does not act on wood, so are the conclusions of reason not binding on her—have no motor power. For her feeling is binding, and the conclusions of reasons are so only when they are transmitted by authorities, i.e., by the feeling of the desire not to remain behind others. So that she will not believe and will not follow an obvious demand of reason, if it be not confirmed by an authority; but she will believe and follow the greatest absurdity if only every one does it. She cannot do otherwise. But we get angry. There are also many men like that—womanish.
15) One has to serve others, not oneself, if only for the reason that in the serving of others there is a limit and therefore it is possible here to act rationally, build a house for him who is without, buy cattle, clothes; but in the serving of oneself there is no limit: the more you serve, the worse it is.
16) Time is only for the body: it is the relationship of beings with the various limits seen by us, to beings whose limits we do not see; to the movement of the sun, the moon, the earth, to the movement of the sands in the hour-glass. And therefore time is for that which we call the body, for that which has limits; but for that which has no limits: for the spiritual—there is no time. Therefore you remember only those times in which you lived spiritually. (Unclear, but was clear.)
17) We suffer from ourselves, from the demands of our “self,” and we all know that the only means for not suffering from that “self,” is to forget it. And we seek forgetfulness in distractions, in occupations with art, science, in wine, in smoking—and there is no real forgetfulness. But God made it so that there should be only one real forgetfulness, one that is real and always at hand—in the care for others, in the serving of others.
But I forgot this and I live a terribly selfish life, and therefore I am unhappy.
18) I went past the out-houses. I remembered the nights that I spent there, and the youth and the beauty of Duniasha (I never had any relation with her), her strong, womanly body. Where is it? It has been long nothing but bones. What are those bones? What is their relation to Duniasha? There was a time when those bones formed a part of that separate being which had been Duniasha. Then this being changed its center and that which had been Duniasha became a part of another being, enormous, inconceivable to me in magnitude, which I call earth. We do not know the life of the earth, and therefore we think it dead, just like an insect who lives one hour thinks my body dead, because he does not see its movement.
19) Space is the relation of various limited beings among themselves. It exists. But time is only the relation of the movement of living beings among themselves, and the movement of matter which we consider dead.
20) The most horrible of all is intoxication: of wine, of games, of money greed, of politics, of art, of being in love. It is impossible to speak with such people as long as they haven’t slept it off. It is terrible.
The letter to Stockholm has been printed.
Oct. 15. Y. P. If I live.
To-day Oct. 16. Y. P.
Did not write yesterday. My health is entirely improved.... From Olga Dieterichs, a letter from Chertkov. It is evident that as a result, he and she also have lived through difficult times.
Last night and to-day, I wanted to write Hajji Murad. Began it. It has a semblance of something, but I did not continue it, because I was not in full mastery. I ought not to spoil it by forcing. Up to now the Peterburgskia Viedomosti has not printed it.
I have noted:
1) I have noted many resolutions, rules, which if I could remember, I would live well. But the rules are too many, and it is impossible to remember them always. The same thing as to imitations of art: the rules are too many, and to remember them always is impossible; it ought to come from within, be guided by feeling. The same thing in life. If only you are touched by feeling, if you live in God, then you would not recede from a single rule and you would do more than is in the rules. If one could only always be in this state.
But to-day, just now, I was in the worst mood. I was angry with everything. What does it mean? How explain this state to oneself?
2) This explanation came to me: the soul, the spiritual essence, can live in its own center or within its own limits. Living in itself, it is not conscious of its limits; living in the periphery it incessantly and painfully feels its limits. A release from this state is the recognition of the illusion of the material world, to go away from the limits, to concentrate in oneself. (Unclear.)
Oct. 17. Y. P. If I live.
Oct. 17. Y. P. 12 midnight.
... Help me, Lord, to act not according to my will, but according to Thine. Received a letter from N about Beller and other ministers who preach the inconsistency of military service and Christianity, and about Chertkov, that he was fussy, had sinned and had fallen ill.
Am correcting the 10th chapter, it is about to be sent off.... My letter was printed in the Peterburgskia Viedomosti.
I thought: The road of all evil and of all suffering is not so much ignorance as false knowledge—deception. The Appeal ought to be finished with an appeal for all to help towards the abolition of deception.
Oct. 18. Yasn. Pol. If I live.
Yesterday I made no notes; to-day Oct. 19. Y. P.
... Both yesterday and to-day I felt great apathy, although I was well. I don’t feel like working. Corrected Chapters 13, 14, 15. I received the re-copied chapters from Moscow and the conclusion. Yesterday I went to Yasenki. To-day I chopped wood and carried it. Novikov was here. Viacheslav spent the night. To-day a letter from Boulanger. I want to write to him right away and to my wife. I ought to write to Salomon.
Solitude nevertheless is very pleasant.
Oct. 20. Y. P. If I live.
To-day Oct. 21. Y. P.
Received proof of the Carpenter article from Sieverni Viestnik and began to write a preface. Corrected Art, received letters from Chertkov and Boulanger.
Yesterday my work didn’t go. Went to Yasenki.
Just now, remaining alone after my work, I asked myself what I should do, and having no personal desire (except the bodily demands arising only when I want to eat or sleep) I felt so keenly the joy of the knowledge of the Will of God, that I need and want nothing but to do what He wants. This feeling arose as a result of the question which I myself put to myself when I remained alone in the silence: Who am I? Why am I? And the answer came so clearly by itself: No matter who and what I am, I have been sent by some one to do something. Well, let me do that work. And so joyously and so well did I feel my fusion with the Will of God.
This is my second live feeling for God. Then I simply felt love for God. At this moment, I cannot remember how it was; I only remember that it was a joyful feeling.
Oh, what happiness is solitude! To-day it is so good: you feel God.
Oct. 22. Y. P. If I live.
Oct. 22. Y. P.
I am writing in the evening. All day I did not feel like working. I slept badly.... I corrected the 11th chapter in the morning, in the evening I began the 12th. I was unable to do anything—there is a boil on my head and my feet perspire. Is it from the honey? Aphanasi and Maria Alexandrovna were here.
It is evening now. I am alone and horribly sad. I have neither doubts nor hurts, but am sad and want to cry. Oh, I must prepare myself more, more, for the new appointment.
A letter from Grot; I ought to give him “Concerning Art.”
Thought only this:
In childhood, youth, the senses (sens) are very definite, the limits are firm. The longer you live, the more and more do these limits become wiped out, the senses get dulled—there is established a different attitude towards the world.
Oct. 23. If I live.
Oct. 26. Y. P.
A very strange thing: It is the third day that I cannot write. Am displeased with everything that I have written. There is something new and very important for Art, but I cannot express it clearly in any way.
A letter from Vanderveer. It is now morning, will go to the post.
I have lived through much these two weeks. The work is still the same; I think I have finished it. To-day I have written letters and among them one to Grot to be set up in type. S was here, she left for Moscow from Pirogovo, where we went together. It was good there. Since I have come home, my back has ached and in the evening I have fever. Alexander Petrovich is writing in the house....
To-day I wrote 9 letters. One letter to Khilkov, remained. How terrible, his affair and condition. Mikhail Novikov was here and also a peasant-poet from Kazan.
Have been thinking:
1) The condition of people who are befogged by a false religion is just the same as in blindman’s-buff: they tie their eyes, then they take them by their arms, and then they turn them around and finally let them go. The same with everybody. Without this they do not let them go. (For The Appeal.)
2) The most usual judgment about Christianity, especially among the new Nietzschean reasoners, is that Christianity is a renunciation of dignity, a weakness, a submissiveness. It is just the contrary. True Christianity demands above everything else the highest consciousness of dignity, a terrible strength and steadfastness. It is just the contrary: The admirers of strength ought to debase themselves before strength.
3) I walked in the village, and looked into the windows. Everywhere there was poverty and ignorance. And I thought of the former slavery. Formerly, the cause was to be seen, the chain which held them was to be seen; but now it is not a chain—in Europe they are hairs, but they are just as many as those which held Gulliver. With us the ropes are still to be seen, well—let us say the twine; and there there are hairs, but they hold so tightly that the giant-people cannot move.
There is one salvation: not to lie down, not to fall asleep. The deception is so strong and so adroit that you often see that those very people which it sucks and ruins, defend the vampires with passion and attack those who are against them....
November 11, Y. P. If I live.
November 11, Y. P.
Since morning I have been writing Hajji Murad—and nothing has come of it. But it is becoming clear in my head and I feel like writing very much. I wrote a letter to Khilkov and to others, but I shall hardly send the one to Khilkov. Maria Alexandrovna was here. My health is entirely good.
November 12, Y. P. If I live.
November 12, Y. P.
To-day Peter Ossipov came: “In our place they have begun to sell indulgences.” The Vladimir-icon was there and it was ordered through the village elder, that the people be driven to the Church.
N. found ore and considers it very natural that people shall live under the ground, in danger of their lives, and he will receive the income.
... The most important thing is that I have decided to write The Appeal; there is no time to postpone it. To-day I corrected On Science. It is evening now, have taken up two versions of The Appeal, and am going to work on it.
Nov. 14, Y. P.
... One thing I want: To do what is better before God. I don’t know how yet. I slept badly at night; bad thoughts, wicked ones. And I am apathetic, no desire to work. Corrected the preface On Science.
I made the following notes:
1) I read of the behavior of the English in Africa. It is all terrible. But the thought came to my head: Perhaps it was unavoidably necessary in order that enlightenment should penetrate these peoples. At first I was absorbed in the thought and it occurred to me that thus it had to be done. What nonsense! Why should not people, living a Christian life, go in simply like Miklukha-Maklai, live with them, but is it necessary to trade, make drunkards of them, kill? They say: “If people were to live as Christians, they would have no work.” Here is the work and it is an enormous work: while the Gospels are being preached to all creation.
2) Science, losing its religious basis, has begun to study trifles—in the main, it has ceased to study important things. From that time on was formed the theory of experimental science, Bacon.
3) I was thinking, pendant to Hajji Murad, of writing about another Russian brigand, Gregori Nicholaev. He should see the whole lawlessness of the life of the rich, he should live as a watchman of an apple-orchard on a rich estate with a lawn-tennis.
4) To-day I am in a very bad mood, and it is very difficult for me to remember, to imagine to myself what I am when I am in a good mood. But it is absolutely necessary, so as not to despair and not do something bad when in a bad mood, to abstain from every activity. Is it not the same in life? One ought not to believe that I am this good-for-nothing which I feel myself to be, but to make an effort, remember what I am there, what I am in spirit, and live according to that remembered “self,” or do not live at all—abstain.
5) “Toute réunion d’hommes est toujours inférieure aux éléments qui la composent.” This is so because they are united by rules. In their own natural union, as God has united them, they are not only not lower, but many times higher.
I read Menshikov’s article. There is much that is good in it: about one-God and many Gods, and much that is very weak; the examples.
Nov. 15, Y. P. If I live.
Nov. 15, Y. P.
I worked badly on the preface to Carpenter. After dinner, in the blizzard, I went to Yasenki. Took Tania’s letter. Returned—and here for the first time I knew prostration. Then drank tea—recovered. Read but did nothing. Wrote a letter only to Maude in answer to his remarks.
I thought this trifle: that love is only good then when you are not conscious of it. It suffices to be conscious of the love, and moreover to rejoice in it—and there is an end to it.
Nov. 16, Y. P. If I live.
To-day, Nov. 17. Y. P.
For the second day, I have been thinking with special clearness about this:
1) My life, my consciousness of my personality, gets weaker and weaker all the time, will become still weaker and will end in coma, and in an absolute end of the consciousness of my personality. At the same time, absolutely simultaneously and in the same tempo with the destruction of my personality, that thing will begin to live, and will live ever stronger and stronger, that which my life made, the results of my thought, feelings; it is living in other people, even in animals, in dead matter. And so I feel like saying that this is what will live after me.
But all this lacks consciousness, and therefore I cannot say that it lives. But who said that it lacked consciousness? Why can I not suppose that all this will be united in a new consciousness which I can justly call my consciousness, because it is all made from my consciousness? Why cannot this other new being live among these things which live now? Why not suppose that all of us are particles of consciousness of other higher beings, such as we are going to be?
“My Father has many dwellings.” Not in the sense that there are various places, but that the various consciousnesses, personality, are inter-enclosed and interwoven one into the other. In fact, the whole world as I know it, with its space and time, is a product of my personality, my consciousness. As soon as there is another personality, another consciousness, then there is an entirely different world, the elements of which are formed by our personalities. Just as when I was a child, my consciousness awoke little by little (which made it so that even when a child, an embryo, I saw myself as a separate being), so it will awake and is awakening now—in the consequences of my life, in my future “self” after my death.
“The Church is the body of Christ.” Yes, Christ, in his new consciousness, lives now through the life of all the living and dead and all the future members of the Church. And in the same way each one of us will live through his own church. And even the most valueless man will have his own valueless and perhaps bad church, but a church which will create his new body. But how? This is what we cannot imagine, because we cannot imagine anything which is beyond our consciousness. And there are not many dwellings, but many consciousnesses.
But here is the last, most terrible, insoluble problem: What is it for? For what is this movement, this passing over from some lower, more separate consciousnesses, into a more common, higher one? For what—that is a mystery which we cannot know. It is for this that God is necessary and faith in Him. Only He knows it and one must have faith that so it ought to be.
2) And again I thought to-day, entirely unexpectedly, about the charm—exactly the charm—of awakening love, when against the background of joyous, pleasant, sweet relationships, that little star suddenly begins to shine. It is like the perfume of the linden or the falling shadow from the moon. There is no full-blown blossom yet, no clear light and shadow, but there is a joy and fear of the new, of the charming. This is good, but only when it is for the first time and the last.
3) And again I thought about that illusion which all are subjected to, especially people whose activity is reflected on others—the illusion that, having been accustomed to see the effects of your acts on others, you verify the correctness of your acts by their effect on others.
4) I thought still further: For hypnotism it is necessary to have faith in the importance of that which is being suggested (the hypnotism of all artistic delusions). And for this faith, it is necessary to have ignorance and cultivation of credulence.
To-day I corrected the preface to Carpenter. Received a telegram from Grot. I want to send off the 10th chapter. A sad letter from Boulanger.
Well, Nov. 18, Y. P. If I live.
To-day, Nov. 20. Evening.
Wrote the preface to Carpenter. Thought much about Hajji Murad and got my materials ready. I still haven’t found the tone.
... I think with horror of the trip to Moscow.
1) To think how unimportant it will be in 10, 20 years, just as is unimportant now that which tortured you 10, 20 years ago.
2) To remember what you did yourself, to remember those deeds which were no better than those which are hurting you.
3) To think of that which is a hundred times worse, and might be.
This could be added; to think out the condition, the soul of the man who makes you suffer, to understand that he cannot act in any other way. Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner.
The most important and the strongest and the surest of all is to say to oneself: Let there not be my will, but Thine, and not as I wish but as Thou wilt; and not that which I wish but that which Thou wilt. My work, then, is under those conditions in which Thou hast placed me, to fulfill Thy Will. To remember that when it is difficult, it is just this very thing which has been assigned to you, it is the very instance which will not be repeated, in which you may have the happiness of doing that which He wishes.
Father, help me to do only Thy Will.
To-day I corrected the Carpenter translation. My stomach is not good; bad mood and weakness.
Nov. 21, Y. P. If I live.
Nov. 21, Y. P.
I am still thinking and gathering material for Hajji Murad. To-day I thought much, read, began to write but stopped at once. Went to Yasenki, took S’s letter. Received nothing.
Maria Alexandrovna was here. She is evidently tired, a poor girl and nice.
I thought and noted down:
1) I thought about death—how strange it is that one does not want to die, although nothing holds one—and I thought of prisoners who have become so at home in their prisons that they do not want to leave them for freedom and are even afraid to. And so we have become at home in the prison of our life and are afraid of freedom.
2) We have been sent here to do the work of God. In this sense, how good is the parable about the servants who in the absence of their master, squander his fortune away instead of doing his work.
3) When you are angry, when you do not love some one, know that it is not you, but a dream, a nightmare, a most horrible nightmare. As when they stop mowing in order not to spoil the grass, so it is here. One ought to pray.
Rozanov discusses Menshikov and makes fun of him. How ... (I have forgotten) made fun of Nicholai, but he remained silent and smiled at me gaily. How touching this always is.
Nov. 22, Y. P. If I live.
Nov. 22, Y. P.
I saw very clearly in a dream, how Tania fell from a horse, has broken her head, is dying, and I cry over her.
Nov. 24, Y. P.
... Yesterday and to-day I prepared some chapters to send them off to Maude and to Grot. There have been no letters for a long time either from Maude, or from Chertkov. To-day there was a nice letter from Galia. Exquisite weather; I took a walk far on the Tula road.
In the morning I worked seriously revising Art. Yesterday I worked on Hajji Murad. It seems clear.
During this time I thought:
1) What a strange fate: at adolescence—anxieties, passions begin, and you think: I will marry and it will pass. And indeed it did pass with me, and for a long period, 18 years, there was peace. Then there comes the striving to change life and again the set-back. There is struggle, suffering, and at the end, something like a haven and a rest. But yet it wasn’t so. The most difficult has begun and continues and probably will accompany me unto death....
2) It would be easy to treat erring people mildly, simply, patiently, with compassion, if these people would not argue and would not argue in such a truth-like fashion. One has to answer these arguments somehow or other, and this you cannot stand.
3) Each of us is in such a condition that whether he wants to or does not want to, he has to do something, to work. Every one of us is on the treadmill. The question lies only in this, on which step will you stand?
Nov. 25. Y. P. If I live.
Nov. 25, Y. P.
... Corrected Art, it is pretty good; wrote a letter to Maude. A good letter from Galia.
Have been thinking:
1) It always seems to us that we are loved because we are good, but it does not occur to us that we are loved because they who love us are good. This can be seen if you listen to what that miserable, disgusting and vain man says whom with a great effort you have pitied: he says that he is so good you could not have acted otherwise. The same thing, when you are loved.
2) “Lobsters like to be boiled alive.” That is no joke. How often do you hear it, or have said it yourself or are saying it: Man has the capacity of not seeing the suffering which he does not want to see. And he does not want to see the suffering which he himself causes. How often I have heard it said about coachmen who are waiting, about cooks, lackeys, peasants at their work, that they are having a good time—“Lobsters like to be boiled alive.”
Nov. 26. Y. P. If I live.
To-day, Nov. 28, Y. P.
Two days I haven’t written. I am still busy with Art and the preface to Carpenter....
All these days, have not been in a good mood. How to be in Moscow in such a state?
Have been thinking:
1) Often it happens that you are speaking to a man and suddenly he has a tender, happy expression, and he begins to speak to you in such a way that you think he is going to tell you something most joyful, but it turns out—he is speaking about himself. Zakharnin about his operation, Mashenka about her audience with Father Ambrose and his words.
When a man speaks about something which is very near to him, he forgets that the other one is not he. If people do not speak about abstract or spiritual things, they all speak necessarily about themselves, and that is terribly tedious.
2) You dash about, struggle—all because you want to swim in your own current. But alongside of you, unceasing and near to every one, there flows the divine and infinite current of love, in one and the same eternal course. When you are thoroughly exhausted in your attempts to do something for yourself, to save yourself, to secure yourself—then drop all your own courses, throw yourself into that current—and it will carry you and you will feel that there are no barriers, that you are at peace forever and free and blessed.
3) Only not to love oneself, one’s very self, one’s own Leo Nicholaievich (Tolstoi)—and you will love both God and people. You are on fire and you can’t help but burn; and burning you will set fire to others and you will fuze with that other fire. To love oneself means to be niggardly with one’s light and to put out the fire.
4) When a man says an obvious untruth or an offense to you, then certainly he doesn’t do it from joy: and both are very difficult. If he does it then evidently he can’t do otherwise, and doing it, he suffers. And you, instead of pitying him, get angry at him. On the contrary, you ought to try to help him.
5) The tragedy of a man kindly disposed, wishing only the good, when in this state and for this state, which he cannot help but count as good, he meets hissing malice and the hatred of people.
Nov. 28. If I live. Y. P.
Agonizing, sad, depressed state of body and spiritual force, but I know that I am alive and independent of this condition, yet I feel this “self” but little....
I was busied all this time with corrections and additions to Art. The principal thing during this time, was that Dushan was here whom I love very much and learned to love still more. Together with the Slavonian Posrednik, he is forming a center of a small, but I think divine work. From Chertkov there is still no news.
An anguish, a soft, mild, sweet anguish, but yet an anguish. If I were without the consciousness of life, then probably I would have had an embittered anguish.
Have been thinking:
1) I was very depressed at the fear of vexation and severe conflicts, and I prayed God—prayed almost without expecting aid, but nevertheless I prayed: “Lord, help me to go away from this. Release me.” I prayed like this, then rose, walked to the end of the room and suddenly I asked myself: Have I not to yield? Yes, to yield. And God helped—God who is in me, and I felt lighthearted and firm. I entered that divine current which flows there alongside of us always and to which we can always give ourselves when things are bad.
2) I had a talk with Dushan. He said that since he has become involuntarily my representative in Hungary, then how was he to act. I was glad for the opportunity to tell him and to clarify it to myself that to speak about Tolstoyanism, to seek my guidance, to ask my decision on problems, is a great and gross mistake. There is no Tolstoyanism and has never been, nor any teaching of mine; there is only one eternal, general, universal teaching of the truth, which for me, for us, is especially clearly expressed in the Gospels. This teaching calls man to the recognition of his filiality to God and therefore of his freedom or his slavery (call it what you want): of his freedom from the influence of the world, of his slavery to God, His will. And as soon as man understands this teaching, he enters freely into direct communication with God and he has nothing and no one to ask.
It is like a man swimming in a river with an enormous overflow. As long as the man isn’t in the middle current, but in the overflow, he has to swim himself, to row, and here he can be guided by the course taken in swimming by other people. Here also I could direct people while I myself approach the current. But as soon as we enter the current, then there is no guide and cannot be. We are all carried along by the strength of the current, all in one direction, and those who were behind can be in front. When a man asks where shall he swim, that only shows that he has not yet entered the current and that he from whom he asks, is a poor guide if he were unable to bring him into the current, i.e., to that state in which it is impossible—because it is senseless—to ask. How ask where to swim, when the current with irresistible force is drawing me in a direction that is joyous to me?
People who submit themselves to a guide, who have faith in him and listen to him, undoubtedly wander in the dark together with their guide.
I think I have finished Art.
Dec. 3. Y. P. If I live.
My work on Art has cleared up much for me. If God commands me to write artistic things, they will be altogether different ones. And to write them it will be both easier and more difficult. We shall see.
To-day, Dec. 6, Moscow.
On the 4th I went to Dolgoe. I had a very tender impression from the ruined house; a swarm of memories.
Almost two days that I haven’t written. I only prepared the chapters on Art and packed my things ... I have jotted down nothing. I woke feeling badly.
Dec. 7, Moscow.
I jotted down nothing: there is much bustle. Health good.
Dec. 8, Moscow. If I live.
I have already spent so many days in Moscow. I have done almost nothing, only corrected Art. A pile of people and letters. Thank God the most important is good, i.e., I have done nothing that I ought not to have done. To-day I wrote a letter to Gali.
It seems to me that the divisions of Art have turned out just as they were before.
A sad impression was produced by what N told about Chertkov and by the letter of Ivan Michailovich. Moreover, A, B, C, D,—they are all suffering. Well, it is forgivable in them, but how can a Christian suffer?
During this time N N’s condition became clear. He is mentally diseased, like all people who are non-Christians.
I have consented to give to Troubetskoi by installments.
A sad letter from Chertkov. I want to write to him.
Dec. 12, Moscow. If I live.
To-day, the 13th. Morning.
I wrote a letter to the Chertkovs. It seems to me I have corrected the 16th chapter very well.
Yesterday I read the correspondence of Z on the sex-problem and I was very indignant and I spoke disagreeably to him at Rusanov’s.
Rusanov has the head of Hajji Murad. This morning I wanted to write Hajji Murad—I lost the outline.
1) Sergius, 2) Alexander I, 3) Persianninov, 4) the tale of Petrovich—the husband, who died a pilgrim. The following are worse: 5) the legend of the descent of Christ into hell and the reconstruction of hell, 6) a forged coupon, 7) Hajji Murad, 8) the substituted child, 9) the drama of the Christian resurrection and perhaps 10) Resurrection—the trial of a prostitute, 11) (excellent) a brigand killing the defenseless, 12) a mother, 13) an execution in Odessa.
It is depressing in the house, but I want to be and will be joyous.
I am going to write out only two things:
1) That the physical union with an accidental husband is one of the means established by God for the spread of His truth: for the testing and the strengthening of the stronger and for the enlightenment of the weaker.
2) For people professing filiality to God, not to rejoice in life, to yearn, is a dreadful sin, an error. If you understood that the end of life is the activity for God for no personal ends, then nothing could hinder this activity, could hold it back. The main thing is that life willy-nilly goes forward to the better: one’s own life and the life of the world. How not rejoice at this movement? One has only to remember that life is movement.
I write and I sleep and therefore express myself badly. Until evening, if I live.
To-day, December 14, Moscow. Morning.
Yesterday I received an unpleasant letter from Chertkov and sent him an answer (about the publications).
The day before yesterday, I read the correspondence of Z about sex relations and became vexed and went to the Rusanovs’ and met Z there and showed my condemnation of him sharply. That tortured me and I wrote him a note yesterday apologizing and I received a nice answer which touched me.
I feel very ill. I am in the worst mood and therefore am dissatisfied with everything and cannot love. And just now am thinking:
We find sickness a burden; but sickness is a necessary good condition of life. Only it alone (perhaps not alone, but one of the most important and generally common conditions) prepares us for death, i.e., for our crossing over into another life. Therefore indeed it was sent to every one: to children, to adults, to old people, because all, at all ages, die. And we find it burdensome. The fact that we find sickness burdensome shows only that we do not live as we ought to: both a temporary and at the same time an eternal life—but we live only a temporary life.
Sickness is the preparation for the crossing-over and therefore to grumble against sickness is just the same as grumbling against cold and rain. One ought to make use of them and not grumble. In fact, only those who live playing, get angry at the rain, but those who live seriously rejoice at it. The same with sickness. More than this: not only sickness but a bad mood, disappointment, sorrows, all these help to detach oneself from the worldly and facilitate the crossing-over into the new life.
I am now in such a state of crossing-over.
Evening, the 14th.
The whole day I have been ill and I am in the worst mood. I cannot master myself and everything is disagreeable and burdensome. I did nothing. I read and talked.
Dec. 15, Moscow. If I live.
To-day, December 17.
A pile of people here, all evening. To-day I wrote twelve letters, but did not work at all.
To-day I thought the very oldest thing: That one ought to perfect oneself in love, in which no one can interfere and which is very interesting. But love is not in exclusive attachments, but in a good, not in an evil attitude to every living being.
Wrote letters: 1) Posha, 2) Masha, 3) Ivan Michailovich, 4) Prince Viazemsky, 5) Bondarev, 6) Strakhov, 7) the school teacher Robinson, 8) Priest, 9) Crosby, 10) Chizhov, 11) Nicholaev in Kazan, and 12) ——
I am finishing the note-book in a bad mood. To-morrow I begin a new one. To-day I am also displeased with the essay on art.
The diary of the year 1897, Dec. 21, ’97. Moscow.
I am beginning a new notebook, almost in a new spiritual mood. Here are already 5 days that I have done nothing. I am thinking out Hajji Murad, but I have no desire or confidence. On Art is printed. Chertkov is displeased and those here also.
Yesterday I received an anonymous letter with a threat to kill, if I do not reform by the year 1898; time is given only up to 1898. I was both uneasy and pleased.
I am skating. A sign of an inactive mood is that I have noted down nothing.
Just now I read through Chekhov’s, On a Cart. Excellent in expressiveness, but rhetorical as soon as he wants to give meaning to his story. There is a remarkable clearness in my mind, thanks to my book on art.
Dec. 26, ’97. Moscow.
The day before yesterday I fell ill and I am still not well. I am reading much. My heart is heavy. Evening.
Dec. 27, ’97. Moscow. If I live.
To-day, Dec. 29, ’97. Moscow. Morning.
I have received letters with threats of killing. I regret that there are people who hate me, but it interests me little and it doesn’t disturb me at all.
Have jotted down something.
A conversation with N: what a pitiable youth: understanding everything and at the same time not having the capacity to put anything in the right place and therefore he is living in unimaginable confusion.
Have been thinking:
1) They say usually that Christ’s teaching, the real Christ’s teaching ... destroys all union, that it is a disuniting “individualism.” How false this is! Christianity only therefore preaches personal salvation, “individualism,” as they say, because this personal salvation is indispensable, accessible, joyous to all, and therefore inevitably unites people—not mechanically by the pressure of force from without or by stirring with “culture,” but chemically by an inner, indissoluble union.
2) Sometimes you complain that they do not love your soul, but love or do not love your body, and you are angry at them, condemning them, but you do not see that they cannot do otherwise: for them your soul, the holy of holies of your soul, that which—as you know—is the only real thing, the only thing that acts—is nothing, because it is invisible, like the chemical rays of the spectrum.
3) There are people, mainly women, for whom the word is only the means for an attainment of an end, and it is entirely devoid of its fundamental significance which is to be an expression of reality. These people are sometimes terribly strong. Their advantage is like that which a man would have who in fencing took off the cork from the rapier. His adversaries are bound by conditions that ... No, the comparison is not good. The best of all: they are like a gambler in cards, a sharper. I will find one.
The examples of this are such: a man wants, for instance, to steal; he takes other people’s money; he says that he was charged to do it, they asked him to, and he believes that he was asked to. And the proof of the untruth of his evidence he refutes with a new lie. He kills: the murdered one suffered so, that he begged him to kill him. He wants to do something nasty or something foolish. Well, to turn all the furniture upside down or to debauch—and he explains in detail, how it was recognized by doctors, that it was necessary to do this periodically, etc. And he convinces himself that it is so. But when this proves to be not so, he does not hear, he brings forth his own arguments and then at once forgets both his own arguments and other people’s. These people are terrible, horrible.
4) The spiritualists say that after death the soul of people lives on and communicates with them. Soloviev, the father, said truly, I remember, that this is the Church dogma of saints, of their intercession and of prayers to them. Evgenie Ivanovich also said truly that as the Pashkov Sect is a taking out of the dogma of the Redemption alone and the adaptation of everything to it, so spiritualism is the taking out of the dogma of saints, and the adaptation of everything to it.
5) But I say the following in regard to this dogma of the soul: What we call the soul, is the divine, spiritual, limited in us in our bodies. Only the body limits this divine, this spiritual. And it is this limiting which gives it a form like a vessel gives form to a liquid or a gas which is enclosed in it. But we only know this form. Break the vessel and that which is enclosed in it will cease to have that form which it has and will spread out, be carried off. Whether it combines with other matter, whether it receives a new form—we know nothing about this, but we know for a fact that it loses that form which it had when it was limited, because that which limited it was destroyed. The same with the soul. The soul after death ceases to be the soul and remaining a spirit, a divine essence, becomes something other, such that we cannot judge.
I wrote the preface to Chertkov.
Dec. 30. Moscow. If I live.
From : Gutenberg.org
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