The Journal of Leo Tolstoi, Volume 1 : 1898
(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 Government and all those of the upper classes near the Government who live by other people's work, need some means of dominating the workers, and find this means in the control of the army. Defense against foreign enemies is only an excuse. The German Government frightens its subjects about the Russians and the French; the French Government, frightens its people about the Germans; the Russian Government frightens its people about the French and the Germans; and that is the way with all Governments. But neither Germans nor Russians nor Frenchmen desire to fight their neighbors or other people; but, living in peace, they dread war more than anything else in the world." (From : "Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer," by Leo Tol....)
• "You are surprised that soldiers are taught that it is right to kill people in certain cases and in war, while in the books admitted to be holy by those who so teach, there is nothing like such a permission..." (From : "Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer," by Leo Tol....)
• "If, in former times, Governments were necessary to defend their people from other people's attacks, now, on the contrary, Governments artificially disturb the peace that exists between the nations, and provoke enmity among them." (From : "Patriotism and Government," by Leo Tolstoy, May 1....)
I meet the new year very sad, depressed, unwell. I cannot work and my stomach aches all the time.
Received a letter from Verkholensk from Phedoseev about the Dukhobors, a very touching one.
Still another letter from the editor The Adult about free love. If I had time, I would like to write about this subject. Probably I shall write. The most important is to show that the whole matter lies in appropriating to oneself possibilities of the greatest enjoyment without thinking of consequences. Besides, they preach something which already exists and is very bad. Why would the absence of outer restraint improve the whole thing? I am, of course, against any regulation and for full freedom, but the ideal is chastity and not pleasure.
I have been thinking during this time only one thing and it seems an important thing, namely:
1) We all think that our duty, our vocation, is to do various things: bring up children, make a fortune, write a book, discover a law in science, etc. But for all the work is only one thing: to carry out one’s own life—to act so that life would be a harmonious, good, and rational matter. And the work ought to be not before people, to leave behind one a memory of a good life, but the work is before God: to present to Him oneself, one’s soul, better than it was, nearer to Him, more submissive to Him, more in harmony with Him.
To think so—and principally to feel so—is very difficult: One always wanders off for human praise. But it is possible and ought to be done.
Help me, Lord. I sometimes feel this and do at this moment.
Jan. 2. Moscow. If I live.
To-day, already the 4th.
I am a little better. I want to work. Yesterday Stasov and Repine, coffee.... When will I remember that much talk is much bother?
I received a pamphlet uncensored.
Only one thing has to be noted down: that all life is senseless, except that which has for its end the service of God, the service of the fulfillment of the work of God, which is unattainable to us. I shall write that out later. Now I am in a hurry.
Dear Masha arrived, later Tania with Sasha.
Jan. 5. Moscow. If I live.
To-day, Jan. 13.
It is more than a week that I haven’t written and I have done almost nothing. I have been ill all the time, and depressed. At times, I am good and calm, and at times uneasy and not good. The day before yesterday was difficult. Then the peasants arrived: Bulakhov, with St., Pet., and two from Tula. I felt so lighthearted and energetic. One need not yield to one’s own circle, one can always enter the circle of God and His people.
It is long since I have been so depressed. A letter from Posha. Wrote to Posha, Ivan Michailovich, Chertkov, Maude and Boulanger.
I am still endeavoring to find a satisfactory form for Hajji Murad and I still haven’t it, although it seems I am nearing it.
... To-day a telegram about the work, “What is Art?”
Have made some notes and I think important ones.
1) Something of enormous importance and ought to be expounded well. Organization, every kind of organization, which frees from any kind of human, personal, moral duties. All the evil in the world comes from this. They flog people to death, they debauch, they becloud their minds and no one is to blame. In the tale of the resurrection of hell, this is the most important and new means.
2) Each one of us is that light, that divine essence, love, the Son of God, enclosed in a body, in limits, in the colored lantern which we have painted with our passions and habits—so that everything we see, we see only through this lantern. To raise oneself so as to see above it, is impossible; on top there is the same kind of glass through which we see even God, through the glass which we ourselves have painted. The only thing which we can do is not to look through the glasses, but to concentrate in ourselves, recognize our light and kindle it. And this is the one salvation from the delusions of life, from its suffering, from its temptations. And this is joyful and always possible.
I do this, and it is good.
3) Dreams—they are nothing else than the looking on the world not through the glasses, but only on the glasses, and on the interweaving of various designs interwoven on the glasses. In sleep you only see the glasses; when awake, the world, through the glasses.
4) A woman can, when she loves a man, see merits in him which he has not, but when she is indifferent, she is unable to see a man’s merits other than through the opinion of others. (However, I think it is untrue.)
5) The following when I wrote it, seemed to me very important:
Christians strive to a union, and unite among themselves and with other people by the Christian tool—by unity, humility, love. But there are people who do not know this means of union, do not believe in it and who endeavor to unite (all people endeavor to unite) with other means, outer ones, with force, threats. It is impossible to demand of these people who do not know, who cannot understand the Christian means of union, that they do not make use of their means; but it is absolutely unjust and unreasonable when these un-Christian people impose their own lower means of union upon people knowing and using a higher means. They say, “You Christians, you profit by our means; if you have not been robbed and killed, it is thanks to us.” To this the Christians answer, that they don’t need anything which force gives them (as is really the fact for a Christian).
And that is why, though it is legitimate for people not knowing a higher means of union, to use a lower, it is illegitimate, that they look upon their own lower means as a general and unique one, and want to compel those for whom it cannot be necessary to use it. The principal step before humanity now consists in this, that people should not only recognize and admit the means of Christian union, but that they should recognize that it is the highest, the one to which all humanity is striving and to which it will inevitably reach.
6) When you are full of energy, then you live, and you ought to live for this world; when you are sick, then you are dying, i.e., you begin to live for that other after-death world. So that in either phase, there is work. When you are sick, dying, then concentrate in yourself and think about death and about life after death, and stop longing for this one. Both processes are normal and in both there exists work proper to each state.
I feel somewhat fresher spiritually.
Jan. 14, Moscow. If I live.
My health is a little better. It is now evening. Wrote letters, 1) Chertkov; 2) Dubrovin; 3) Dubrovsky; Tver; 4) Tula: N. l. Kh.; 5) Nakashidze; 6) Ivan Michailovich.
To-day the plot of Hajji Murad became clearer than ever before.
Jan. 19. Moscow.
Depressing and unproductive. I cannot work. Several times a week I remember that everything disagreeable is only an Ermahnung for an advance onward towards perfection.
Help, Father. Come and dwell within me. You already dwell within me. You are already “me.” My work is only to recognize Thee. I write this just now and am full of desire. But nevertheless I know who I am.
Very weak and apathetic. All the time I either read or corrected proofs of Art. There is much to be noted. But I have neither strength nor desire. There have been no events, no letters.
Feb. 3, Moscow. If I live.
February 3, Moscow.
I am still as unproductive intellectually. In the morning it flashed across my mind that I left out the places in Art about the trinity, and doing no work, I went to Grot and from there to the publishing house. I returned past two, read, lay down, dined. Tarovat arrived, then Menshikov, Popov, Gorbunov, and then—Gulenko, Suller.
Read Liapunov’s The Plowman. I was very touched.
Have noted down the following:
1) In moments of depression I want to ask help from God. And I may ask it. But only such help which might help me and not interfere with any one else. And such help is only one thing: love. Every other kind of help, material help, not only might, but must come in conflict with the material good of others. Only love alone—the enlargement of love in oneself—satisfies everything which one can want and does not come in conflict with the good of others. “Come and dwell within us.”
2) Women do not use words to express their thoughts, but to attain their ends, and it is this purpose they hunt in the words of others. That is why they so often understand people wrong side out. And this is very disagreeable.
3) The meaning of life is only one: self-perfection—the bettering of one’s soul. “Be perfect like our Father in Heaven.”
When things are difficult, when something tortures you, remember that in life, only you are the life—and immediately it will become easier. And joyful. As a rich man rejoices when he gathers his wealth, so will you rejoice if you place your life only in this. And for the attainment of this, there are no barriers. Everything which appears like sorrow, like a barrier in life—is a wide step which offers itself to your feet that you may ascend.
4) If you have the strength of activity then let it be a loving one; if you have no strength, if you are weak, then let your weakness be a loving one.
6) To serve God and man, but how, with what? Perhaps the possibility doesn’t exist? It is not true: the possibility has always been given you—to become better.
7) Man is an ambassador, as Christ said, an ambassador indeed for whom the important thing is only to fulfill the errand given to him, and it doesn’t matter what is thought about him. Let them think badly—sometimes it is necessary. Only let the errand be fulfilled.
8) One of the most common errors consists in this, that people are considered good, malicious, stupid, intelligent. Man flows on and every possibility is in him: he was stupid, and has become intelligent; he was wicked and has become good, and the reverse. In this is the greatness of man. And therefore it is impossible to judge man as he is. You have judged and he is already another. It is impossible to say—I do not love him: you have said it and he is already another.
10) The fact that the end of life is self-perfection, that the perfection of the immortal soul is the only end of the life of man, is already true because every other end in the view of death, is senseless.
11) If man deliberates upon the consequences of his act, then the motives of his act are not religious.
12) The paper-knife on my knees fell over on account of its weight, and it seemed to me that it was something alive, and I shuddered. Why? Because there is a duty to everything living and I grew frightened lest I hadn’t fulfilled it, and lest I had crushed, squeezed a living being.
13) ... In this lies the whole matter—to destroy this hypnosis.
14) It is impossible not to wish that our acts be known and approved. For him who has no God, it is necessary that his acts be known and approved. But for him who has God, it is sufficient that they be known. By this can it be verified if a man has God.
4th Feb. Moscow. If I live.
To-day, the 5th. Morning.
I do not feel like writing at all. All these last days, especially yesterday, I have been feeling and applying to life, the consciousness that the end of life is one: to be perfect like the Father, to do that which He does, that which He wants from us, i.e., to love; that love should guide us in the moments of our most energetic activity, and that we breathe with it alone in the moments of our greatest weakness. Whenever there is something difficult, painful, then it suffices to remember this, and all this difficulty, this pain, will vanish and only the joyous will remain.
To a man who seriously, truly uses his reason, it is obvious that all ends are closed to him. One alone is reasonable: to live for the satisfaction of the demands of God, of his conscience, of his higher nature. (It is all the same thing.) If this is to be expressed in time, then to live so as to prepare one’s soul to the passing-over into a better world: if this is to be expressed accurately in terms outside of time, then it is to fuze one’s life with its timeless principle, with the Good, with Love, with God. I am afraid only of one thing, that this strong consciousness acting beneficially on me, that the only thing reasonable and free and joyous is the life in God, be not calloused, that it do not lose its effect of lifting me out of the petty annoyances of life, and of freeing me. Oh, if that could be so to every one and if it could be so forever! In this light last night I considered the various manifestations of life and I felt so well and joyous. I will await the examination. I shall prepare for it.
When I wrote out the notes, I forgot:
1) How absurd is the argument of the enemies of moral perfection, that a man, sacrificing himself really, will sacrifice his perfection for the good of others, i.e., that a man is ready to become evil, in order to act well. If one understands by this that a man is ready to act badly before people, if only he could thereby fulfill the demands of his conscience and not serve a certain cause or even certain people, then this is true. The serving of a cause and of people can sometimes coincide, and can sometimes not coincide with the demands of conscience; and not serving a certain cause or people, can sometimes coincide and can sometimes not coincide with the demands of conscience. These are individual cases.
2) To doubt that the source of all evil is false religious teaching, can only be done by a man who hasn’t thought of the causes of the daily manifestations of social life. The causes of all these manifestations are thoughts—thoughts of people. How then could false thoughts not have an enormous influence on the social system? People, some of them, are well off in a false system based on false thoughts; it is natural that they support false thoughts, false-religious teaching.
3) I cannot write and I suffer, I force myself. How stupid! As if life lay in writing. It does not even lie in any outer activity. It is not as I will, but as Thou wilt. It is even fuller and more significant without writing. And here now I am learning to live without writing. And I am able to.
4) I see that I have made a note and have already said it here, namely, that to perfect oneself does not mean to prepare oneself for a future life (that is said for convenience, for simplicity of speech); but to perfect oneself means to get nearer to that basis of life for which time does not exist and therefore no death, i.e., to carry one’s “self” more and more away from the bodily life into the spiritual.
5) Evgenie Ivanovich says about N: she is at peace only when one occupies oneself with her. Any occupation with anything not concerning her, does not interest her. Every such occupation with other people offends her. It seems to her that she bears the life of every one near her, that without her everybody would be lost. For the least reproach, she insults every one. And in 10 minutes she forgets it, and she hasn’t the least remorse.
This is the highest degree of egotism and madness, but there are many grades approaching this. At bottom, to think that I live for myself, for my own enjoyment, for fame, is absolute potential madness. In living—it is impossible not to live for oneself, impossible not to defend oneself when attacked, not to fall on the food when hungry; but to think that in this is life, and to use that very thought given you to see the impossibility of such a life, to use it for the strengthening of such a separate individual life, is absolute madness.
6) A wife approaches her husband and caressingly speaks to him as she did not speak before. The husband is moved, but this is only because she has done something nasty.
7) Jean Grave, “L’individu et la Société,” says that revolution will only then be fertile when l’individu will be strong-willed, disinterested, good, ready to help his neighbor, will not be vain, will not condemn others, will have the consciousness of his own dignity, i.e., will have all the merits of a Christian. But how will he acquire these virtues if he knows that he is only an accidental chain of atoms? All these virtues are possible, are natural, in fact, their absence is impossible when there is a Christian world-point-of-view—that is, that we are sons of God sent to do His Will; but in a materialistic world-point-of-view these virtues are inconsistent.
It is now past one. I am going downstairs. I am going to write to-morrow.
Feb. 6. Moscow. If I live.
To-day, Feb. 19. Moscow.
It is long since I have made any entries. At first I was ill. For about 5 days I have been better. During this time I was correcting, putting in things and spoiling the last chapters of Art. I decided to send away Carpenter with the introduction to Sieverni Viestnik. Was correcting the preface also. The general impression of this article “On Science” as well as that of the 20th chapter—is remorse. I feel that it is right, that it is necessary, but it is painful that I hurt and grieve many good people who err. It is obvious that .0999 will not understand why and in the name of what I condemn science, and will be indignant. I should have done that with greater kindness. And in this I am guilty, but it is now too late.
The last time I wrote, I expressed fear lest the carrying over of myself from this worldly life, the offending, the irritating one, into the life before God, the eternal life (now, here) which I experienced would become lost, would become calloused. But here 13 days have passed and I still feel this and felt it all the time and rejoiced and am rejoicing.
Sometimes I begin to lay out patience, or hear an irritating conversation, contradiction, or am dissatisfied with my writing, with the condemnation of people, or I regret something—and suddenly I remember that it only seems so to me, because I am bent over searching on the floor, and it suffices to straighten up to my full height and everything that was disagreeable, irritating, not only vanishes, but helps the joys of triumph over my human weakness.
I haven’t yet experienced this in strong physical suffering. Will it endure? It ought to endure. Help, Lord.
Otherwise I am very joyous.
I am joyous, that in old age there has been disclosed absolutely a new condition of the great indestructible good. And this is not imagination, but a change of soul as clearly perceived as warmth and cold, it is a going over from confusion, suffering, to a clearness and peace and a going over which depends upon myself. Here, in truth, is where wings have sprouted. As soon as it becomes difficult, painful, to walk on foot, you spread the wings. Why not always then on wings? Evidently, I am still too weak; still untrained; and perhaps a rest is necessary.
It is interesting to find out if this state is an attribute of old age, if young people can experience it also? I think that they can. One must accustom oneself to this. This indeed is prayer.
“You must hide something, be afraid of something, something tortures you, something is lacking,”—and suddenly: there is nothing to hide, nothing to be afraid of, nothing to be tortured over, nothing to want. The main thing is to go away from the human court into God’s court.
Oh, if this would only hold out unto death! But even for that which I have experienced, I am grateful to Thee, Father.
I jotted down the following:
1) People can in no way agree to the unreality of all that is material. “But a table exists and always, even when I go out of the room it is there, and for all it is the same as it is for me,”—they generally say. Well, and when you twist two fingers and roll a little ball under them do you not unquestionably feel two? It is certainly so, every time I take up a little ball in that way there are two and for every one who takes up a ball in that way there are two, and nevertheless there are no two little balls. In the same way, the table is a table only for the twisted fingers of my senses, but it is perhaps half a table, a thousandth of a table—in fact, no part of a table at all, but something altogether different. So that what is real is only my ever recurring impression, confirmed by the impressions of other people.
2) ... I acted badly when I gave my estate to the children. It would have been better for them. Only it was necessary to have been able to do this without violating love, and I was unable.
3) You are often surprised how intelligent, good people can defend cruelty, violence, savage superstitions...? But it is sufficient to remember the exilings, the oppressions, the offenses, which are beginning to penetrate the working-classes and you see that this is only a feeling of self-preservation. Only by this is explained the tenacity of life....
4) Pharesov told me about Malikov’s teaching. All this was beautiful, all this was Christian: be perfect like your Father; but it was not good that all this teaching had for its end influence over people and not inner satisfaction, not an answer to the problem of life. Influence on others is the main Achilles’ heel.
So that my condition, which is false for people, is perhaps the very thing necessary.
5) ... In order to wipe out one’s sin, one ought to ... repent before all the people for the deception, to say: forgive me that I have deceived you ... What a strong scene! And a true one.
6) Our art with its supplying of amusement for the rich classes, is not only similar to prostitution, but it is nothing else than prostitution.
Feb. 20. Moscow.
To-day, Feb. 25. Moscow.
Have made no entries; corrected something. Wrote letters to-day, more than 7 letters. But I can’t write anything, although I haven’t stopped thinking about Hajji Murad and The Appeal.
Feb. 26. Moscow. If I live.
Finished all my letters. During this time wrote serious letters:
1) To the American colony, 2) Peterburgskia Viedomosti about the Dukhobors; 3) to the English papers also about the Dukhobors, and 4) a preface to the English edition What is Art—about the censor distortions.
My inner life is the same. As I foresaw, the new consciousness of life for God, for the perfection of love, has become dulled, weakened, and when I needed it, these days, it proved itself to be, if not exactly ineffectual, yet less effectual than I expected.
The principal event during this time was the permission to the Dukhobors to emigrate.
What is Art? seems to me to be entirely finished now.
I have worked very little during all this time. I made rather many notes; I shall try to write them out:
1) One of the greatest errors in summing up a man, is that we call, we define a man as intelligent, stupid, good, evil, strong, weak. But man is everything, all possibilities, is a flowing matter. This is a good theme for an artistic work and a very important one and a good one, because it destroys malicious judging—“the cancer”—and assumes the possibility of everything good. The workers of the devil, convinced of the presence of bad in man, achieve great results: superstition, capital punishment, war. The workers of God would attain greater results, if they believed more in the possibility of good in people.
2) They want to become the masters of China—the Russians, Japan, England, the Germans: there are quarrels, diplomatic struggles, there will even be military ones. And all this is only for the mixing of the yellow race into one Christian batter, the propagating and the assimilating of ideas like the Crusades and the Napoleonic wars.
3) Lebon writes: “Not only are they going to make food in laboratories, but there will be no need for labor.” People have so badly distributed their two functions, food and labor, that instead of joy, these functions are a torture to them and therefore they want to be freed from them. It is just the same as if people would so pervert their functions of perspiration and breathing, that they would seek a way of changing them by an artificial method.
4) The longer you live, the less time there remains for life. For an endless duration of life, there would then be absolutely no life.
5) Only when you live without consideration of time, past or future, do you live a real, free life for which there are no obstacles. You are only then dissatisfied, in straits, when you remember the past (the offenses, the contradictions, even your own weaknesses) and when you think of the future: will something be or will it not be? Only at one point, do you fuze with God and live your divine essence: in the present (even when you live your animal life). Whenever you use your reason to consider what will be, then you are weak, insignificant; but whenever you use it to do the will of Him who sent you, then you are omnipotent, free. You can even see this in the way you immediately weaken, become deprived of strength, when you consider the consequences of your act.
To-day, March 21. Moscow.
I continue copying. I am very indisposed, weak, but thank God, in peace, I live in the present. Just now I put in order the papers on Art.
6) Socialists will never destroy poverty and the injustice of the inequality of capacities. The stronger, the more intelligent, will always make use of the weaker, the more stupid. Justice and equality of goods will never be attained by anything less than Christianity, i.e., by negating oneself and by recognizing the meaning of one’s life in the service to others.
7) I have written down the same as in the 5th, but differently. In order to live with God, by God and in God, it is necessary not to be guided by anything from without. Neither by that which was nor by that which can be; to live only in the present, only in this, to fuze with God.
8) Intelligent Socialists understand that for the attainment of their ends the principal thing is to lift the working men intellectually and physically. This is possible to be done only by religious education, but they do not understand this and therefore all their work is in vain.
9) “Seek the Kingdom of God and His Right, the rest will follow you”—this is the only means of attaining the ends of Socialism.
10) For The Appeal:
All are agreed that we live not as we ought to or as we could. The remedy of some is this: a religious fatalism and, still worse, a scientific, evolutionary one. Others comfort themselves by the gradual bettering and bettering of things by themselves: the step by step people. The third assert that everything will establish itself when things will reach their very worst (Socialism), when the Government and the rich classes will control everybody fully, i.e., the working-men, and then the power will somehow or other make a somersault not only to working-men, but to unerring disinterested self-sacrificing working-men, who will then direct all affairs without error and without sin. The fourth say that to improve the whole matter, it is possible only by the destruction of evil people, the bad ones. But there is no indication where the bad people end and where the harmless ones, if not the good ones, begin. Either they will destroy every one as bad or as in the big revolution they will catch the good ones with the bad. As soon as you begin to judge strictly, no one will remain in the right. What is to be done? But there is only one instrument: a religious change in the soul of people. And it is this change which is interfered with, by all imaginary remedies.
11) My body is nothing else than that piece of everything existing which I am able to govern.
12) The whole world is that which I sense. But what am I? It is that which acts.
13) How good it would be to write a work of art, in which there would be clearly expressed the flowing nature of man: that he, one and the same man, is now a villain, now an angel, now a wise man, now an idiot, now a strong man, now the most impotent being.
14) Every man, as all people, being imperfect in everything, is nevertheless more perfect in some one thing than in another. And these perfections, he puts over another human being as a demand, and condemns him.
15) It is impossible to serve, not “God and mammon,” but “mammon and God.” The service of mammon—every kind of vanity—is a hindrance to the service of God. Peace, solitude, even boredom, is a necessary condition to the service of God. In Moscow religiously they are the most savage of people. In Paris—they are still more savage.
16) There is a kind of English toy called peepshow: behind a little glass, now one thing is shown, now another. This is the way one ought to show man—Hajji Murad: a husband, a fanatic, etc.
17) Not long ago I experienced a feeling, not exactly a reasoning, but a feeling—that everything that is material, and I myself with my own body, is only my own imagination, is the creation of my spirit and that only my soul exists. It was a very joyous feeling.
18) ... does on the other hand the same thing that a false religious education does; it accustoms people to deny their reason.
19) There are two points of view of the world: 1) the world is something definitely existing, that is, existing in definite forms, and 2) the world is something continually flowing, being formed, going towards something. In the first point of view, the life of humanity also appears as something definite, consisting in the peaceful use of the goods of the world. In this point of view—there is a continuous dissatisfaction, and discontent with the construction of the world. It does not fulfill the demands which are presented. In the second point of view, the life of humanity is conceived as something which in itself changes and helps to the change and the attainment of the ends of the world. And in this point of view there is no dissatisfaction or discontentment with the construction of the world. And if there is discontent, it is only with one’s self, for one’s insufficient harmony to the movement of the world and in not helping this movement. (Unclear.)
20) Administrative ambition and greed of misers are therefore alluring, because they are very simple. For every other end of life one has to reflect much, to think, and often you do not see the results clearly. And here it is so simple: where there was one decoration there will be two: where there was one million there will be two, etc.
21) I spoke to Evgenie Ivanovich and said to him that I envy his freedom; but he said to me that things are very difficult for him just on account of this freedom and even on account of the authority and the responsibility which is connected with it. So that it only seems to me, that some one is better off and that another is worse, as the strong man to the weak, the healthy to the sick, the rich to the poor. And it became suddenly clear to me that all the differences in our conditions in the world are as nothing compared with our inner conditions. It is just the same, as it would be a matter of indifference if a man fell from a boat into the Azov Sea, the Black, the Mediterranean or into the ocean, in comparison with whether he was able to swim or not.
22) I spoke with P about the woman question. There is no woman question. There is the question of freedom of equality for all human beings. The woman question is only quarrel hunting.
23) The more one is guilty before his own conscience, though hidden, the more willingly and involuntarily he seeks the guilt of others and especially those before whom he had been guilty.
24) As soon as you go away into the past or the future, you go away from God and then you immediately become lonely, deserted, unfree.
25) I began to think about myself, about my own hurts and my own future life—and I came to my senses. And it was so natural to say to myself: and you, what business is Leo Nicholaievich (Tolstoi) of yours? And I felt better. Thus there is the one who is hindered by the base, stupid, vain, sensual, Leo Nicholaievich.
26) As soon as you begin to think of the future, you begin to guess. If the patience comes out, then this will happen. But this is madness! And it is bound to come, because to think of the future is the beginning of madness.
I have finished everything. It is now past one, the 21st.
March 22. Moscow. If I live.
Among the events during this time was the arrival of the Dukhobors, the cares for their emigration, the death of Brashnin. Occupations: Carthago delenda est and Hajji Murad. Worked rather little. The spiritual state rather good. Visitors—most of them peasants, young, good ones.
Since yesterday have been in a very depressed mood. I am not surrendering, I do not disclose myself to any one, but to God. I think that is very important. It is important to keep silent and to suffer a thing through. Otherwise the suffering will go over to others and will make them suffer, but here it will burn itself down in yourself. That is the most precious of all.
This thought helps very much, that in this lies my task, in this is my opportunity to elevate myself, to approach perfection somewhat. Come and dwell within me so that my baseness will be stifled. Awake in me.
I want to cry all the time.
Thought and noted:
1) I found jotted down: “Every victory over the enemy is an enlargement of one’s own strength.” I ought to remember that now especially. There is a struggle going on between my spiritual and animal self, and all that I gain for the former, by all this will I weaken the latter. I carry over from one scale of the weights to another. If I fall into temptation, it means a rolling down the road to evil; if I resist, it is the beginning of a rolling on a new road towards the good.
2) It is astonishing how we get accustomed to the illusion of one’s own individuality, separateness from the world. We see, we feel—that life compels us every minute to feel our union and dependence on the world, makes us feel our incompleteness; and we nevertheless believe that we ourselves, our very selves, is something in the name of which we can live. However, when you understand this illusion clearly, then you are surprised, how you could not have seen that you are not a piece of a whole, but a manifestation in time and space, of something timeless and infinite.
Women have always recognized the power of men over them. And it could not have been otherwise in an unchristian world. Men are the stronger and men have ruled. It was the same in all the worlds (with the exception of the doubtful Amazons and the law of maternity), and it is the same now among .0999 of mankind. But Christianity has appeared and has recognized perfection not in strength but in love, and by this all the subjected, the captive, the slaves and the women have been freed. But that the freedom of slaves and women be not a calamity, it is necessary that the freed be Christians, i.e., that they affirm their life in the service of God and people, and not in the service of themselves. Slaves and women are not Christians, and nevertheless they are freed. And they are terrible. They act as the main-spring of all the calamities of the world.
What must be done? Bring slaves and women back again into slavery? That is impossible to do, because there is no one who will do it: Christians cannot subject. And non-Christians will no longer surrender themselves into slavery, but will fight. They will fight among themselves and one or the other will subject and hold the Christians in slavery. What must be done? One thing must be done: attract people to Christianity, turn them into Christians. It is possible to do this only by fulfilling in life the law of Christ.
Help me, Lord. Help me. Come into me, awake in me.
Apr. 13. Moscow. If I live.
To-day April 27. Grinevka.
The 3rd day here. I am all right. A little indisposed....
The latter days in Moscow I spent finishing Carthago delenda est. I am afraid I have not finished it, and that it is still before me. Still I did quite a lot. Here I have not worked at all.
The misery of the famine is by far not as great as it was in 1891. There are so many lies in all the affairs among the upper classes, everything is so tangled up with lies that it is never possible to answer any question, simply—for instance, is there a famine? I am going to try to distribute as well as I can the money which has been contributed.
Yesterday there was a conversation about the same thing: Is exclusive love good? The résumé is this: a moral man will look on exclusive love,—it is all the same whether he be married or single—as on evil and will fight it; the man, who is little moral, will consider it good and will encourage it. An entirely unmoral man does not even understand it and makes fun of it.
The Russkia Viedomosti was suspended because of the Dukhobors and of me; that is too bad and I am grieved.
1) The proverb: for a good son you do not have to make a fortune, for a bad one, do not leave one.
2) I have made the following note: “God doesn’t know when the awakening of people will take place.” This is what it means: I think that the life of humanity consists in a greater and greater awakening, in an enlightening. And this awakening, this enlightening, will be done by people themselves (by God in people). And in this is life, in this is the good, and therefore this life and this good cannot be taken away from people.
3) My awakening consisted in this, that I doubted the reality of the material world. It lost all meaning to me.
To-morrow Apr. 28. Grinevka. If I live, I’ll finish.
To-day Apr. 29. Morning. Grinevka.
Read Boccaccio—it is the beginning of the master-class, immoral art.
No letters. Serezha was here.
I continue. Thought:
1) You look deeply into the life of man, especially of women,—and you see from what world point of view their acts flow, and you see, principally, how inevitably all argument against this world point of view recoils and you cannot imagine how this world point of view will be changed—in the same way as how a piece of a date-stone has grown through a date. But there are conditions when a change is produced and accomplished from within. Live man can always be born, from seeds there are sprouts.
2) I look into the future, and ask: were I to act as I ought to, would everything then be all right, would all obstacles then be destroyed? This question is pleonism. The question is this, whether, were I to act in a realm where there were no obstacles, would there then be any obstacles?
3) It is remarkable how we are without understanding and without gratitude. God arranged our life so, that he forbade us all false paths, that everything drives us from these false, harmful paths, impoverishing us to ruination, and making us suffer, onto the only free, always joyous path of love—but we nevertheless do not go on this path and we complain that we suffer from the attempts of going on the false, ruinous paths.
4) One of the most urgent needs of man, equal with and even more urgent than eating, drinking, sex desire, and the existence of which we often forget, is the need to manifest oneself, to know that it is I who have done a thing. Very many acts which are otherwise inexplicable, are explained by this need. One ought to remember this both in their bringing up, and in dealing with men. The main thing is that one has to try to make this an activity and not a boast.
5) Why is it that children and simple people are by such an awful height higher than the majority of people? Because their reason is not perverted by the deception of faith or by temptations or by sins. Nothing stands on their road to perfection, while adults have sin and temptation and deception on theirs. The former have only to walk forward, the latter must struggle.
6) They spoke about love and falling in love, and I made the following conclusion for myself: a moral man fights falling in love and exclusive love, an unmoral man—condones it.
7) Children are selfish without lies. All of life teaches the aimlessness, the ruination of selfishness. And therefore old people attain unselfishness without lies. These are two extreme limits.
8) I began to consider soup-kitchens and the purchase of flour, and money, and my soul became so unclean and sad. The realm of money, i.e., every kind of use of money, is a sin. I took money and undertook to use it only so as to have a reason for going away from Moscow and I acted badly.
9) I thought much about The Appeal, yesterday and to-day. It became rather clear how a bad arrangement of life results in religious deception. If something is unclear in one’s mind, if life is disorderly and you don’t want anything.... (Somehow I haven’t succeeded.)
10) In my sleep I thought to-day that the shortest expression of the meaning of life is this: the world moves, perfects itself; the task of man is to take part in this movement, to submit himself to it and to help it.
My weakness still continues. I have written this out very badly.
Yesterday there was a whole house full of guests: The Tsurikovs, Mme. Ilinsky, Stakhovich. I have done nothing during the day. In the morning I wrote a letter to Chertkov and to S and to still some one else. The day before yesterday I was in Sidorovo and at Serezha’s. In the morning I read Chertkov’s article. It is very good.
What hurts me, is that I seem to have lost entirely the capacity for writing. To my shame I am indifferent. Latterly in my sleep, I thought keenly about the contrast between the crushed people and the crushers, but did not write it out.
To-day, yes and in the preceding days, it seemed to me that Hajji Murad became clear, but I could not write it. It is true they interfered.
1) Just as an athlete follows the growth of his muscles, so you ought to follow the growth of love, or at least the decrease of evil and lies—and life will be full and joyous.
2) Yesterday there was a discussion about the old question: what is better—to take part in evil, to endeavor to diminish it (...) or to keep away from it? The eternal objection is:—“There will be anarchy”—yes, but now it is worse than anarchy: injustice.—“What, then, if to begin everything from the beginning; the strong will again offend the weak.” Yes, everything from the beginning again, but with this difference, that while now we continue the cruelty and injustice which have been established in heathen barbaric times, we now live in the light of Christianity and the cruelty and injustice will not be the same cruelty and injustice.... (It isn’t quite all right, but it was.)
3) I look about me and the lines which I see I force into that form which lives in my imagination. I see white on the horizon and involuntarily I give this white the form of a church. Is it not in this way that everything we see in this world takes on the form which already lives in our imagination (consciousness), which we carried over from our former life? (An idea.)
Exquisite weather. Friendly, hot Spring. I am at peace and am well.
May 5. Grinevka. If I live.
To-day May 9. Grinevka.
During these days we had visitors: Masha, Varia. I go every day somewhere to open a soup-kitchen. I am not writing at all. I feel weak. Yesterday there was a rain storm. I went to Bobrika. To-day I went to Nicholskoe. I went to Gubarevka and returning through the wood, thought.... I don’t feel like writing, later I shall write out two thoughts, very important ones:
1) One, that I cannot put before me, that which tortured me before: my destruction.
2) That the other life begins to attract me, only the process of getting there is terrible. If only I could arrive safely, everything there will be all right;
3) To-day I thought that the object of faith is only one—God. This I must write out, explain.
To-day I am in a very weak state.
May 10. Grinevka. If I live.
Yesterday I wrote a little on The Appeal. Then I went to Mikhail’s Ford.
To-day my stomach ached a little. I didn’t dine and wrote much on The Appeal. It seems to be taking form. I am feeling fresh in the head, a thing I haven’t felt for a long time. Thanks to my gymnastic exercises, I have become convinced for the first time, that I am old and weak and I must stop physical exercise entirely. This is even pleasant.
I forgot for a moment, my rule, not to expect anything from others, but to do what one ought to do oneself before God,—and there arose in me an evil feeling.... But I remembered, asked in good faith what was necessary and I felt better.
1) There is one object of faith—God, He who sent me. He who sent me, He who is everything of which I feel myself to be a part. This faith is indispensable and satisfying. If you have this faith then there is no room for any other. Everything else is trust and not faith. You can only have faith in that which undoubtedly is, but which we cannot embrace with our reason.
2) Yesterday I thought that the form of thinking—categories—are not seven but four: cause, matter, space, time. But only one: movement, encloses everything in itself. Movement is a change of place, therefore there is space; change of place can be swifter and slower, therefore there is time; and a preceding movement is a cause, a following one, an effect; that which is displaced is matter. Everything is movement. Man himself moves incessantly and therefore everything explains itself to him by movement alone.
3) The most harmful effect of an evil act is that when a man accomplishes it he frees himself from the demands of his conscience. “We eat animals, therefore why not hunt?”—... and so you have no need to stand on ceremony ... etc.
4) A strange thought came to me. Our whole life is in this, that we consider ourselves a separate unit, an individual, a man. But besides this being specialized, individualized, from all others, chemistry discloses for us entirely different separate units, acids, nitrogen, etc. They are separate and therefore they have life. (Nonsense.)
May 12. Grinevka. If I live.
To-day May 15. Morning. Grinevka.
Within these two days I went to Mtsensk, Kukuevka, and yesterday to Batyevo. Wrote Hajji Murad unwillingly. I have exercised again. It is stupid, almost an insanity. Wrote a poor letter to Posha. I am pleased with every one here.
Just now I have reread this journal and it did not leave me very dissatisfied. Oh, if I would only remember more my transitory, subservient condition here!
Have made no entries. My health would be good if my back weren’t aching. Began to write letters. Not succeeding. One must wait peacefully and live before God.
May 16. Grinevka. If I live.
To-day May 19. Grinevka.
Sonya was here. She arrived the 17th. This morning she went away. I have been trying to write these two days. Can’t do anything. An exceptional weakness and pain in my spinal column.
To-day May 20. Evening. Grinevka.
This morning I wrote rather much on The Appeal. In the evening I wrote 13 letters. Went nowhere. My back is better. The main thing, is that my brain is working and I am happy.
Received 500 rubles, and 1,000 rubles are lying in Cherni.
I am not going to write any more, although I have many notes.
To-day May 27. Grinevka. In the morning.
Just now I am writing to write out my notes—there is much that has to be written out—that everything which is said in Paul (Corinthians xiii) about love has to be said, and even more—about the renunciation of oneself. It is impossible to lay up love within oneself—but the renunciation of oneself is possible. It suffices to renounce oneself and love will arise.
I thought this, because just now in the morning, I began to remember all the difficulties which might arise from the distribution of the contributions, about everything which had to be done for the Dukhobors, for my own writing, and of which I had done nothing, and about all my weaknesses, errors, about my joyless life with the children, and such as I had not wanted it to be, and my lack of consequence—and it sufficed only to negate myself, my own desires, and immediately all wrong passed away, both of the past and the future, and one thing remained, the need of service in the present. How time vanishes remarkably in the consciousness of one’s mission.
I went with Sonya (my daughter-in-law) to the Tsurikovs, Aphremovs, and the Levitskys. I have a very pleasant impression and fell in love with many; but fell ill and did not do my work and made a lot of fuss both for Levitsky and the household....
It is four days since I arrived in Yasnaya and I am recovering nicely. Wrote many letters.
I received almost 4,000 rubles, which I cannot use this year.
Masha is here with her husband and Iliusha. The Westerlunds were here....
I have made many notes.
1) I cannot remember now what and how I thought it: this is the note: “You are often too strict with people, and he, poor man, is good for nothing.”
2) Although I noted it before, I can’t help but repeat: ...
4) The life of the world is one, i.e., in the sense that it is impossible to apply the conception of number to it. Plurality comes only from the partitions of consciousness. For a universal consciousness there is no number, no plurality.
5) Nonresistance to evil is important not therefore only, because a man has to act so for himself, for attaining the perfection of love, but also because only nonresistance alone stops evil, localizes it in itself, neutralizes it, does not permit it to go farther, as it inevitably does, like the transmission of movement to elastic balls, if there be no force which would absorb it. Active Christianity is not in doing, creating Christianity, but in absorbing evil.
I feel very much like writing out the story, The Coupon.
6) Death is the crossing-over from one consciousness to another, from one image of the world to another. It is as if you go over from one scene with its scenery to another. At the moment of crossing over, it is evident that that what we consider real, is only an image, because we are going over from one image into another. At the moment of this crossing-over, there becomes evident, or at least one feels, the most actual reality. Because of this, the moment of death is important and dear.
7) For a universal consciousness, for God, matter does not exist. Matter is only for beings, separated one from another. The limits of separateness is that which we call matter, in all its infinite forms.
8) It is impossible to remember sufficiently that the life of all beings is continuous movement. Almost all our misery comes from the fact that we do not know this or forget this. And imagining that we do not go forward, but that we stand still, we grasp the beings moving alongside of us—some going faster, some going slower than we—we grasp them and hold on as long as the force of the movement does not tear us away. And we suffer.
9) We are all rolling down a slope, going down lower and lower to the plain. Every attempt to hold to one’s place, only makes the fall bigger, the more you hold on.
10) We are sent to cross this sloping path, carrying across it that light which is entrusted to us. And all that we can do—is to help each other on the road to carry this light; but we hold back, pushing each other down, extinguishing our light and that of the others. (It isn’t good, not what I wanted to say.)
11) I know, that when people yawn in front of me, I can become infected, and therefore I say to myself: I don’t want to yawn and I won’t. I have learned to do this as to yawning, but I am only beginning to learn this as to anger.
12) The sight depresses me strangely ... of those owning the land and compelling the people to work. How my conscience is struck. And this is not something reasoned, but a very strong feeling. Was I wrong in not giving my land to the peasants? I don’t know.
13) Lieskov made use of my theme and badly. I had an exquisite thought—three problems: What was the most important time? what man? and what act? The time is the immediate, this minute; the man—he with whom you have immediate business; the act, to save your soul, i.e., to do the act of love.
14) It is impossible to save humanity from that deception in which it is caught.... Only a religious feeling can give the counterstroke and conquer.
June 13. Y. P. If I live.
June 14. Y. P. Evening.
Both days I wrote Father Sergius. It is coming out well. Wrote letters. To-day there was a christening.
I still cannot be fully good.... It is difficult, but I do not despair.
To-day June 22. Y. P.
On the 16th I fell very ill. I never had felt so weak and so near death. I am ashamed to have made use of the care which they gave me. I could do nothing. I only read and made some notes. To-day I am a great deal better. Ukhtomsky was pleased with my article, but nevertheless he refused to print it. I telegraphed to Menshikov that he should try the Viestnik Evropa and the Russki Trud. I am afraid I am going to become tiresome.
The youth have been driven away. For they have forbidden that the flour that was bought be sold.
... Received a letter from Chertkov, a good one. The Dieterichs arrived. Dear Dunaev was here. They talked about the great riot of the factory workers. I shall finish later.
To-day June 28. Y. P. Evening.
I am only now recovered, and am experiencing the joy of convalescence. I feel nature very vividly, keenly, and have a great clarity of thought.
I wrote a little on The Appeal. To-day I wrote Father Sergius and both are good. Wrote many letters yesterday. All that I received yesterday were unpleasant: from N, but principally from Gali, with the news that they have all quarreled. Posha is going to Switzerland and Boulanger to Bulgaria.
Tania went to Masha’s....
There is only one thing; one real thing that has been given us: to live lovingly with one’s brothers, with every one. One must renounce oneself. I wrote that to my friends and I am going to be strict with myself.
Here is what I have written down....
I have just read up to this point, where everything that is difficult can be made to vanish when you throw off the illusion of a personal life, when you recognize your mission in the service to God, and that it would be good to experience this in physical suffering, whether it will stand physical suffering. And here was a chance to experience it and I forgot and did not experience it. It is too bad. But the next time.
Have written down:
1) Paul Adam gives the peasants a cruel characteristic, especially the working men: they are vulgar, selfish, slaves, fanatics—perhaps all this is just, but the one thing, that they can live without us and we cannot live without them, wipes out everything. And therefore it is not for us to judge. (Something is wrong here.)
2) It is especially disagreeable for me when people who have lived little and thought little, do not believe me, and not understanding me, argue with me about moral problems. It would be the same for which a veterinary surgeon would be hurt, if people who were not familiar with his art were to argue with him. The difference is only in this, that the art of the veterinary, the cook, the samovar-maker or any kind of art or science, is recognized as an art or a science where only those people are competent who have studied that realm; in the matter of morality every one considers himself competent, because every one has to justify his life. But life is justified only by theories of morality. And every one makes them for himself.
3) I have often thought about falling in love, about the good, ideal falling in love, which is exclusive of every sensuality, and I cannot find either place or meaning for it. But its place and meaning is very clear and definite: it is to lighten the struggle between sex desire and chastity. Falling in love ought to be for a young man who cannot keep to full chastity before marriage, and to release the young men in the most critical years, from 16 to 20 or more, from the torturing struggle. Here is the place for falling in love. But when it breaks out in the life of people after marriage, it is out of place and disgusting.
4) I am often asked for advice as to the problem of owning land. It is my old custom to answer: that it is unsuitable for me to answer such problems, just as it would be unsuitable for me to answer the problem how to make use of the ownership or the labor or the rent of a bonded serf.
5) People who stand on a lower moral plane or religious world point of view cannot understand people standing on a higher plane. But that there should be a possibility of union between them, there has been given to people standing on a lower plane the instinct for the good and a respect for this good. If there is not this instinct and respect, then it is very bad. But in our society, among so-called educated people, this is getting to be less and less.
To-day June 30. Y. P.
I am still ill, and very weak. But I think I am improving, and my spiritual state is good. The day before yesterday I received a letter about the quarrel in England. I wrote to them. It is very sad and very instructive. Yesterday I received a letter from Khilkov with a letter from Miss Pickard about the Dukhobors. I wrote letters to Crosby, and Willard and Khilkov. The affair of the Dukhobors is important and big and evidently something will come out of it which is entirely different from what we are preparing, but it is God’s affair. To-day Mme. Annenkov arrived. Menshikov telegraphed that Gaideburov will print with omissions. During these days I wrote Sergius—it isn’t good.
I am going to continue to write out the former:
7) A man is a being separated from all others, who feels his limits. Among the number of general limits by which he separates himself from other beings, are his limits which are in common with that being incomprehensible to him—the earth. Death is the destruction of all the various common limits with other beings and always of the common limit of the being of the earth—a fusion with earth. Every sickness, wound, old age, is a destruction of these limits.
8) The work of life is to love. It is impossible to love expressly those people unworthy of love; but it is possible not to love—to behave well, in a good way, toward such people in every given moment.
9) I remembered keenly what a matter of enormous importance was complete truthfulness in every detail, in everything, the avoidance of all outer false forms. And I decided to keep to this. It is never too late to mend.
10) The minister said to the murderer: “Oh brother, don’t worry. God has pardoned even greater sinners. But who are you? Don’t lose heart. Pray.” The murderer burst into tears.
11) How great and stable seemed the happiness of the American people, and how unstable it proved to be, like all happiness not founded on life, according to the law of Christ. The Spanish-American War, Jingoism.
12) I have often prayed (almost without believing, to try out) that God arrange my life as I wish. To-day I simply prayed my customary morning prayer and rather attentively. And after this prayer, I recalled my wish and wanted to add a prayer about the fulfillment of this wish, and tried to address God about it. And immediately I realized my mistake—that it would be very much better if everything was not according to my will, but according to His. And without the least effort and with joy I said: “Yes, let there not be my will, but Thine.”
13) A spiritual life means that you should see the connection between cause and effect in the spiritual world and that you be guided in life by this connection. Materialists do not see this connection and therefore do not take it as a guide for their acts, but they take as a guide for their acts the physical, causal connection, the one which is so complicated that we never fully know it, because every effect is an effect of an effect; but the fundamental cause of everything—is always spiritual. (Not clearly expressed, but important).
14) Epictetus says this very thing when he reproaches people for being very attentive to the phenomenon of the outer world—to that which is not in our power and being inattentive to the phenomenon of the inner, to that which is in our power.
15) To many it seems that if you exclude personality from life and a love for it, then nothing will remain. It seems to them that without personality there is no life. But this only appears so to people who have not experienced self-renunciation. Throw off personality from life, renounce it, and then there will remain that which makes the essence of life—love.
16) (For The Appeal) ...
To-morrow, July 1st. If I live.
Am entirely well. Yesterday I took leave of Dunaev and Mme. Annenkov, who were here. I live very badly. I cannot reconcile myself to the will of God.
To-day I thought:
The life of Christ is very important as an instance of that impossibility of man to see the fruits of his labors. And the less so, the more important the work. Moses could enter into the promised land with his people, but Christ could in no way see the fruit of his teaching even if he had lived up to now. This is what one has to learn. But we want to do the work of God and to receive human reward.
July 17. Y. P. ’98. Morning.
There was nothing very special during these 11 days. I have decided to give my novels away, Resurrection and Father Sergius, to be printed for the Dukhobors.
S. went to Kiev.
An inner struggle. I believe little in God. I do not rejoice at the examination, but am burdened by it, admitting in advance that I won’t pass. All last night I didn’t sleep. I rose early and prayed much.
To-day the Dieterichs and the Gorbunovs arrived. It was pleasant with them. Took hold of Resurrection, and in the beginning it went well, but from the moment when I became alarmed, these two days, I have been unable to do anything. I took a very nice walk.
I wrote a letter to Järnefelt and prepared a postscript. This is the only important thing. But I haven’t the strength to withstand the customary temptation. Come and dwell within us. Awake the resurrection in me!
I have made many notes. I will hardly have time to write them out now.
1) Brooding leads to dreams, dreams to passions, passion to devils. (From Love for the Good.)
2) The æsthetic pleasure which you receive from Nature is attainable to all. Every one is affected by it differently, but it affects every one. Art should have the same effect.
3) How difficult it is to really live for God alone. You think you are living for God, but as soon as life jolts you, as soon as that support in life to which you are holding on, fails you, then you feel that there is no holding power in God and you fall.
4) For Father Sergius: Alone he is good, with people he falls.
5) What an obvious error: to live for worldly ends. Whenever the purpose is not narrowly egotistic then this purpose is not quickly attained in life. Moses did not enter the promised land and Christ despaired of His labor: “Why hast Thou abandoned me?”...
6) There is no peace, either for him who lives for worldly ends among people, or for him who lives for spiritual ends alone. There is peace only then when a man lives for the service of God among people.
To-day, July 20. Y. P.
A letter from S and from Masha. I still do not sleep, but things are settling themselves in my soul, and as always, suffering is of benefit. Yesterday I went to Ovsiannikovo, spoke with Ivan Ivanovich. Yesterday I worked well on Resurrection.
It is morning now. I am not continuing to write out from the notebooks, but I am going to write out what I—not being asleep—have just now been thinking; it is an old but easily forgotten thing, and an important one which should be also told to N with whom they talked last night. Namely:
1) Life for oneself is a torture, because you want to live for an illusion, for that which does not exist, and it not only cannot be happy, but it cannot be at all. It is the same as dressing and feeding a shadow. Life exists only outside of oneself, in the service of others, and not in the service of one’s near ones, beloved ones—that is again for oneself—but in the service of those whom we do not love, and better still, in the service of enemies. Help, Father. The terrible error is that one confuses sex-love, love for children, for friends, with love of people through God, of people to whom you are indifferent, and still more of enemies, that is, of erring people.
Again everything is in the old way, again my life is horrid. I have lived through very much; I haven’t passed the examination. But I do not despair and I want a reexamination. I passed the examination exceptionally badly, because I had the intention of going over to another institution. It is just these thoughts one must throw away, then one will learn better.
During this time Sonya returned and dear Tania Kuzminsky was here. The work on Resurrection goes very badly, although it seems to me I have thought it out much better. The 3rd day in Pirogovo. Uncle Serezha is not as good as he was before: he is not in the mood. Maria Nicholaievna. For two days nothing has come into my head.
During this time there was alarming news about the condition of the Dukhobors and that Mme. M. N. Rostovtzev was put in prison. For a long time there has been no letter from Chertkov. Perhaps they intercept them.
Am going to continue to write out that which I had not written out:
2) There are two methods of human activity—and according to which one of these two kinds of activity people mainly follow, are there two kinds of people: one use their reason to learn what is good and what is bad and they act according to this knowledge; the other act as they want to and then they use their reason to prove that that which they did was good and that which they didn’t do was bad.
3) It is absolutely clear that it is much more profitable to do everything in common, but the reasoning about this is insufficient. If the reasoning were sufficient then it would have happened long ago. The fact that it is seen among Capitalists is unable to convince people to live in common. Besides the reasoning that this is profitable, it is necessary that the heart be ready to live like that (that the world point of view should be such that it would harmonize with the indications of the reason), but this is not so and will not be so until the desires of the heart are changed, i.e., the world point of view of people.
4) Even if that which Marx predicted should happen, then the only thing that will happen, is that despotism will be passed on. Now the capitalists rule, but then the directors of the working people will rule.
5) The mistake of the Marxists (and not only they, but the whole materialistic school) lies in the fact that they do not see that the life of humanity is moved by the growth of consciousness, by the movement of religion, by an understanding of life becoming more and more clear, general, meeting all problems and not by an economic cause.
6) The most unthought thing, the error, of the theory of Marx is in the supposition that capital will pass from the hands of private people into the hands of the government, and from the government, representing the people, into the hands of the workers....
7) There is nothing that softens the heart so much as the consciousness of one’s guilt, and nothing hardens it so much as the consciousness of one’s right.
8) Working people are so ... that it seems to them they have no outlet. Salvation lies in truth, in preaching and professing it.
9) They prove the law of the conservation of energy; but energy is nothing else than an abstract notion, just the same as matter. But an abstract notion is always equal to itself. In fact, this is nothing else than as if we were to begin to prove that the law of gravitation, notwithstanding seeming departures, exists unchangingly in everything. (Unclear and perhaps untrue.)
10) The belief in miracles has for its basis the consciousness that our world just as it is, is the product of our senses. But the error lies only in supposing that the miraculous, that is, that something which is against the laws of reason, when applied to our senses, can happen for us with our tool of consciousness, i.e., with our senses. That which is against our laws of reason, when applied to our senses, can happen for other beings, for beings with other senses, just as our tool of consciousness, our sense, is only one particular instance from the innumerable quantity of other possibilities.
11) It is a great error to think that the reason of man is perfect and can disclose everything to him. The limitation of reason is best seen and most obvious from the fact that a man cannot solve (he clearly sees that he cannot) the problems of infinity: for each time there is still more time, for each space there is still more space, for each number there is still a number, so that all time and space is unknowable.
12) The reason of man is just as weak and insignificant in comparison (and in an infinite number of times more so) with that which is, as is the reason (the means of perception) of a beetle and an amæba in comparison with the reason of man. The reason of man in comparison, not only with the highest reason, but with the reason which is higher than his—is just the same as the understanding of a complicated problem of higher mathematics or even of algebra for a man not knowing mathematics, to whom it seems insoluble, as are the problems of the infinity of space and time to us. While the problem is simple and clear for one knowing mathematics. The difference is only in this, that one can learn mathematics, but no study will help to solve the problem of space and time. This is the limit of the possibility of our knowledge under our reason.
13) I pray God that He release me from my suffering which tortures me. But this suffering is sent to me by God in order to release me from evil. The master whips his cattle with the whip in order to drive them from the burning yard and save them, and the cattle pray that he do not whip them.
14) There are common, sometimes intentional, sometimes unintentional, misunderstandings of my opinions which I confess irritate me:
a) I say that God ... is not God and that God is that which alone is—the unattainable good, the beginning of everything: against me they say, that I deny God;
b) I say that one ought not to resist violence by violence: against me they say, that I say it is not necessary to fight evil;
c) I say that one ought to strive towards chastity and that on this road the highest grade will be virginity, and second a clean marriage, the third not a clean, that is, not a monogamous marriage: against me they say, that I deny marriage and I preach the destruction of the human race.
d) I say that art is an infectious activity and that the more infectious art is, the better it is. But that this activity be good or bad, does not depend on how much it satisfies the demands of art, i.e., its infectiousness, but on how much it satisfies the demands of the religious consciousness, i.e., morality, conscience; against me they say that I preach a tendence art, etc.
15) Woman—and the legends say it also—is the tool of the devil. She is generally stupid, but the devil lends her his brain when she works for him. Here you see, she has done miracles of thinking, far-sightedness, constancy, in order to do something nasty; but as soon as something not nasty is needed, she cannot understand the simplest thing; she cannot see farther than the present moment and there is no self-control and no patience (except child-birth and the care of children).
16) All this concerns women, un-Christians, unchaste women, as are all the women of our Christian world. Oh, how I would like to show to women all the significance of a chaste woman. A chaste woman (not in vain is the legend of Mary) will save the world.
17) People are occupied with three things: 1) to feed themselves, i.e., to continue their existence, 2) to multiply—to continue the existence of the specie, and 3) to fulfill that for which they had been sent in the world: to establish the kingdom of God. For this there is one means—to perfect oneself. Almost all people are occupied with the first two matters, forgetting the last, which at bottom is the only real work.
18) The decline of the moral consciousness of humanity lies in the greatest part of the people being placed in such a situation that all interest in life for them is only to feed and to multiply. It is just the same as if the master kept his cattle, caring only that they be fed, or better, that they do not die from hunger and that they multiply, and never received any income from them: no wool, or milk, or work from them—from these cattle. The Master who sent us in this world requires from us, besides existence and its continuation, also the labor He needs.
19) For Resurrection. It was impossible to think and remember one’s sin and be self-satisfied. But he had to be self-satisfied in order to live, and therefore he did not think and forgot.
20) It is impossible to demand from woman that she valuate the feeling of her exclusive love, on the basis of moral feeling. She cannot do it, because she hasn’t got a real moral feeling, i.e., one that stands higher than everything.
To-day I plan to go home.
Aug. 4. Y. P. If I live.
Why does the 4th of August come to my mind as if it were important? Nothing important has happened.
To-day, August 24. Y. P.
During this time I received no letters from Chertkov and am very perplexed. I think that during this time the Dukhobors were here. Letters from Khilkov, from Ivan Michailovich. I answered them all. To-day Sullerzhitsky arrived. I am working all the time on Resurrection and am pleased, even very much so. I am afraid of shocks.
I am copying:
1) People were sent into the world to do the work of God, but they quarreled, fought and established things in such a way that for some, there is no time to do the work, because they have to feed themselves, and for others there is no time, because they have to guard that which they took away. What a waste of strength! It is just as if workers had been sent to work and given food; some have taken the food away and they have to guard it and the others have to get food, and the work stands still.
2) People live in the world not fulfilling their mission—it is the same way as if factory workers were only busied with how to lodge themselves, feed themselves and amuse themselves.
3) One of the most important tasks of humanity consists in the bringing up of a chaste woman.
4) I often think that the world is such as it is, only because I am so separated from all the rest. As soon as my separateness from Everything will end, then the limits will be torn away and other limits will be established—and then the world will become altogether different for me.
5) You wish to serve humanity? Very well. That which you wish to do, another will do. Are you satisfied? No, dissatisfied, because the important thing for me is not what will be done, but what I will do; that I do my work. This is the best proof that the matter is not in the doing, but in the advancement towards the good.
Is it possible that I am advancing? Help, Lord.
6) How difficult it is to please people: some need one thing, others another. They need both my past and my future. God is one, and His Will in respect to me is one, and He wants only my present, what I am doing this minute is what He wants. And what was, has been, and what will be, isn’t my business.
7) Egoism, the whole egoistic life, is legitimate only as long as reason has not awakened. As soon as it has awakened, then egoism is lawful, only to that degree in which one has to sustain oneself as a tool necessary for the service of people. The purpose of reason—is the service to people. All the horror lies in its being used for service to oneself.
8) Man gives himself to the illusion of egoism, lives for himself—and he suffers. It suffices that he begin to live for others, and the suffering becomes lighter and there is obtained the highest good in the world: love of people.
9) As one disaccustoms oneself from smoking or other habits, so one can and must disaccustom oneself from egoism. When you wish to enlarge your pleasure, when you wish to exhibit yourself, when you call forth love in others, stop. If you have nothing to do for others, or you have no desire to do anything, then do nothing—only don’t do anything for yourself.
10) The Bavarian told about their life. He boasts about the high degree of freedom, but at the same time they have compulsory religious teaching, a crude Catholic one. That is the most horrible despotism. Worse than ours.
Aug. 25. Y. P. If I live.
It is horrible to see for what a long time I have made no entries: more than two months. And not only has there been nothing bad, but rather everything was good. The Jubilee was not as repulsive and as depressing as I expected. The sale of the novel and the receipt of the 12,000 rubles which I gave to the Dukhobors was well arranged. I was displeased with Chertkov and I saw that I was at fault. A Dukhobor arrived from the province of Yakutsk. I liked him very much ...
Masha is pitiable in her weakness, but she is just as near in spirit....
But glory to God and thanks be to Him that he has awakened it in me and has kept it burning so that it is natural for me either to love and rejoice, or to love and to pity. And what happiness!
Archer was here yesterday, arriving from Chertkov—I liked him. There is much to do, but I am all absorbed in Resurrection, being sparing with the water and using it only for Resurrection. It seems to me it won’t be bad. People praise it, but I don’t believe.
Everything that I noted—it was all very important—I will write out later, but now I want to write that which I just now, walking on the path, in the evening, not only thought but felt clearly:
1) Under my feet there is the frozen, hard earth; around, enormous trees; overhead a cloudy sky; I fed my body, I feel pain in the head; I am occupied with thoughts on Resurrection; and yet I know, I feel in all my being, that both the firm and frozen earth and the trees and the sky and my body and my thoughts—all this is only a product of my five senses, my image, the world, made by me because such is my partition from the world. And that it will be sufficient for me to die—and all this will not disappear but will become transformed, as they make transformations in the theaters: from bushes and stones, they make castles, towers, etc. Death is nothing else than such a transformation, dependent from another partition from the world, another personality: Here I consider as myself, my body with my senses, and then something else will detach itself to be myself. And then the whole world will become something else. But the world is such and not something else, only because I consider myself as this and not as something else. But there can be an innumerable quantity of divisions of the world. (This is not entirely clear for others, but for me—very.)
Nov. 3. If I live.
Nov. 14. Y. P.
Again I have not noticed how 11 days have passed. Have been very intensely occupied with Resurrection and am making good progress. Am absolutely near the end. Serezha and Suller were here and both went away to the Caucasus with my letter to Golitsin. S. arrived yesterday. Very well. It is a long time since I have felt so well and keen, intellectually and physically.
I cannot make out what I have written out and what I haven’t.
1) How difficult it is to please people! In order to please them it is necessary that the past and the future meet their demands. But in order to please God, one has only to satisfy His demands in the present.
2) To live for others seems difficult—just as to work seems difficult. But just as in work, in the care for others there may be the best reward: love of others may and may not be; while in labor there is an inner reward, you work to the end, get tired, and you feel good.
3) The poetry of the past occupied itself only with the strong of the world: with the Czars, etc., because the strong of the world appeared as the highest and the most complete representatives of the people. But if you take the plain people, then it is necessary that they express general phenomena ... (Unclear.)
4) If you do not permit yourself to live for yourself, then involuntarily, from boredom, you begin to live for others.
5) Woman, just like man, is endowed with feeling and brain, but the difference is in this, that men mostly consider themselves and their feelings bound by the commands of reason, while women consider their feelings binding for themselves and for their reason. The same thing, but only in different places.
6) You get angry at the philosopher who reasons, who considers that the main basis of the life of man is his material nature; but this man does not know the spiritual, but knows only material effect and therefore he cannot think otherwise.
7) You think that you are alone and you suffer from loneliness; yet you are not only in harmony, but you are one with every one; only artificial and removable barriers separate you. Remove them—and you are one with every one. The removing of these barriers according to your strength is the business of life.
8) If a man considers his animal being as himself, then he will represent God also as a material being, a ruler who rules materially over material things. But God is not such, God is spirit and does not rule over anything, but lives in everything.
9) ... If people could have been so deceived, then there is no deception into which they would not fall.
10) I have noted down that it is depressing because there is no life, but only an egoistic existence. I cannot remember what else I could have meant by this.
11) God manifests himself in our consciousness. When there is no consciousness—there is no God. Only consciousness gives the possibility for the good, for continence, service, self-sacrifice. Everything depends to what consciousness is directed. Consciousness directed to the animal “self” kills, paralyzes life. Consciousness directed to the spiritual “self” rouses, lifts, frees life. Consciousness directed to the animal “self” strengthens, ignites passion, creates fear, struggle, the horror of death. Consciousness directed towards the spiritual “self” frees love. This is very important and if I live, I will write it out.
12) Death is a change of consciousness, a change of that which I can recognize as myself. And therefore fear of death is a horrible superstition. Death is a joyous event standing at the end of each life. Suffering is sent to people to hold them back from death. Otherwise every one understanding life and death, would struggle towards death. But now it is impossible to go towards death unless through suffering.
13) The greatest act in life is the consciousness of one’s self, and its consequences are benevolent or most terrible, according to whether you direct your consciousness towards the spirit or towards the body.
14) In order to get rid of moral suffering (and even physical) there are two means: to destroy the cause of suffering or the feeling in one’s self which produces suffering. The first is not in man’s power, the second is. (I am repeating Epictetus).
15) The moral progress of humanity advances only because there are old people. The old people become kinder, wiser, and give over that which they have lived through to the following generations. If this were not so, humanity had not advanced; and what a simple method!
16) If man looks on life materially, then old people do not become better, but worse, and there is no progress.
17) Technical progress is greeted by every one, is pushed on by every one; the moral, the religious progress, is held back by the priests. From this come the main calamities in life.
November 15. Y. P. If I live.
It seemed to me that I made no entries for about three days and now it is ten days. To-day, Nov. 25. Y. P.
... I promised to arrive December 6th.... I feel also like going to Pirogovo. We are alone: Tania, Masha, Kolia. Only Liza Obolensky. I am still diligently occupying myself with Resurrection.
Last night I thought out an article on why the people are corrupted. They have no faith of any kind. They christen naïve infants and then they consider every reasoning about faith (perversion) and every lapse, as a capital crime. Only the sectarians have faith. Perhaps I am going to bring that into the Appeal. What a pity. I thought it out well at night.
Resurrection is growing. It can hardly be compressed into 100 chapters.
I have noted down the following and I think it is very important (which might be good for the Declaration of Faith):
1) We are very much accustomed to the reasoning as to how the life of other people, people in general, should be arranged. And such kind of reasoning does not seem strange to us. And yet such kind of reasoning could in no ways exist among religious and therefore free people; such reasoning is the consequence of despotism, ... In this way reason ... They say: “If I had the power I would do so and so with the others.” That is a dangerous error, not only because it tortures, deforms people who have to undergo violence ... but it weakens in all people the consciousness of the necessity of improving themselves, which is the only effective means of influencing other people.
2) To-day I thought about this from another angle. I recalled the words of the Gospel: “And the pupil is not higher than the teacher; if he learns then he will be like the pupil.” We, the rich master-classes, teach the people. What would happen if we succeeded in teaching them so that they become as we are?
3) They talk, they write, they preach about the knowing of God. What a horrible blasphemy, and horrible admission of the non-understanding of what God is and what we are. We, a particle of the infinite whole, wish to understand not only this whole, but its causes, the origin of the whole. What absurdity and what a recognition of godlessness, or a recognition of God of that which is not God. We can only know that He is, Τὸ ὄν, He exists, and we can only conclude by ourselves, what He is not.
4) Love is God. Love is only the recognition that God is not flesh, not passion, not egoism, not malice. (Doubtful.)
5) Violence rules our world, i.e., malice, and therefore there is always found in society a majority of dependent, unstable members: women, children, stupid ones—brought up on malice, and who side with malice. But the world ought to be ruled by reason, by goodness; then all this majority would be brought up on goodness and would side with it. In order that this should take place it is necessary that reason and goodness manifest themselves, and undismayed, assert their existence; that is very important.
6) The complexity of knowledge is a sign of its falseness. That which is true is simple.
7) How bad it is that people seeking perfection are pained at calumny, at a deserved bad name (or better still, at an undeserved). Calumny, a bad name, gives an opportunity, drives toward an activity, the value of which is only in our conscience. This is so rare, so difficult, and so useful. Involuntary simpleness is the best school for goodness.
8) I have noted down: “Justice is insufficient. It is ... necessary to oppose.” I cannot remember what this means.
9) Physical labor is important, because it prevents the mind from working idly and aimlessly.
10) Perhaps it is more important to know what one ought not to think about, than to know what one ought to think about.
11) Women are weak and they not only do not want to know their own weakness, but want to boast of their strength. What can be more disgusting?
12) A good man if he does not acknowledge his mistakes and tries to justify himself can become a monster.
Now Nov. 26. Morning. Y. P.
Did not sleep and thought:
1) Evil is the material for love. Without evil there is none and can be no manifestation of love. God is love, i.e., God manifests Himself to us in victory over evil, i.e., in love. The question of the origin of evil is just as absurd as the question of the origin of the world. It is not “whence comes evil?” that one must know, but “how to conquer it? How to apply love?”
From : Gutenberg.org
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