Trust Yourself : An Appeal To Young People
(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.)
• "It is necessary that men should understand things as they are, should call them by their right names, and should know that an army is an instrument for killing, and that the enrollment and management of an army -- the very things which Kings, Emperors, and Presidents occupy themselves with so self-confidently -- is a preparation for murder." (From : "'Thou Shalt Not Kill'," by Leo Tolstoy, August 8,....)
• "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....)
• "...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, ....)
Trust yourself, growing out of childhood young people when your souls for the first time raise questions: who am I, why I live, and why all surrounding me people live? And the most concerning question – whether I live properly and so do all people surrounding me? Trust yourself even when those answers which will come to you will disagree with those instilled in you from childhood, will disagree with the life you live together with others surrounding you. Don’t be afraid of the disagreement; on the contrary, know that this disagreement with all surrounding reflects the best that is in you, the divine principle, the manifestation of which in life is not only the main, but the only purpose of our existence. Then believe not in yourself, or famous personality: Ivan, Pete, Lisa, Masha, son, daughter of a King, minister or worker, merchant or farmer, but that eternal, reasoning and virtuous beginning that lives in each of us and which for the first time woke up in you and asked you these the most critical in the world questions and looks for and requires their resolution. Then don’t believe people who with an indulgent smile will tell you that they once searched for the answers to these questions, but did not find, because one cannot find solutions other than those accepted by all.
Do not believe this, but trust only yourself, and don’t be afraid to disagree with the views and thoughts of people surrounding you, – if only your answers disagreeing with them are not based on your personal desires but on the desire to fulfill the requirement of that life, fulfill the will of that force which sent you in this life. Believe yourself, especially when the answers coming to you are confirmed by those eternal creation of human wisdom, which is expressed in all religious teachings and the closest to you – the teaching of Christ in its highest spiritual meaning.
I remember when I was 15 years old, outliving that time when suddenly I awoke from child obedience to views of others, in which he lived before, and for the first time realized that I need to live by yourself, to choose my own path, take responsibility for my own live before that Source which gave me it. Remember that back then that I albeit vaguely but deeply felt that the main purpose of my life is to be good, in evangelic sense, in sense of selflessness and love. I remember that I tried to live that way but it did not last for long. I didn’t trust myself but believed all that impressive, cocky, triumphant acumen which was enforced on me consciously and subconsciously by all surroundings. And my first awakening has shifted to very specific albeit diverse wishes for success in front of people, fame, intellect, wealth, strength, – that is who not I myself but people considered valuable.
I didn’t believe myself back then, and only after many decades spent on achieving worldly goals which I either did not reach or achieved but saw their futility, vanity, and often their harm, I realized that that meaning which I knew 60 years ago and did not believe then, can and must be the only reasonable goal of every human being.
And what other, more joyful for myself and more useful to people my life could become, if I had trusted the voice of the truth, God, for the first time spoken in me, not yet subjected to temptations of my soul, if I would believe that voice and gave in to it?
Yes, dear young men, sincerely, independently, not influenced by external suggestions, but independently and sincerely awakened to the consciousness of the importance of your life, yes, don’t believe the people who tell you that your motivations are only unreachable dreams of youth, that they also dreamed and strove for, but the life soon showed them that it has its own demands and that we should not fantasize about what our life could be, and instead try our best to align our actions with the life of the existing society and try only to be a useful member of this society.
Also do not believe that especially established in our time dangerous temptation consisting in belief that the highest human purpose is to assist the redevelopment of existing in a certain location and certain time society, using for this purpose all means, even that which contradict to moral principles. Don’t believe this; the purpose of this worthless in comparison to the purpose of manifestation in yourself that divine Source that is imprinted in your soul. And the purpose is false if it allows deviation from the Source of goodness imprinted in your soul.
Don’t believe this. Don’t believe that realization of goodness and truth are impossible in your soul. Achieving of goodness and truth is not only not impossible in your soul, but the entire life of yours, and of all people, is only in this, and only this realization in every person leads not only to a better society, but also to all that welfare of humanity, which assists it and which is fulfilled only by personal efforts of each individual.
Yes, trust yourself when your soul will not desire to outdo others, distinguish yourself from others, be powerful, famous, to be a savior of the people, rescuer from wrong order of life (such desires often substitute the desire for goodness), and trust yourself when the main desire of your soul is to be better – I won’t tell: to improve, because in self-improvement is something egotistical, satisfying pride, – but I’ll say: to become that what God who gave us life wants, to open in yourself that beginning, alike Him, which is engraved in us, to live godly, as people say.
Trust yourself and live to put all your strengths into one purpose: to manifest God in yourself, – and you’ll achieve everything you can do and for their own benefit and for the benefit of the whole world.
(Source: Translated from Russian by Wikisource.)
From : Wikisource.org
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