Browsing Leo Tolstoy By Tag : conception

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Note For "Anarchist Morality" This study of the origin and function of what we call "morality" was written for pamphlet publication as a result of an amusing situation. An anarchist who ran a store in England found that his comrades in the movement regarded it as perfectly right to take his goods without paying for them. "To each according to his need" seemed to them to justify letting those who were best able foot the bills. Kropotkin was appealed to, with the result that he not only condemned such doctrine, but was moved to write the comrades this sermon. Its conception of morality is based on the ideas set forth in Mutual Aid and later developed in his Ethics. Here they are given special application to "right and wrong" in the business of social living. The job is done with fine feeling and with acute shafts at the shams of current morality. Kropotkin sees the source of all so-called moral ideas in primitive superstitio...


Faith is that which invests life with meaning, that which gives strength and direction to life. Every living man discovers this meaning and lives upon it. Having failed to discover it, he dies. In his search, man avails himself of all that humanity has achieved. All that has been achieved by humanity is called revelation. Revelation is that which helps man to comprehend the meaning of life. Such is the relation of man to faith. What a wonderful thing, then! Men appear, who toil unceasingly to make other people enjoy just this and no other form or revelation; who cannot rest until others accept their, just their form of revelation, and who damn, execute, kill, as many as they can of the dissenters. Others do the same: damn, execute, and kill... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Not finding an explanation in science I began to seek for it in life, hoping to find it among the people around me. And I began to observe how the people around me - people like myself - lived, and what their attitude was to this question which had brought me to despair. And this is what I found among people who were in the same position as myself as regards education and manner of life. I found that for people of my circle there were four ways out of the terrible position in which we are all placed. The first was that of ignorance. It consists in not knowing, not understanding, that life is an evil and an absurdity. People of this sort - chiefly women, or very young or very dull people - have not yet understood that question of life which presented itself to Schopenhauer, Solomon, and Buddha. They see neither the dragon that awaits them nor the mice gnawing the shrub by which they are hanging, and they lick the drops of honey. but they l...

Mother Earth Publishing Association. 210 East 18th Street. New York. 1910. THE DOMINANT IDEA By VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE ON EVERYTHING that lives, if one looks searchingly, is limned the shadow line of an idea --- an idea, dead or living, sometimes stronger when dead, with rigid, unswerving lines that mark the living embodiment with the stern immobile cast of the non-living. Daily we move among these unyielding shadows, less pierceable, more enduring than granite, with the blackness of ages in them, dominating living, changing bodies, with dead, unchanging souls. And we meet, also, living souls dominating dying bodies-living ideas regnant over decay and death. Do not imagine that I speak of human life alone. The stamp of persistent or of shifti... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

If the empirical. philosophers have hitherto failed to prove the progress of moral conceptions (which may be inciple of evolution), the fault lies to a great extent with the speculative, i.e., the . nonscientific philosophers. They have so strongly denied the empirical origin of man's moral feelings; they have gone to such subtle reasoning in order to assign a supernatural origin to the moral sense; and they have spoken so much about "the destination of man," the "way of his existence," and "the aim of Nature," that a reaction against the mythological and metaphysical conceptions which had risen round this question was unavoidable. Moreover, the modern evolutionists, having established the presence in the animal world of a keen struggle for life among different species, could not accept such a brutal process, which entails so much suffering upon sentient beings, as the expression of a Supreme Being; and they consequently denied that any ethical principle could...

Published by Freiheit Publishing Association New York Among all mental diseases which man has systematically inoculated into his cranium, the religious pest is the most abominable. Like all things else, this disease has a history; it only regrettable that in this case nothing will be found of the development from nonsense to reason, which is generally assumed to be the course of history. Old Zeus and his double, Jupiter, were still quite decent, jolly, we might even say, somewhat enlightened fellows, if compared with the last triplet on the pedigree of gods who, on examination, can safely rival with Vitzliputzli as to brutality and cruelty. We won't argue at all with the pensioned or dethroned gods, for they no longer do any harm. But the m... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

SPEAKING of Puritanism in relation to American art, Mr. Gutzon Borglum said: "Puritanism has made us self-centered and hypocritical for so long, that sincerity and reverence for what is natural in our impulses have been fairly bred out of us, with the result that there can be neither truth nor individualality in our art." Mr. Borglum might have added that Puritanism has made life itself impossible. More than art, more than estheticism, life represents beauty in a thousand variations; it is indeed, a gigantic panorama of eternal change. Puritanism, on the other hand, rests on a fixed and immovable conception of life; it is based on the Calvinistic idea that life is a curse, imposed upon man by the wrath of God. In order to redeem himself man... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

In the year 1884 I wrote a book under the title "What I Believe," in which I did in fact make a sincere statement of my beliefs. In affirming my belief in Christ's teaching, I could not help explaining why I do not believe, and consider as mistaken, the Church's doctrine, which is usually called Christianity. Among the many points in which this doctrine falls short of the doctrine of Christ I pointed out as the principal one the absence of any commandment of nonresistance to evil by force. The perversion of Christ's teaching by the teaching of the Church is more clearly apparent in this than in any other point of difference. I know—as we all do—very little of the practice and the spoken and written doctrine of former times on the subject of nonresistance to evil. I knew what had been said on the subject by the fathers of the Church—Origen, Tertullian, and others—I knew too of the existence of some so-called sects of...

"They Shall Not Pass!" They shall not pass! E'en should they win the day, Their vict'ry turns to dust and ashes still; What tho' the tyrants should our bodies slay, The spirit free lives on and 'scapes their will. It shall not be! Let them do what they may, They shall not pass! They shall not pass! E'en should they win the day, When all have given their lives for liberty, Tyrants will know the price they have to pay T'enthralled a people fighting to be free. It shall not be! Let them do what they may, They shall not pass! They shall not pass! E'en should they win the day, When men as yet unborn shall read the story, They'll judge 'twixt those who stood in... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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