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Leo Tolstoy Quote – “Everyone, and especially the young, should understand…”

Everyone, and especially the young, should understand that to devote your lives, or even to occupy yourselves with arranging by violence the lives of others according to your own ideas, is not only a crude superstition, but is an evil, criminal business, pernicious to the soul. Understand that the desire of an enlightened human soul for the good of others, is not satisfied by the vanity of organizing their lives by means of violence, but only by that inner labor with one’s own self, wherein alone a man is free and powerful. Only that work which increases love within one, can satisfy this desire. Understand that all activity directed to organizing the life of others by violence, cannot serve the welfare of mankind, but is always more or less consciously a hypocritical deception, hiding low passions — ambition, pride or cupidity — under the mask of service to man. Understand it, especially you, the young generation of the future, and leave off doing what most of you now are doing — cease to seek for imaginary happiness in shaping the welfare of the people by means of participation in Government, in Law Courts, by teaching other people, and (in order to do that) by entering institutions that — by accustoming you to idleness, conceit and pride — deprave you, namely, all sorts of Grammar Schools and Universities.

Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910)