Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910), also known as Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time. He is best known for his novels, including War and Peace and Resurrection, but he also wrote plays and numerous philosophical essays. His fiction consistently attempted to convey realistically the Russian society in which he lived. In the 1870’s Tolstoy experienced a profound moral crisis, followed by what he regarded as an equally profound spiritual awakening, as outlined in his nonfiction work A Confession.
Quotes by Leo Tolstoy…
This power demands of us what alone is certain and rational and possible… which is possible only in the truth, and, therefore, in the recognition of the truth revealed to us, and the profession of that truth.
All the ills of mankind appear, according to Lao Tzu, not from man’s neglect of the necessary, but because he does what is unnecessary. If men would practice what Lao Tzu calls non-action, they would be free not only of their personal difficulties, but also of those residing in every form of government.
The principles of this authentic religion are entirely natural to man, so that the instant they are communicated to him they are received as ideas long familiar and self-evident… These principles are quite simple, understandable, and few in number.
Man’s life begins only with the appearance of rational consciousness.
A horse which is harnessed to a wagon along with other horses is not free… The same situation is true of man.
But maybe I have overlooked something, or misunderstood certain ideas. It cannot be possible that this condition of despair is natural to man.
Whoever you are, who read these lines, think about your position and your duties, not upon your position as landowner, merchant, judge, emperor, president, clergyman, priest, or soldier, which temporarily call you, nor of the imaginary duties which these positions impose upon you, but think about your real and eternal condition as a human being.
In fearing to make an effort to escape from conditions that are fatal to us, because the future is obscure and unknown, we are like passengers on a sinking ship, who crowd into the cabin and refuse to leave it, because they have not the courage to enter the boat that would carry them to shore.
(If people changed inwardly) They would be different, richer, and higher, but would not at all be discontinued. What would be destroyed is whatever is false in them, while whatever is true in them would blossom and grow stronger.
There are some men — but the smaller number — who instantly, and as though by prophetic intuition, perceive the truth, surrender themselves to its influence, and live up to its precepts. Others — and they are the majority — are brought to the knowledge of the truth and the necessity for its adoption, by a long series of errors, by experience and suffering.