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…
It is the recognition or non-recognition of these principles that a man finds or fails to find freedom.
If you did not desire your present position, you would not be doing everything possible to maintain it… If you cease doing those things which maintain your position, you will lose at once that position which you claim is forced upon you and which is your burden… It is impossible for any man to be placed against his own will in a condition which is contrary to his conscience.
Each man in his perception of truth is like a traveller who walks by aid of a lantern whose light is cast before him: he does not see what as yet has not been revealed by the beams, he does not see the path he has left behind… but at any given step he sees that which the lantern reveals, and he is always at liberty to choose one side of the road or the other.
There comes a time when, on the one hand, a vague awakening consciousness stirs the soul, the consciousness of the higher law… and the sufferings a man endures from the contradictions of life, compel him to renounce the social order and to adopt the new… And this time has now arrived.
The rule for doing unto others as you would wish them to do unto you, calls for no miraculous proof, neither does it require faith, because the rule is convincing in itself, both to reason and to human nature.
True religion is the establishment by man of such a relationship to the Infinite Life around him, which, while connecting his life with Infinite Life, and directing his actions, is also in agreement with his reason and with human knowledge.
One of the most widespread superstitions is that every man has his own special definite qualities: that he is kind, cruel, wise, stupid, energetic, apathetic, and so on. Men are not like that. We may say of a man that he is more often kind than cruel, more often wise than stupid, more often energetic than apathetic, or the reverse; but it would not be true to say of one man that he is kind and wise, of another that he is bad and stupid. And yet we always classify mankind in this way. And this is false. Men are like rivers: the water is the same in one and all; but every river is narrow here, more rapid there, here slower, there broader, now clear, now dull, now cold, now warm. It is the same with men. Every man bears in himself the germs of every human quality; but sometimes one quality manifests itself, sometimes another, and the man often becomes unlike himself, while still remaining the same man.
Do not await the fulfillment of the divine cause you serve, but know that none of your efforts are fruitless, for they all advance the cause.