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About Leo Tolstoy



Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828 – 1910), usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time. Wikipedia

References:   Encyclopaedia Britannica   |   Biography.com

  

Quotes by Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy (quotes)

  • Energy is based on love.
  • Love those you hate you.
  • Faith is the force of life.
  • We’re asleep until we love.
  • Life is fragile and absurd.
  • God is the same everywhere.
  • God knows, but He’s waiting
  • If you want to be happy, be.
  • Only those live who do good.
  • Happy people have no history.
  • The most important time is Now
  • A holy spirit lives within you.
  • Boredom: the desire for desires.
  • And where love ends, hate begins
  • Kings are the slaves of history.
  • Vengeance is mine; I will repay.
  • Everything depends on upbringing.
  • If you want to be happy, just be.
  • The Kingdom of God is Within You.
  • Boredom is desire seeking desire.
  • Our body is a machine for living.
  • Every heart has its own skeletons.
  • Music is the shorthand of emotion.
  • If you want to be happy, be happy.
  • Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal.
  • Enough or not…it will have to do
  • Music is love in search of a voice.
  • Teach French and unteach sincerity.
  • Happiness is pleasure without regret
  • It is no sin to look at a nice girl.
  • Everything intelligent is so boring.
  • Read less, study less, but think more
  • There’s a way out of every situation.
  • Children: a torment and nothing more.
  • Where there is love, there is God also.
  • Life did not stop, and one had to live.
  • Commit no act that is contrary to love.
  • It is very difficult to tell the truth.
  • Dear Lord, what a madhouse the world is!
  • Anything is better than lies and deceit!
  • she smiled at him, and at her own fears.
  • God gave the day, God gave the strength.
  • To get rid of an enemy one must love him.
  • Spring is the time of plans and projects.
  • Well, so it isn’t time yet to die, is it?
  • I don’t count life as life without love
  • We lost because we told ourselves we lost.
  • Honest work is much better than a mansion.
  • Everything I know, I know because of love.
  • It’s hard to love a woman and do anything.
  • When joy disappears, look for your mistake
  • A wife’s a worry, a non-wife’s even worse.
  • Each time of life has its own kind of love.
  • Conceit is incompatible with understanding.
  • True life is lived when tiny changes occur.
  • But the peasants – how do the peasants die?
  • Happiness is in your ability to love others.
  • Act as if you are, and you will become such.
  • There are as many loves as there are hearts.
  • There are such repulsive faces in the world.
  • Without Greek studies there is no education.
  • Physical violence is the basis of authority.
  • Is it possible to say what one really feels?
  • I prefer a good pair of boots to Shakespeare.
  • One must be cunning and wicked in this world.
  • There are many faiths, but the spirit is one.
  • Why nowadays there’s a new fashion every day.
  • He is not apprehended by reason, but by life.
  • Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.
  • A leader is the wave pushed ahead by the ship.
  • The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.
  • Those whom God wishes to destroy he drives mad.
  • Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
  • How can one be well…when one suffers morally?
  • Division of labor is a justification for sloth.
  • vegetarianism is the taproot of humanitarianism.
  • Childhood candor… shall I ever find you again?
  • Much unhappiness has come from things left unsaid
  • Be bad, but at least don’t be a liar, a deceiver!
  • All art has this characteristic-it unites people.
  • There is no genius where there is not simplicity.
  • Writing laws is easy, but governing is difficult.
  • Man discovers truth by reason only, not by faith.
  • The one who is happy, that’s the one who is right.
  • The only happy marriages I know are arranged ones.
  • Seize the moment of happiness… love and be loved.
  • If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.
  • … women are the pivot round which the world turns.
  • The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.
  • Wealth brings a heavy purse; poverty, a light spirit.
  • Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait.
  • In order to obtain and hold power, a man must love it.
  • Love is the only way to rescue humanity from all ills.
  • With friends, one is well; but at home, one is better.
  • And the cause of everything is that which we call God.
  • I don’t allow myself to doubt myself even for a moment.
  • To know God and to live is the same thing. God is Life.
  • … it is the work and not the reward that is precious.
  • A battle is won by him who is firmly resolved to win it.
  • Everything ends in death, everything. Death is terrible.
  • A human can be healthy without killing animals for food.
  • When one’s head is gone one doesn’t weep for one’s hair!
  • I am always with myself, and it is I who am my tormentor.
  • History would be an excellent thing if only it were true.
  • He was afraid of defiling the love which filled his soul.
  • Rest, nature, books, music…such is my idea of happiness.
  • Is it really possible to tell someone else what one feels?
  • … a man has to think of his soul before everything else.
  • The subject of history is the life of peoples and mankind.
  • Power is a word the meaning of which we do not understand.
  • In difficult circumstances always act on first impressions.
  • Like all mad men, I thought everyone was mad except myself.
  • If you want to be happy, try only to please God, not people.
  • Let us forgive each other – only then will we live in peace.
  • The meaning of life consists in the love and service of God.
  • History would be a wonderful thing if it were only true.
  • India, which is the nursery of the great faiths of the world
  • The happiness of men consists in life. And life is in labor.
  • Art lifts man from his personal life into the universal life.
  • I simply want to live; to cause no evil to anyone but myself.
  • The vocation of every man and woman is to serve other people.
  • For nightinggales – we know – can’t live on fairytales.
  • He who has love, is in God, and God is in him, for God is love.
  • I’d rather end up wishing I hadn’t than end up wishing I had.
  • …the more he did nothing, the less time he had to do anything.
  • Without knowing what I am and why I am here, life is impossible.
  • They ought to find out how to vaccinate for love, like smallpox.
  • We shall all of us die, so why should I grudge a little trouble?
  • Prayer is an invisible tool which is wielded in a visible world.
  • What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness.
  • To speak of it would be giving importance to that which has none.
  • The most important person is the one you are with in this moment.
  • We call beauty that which supplies us with a particular pleasure.
  • Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.
  • It is not beauty that endears, it’s love that makes us see beauty.
  • The strongest of all warriors are these two; Time and Patience.
  • It is by those who have suffered that the world has been advanced.
  • Why does man have reason if he can only be influenced by violence?
  • Well, pray if you like, only you’d do better to use your judgment.
  • The purpose of life is to bring forth goodness. Now, in this life.
  • I am obliged to renounce violence, and abstain from it altogether.
  • Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.
  • To sin is a human business, to justify sins is a devilish business.
  • It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.
  • If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.
  • Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy.
  • In education, once more, the chief things are equality and freedom.
  • Energy rests upon love; and come as it will, there’s no forcing it.
  • The best stories don’t come from “good vs. bad” but “good vs. good.
  • I must have physical exercise, or my temper’ll certainly be ruined.
  • Lay me down like a stone oh God, and raise me up like a new bread”.
  • All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.
  • In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.
  • The key to success in life is using the good thoughts of wise people.
  • Grow spiritually and help others to do so. It is the meaning of life.
  • God cannot be understood by logical reasoning but only by submission.
  • Not one word, not one gesture of yours shall I, could I, ever forget.
  • Anna smiled,as people smile at the weaknesses of those they love. . .
  • I can’t think of you and myself apart. You and I are the same to me
  • Each person’s task in life is to become an increasingly better person.
  • Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us.
  • But our idea is that the wolves should be fed and the sheep kept safe.
  • There can be no peace for us, only misery, and the greatest happiness.
  • Art is not a pleasure, a solace, or an amusement; art is great matter.
  • There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth.
  • Everyone wants to change the world, but nobody wants to change himself.
  • Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six.
  • Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.
  • The only purpose of education is freedom; the only method is experience.
  • God is that infinite All of which man knows himself to be a finite part.
  • In a writer there must always be two people – the writer and the critic.
  • It is not enough to be a hardworking person. Think: what do you work at?
  • As long as there are slaughter houses there will always be battlefields.
  • I often think how unfairly life’s good fortune is sometimes distributed.
  • it’s much better to do good in a way that no one knows anything about it.
  • I have discovered nothing new; I have only perceived what I already knew.
  • Effort is not a means to lead us to happiness. Effort itself is happiness
  • I ask one thing: I ask the right to hope and suffer as I do now.” Vronsky
  • We acknowledge God only when we are conscious of His manifestation in us.
  • The only absolute knowledge attainable by man is that life is meaningless.
  • The compassionate are not rich; therefore, the rich are not compassionate.
  • He never chooses an opinion; he just wears whatever happens to be in style.
  • I believe that the reason of life is for each of us simply to grow in love.
  • I’m getting old, that’s the thing! What’s in me now won’t be there anymore.
  • The question of how things will settle down is the only important question.
  • Debates conceal rather than reveal the truth. Truth is revealed in solitude.
  • …so remember: great achievements take time, there is no overnight success.
  • Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of intelligent women.
  • Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
  • The most important knowledge is that which guides the way you lead your life.
  • When you feel the desire for power, you should stay in solitude for some time
  • There is only one way to put an end to evil, and that is to do good for evil.
  • Art is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feeling.
  • In the spiritual realm nothing is indifferent: what is not useful is harmful.
  • I don’t think badly of people. I like everybody, and I’m sorry for everybody.
  • Everybody wants to change the world, but nobody thinks about changing himself.
  • The more we live by our intellect, the less we understand the meaning of life.
  • History is the product of vast, amorphous and indecipherable social movements.
  • All governments are in equal measure good and evil. The best ideal is anarchy.
  • No one is satisfied with his position, but every one is satisfied with his wit
  • God forgive me everything!’ she said, feeling the impossibility of struggling.
  • He who has a mistaken idea of life, will always have a mistaken idea of death.
  • To tell the truth is very difficult, and young people are rarely capable of it.
  • If so many men, so many minds, certainly so many hearts, so many kinds of love.
  • Then we should find some artificial inoculation against love, as with smallpox.
  • Until you do what you believe in, you don’t know whether you believe it or not.
  • Whenever my life came to a halt, the questions would arise: Why? And what next?
  • My principal sin is doubt. I doubt everything, and am in doubt most of the time.
  • It’s all God’s will: you can die in your sleep, and God can spare you in battle.
  • Three things are needed to educate the peasantry: schools, schools, and schools.
  • There is trouble with a wife, but it’s even worse with a woman who is not a wife.
  • If you love me as you say you do,’ she whispered, ‘make it so that I am at peace.
  • Work is the inevitable condition of human life, the true source of human welfare.
  • The only significance of life consists in helping to establish the kingdom of God.
  • Patriotism is the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers.
  • One can live magnificently in this world if one knows how to work and how to love.
  • The true office of any faith is to give life a meaning which death cannot destroy.
  • Which is worse? the wolf who cries before eating the lamb or the wolf who does not.
  • But that’s just the aim of civilization – to make everything a source of enjoyment.
  • An agile but unintelligent and abnormal German, possessed of the mania of grandeur.
  • It’s not so much that he can’t fall in love, but he has not the weakness necessary.
  • Wealth is a great sin in the eyes of God. Poverty is a great sin in the eyes of man.
  • By words one transmits thoughts to another, by means of art, one transmits feelings.
  • Upon meeting, you’re judged by your clothes, upon parting you’re judged by your wits.
  • But every acquisition that is disproportionate to the labor spent on it is dishonest.
  • When ignorance does not know something, it says that what it does not know is stupid.
  • Every man and every living creature has a sacred right to the gladness of springtime.
  • Ivan Ilych’s life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible.
  • Where is there any book of the law so clear to each man as that written in his heart?
  • The best method for a given teacher is the one which is most familiar to the teacher.
  • He was right in saying that the only certain happiness in life is to live for others.
  • We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.
  • All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.
  • People are always happy where there is love, because their happiness in in themselves.
  • Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.
  • Art should cause violence to be set aside and it is only art that can accomplish this.
  • All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
  • Between the murder of an animal and the murder of a man, there’s no more than ONE step!
  • How often we sin, how much we deceive, and all for what?… All will end in death, all!
  • Men need only trust in Christ’s teaching and obey it, and there will be peace on earth.
  • Mathematics is the queen of disciplines…. it will drive the nonsense out of your head!
  • I have learned what must be, and therefore have come to see the whole horror of what is.
  • Giving alms is only a virtuous deed when you give money that you yourself worked to get.
  • When you love someone, you love the person as they are, and not as you’d like them to be.
  • Human love serves to love those dear to us but to love one’s enemies we need divine love.
  • A man’s every action is inevitably conditioned by what surrounds him and by his own body.
  • I can’t understand how anyone can write without rewriting everything over and over again.
  • I imagine, joking apart, that to know love, one must make mistakes and then correct them.
  • If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, the possibility of life is destroyed.
  • We love people not so much for the good they’ve done us, as for the good we’ve done them.
  • Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them.
  • In order to understand, observe, deduce, man must first be conscious of himself as alive.
  • He liked to fish; he seemed to take pride in being able to like such a stupid occupation.
  • Rummaging in our souls, we often dig up something that ought to have lain there unnoticed.
  • Quos vilt perdere dementat’ Whome the gods wish to destroy, they first drive made (Latin).
  • There can be only one permanent revolution- a moral one: the regeneration of the inner man.
  • But the law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.
  • You will die and it will all be over. You will die and find out everything or cease asking.
  • To regard Christ as God, and to pray to him, are to my mind the greatest possible sacrilege.
  • The great tragedy of atheists is that they walk through this world and have no one to thank.
  • A Gentleman is a man who will pay his gambling debts even when he knows he has been cheated.
  • And you know, there’s less charm in life when you think about death–but it’s more peaceful.
  • Pierre was one of those people who are strong only when they feel themselves perfectly pure.
  • The activity of art is… as important as the activity of language itself, and as universal.
  • If you’re not enjoying your work, you should either change your attitude, or change your job.
  • Governments not only are not necessary, but are harmful and most highly immoral institutions.
  • Every man had his personal habits, passions, and impulses toward goodness, beauty, and truth.
  • Woman is generally so bad that the difference between a good and a bad woman scarcely exists.
  • Great works of art are only great because they are accessible and comprehensible to everyone.
  • Man must not check his reason by tradition, but, contrariwise, must check tradition by reason.
  • The kinder and the more thoughtful a person is, the more kindness he can find in other people.
  • Progress consists only in the greater clarification of answers to the basic questions of life.
  • the same question arose in every soul: “For what, for whom, must I kill and be killed?”… p982
  • We should show life neither as it is or as it ought to be, but only as we see it in our dreams.
  • All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.
  • Some mathematician said that pleasure lies not in discovering the truth but in searching for it.
  • One must put oneself in every one’s position. To understand everything is to forgive everything.
  • Error is the force that welds men together; truth is communicated to men only by deeds of truth.
  • Perhaps it’s because I appreciate all I have so much that I don’t worry about what I haven’t got.
  • As soon as man applies his intelligence to any object at all, he unfailingly destroys the object.
  • Life could be limitless joy, if we would only take it for what it is, in the way it is given to us.
  • All the true heroes of history will be forgotten and all the villains will be remembered as heroes.
  • The best thoughts most often come in the morning after waking, while still in bed or while walking.
  • What is reason given me for, if I am not to use it to avoid bringing unhappy beings into the world!
  • Many people have ideas on how others should change; few people have ideas on how they should change.
  • And the angel said – “I have learned that every man lives not through care of himself, but by love”.
  • Knowledge is real knowledge only when it is acquired by the efforts of your intellect, not by memory
  • You can love a person dear to you with a human love, but an enemy can only be loved with divine love.
  • The recognition of the sanctity of the life of every man is the first and only basis of all morality.
  • One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.
  • With one hand I take thousands of rubles from the poor, and with the other I hand back a few kopecks.
  • Whatever our fate is or may be, we have made it and do not complain of it.” – Vronksy {Anna Karenina}
  • If every man could act as he chose, the whole of history would be a tissue of disconnected accidents.
  • It is easier to produce ten volumes of philosophical writings than to put one principle into practice.
  • Am I mad, to see what others do not see, or are they mad who are responsible for all that I am seeing?
  • Human science fragments everything in order to understand it, kills everything in order to examine it.
  • Never did Christ utter a single word attesting to a personal resurrection and a life beyond the grave.
  • Art can compel people freely, gladly, and spontaneously to sacrifice themselves in the service of man.
  • Woman, you see, is an object of such a kind that study it as much as you will, it is always quite new.
  • Where there is a man who does not labor because another is compelled to work for him, there slavery is.
  • He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began.
  • If a man does not work at necessary and good things, then he will work at unnecessary and stupid things
  • Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.
  • It is terrible when people do not know God, but it is worse when people identify as God what is not God.
  • Better to know a few things which are good and necessary than many things which are useless and mediocre
  • Since corrupt people unite amongst themselves to constitute a force, then honest people must do the same.
  • I believe in one, incomprehensible God, the immortality of the soul and eternal retribution for our acts.
  • Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.
  • The march of humanity, springing as it does from an infinite multitude of individual wills, is continuous.
  • Regard the society of women as a necessary unpleasantness of social life, and avoid it as much as possible.
  • Perhaps it is even more important to know what one should not think about than what one should think about.
  • Religion reveals the meaning of life, and science only applies this meaning to the course of circumstances.
  • Perfection is impossible without humility. Why should I strive for perfection, if I am already good enough?
  • Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly.
  • War is so unjust and ugly that all who wage it must try to stifle the voice of conscience within themselves.
  • The goal of our life should not be to find joy in marriage, but to bring more love and truth into the world.
  • Though the doctors treated him, let his blood, and gave him medications to drink, he nevertheless recovered.
  • Her maternal instinct told her Natasha had too much of something, and because of this she would not be happy
  • And so he who looks down at his feet will not know the truth, but he who discerns by the sun which way to go.
  • Every revolution by force only puts more violent means of enslavement into the hands of the persons in power.
  • I often think that men don’t understand what is noble and what is ignorant, though they always talk about it.
  • Very often, all the activity of the human mind is directed not in revealing the truth, but in hiding the truth
  • And that which yesterday was the novel opinion of one man, to-day becomes the general opinion of the majority.
  • The soul is immortal- well then, if I shall always live, I must have lived before, lived for a whole eternity.
  • The political is not compatible with the artistic, because the former, in order to prove, has to be one-sided.
  • I have found that a story leaves a deeper impression when it is impossible to tell which side the author is on.
  • One ought only to write when one leaves a piece of one’s own flesh in the inkpot, each time one dips one’s pen.
  • I did not myself know what I wanted: I feared life, desired to escape from it, yet still hoped something of it.
  • The possibility of killing one’s self is a safety valve. Having it, man has no right to say life is unbearable.
  • but that what was for him the greatest and most cruel injustice appeared to others a quite ordinary occurrence.
  • For if we allow that human life is always guided by reason, we destroy the premise that life is possible at all.
  • Love does not exist. There exists the physical need for intercourse, and the rational need for a mate in life
  • Happiness consists in always aspiring perfection, the pause in any level in perfection is the pause of happiness
  • There is no significant idea which cannot be explained to an intelligent twelve year old boy in fifteen minutes.
  • She did not want to talk of her sorrow, but with that sorrow in her heart she could not talk of outside matters.
  • Woman is more impressionable than man. Therefore in the Golden Age they were better than men. Now they are worse.
  • By digging into our souls, we often dig up what might better have remained there unnoticed.” Alexis Alexandrovich
  • War is not a polite recreation but the vilest thing in life, and we ought to understand that and not play at war.
  • Man is meant for happiness and this happiness is in him, in the satisfaction of the daily needs of his existence.
  • What an immense mass of evil must result…from allowing men to assume the right of anticipating what may happen.
  • Just when the question of how to live had become clearer to him, a new insoluble problem presented itself – Death.
  • One can no more approach people without love than one can approach bees without care. Such is the quality of bees.
  • Beautiful as seemed mama’s face, it became more lovely when she smiled and seemed to enliven everything about her.
  • The earth is the general and equal possession of all humanity and therefore cannot be the property of individuals.
  • What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility.
  • From the self-confidence with which he spoke no one could tell whether what he said was very clever or very stupid.
  • Ah, if everyone was as sensitive as you! There’s no girl who hasn’t gone through that. And it’s all so unimportant!
  • “A real work of art destroys, in the consciousness of the receiver, the separation between himself and the artist.”
  • Loving the same man or woman all your life, why, that’s like supposing the same candle could last you all your life
  • Can it be that there is not enough space for man in this beautiful world, under those immeasurable, starry heavens?
  • Once we’re thrown off our habitual paths, we think all is lost, but it’s only here that the new and the good begins.
  • Life consists in penetrating the unknown, and fashioning our actions in accord with the new knowledge thus acquired.
  • In Varenka, she realized that one has but to forget oneself and love others, and one will be calm, happy, and noble.
  • One of the most obtuse superstitions is the superstition of the scientists who say that man can exist without faith.
  • My piece of bread only belongs to me when I know that everyone else has a share, and that no one starves while I eat.
  • The truth is obtained like gold, not by letting it grow bigger, but by washing off from it everything that isn’t gold
  • Happiness consists of living each day as if it were the first day of your honeymoon and the last day of your vacation.
  • I must write each day without fail, not so much for the success of the work, as in order not to get out of my routine.
  • Music makes me forget myself, my true condition, it carries me off into another state of being, one that isn’t my own.
  • We must not only cease our present desire for the growth of the state, but we must desire its decrease, its weakening.
  • It’s like scarlet fever: one has to get it over.” “Then one should invent a way of inoculating love, like vaccination.
  • As long as there are slaughterhouses there will be battlefields. A vegetarian diet is the acid test of humanitarianism.
  • The chief attraction of military service has consisted and will consist in this compulsory and irreproachable idleness.
  • Talent is the capacity to direct concentrated attention upon the subject: “the gift of seeing what others have not seen.
  • In life, in true life, there can be nothing better than what is. Wanting something different than what is, is blasphemy.
  • A writer is dear and necessary for us only in the measure of which he reveals to us the inner workings of his very soul.
  • From the child of five to myself is but a step. But from the newborn baby to the child of five is an appalling distance.
  • The antagonism between life and conscience may be removed in two ways: by a change of life or by a change of conscience.
  • Some mathematician, I believe, has said that true pleasure lies not in the discovery of truth, but in the search for it.
  • She had no need to ask why he had come. She knew as certainly as if he had told her that he was here to be where she was.
  • When you say, ‘I can’t do that,’ you’re expressing yourself incorrectly. You should say, ‘I couldn’t do that before.’
  • There will be today, there will be tomorrow, there will be always, and there was yesterday, and there was the day before.
  • He felt that he was himself and did not wish to be anyone else. He only wished now to be better than he had been formerly
  • The teaching of the church, theoretically astute, is a lie in practice and a compound of vulgar superstitions and sorcery.
  • The struggle with evil by means of violence is the same as an attempt to stop a cloud, in order that there may be no rain.
  • Man recognizes that he will not die, only when he recognizes that he was never born, but always has been, is, and will be.
  • Power is the sum total of the wills of the mass, transfered by express or tactic agreement to rulers chosen by the masses.
  • This history of culture will explain to us the motives, the conditions of life, and the thought of the writer or reformer.
  • The appreciation of the merits of art (of the emotions it conveys) depends upon an understanding of the meaning of life…
  • All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do.
  • It’s too easy to criticize a man when he’s out of favour, and to make him shoulder the blame for everybody else’s mistakes.
  • Here I am…wanting to accomplish something and completely forgetting it must all end–that there is such a thing as death.
  • The more is given the less the people will work for themselves, and the less they work the more their poverty will increase.
  • I don’t want to prove anything; I merely want to live, to do no one harm but myself. I have the right to do that, haven’t I?
  • … in marriage the great thing was love, and that with love one would always be happy, for happiness rests only on oneself.
  • He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.
  • And those who only know the non-platonic love have no need to talk of tragedy. In such love there can be no sort of tragedy.
  • Man by violating his own feelings becomes cruel. And how deeply seated in the human heart is the injunction not to take life.
  • I felt a wish never to leave that room – a wish that dawn might never come, that my present frame of mind might never change.
  • Are we not all flung into the world for no other purpose than to hate each other, and so to torture ourselves and one another?
  • So he lived, not knowing and not seeing any chance of knowing what he was and for what purpose he had been placed in the word.
  • Before we can study the central issues of life today, we must destroy the prejudices and fallacies born of previous centuries.
  • The simplest and shortest ethical precept is to be served as little as possible . . . and to serve others as much as possible.
  • Not all of life’s roads are set fast, for a man may do this or a man may do that and not even the gods know the mind of a man.
  • I was now prepared to accept any faith so long as it did not demand a direct denial of reason, which would have been a deceit.
  • I now understand that my welfare is only possible if I acknowledge my unity with all the people of the world without exception.
  • The highest wisdom has but one science-the science of the whole-the science explaining the whole creation and man’s place in it.
  • To say that you can love one person all your life is just like saying that one candle will continue burning as long as you live.
  • And all these people lived not by reason of any care they had for themselves, but by the love for them that was in other people.
  • A Christian cannot help being free, because in the pursuit and attainment of his object, no one can either hinder or retard him.
  • Konstantin Levin did not like talking and hearing about the beauty of nature. Words for him took away the beauty of what he saw.
  • The higher a man’s conception of God, the better will he know Him. And the better he knows God, the nearer will he draw to Him.
  • Art is a microscope which the artist fixes on the secrets of his soul, and shows to people these secrets which are common to all.
  • The most mentally deranged people are certainly those who see in others indications of insanity they do not notice in themselves.
  • Our whole life is taken up with anxiety for personal security, with preparations for living, so that we really never live at all.
  • Here I am alive, and it’s not my fault, so I have to try and get by as best I can without hurting anybody until death takes over.
  • I feel that I am entitled to my share of lightheartedness and there is nothing wrong with enjoying one’s self simply, like a boy.
  • There is only one time that is important — NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time hat we have any power.
  • If I know the way home and am walking along it drunkenly, is it any less the right way because I am staggering from side to side!
  • Man’s mind cannot grasp the causes of events in their completeness, but the desire to find the causes is implanted in man’s soul.
  • Good fiction doesn’t come out of the basic conflict of good versus bad. Instead, it comes out of a conflict between good and good.
  • Then he thought himself unhappy, but happiness was all in the future; now he felt that the best happiness was already in the past.
  • The ideas of the wise have been tested by centuries. Everything medium is lost and only original, deep and useful things are left.
  • Men are so accustomed to maintaining external order by violence that they cannot conceive of life being possible without violence.
  • There are no conditions to which a man cannot get accustomed, especially if he sees that everyone around him lives in the same way.
  • I think… if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.
  • Man lives consciously for himself, but is an unconscious instrument in the attainment of the historic, universal, aims of humanity.
  • I’m like a starving man who has been given food. Maybe he’s cold, and his clothes are torn, and he’s ashamed, but he’s not unhappy.
  • I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love.
  • He remembered his mother’s love for him, and his family’s, and his friends’, and the enemy’s intention to kill him seemed impossible.
  • What is important is not the quantity of your knowledge but its quality. You can know many things without knowing the most important.
  • Violence produces only something resembling justice, but it distances people from the possibility of living justly, without violence.
  • Humanity unceasingly strives forward from a lower, more partial and obscure understanding of life to one more general and more lucid.
  • Rivers are places that renew our spirit, connect us with our past, and link us directly with the flow and rhythm of the natural world.
  • I always loved you, and if one loves anyone, one loves the whole person, just as they are and not as one would like them to be. -Dolly
  • To love life is to love God. Harder and more blessed than all else is to love this life in one’s sufferings, in undeserved sufferings.
  • That only shows you have no heart,’ she said. But her eyes said that she knew he had a heart, and that was why she was afraid of him
  • Our body is a machine for living. It is organized for that, it is its nature. Let life go on in it unhindered and let it defend itself.
  • And once he had seen this, he could never again see it otherwise, just as we cannot reconstruct an illusion once it has been explained.
  • Friends we shall never be, you know that yourself. Whether we shall be the happiest or the wretchedest of people–that’s in your hands.
  • You can’t imagine what a pleasure this complete laziness is to me: not a thought in my brain- you might send a ball rolling through it!
  • The greater the state, the more wrong and cruel its patriotism, and the greater is the sum of suffering upon which its power is founded.
  • Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait. There is nothing stronger than those two: patience and time, they will do it all.
  • He stepped down, avoiding any long look at her as one avoids long looks at the sun, but seeing her as one sees the sun, without looking.
  • In the best, the friendliest and simplest relations flattery or praise is necessary, just as grease is necessary to keep wheels turning.
  • He felt that all his hitherto dissipated and dispersed forces were gathered and directed with terrible energy towards one blissful goal.
  • When we do not love, we sleep, we are children of the dust – but love, and you are a god, you are pure, as on the first day of creation.
  • In all human sorrow nothing gives comfort but love and faith, and that in the sight of Christ’s compassion for us no sorrow is trifiling.
  • Christianity in its true sense puts an end to the State. It was so understood from its very beginning, and for that Christ was crucified.
  • The reason I dislike that word is that it means too much for me, far more than you can understand.” – Anna Karenina {Anna Karenina}
  • Vegetarianism serves as the criterion by which we know that the pursuit of moral perfection on the part of humanity is genuine and sincere.
  • They’ve got no idea what happiness is, they don’t know that without this love there is no happiness or unhappiness for us–there is no life.
  • Without the support from religion–remember, we talked about it–no father, using only his own resources, would be able to bring up a child.
  • Can it be that I have not lived as one ought?” suddenly came into his head. “But how not so, when I’ve done everything as it should be done?
  • For a few seconds they looked silently into each other’s eyes, and the distant and impossible suddenly became near, possible, and inevitable.
  • He looked at her as a man looks at a faded flower he has gathered , with difficulty recognizing the beauty for which he picked and ruined it.
  • Instead of going to Paris to attend lectures, go to the public library, and you won’t come out for twenty years, if you really wish to learn.
  • The most important of all sciences man can and must learn is the science of living so as to do the least evil and the greatest possible good.
  • If people tell you that you should live your life preparing for the future, do not believe them. Real Life is found only in the present.
  • Why should I live? Why should I do anything? Is there in life any purpose which the inevitable death that awaits me does not undo and destroy?
  • Reason unites us, not only with our contemporaries, but with men who lived two thousand years before us, and with those who will live after us.
  • There lay between them, separating them, that same terrible line of the unknown and of fear, like the line separating the living from the dead.
  • What am I coming for?” he repeated, looking straight into her eyes. “You know that I have come to be where you are,” he said; “I can’t help it.
  • Science is meaningless because it gives no answer to our question, the only question important for us: ‘What shall we do and how shall we live?’
  • Both salvation and punishment for man lie in the fact that if he lives wrongly he can befog himself so as not to see the misery of his position.
  • Always the same. Now a spark of hope flashes up, then a sea of despair rages, and always pain; always pain, always despair, and always the same.
  • It is possible to live only as long as life intoxicates us; once we are sober we cannot help seeing that it is all a delusion, a stupid delusion.
  • The true meaning of Christ’s teaching consists in the recognition of love as the supreme law of life, and therefore not admitting any exceptions.
  • You say: I am not free. But I have raised and lowered my arm. Everyone understands that this illogical answer is an irrefutable proof of freedom.
  • The chief difference between words and deeds is that words are always intended for men for their approbation, but deeds can be done only for God.
  • Faith is the sense of life, that sense by virtue of which man does not destroy himself, but continues to live on. It is the force whereby we live.
  • I love her not with my mind or my imagination, but with my whole being. Loving her I feel myself to be an integral part of all God’s joyous world.
  • Every lie is a poison; there are no harmless lies. Only the truth is safe. Only the truth gives me consolation – it is the one unbreakable diamond.
  • One is ashamed to say how little is needed for all men to be delivered from those calamities which now oppress them; it is only needful not to lie.
  • Don’t seek God in temples. He is close to you. He is within you. Only you should surrender to Him and you will rise above happiness and unhappiness.
  • Joy can only be real if people look upon their life as a service and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.
  • Either you are so underdeveloped that you can’t see all that you can do, or you won’t sacrifice your ease, your vanity, or whatever it is, to do it.
  • There is one evident, indubitable manifestation of the Divinity, and that is the laws of right which are made known to the world through Revelation.
  • Under the influence of music, it seems that I feel what I do not really feel, that I understand what I do not understand, that I do what I cannot do.
  • Religious people are guided in their activities not by the consequences of their actions, but by the consciousness of the destination of their lives.
  • In infinite time, in infinite matter, in infinite space, is formed a bubble organism, and that bubble lasts a while and bursts, and that bubble is Me.
  • When politics and home life have become one and the same thing, […] then,[…] it is evident that we will be in a state of total liberty or anarchy.
  • But men are now united in states; that work is done; why now maintain exclusive devotion to one’s own state, when this produces terrible evils for all.
  • I think that when you remember, remember, remember everything like that, you could go on until you remember what was there before you were in the world.
  • the very fact of the death of someone close to them aroused in all who heard about it, as always, a feeling of delight that he had died and they hadn’t.
  • If goodness has causes, it is not goodness; if it has effects, a reward, it is not goodness either. So goodness is outside the chain of cause and effect.
  • We spend our lives trying to unlock the mystery of the universe, but there was a Turkish prisoner, Bah√°’u’ll√°h, in Akka, Palestine who had the Key.
  • The business of art lies just in this, — to make that understood and felt which, in the form of an argument, might be incomprehensible and inaccessible.
  • My life had come to a sudden stop. I was able to breathe, to eat, to drink, to sleep. I could not, indeed help doing so; but there was no real life in me.
  • Eating meat is a leftover of the greatest brutality [killing]; the transition to vegetarianism is the first and most natural consequence of enlightenment.
  • We walked to meet each other up at the time of our love and then we have been irresistibly drifting in different directions, and there’s no altering that.
  • We are all created to be miserable, and that we all know it, and all invent means of deceiving each other. And when one sees the truth, what is one to do?
  • All that day she had had the feeling that she was playing in the theatre with actors better than herself and that her poor playing spoiled the whole thing.
  • Her face was brilliant and glowing; but this glow was not one of brightness; it suggested the fearful glow of a conflagration in the midst of a dark night.
  • Meanwhile spring arrived. My old dejection passed away and gave place to the unrest which spring brings with it, full of dreams and vague hopes and desires.
  • it is hard for anyone who is dissatisfied not to blame some one else, and especially the person nearest of all to him, for the ground of his dissatisfaction.
  • Nowhere nor in anything, except in the assertion of the Church, can we find that God or Christ founded anything like what churchmen understand by the Church.
  • An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person’s main task in life becoming a better person.
  • A man on a thousand mile walk has to forget his goal and say to himself every morning, ‘Today I’m going to cover twenty-five miles and then rest up and sleep.
  • Art is not a pleasure, a solace, or an amusement; art is a great matter. Art is an organ of human life, transmitting man’s reasonable perception into feeling.
  • Drama, instead of telling us the whole of a man’s life, must place him in such a situation, tie such a knot, that when it is untied, the whole man is visible.
  • The essence of any religion lies solely in the answer to the question: why do I exist, and what is my relationship to the infinite universe that surrounds me?
  • If you make it a habit not to blame others, you will feel the growth of the ability to love in your soul, and you will see the growth of goodness in your life.
  • I have to create a circle of reading for myself: Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Lao-Tzu, Buddha, Pascal, The New Testament. This is also necessary for all people.
  • Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.
  • There it is!’ he thought with rapture. ‘When I was already in despair, and when it seemed there would be no end- there it is! She loves me. She’s confessed it.
  • Power, from the standpoint of experience, is merely the relation that exists between the expression of someone’s will and the execution of that will by others.
  • A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. The larger the denominator, the smaller the fraction.
  • Just as one candle lights another and can light thousands of other candles, so one heart illuminates another heart and can illuminate thousands of other hearts.
  • For man to be able to live he must either not see the infinite, or have such an explanation of the meaning of life as will connect the finite with the infinite.
  • Just as a painter needs light in order to put the finishing touches to his picture, so I need an inner light, which I feel I never have enough of in the autumn.
  • As often happens between men who have chosen different pursuits, each, while in argument justifying the other’s activity, despised it in the depth of his heart.
  • I wanted to run after him, but remembered that it is ridiculous to run after one’s wife’s lover in one’s socks; and I did not wish to be ridiculous but terrible.
  • No matter when, at whatever moment, if she were asked what she was thinking about she could reply quite correctly – one thing, her happiness and her unhappiness.
  • The question was a fashionable one, whether a definite line exists between psychological and physiological phenomena in human activity; and if so, where it lies?
  • The hero of my tale, whom I love with all the power of my soul, whom I have tried to portray in all his beauty, who has been, is, and will be beautiful, is Truth.
  • Christianity, with its doctrine of humility, of forgiveness, of love, is incompatible with the state, with its haughtiness, its violence, its punishment, its wars
  • Every reform by violence is to be deprecated, because it does little to correct the evil while men remain as they are, and because wisdom has no need of violence.
  • A person who has spoiled his stomach will criticize his meal saying that the food is bad; the same thing happens with people who are not satisfied with their lives
  • If Mormonism is able to endure, unmodified, until it reaches the third and fourth generation, it is destined to become the greatest power the world has ever known.
  • It will pass, it will all pass, we’re going to be so happy! If our love could grow any stronger it would grow stronger because there is something horrifying in it.
  • Doctoring her seemed to her as absurd as putting together the pieces of a broken vase. Her heart was broken. Why would they try to cure her with pills and powders?
  • excuse me’ he added, taking the opera glasses out of her hands and looking over her bare shoulder at the row of boxes opposite, ‘i’m afraid i’m becoming ridiculous
  • There are always so many conjectures as to the issue of any event that, whatever the outcome, there will always be people to say: ‘I said then that it would be so’
  • Money is a new form of slavery, and distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal – that there is no human relation between master and slave.
  • Christian love comes from the understanding that there is a unity of divine origins in oneself and in other people, and not only in people, but in all living things.
  • He looked at her as a man might look at a faded flower he had plucked, in which it was difficult for him to trace the beauty that had made him pick and so destroy it
  • A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite.
  • You see, if you take pains and learn in order to get a reward, the work will seem hard; but when you work… if you love your work, you will find your reward in that.
  • The artist’s mission must not be to produce an irrefutable solution to a problem, but to compel us to love life in all its countless and inexhaustible manifestations.
  • He knew she was there by the joy and terror that took possession of his heart […] Everything was lit up by her. She was the smile that brightened everything around.
  • When I have one foot in the grave, I will tell the whole truth about women. I shall tell it, jump into my coffin, pull the lid over me and say, “Do what you like now.”
  • There is one thing, and only one thing, in which it is granted to you to be free in life, all else being beyond your power: that is to recognize and profess the truth.
  • And for him, who lived in a certain circle, and who required some mental activity such as usually develops with maturity, having views was as necessary as having a hat.
  • Man has received direct from God only one instrument wherewith to know himself and to know his relation to the universe–he has no other–and that instrument is reason.
  • The law condemns and punishes only actions within certain definite and narrow limits; it thereby justifies, in a way, all similar actions that lie outside those limits.
  • The whole world is divided for me into two parts: one is she, and there is all happiness, hope, light; the other is where she is not, and there is dejection and darkness.
  • What time can be more beautiful when the one in which the finest virtues, innocent cheerfulness and indefinable longing for love constitute the sole motives of your life.
  • The military world is characterized by the absence of freedom – in other words, a rigorous discipline-enforced inactivity, ignorance, cruelty, debauchery and drunkenness.
  • The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens… Henceforth, I shall never serve any government anywhere.
  • Art is the uniting of the subjective with the objective, of nature with reason, of the unconscious with the conscious, and therefore art is the highest means of knowledge.
  • The epitaph that I would write for history would say: I conceal nothing. It is not enough not to lie. One should strive not to lie in a negative sense by remaining silent.
  • How important the concept of God is, and how instead of valuing what has been given us, we with light hearts spurn it because of absurdities that have been attached to it.
  • Can it be that I have overlooked something, that there is something which I have failed to understand? Is it not possible that this state of despair is common to everyone?
  • And so the liberal tendency became a habit with Stepan Arkadyich, and he liked his newspaper, as he liked a cigar after dinner, for the slight haze it produced in his head.
  • Many families remain for years in the same place, though both husband and wife are sick of it, simply because there is neither complete division nor agreement between them.
  • He had heard that women often love plain ordinary men, but he did not believe it, because he judged by himself and he could only love beautiful mysterious exceptional women.
  • Sometimes she did not know what she feared, what she desired: whether she feared or desired what had been or what would be, and precisely what she desired, she did not know.
  • Pretence about anything sometimes deceives the wisest and shrewdest man, but, however cunningly it is hidden, a child of the meanest capacity feels it and is repelled by it.
  • Something magical has happened to me: like a dream when one feels frightened and creepy, and suddenly wakes up to the knowledge that no such terrors exist. I have wakened up.
  • The Most difficult thing but an essential one is to love Life, to love it even while one suffers, because Life is all, Life is God, and to love Life means to love God.
  • He sought his former accustomed fear of death and did not find it. “Where is it? What death?” There was no fear because there was no death. In place of death there was light.
  • Do not be sad about what you do not have. Instead, be happy about what you do have. If you will be sad about what you don’t have, you will not be happy about what you do have.
  • What is important is not the length of life, but the depth of life. What is important is not to make life longer, but to take your soul out of time, as every sublime act does.
  • Real wisdom is not the knowledge of everything, but the knowledge of which things in life are necessary, which are less necessary, and which are completely unnecessary to know.
  • People try to do all sorts of clever and difficult things to improve life instead of doing the simplest, easiest thing-refusing to participate in activities that make life bad.
  • In order to know what he is, a man must first know what the sum of this mysterious humanity is, a humanity made up of people who, like himself, do not understand what they are.
  • It’s not given to people to judge what’s right or wrong. People have eternally been mistaken and will be mistaken, and in nothing more than in what they consider right and wrong.
  • Art begins when a man, with a purpose of communicating to other people a feeling he once experienced, calls it up again within himself and expresses it by certain external signs.
  • To say that a work of art is good, but incomprehensible to the majority of men, is the same as saying of some kind of food that it is very good but that most people can’t eat it.
  • Condemn me if you choose – I do that myself, – but condemn me, and not the path which I am following, and which I point out to those who ask me where, in my opinion, the path is.
  • Prayer is addressed to the personal God, not because he is personal indeed, I know for certain that he is not personal, because personality is limitation, while God is unlimited.
  • Man survives earthquakes, epidemics, the horrors of disease, and all the agonies of the soul, but for all time his tormenting tragedy is, and will be, the tragedy of the bedroom.
  • The changes in our life must come from the impossibility to live otherwise than according to the demands of our conscience not from our mental resolution to try a new form of life.
  • The Jew – is the symbol of eternity. … He is the one who for so long had guarded the prophetic message and transmitted it to all mankind. A people such as this can never disappear.
  • After the doctor’s departure Koznyshev felt inclined to go to the river with his fishing rod. He was fond of angling, and seemed proud of being able to like such a stupid occupation.
  • Men pray to the Almighty to relieve poverty. But poverty comes not from God’s laws-it is blasphemy of the worst kind to say that. Poverty comes from man’s injustice to his fellow man.
  • In order to obtain and hold power a man must love it. Thus the effort to get it is not likely to be coupled with goodness, but with the opposite qualities of pride, craft and cruelty.
  • Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience. The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.
  • Government is violence, Christianity is meekness, non-resistance, love. And, therefore, government cannot be Christian, and a man who wishes to be a Christian must not serve government.
  • For us, with the rule of right and wrong given us by Christ, there is nothing for which we have no standard. And there is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.
  • People jump back and forth in pursuit of pleasures only because they see the emptiness of their lives more clearly than they do the emptiness of whichever new entertainment attracts them.
  • Death destroys the body, as the scaffolding is destroyed after the building is up and finished. And he whose building is up rejoices at the destruction of the scaffolding and of the body.
  • We have become so accustomed to the religious lie that surrounds us that we do not notice the atrocity, stupidity and cruelty with which the teaching of the Christian church is permeated.
  • Often a man goes on for years imaging that the religious teaching that had been imparted to him since childhood is still intact, while all the time there is not a trace of it left in him.
  • The magnanimity and sensibility of a lady who faints when she sees a calf being killed: she is so kindhearted that she can’t look at blood, but enjoys eating the calf served up with sauce.
  • There was no solution, save that universal solution which life gives to all questions, even the most complex and insolvable: One must live in the needs of the day–that is, forget oneself.
  • It is a rude feeling, because it is natural only to people standing on the lowest level of morality, and expecting from other nations such outrages as they themselves are ready to inflict.
  • I am sure that nothing has such a decisive influence upon a man’s course as his personal appearance, and not so much his appearance as his belief in its attractiveness or unattractiveness.
  • Man cannot possess anything as long as he fears death. But to him who does not fear it, everything belongs. If there was no suffering, man would not know his limits, would not know himself.
  • And not only the pride of intellect, but the stupidity of intellect. And, above all, the dishonesty, yes, the dishonesty of intellect. Yes, indeed, the dishonesty and trickery of intellect.
  • The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity by contributing to the establishment of the kingdom of God, which can only be done by the recognition and profession of the truth by every man.
  • What I think about vivisection is that if people admit that they have the right to take or endanger the life of living beings for the benefit of many, there will be no limit to their cruelty.
  • Music is the shorthand of emotion. Emotions, which let themselves be described in words with such difficulty, are directly conveyed to man in music, and in that is its power and significance.
  • Go take the mother’s soul, and learn three truths: Learn What dwells in man, What is not given to man , and What men live by . When thou hast learnt these things, thou shalt return to heaven.
  • There is something in the human spirit that will survive and prevail, there is a tiny and brilliant light burning in the heart of man that will not go out no matter how dark the world becomes.
  • Suddenly I heard the words of Christ and understood them, and life and death ceased to seem to me evil, and instead of despair I experienced happiness and the joy of life undisturbed by death.
  • ‘Thou shalt not kill’ does not apply to murder of one’s own kind only, but to all living beings and this commandment was inscribed in the human breast long before it was proclaimed from Sinai.
  • Levin scowled. The humiliation of his rejection stung him to the heart, as though it were a fresh wound he had only just received. But he was at home, and at home the very walls are a support.
  • You consider war to be inevitable? Very good. Let everyone who advocates war be enrolled in a special regiment of advance-guards, for the front of every storm, of every attack, to lead them all!
  • In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful.
  • We imagine that when we are thrown out of our usual ruts all is lost, but it is only then that what is new and good begins. While there is life there is happiness. There is much, much before us.
  • I say that the God who created the world in six days and who sent His son, and also his son himself, are not God, but that God is the one existing, incomparable good, the beginning of everything.
  • It seems as though mankind has forgotten the laws of its divine Saviour, Who preached love and forgiveness of injuries and that men attribute the greatest merit to skill in killing one another.
  • He had the unlucky capacity many men have of seeing and believing in the possibility of goodness and truth, but of seeing the evil and falsehood of life too clearly to take any serious part in it.
  • This is where the strength of the physician lies, be he a quack, a homeopath or an allopath. He supplies the perennial demand for comfort, the craving for sympathy that every human sufferer feels.
  • Hypocrisy in anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised.
  • I have now understood that though it seems to men that they live by care for themselves, in truth it is love alone by which they live. He who has love, is in God, and God is in him, for God is love.
  • The government in which I believe is that which is based on mere moral sanction…the real law lives in the kindness of our hearts. If our hearts are empty, no law or political reform can fill them.
  • History, that is to say, the unconscious, universal life of humanity, in the aggregate, every moment profits by the life of kings for itself, as an instrument for the accomplishment of its own ends.
  • I ask one thing only: I ask for the right to hope, to suffer as I do. But if even that cannot be, command me to disappear, and I disappear. You shall not see me if my presence is distasteful to you.
  • Anna spoke not only naturally and intelligently, but intelligently and casually, without attaching any value to her own thoughts, yet giving great value to the thoughts of the one she was talking to.
  • In spite the mountains of books written about art, no precise definition of art has been constructed. And the reason for this is that the conception of art has been based on the conception of beauty.
  • People of limited intelligence are fond of talking about “these days,” imagining that they have discovered and appraised the peculiarities of “these days” and that human nature changes with the times.
  • Darkness had fallen upon everything for him; but just because of this darkness he felt that the one guiding clue in the darkness was his work, and he clutched it and clung to it with all his strength.
  • A new conception of life cannot be imposed on men; it can only be freely assimilated. And it can only be freely assimilated in two ways: one spiritual and internal, the other experimental and external.
  • Today, nobody sees, or wishes to see, that in our time the enslavement of the majority of men is based on money taxes, levied on land and otherwise, which are collected by government from the subjects.
  • And yet, now that years have passed, I recall it and wonder that it could distress me so much. It will be the same thing, too, with this trouble. Time will go by and I shall not mind about this either.
  • I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means – except by getting off his back.
  • I have discovered nothing. I have only found out what I knew. I understand the force that in the past gave me life, and now too gives me life. I have been set free from falsity, I have found the Master.
  • By patriotism is meant, not only spontaneous, instinctive love for one’s own nation, and preference for it above all other nations, but also the belief that such love and preference are good and useful.
  • What doubt can you have of the Creator when you behold His creation?… Who has decked the heavenly firmament with its stars? Who has clothed the earth in its beauty? How could it be without the creator?
  • Only greatly insolent people establish a religious law which is to be taken for granted by others, which should be accepted by everyone on faith, without any discussion or doubts. Why must people do this?
  • Pierre was right when he said that one must believe in the possibility of happiness in order to be happy, and I now believe in it. Let the dead bury the dead, but while I’m alive, I must live and be happy.
  • You’ve said nothing, of course, and I ask nothing,” he was saying; “but you know that friendship’s not what I want: that there’s only one happiness in life for me, that word that you dislike so…yes, love!
  • Power is the relation of a given person to other persons, in which the more this person expresses opinions, theories and justifications of the collective action the less is his participation in that action.
  • If you no longer believe in the God in whom you believed in before, this comes from the fact that there was something wrong with your belief, and you must strive to understand better that which you call God.
  • In order to get the power and retain it, it is necessary to love power; but love of power is not connected with goodness, but with qualities which are the opposite of goodness, such as pride, cunning, cruelty.
  • The idea shared by many that life is a vale of tears is just as false as the idea shared by the great majority, the idea to which youth and health and riches incline you, that life is a place of entertainment.
  • The subject of history is the life of peoples and of humanity. To catch and pin down in words–that is, to describe directly the life, not only of humanity, but even of a single people, appears to be impossible.
  • There is nothing more harmful to you than improving only your material, animal side of life. There is nothing more beneficial, both for you and for others, than activity directed to the improvement of your soul.
  • He could not be mistaken. There were no other eyes like those in the world. There was only one creature in the world who could concentrate for him all the brightness and meaning of life. It was she. It was Kitty.
  • I feel not only that I cannot disappear, as nothing disappears in the world, but that I will always be and have always been. I feel that, besides me, above me, spirits live, and that in this world there is truth.
  • The essence of all slavery consists in taking the product of another’s labor by force. It is immaterial whether this force be founded upon ownership of the slave or ownership of the money that he must get to live.
  • In former times the chief method of justifying the use of violence and thereby infringing the law of love was by claiming a divine right for the rulers: the Tsars, Sultans, Rajahs, Shahs and other heads of states.
  • If religion is the establishing of a relationship between man and the universe, then morality is the explanation of those activities that automatically result when a person maintains a relationship to the universe.
  • It may be suggested by some books that it is not a sin to kill an animal, but it is written in our own hearts – more clearly than in any book – that we should take pity on animals in the same way as we do on humans.
  • The majority of men do not think in order to know the truth, but in order to assure themselves that the life which they lead, and which is agreeable and habitual to them, is the one which coincides with the truth.
  • At moments of departure and a change of life, people capable of reflecting on their actions usually get into a serious state of mind. At these moments they usually take stock of the past and make plans for the future.
  • but my life now, my whole life apart from anything that can happen to me, every minute of it is no more meaningless, as it was before, but it has the positive meaning of goodness, which I have the power to put into it.
  • The improvement of life was only accomplished to the extent to which it was based on a change of consciousness, that is, to the extent to which the law of violence was replaced in men’s consciousness by the law of love.
  • The higher a man stands on the social ladder, the greater the number of people he is connected with, the more power he has over other people, the more obvious is the predestination and inevitability of his every action.
  • Love alone is the only reasonable activity or pursuit of humankind….Fo r Love not only annihilates our fear of meaninglessness but empowers us to seek the happiness of others. And this indeed is our greatest happiness.
  • Why am I going?” he repeated, looking straight into her eyes. “You know that I am going in order to be where you are,” said he. “I cannot do otherwise.” “Not a word, not a movement of yours will I ever forget, nor can I.
  • Whatever question arose, a swarm of these drones, without having finished their buzzing on a previous theme, flew over to the new one and by their hum drowned and obscured the voices of those who were disputing honestly.
  • The idea of beauty is the fundamental idea of everything. In the world we see only distortions of the fundamental idea, but art, by imagination, may lift itself to the height of this idea. Art is therefore akin to creation.
  • If you do not know your place in the world and the meaning of your life, you should know there is something to blame; and it is not the social system, or your intellect, but the way in which you have directed your intellect.
  • No one has yet added up all the heavy, stress-filled workdays as well as the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lives that are wasted to produce the world’s amusements. It is for this reason that “amusements” are not so amusing.
  • When the suffering of another creature causes you to feel pain, do not submit to the initial desire to flee from the suffering one, but on the contrary, come closer, as close as you can to her who suffers, and try to help her.
  • When you understand that you will die to-morrow, if not to-day, and nothing will be left, then everything is so unimportant!… So one goes on living, amusing oneself with hunting, with work – anything so as not think of death
  • The kinder and more intelligent a person is, the more kindness he can find in other people. Kindness enriches our life; with kindness mysterious things become clear, difficult things become easy and dull things become cheerful.
  • Pierre looked into the sky, into the depths of the retreating, twinkling stars. “And all this is mine, and all this is in me, and all this is me!” thought Pierre. “And all this they’ve caught and put in a shed and boarded it up!
  • If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.
  • The example of a syllogism that he had studied in Kiesewetter’s logic: Caius is a man, men are mortal, therefore Caius is mortal, had throughout his whole life seemed to him right only in relation to Caius, but not to him at all.
  • Genuine religion is not about speculating about God or the soul or about what happened in the past or will happen in the future; it cares only about one thing finding out exactly what should or should not be done in this lifetime.
  • One must do one of two tings: either admit that the existing order of society is just, and then stick up for one’s rights in it;or acknowledge that you are enjoying unjust privileges, as i do, and then enjoy them and be satisfied.
  • But I’m glad you’ll see me as I am. Above all, I wouldn’t want people to think that I want to prove anything. I don’t want to prove anything, I just want to live; to cause no evil to anyone but myself. I have that right, haven’t I?
  • Even if the absence of government really did mean anarchy in a negative, disorderly sense – which is far from being the case – even then, no anarchical disorder could be worse than the position to which government has led humanity.
  • If once we admit, be it for a single hour or in a single instance, that there can be anything more important than compassion for a fellow human being, then there is no crime against man that we cannot commit with an easy conscience.
  • The life of our class, of the wealthy and the learned, was not only repulsive to me but had lost all meaning. The sum of our action and thinking, of our science and art, all of it struck me as the overindulgences of a spoiled child.
  • If there was a reason why he preferred the liberal tendency to the conservative one (also held to by many of his circle), it was not because he found the liberal tendency more sensible, but it more closely suited his manner of life.
  • If there existed no external means for dimming their consciences, one-half of the men would at once shoot themselves, because to live contrary to one’s reason is a most intolerable state, and all men of our time are in such a state.
  • If it were not so frightening it would be amusing to observe the pride and complacency with which we, like children, take apart the watch, pull out the spring and make a toy of it, and are then surprised when the watch stops working.
  • Do not resist the evil-doer and take no part in doing so, either in the violent deeds of the administration, in the law courts, the collection of taxes, or above all in soldiering, and no one in the world will be able to enslave you.
  • If you see that some aspect of your society is bad, and you want to improve it, there is only one way to do so: you have to improve people. And in order to improve people, you begin with only ONE thing: you can become better yourself.
  • It boils down to this: we should have done with humbug, and let war be war, and not a game … If there were none of this magnanimity business in warfare, we should never go to war, except for something worth facing certain death for.
  • Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings, and also experience them.
  • These joys were so trifling as to be as imperceptible as grains of gold among the sand, and in moments of depression she saw nothing but the sand; yet there were brighter moments when she felt nothing but joy, saw nothing but the gold.
  • It is within my power either to serve God or not to serve Him. Serving Him, I add to my own good and the good of the whole world. Not serving Him, I forfeit my own good and deprive the world of that good, which was in my power to create.
  • We live in this world like a child who enters a room where a clever person is speaking. The child did not hear the beginning of the speech, and he leaves before the end; and there are certain things which he hears but does not understand
  • True science investigates and brings to human perception such truths and such knowledge as the people of a given time and society consider most important. Art transmits these truths from the region of perception to the region of emotion.
  • Well, my theory is this: war is such a terrible, such an atrocious, thing that no man, at least no Christian man, has the right to assume the responsibility of beginning it; but it belongs to government alone, when it becomes inevitable.
  • It is a harmful feeling, because it disturbs advantageous and joyous, peaceful relations with other peoples, and above all produces that governmental organization under which power may fall, and does fall, into the, hands of the worst men.
  • Stepan Arkadyevitch had not chosen his political opinions or his views; these political opinions and views had come to him of themselves, just as he did not choose the shapes of his hat and coat, but simply took those that were being worn.
  • The religious superstition is encouraged by means of the institution of churches, processions, monuments, festivities….The so-called clergy stupefy the masses….They befog the people and keep them in an eternal condition of stupefaction.
  • A monkey was carrying two handfuls of peas. One little pea dropped out. He tried to pick it up, and split twenty. He tried to pick up the twenty, and split them all. Then he lost his temper, scattered the peas in all directions and ran away
  • If the thought ever comes to you that everything that you have thought about God is mistaken and that there is no God, do not be dismayed. It happens to many people. But do not think that the source of your unbelief is that there is no God.
  • People involve themselves in countless activities which they consider to be important, but they forget about one activity which is more important and necessary than any other, and which includes all other things: the improvement of their soul
  • Smiling with pleasure, they went through their memories, not sad, old people’s memories, but poetic, youthful ones, those impressions from the very distant past where dream merges with reality, and they laughed softly, rejoicing at something.
  • And the light by which she had read the book filled with troubles, falsehoods, sorrow, and evil, flared up more brightly than ever before, lighted up for her all that had been in darkness, flickered, began to grow dim, and was quenched forever.
  • The difference between real material poison and intellectual poison is that most material poison is disgusting to the taste, but intellectual poison, which takes the form of cheap newspapers or bad books, can unfortunately sometimes be attractive.
  • I do value my work awfully; but in reality only consider this: all this world of ours is nothing but a speck of mildew, which has grown up on a tiny planet. And for us to suppose we can have something great – ideas, work – it’s all dust and ashes.
  • The Christian churches and Christianity have nothing in common save in name: they are utterly hostile opposites. The churches are arrogance, violence, usurpation, rigidity, death; Christianity is humility, penitence, submissiveness, progress, life.
  • Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking.
  • One can often hear from the young people:” I do not want to live according to others` mind. I can think of it myself. ” Why should one think of something, when it is already thought about. Take it and go farther, this is the strength of the mankind.
  • And whatever people might say about the time having come when young people must arrange their future for themselves, she could not believe it any more than she could believe that loaded pistols could ever be the best toys for five-year-old children.
  • To abolish war it is necessary to abolish patriotism, and to abolish patriotism it is necessary first to understand that it is an evil. Tell people that patriotism is bad and most will reply, ‘Yes, bad patriotism is bad, but mine is good patriotism.’
  • Muhammad has always been standing higher than the Christianity. He does not consider god as a human being and never makes himself equal to God. Muslims worship nothing except God and Muhammad is his Messenger. There is no any mystery and secret in it.
  • The Lord had given them the day and the Lord had given them the strength. And the day and the strength had been dedicated to labor, and the labor was its reward. Who was the labor for? What would be its fruits? These were irrelevant and idle questions.
  • He soon felt that the fulfillment of his desires gave him only one grain of the mountain of happiness he had expected. This fulfillment showed him the eternal error men make in imagining that their happiness depends on the realization of their desires.
  • War is not courtesy but the most horrible thing in life; and we ought to understand that, and not play at war. We ought to accept this terrible necessity sternly and seriously. It all lies in that: get rid of falsehood and let war be war and not a game.
  • I believe that order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure human sympathy is more valuable than ideology.
  • To destroy governmental violence, only one thing is needed: It is that people should understand that the feeling of patriotism, which alone supports that instrument of violence, is a rude, harmful, disgraceful, and bad feeling, and, above all, is immoral.

 

  • The time is fast approaching when to call a man a patriot will be the deepest insult you can offer him. Patriotism now means advocating plunder in the interest of the privileged classes of the particular State system into which we have happened to be born.
  • It would, therefore, seem obvious that patriotism as a feeling is bad and harmful, and as a doctrine is stupid. For it is clear that if each people and each State considers itself the best of peoples and States, they all live in a gross and harmful delusion.
  • I’ll tell you truly: I value my thought and work terribly, but in essence – think about it – this whole world of ours is just a bit of mildew that grew over a tiny planet. And we think we can have something great – thoughts, deeds! They’re all grains of sand
  • I began to realize that the most profound wisdom of man was rooted in the answers given by faith and that I did not have the right to deny them on the grounds of reason; above all, I realized that these answers alone can form a reply to the question of life.
  • All men’s instincts, all their impulses in life, are efforts to increase their freedom. Wealth and poverty, health and disease, culture and ignorance, labor and leisure, repletion and hunger, virtue and vice, are all terms for greater or less degree of freedom.
  • If you asked someone, ‘Can you play the violin?’ and he says, ‘I don’t know, I have not tried, perhaps I can,’ you laugh at him. Whereas about writing, people always say: ‘I don’t know, I have not tried,’ as though one had only to try and one would become a writer.
  • I asked: ‘What is the meaning of my life, beyond time, cause, and space?’ And I replied to quite another question: ‘What is the meaning of my life within time, cause, and space?’ With the result that, after long efforts of thought, the answer I reached was: ‘None’.
  • Through the influence of real art, aided by science, guided by religion… peaceful co-operation of man is now obtained by external means – by law courts, police, charitable institutions, factory inspections… It should be obtained by man’s free and joyous activity.
  • He felt like a man who, after straining his eyes to peer into the remote distance, finds what he was seeking at his very feet. All his life he had been looking over the heads of those around him, while he had only to look before him without straining his eyes. p 1320
  • If he be really and seriously seeking to live a good life, the first thing from which he will abstain will always be the use of animal food, because …its use is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act which is contrary to the moral feeling – killing.
  • To evoke in oneself a feeling one has once experienced, and having evoked it in oneself, then by means of movements, lines, colors, sounds, or forms expressed through words, so to convey this so that others may experience the same feeling – this is the activity of art.
  • There are two Gods, there is the God that people generally believe in – a God who has to serve them. This God does not exist. But the God whom people forget – the God whom we all have to serve – exists, and is the prime cause of our existence and of all that we perceive.
  • The law of violence is not a law, but a simple fact which can only be a law when it does not meet with protest and opposition. It is like the cold, darkness and weight, which people had to put up with until recently when warmth, illumination and leverage were discovered.
  • Himmlisch ist’s wenn ich bezwungen Meine irdische Begier; Aber doch wenn’s nich gelungen Hatt’ ich auch recht huebsch Plaisir! Loosely translated: It is heavenly, when I overcome My earthly desires But nevertheless, when I’m not successful, It can also be quite pleasurable.
  • You’re not going to be different … you’re going to be the same as you’ve always been; with doubts, everlasting dissatisfaction with yourself, vain efforts to amend, and falls, and everlasting expectation, of a happiness which you won’t get, and which isn’t possible for you.
  • But if Christianity really gives peace, and we really want peace, patriotism is a survival from barbarous times, which must not only not be evoked and educated, as we now do, but which must be eradicated by all means, by means of preaching, persuasion, contempt, and ridicule.
  • Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.
  • All the girls in the world were divided into two classes: one class included all the girls in the world except her, and they had all the usual human feelings and were very ordinary girls; while the other class -herself alone- had no weaknesses and was superior to all humanity.
  • The Brahmins say that in their books there are many predictions of times in which it will rain. But press those books as strongly as you can, you can not get out of them a drop of water. So you can not get out of all the books that contain the best precepts the smallest good deed.
  • If we would only testify to the truth as we see it, it would turn out that there are hundreds, thousands, even millions of other people just as we are, who see the truth as we do…and are only waiting, again as we are, for someone to proclaim it. The Kingdom of God is within you.
  • Patriotism in its simplest, clearest and most indubitable signification is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason, conscience, and a slavish enthrallment to those in power.
  • Every one who has a heart and eyes sees that you, working men, are obliged to pass your lives in want and in hard labor, which is useless to you, while other men, who do not work, enjoy the fruits of your labor that you are the slaves of these men, and that this ought not to exist.
  • Too much polishing and you spoil things. There’s a limit to the expressibility of ideas. You have a new thought, an interesting one. Then, as you try to perfect it, it ceases to be new and interesting, and loses the freshness with which it first occurred to you. You’re spoiling it.
  • People understand the meaning of eating lies in the nourishment of the body only when they cease to consider that the object of that activity is pleasure. …People understand the meaning of art only when they cease to consider that the aim of that activity is beauty, i.e., pleasure.
  • Religions are the exponents of the highest comprehension of life… within a given age in a given society… a basis for evaluating human sentiments. If feelings bring people nearer to the religion’s ideal… they are good; if these estrange them from it, and oppose it, they are bad.
  • The error arises from the learned jurists deceiving themselves and others, by asserting that government is not what it really is, one set of men banded together to oppress another set of men , but, as shown by science, is the representation of the citizens in their collective capacity.
  • It is this law of love and its recognition as a rule of conduct in all our relations with friends, enemies and offenders which must inevitably bring about the complete transformation of the existing order of things, not only among Christian nations, but among all the peoples of the globe.
  • Every time I tried to express my most heartfelt desires to be morally good I met with contempt and ridicule; and as soon as I would give in to vile passions I was praised and encouraged. Ambition, love of power, self-interest, lechery, pride, anger, vengeance-all of it was highly esteemed.
  • A man can spend several hours sitting cross-legged in the same position if he knows that noting prevents him from changing it; but if he knows that he has to sit with his legs crossed like that, he will get cramps, his legs will twitch and strain towards where he would like to stretch them.
  • The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow- witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.
  • And Levin, a happy father and a man in perfect health, was several times so near suicide that he hid the cord, lest he be tempted to hang himself, and was afraid to go out with his gun, for fear of shooting himself. But Levin did not shoot himself, and did not hang himself; he went on living.
  • Just imagine that the purpose of life is happinesss only- then life becomes a cruel and senseless thing.You have to embrace what the wisdom of humanity,your intellect and your heart tell you: that the meaning of life is to serve the force that sent you into the world.Then life becomes a joy.
  • Death is more certain than the morrow, than night following day, than winter following summer. Why is it then that we prepare for the night and for the winter time, but do not prepare for death. We must prepare for death. But there is only one way to prepare for death – and that is to live well.
  • In order to correctly define art, it is necessary, first of all, to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure and consider it as one of the conditions of human life. …Reflecting on it in this way, we cannot fail to observe that art is one of the means of effective communication between people.
  • One may say with one’s lips: I believe that the world was created six thousand years ago or, I believe that Jesus flew away into the skies and is sitting on the right hand of the Father or, God is One, and also Three; but no one can believe it, because the words have no sense.
  • The more mental effort he made the clearer he saw that it was undoubtedly so: that he had really forgotten and overlooked one little circumstance in life – that Death would come and end everything, so that it was useless to begin anything, and that there was no help for it, Yes it was terrible but true
  • A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor, such is my idea of happiness.
  • When Levin thought what he was and what he was living for, he could find no answer to the questions and was reduced to despair; but when he left off questioning himself about it, it seemed as though he knew both what he was and what he was living for, acting and living resolutely and without hesitation.
  • If I know the way home and am walking along it drunkenly, is it any less the right way because I am staggering from side to side! If it is not the right way, then show me another way; but if I stagger and lose the way, you must help me, you must keep me on the true path, just as I am ready to support you.
  • School is established, not in order that it should be convenient for the children to study, but that teachers should be able to teach in comfort. The children’s conversations, motion, merriment are not convenient for the teacher, and so in the schools, which are built on the plan of prisons, are prohibited.
  • Life is everything. Life is God. Everything shifts and moves, and this movement is God. And while there is life, there is delight in the self-awareness of the divinity. To love life is to love God. The hardest and most blissful thing is to love this life in one’s suffering, in the guiltlessness of suffering.
  • It is horrible! It is not the suffering and the death of the animals that is horrible, but the fact that the man without any need for so doing crushes his lofty feeling of sympathy and mercy for living creatures and does violence to himself that he may be cruel. The first element of moral life is abstinence.
  • In vain do science and philosophy pose as the arbiters of the human mind, of which they are in fact only the servants. Religion has provided a conception of life, and science travels in the beaten path. Religion reveals the meaning of life, and science only applies this meaning to the course of circumstances.
  • In our age the common religious perception of men is the consciousness of the brotherhood of man – we know that the well-being of man lies in the union with his fellow men. True science should indicate the various methods of applying this consciousness to life. Art should transform this perception into feeling.
  • Yes, there is something in me hateful, repulsive,” thought Ljewin, as he came away from the Schtscherbazkijs’, and walked in the direction of his brother’s lodgings. “And I don’t get on with other people. Pride, they say. No, I have no pride. If I had any pride, I should not have put myself in such a position”.
  • If I had any doubts at all about the justice of my dislike for Shakespeare, that doubt vanished completely. What a crude, immoral,vulgar, and senseless work Hamlet is. The whole thing is based on pagan vengeance; the only aim is to gather together as many effects as possible; there is no rhyme or reason about it.
  • The role of the disappointed lover of a maiden or of any single woman might be ridiculous; but the role of a man who was pursuing a married woman, and who made it the purpose of his life at all cost to draw her into adultery, was one which had in it something beautiful and dignified and could never be ridiculous.
  • There can be only one permanent revolution – a moral one; the regeneration of the inner man. How is this revolution to take place? Nobody knows how it will take place in humanity, but every man feels it clearly in himself. And yet in our world everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself.
  • True art and true science possess two unmistakable marks: the first, an inward mark, which is this, that the servitor of art and science will fulfil his vocation, not for profit but with self- sacrifice; and the second, an external sign, his productions will be intelligible to all the people whose welfare he has in view.
  • At that instant he knew that all his doubts, even the impossibility of believing with his reason, of which he was aware in himself, did not in the least hinder his turning to God. All of that now floated out of his soul like dust. To whom was he to turn if not to Him in whose hands he felt himself, his soul, and his love?
  • Tell people that war is an evil, and they will laugh; for who does not know it? Tell them that patriotism is an evil, and most of them will agree, but with a reservation. “Yes,” they will say, “wrong patriotism is an evil; but there is another kind, the kind we hold.” But just what this good patriotism is, no one explains.
  • But Christ could certainly not have established the Church. That is, the institution we now call by that name, for nothing resembling our present conception of the Church-with its sacraments, its hierarchy, and especially its claim to infallibility-is to be found in Christ’s words or in the conception of the men of his time.
  • Though it is possible to utter words only with the intention to fulfill the will of God, it is very difficult not to think about the impression which they will produce on men and not to form them accordingly. But deeds you can do quite unknown to men, only for God. And such deeds are the greatest joy that a man can experience.
  • Patriotism is “a very definite feeling of preference for one’s own people or State above all other peoples and States, and a consequent wish to get for that people or State the greatest advantages and power that can be got – things which are obtainable only at the expense of the advantages and power of other peoples or States.”
  • It seldom happens that a man changes his life through his habitual reasoning. No matter how fully he may sense the new plans and aims revealed to him by reason, he continues to plod along in old paths until his life becomes frustrating and unbearable-he finally makes the change only when his usual life can no longer be tolerated.
  • People look like rivers very much: water is everywhere the same, but the rivers are narrow, fast, wide, pure, cold, muddy and warm. The people are the same. They have the rudiment of every human habit in them and they behave according to them. Sometimes they even do not look like themselves, but they still stay whatever they are.
  • The chief cause of unhappiness in married life is that people think that marriage is sex attraction, which takes the form of promises and hopes and happiness – a view supported by public opinion and by literature. But marriage cannot cause happiness. Instead, it is always torture, which man has to pay for satisfying his sex urge.
  • Morning or night, Friday or Sunday, made no difference, everything was the same: the gnawing, excruciating, incessant pain; that awareness of life irrevocably passing but not yet gone; that dreadful, loathsome death, the only reality, relentlessly closing in on him; and that same endless lie. What did days, weeks, or hours matter?
  • All the stories and descriptions of that time without exception peak only of the patriotism, self-sacrifice, despair, grief, and heroism of the Russians. But in reality it was not like that…The majority of the people paid no attention to the general course of events but were influenced only by their immediate personal interests.
  • She was in that highly-wrought state when the reasoning powers act with great rapidity: the state a man is in before a battle or a struggle, in danger, and at the decisive moments of life – those moments when a man shows once and for all what he is worth, that his past was not lived in vain but was a preparation for these moments.
  • The feeling of patriotism – It is an immoral feeling because, instead of confessing himself a son of God . . . or even a free man guided by his own reason, each man under the influence of patriotism confesses himself the son of his fatherland and the slave of his government, and commits actions contrary to his reason and conscience.
  • As we live through thousands of dreams in our present life, so is our present life only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other more real life and then return after death. Our life is but one of the dreams of that more real life, and so it is endlessly, until the very last one, the very real the life of God.
  • [D]iscipline consists in this, that the men who undergo the instruction and have followed it for a certain time are completely deprived of everything which is precious to a man-of the chief human property, rational freedom-and become submissive, machine-like implements of murder in the hands of their organized hierarchic authorities.
  • Here’s my advice to you: don’t marry until you can tell yourself that you’ve done all you could, and until you’ve stopped loving the women you’ve chosen, until you see her clearly, otherwise you’ll be cruelly and irremediably mistaken. Marry when you’re old and good for nothing…Otherwise all that’s good and lofty in you will be lost.
  • In historic events, the so-called great men are labels giving names to events, and like labels they have but the smallest connection with the event itself. Every act of theirs, which appears to them an act of their own will, is in an historical sense involuntary and is related to the whole course of history and predestined from eternity.
  • In spite of death, he felt the need of life and love. He felt that love saved him from despair, and that this love, under the menace of despair, had become still stronger and purer. The one mystery of death, still unsolved, had scarcely passed before his eyes, when another mystery had arisen, as insoluble, urging him to love and to life.
  • It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness. A handsome woman talks nonsense, you listen and hear not nonsense but cleverness. She says and does horrid things, and you see only charm. And if a handsome woman does not say stupid or horrid things, you at once persuade yourself that she is wonderfully clever and moral.
  • It seems that it is impossible to live without discovering the purpose of your life. And the first thing which a person should do is to understand the meaning of life. But the majority of people who consider themselves to be educated are proud that they have reached such great height that they cease to care about the meaning of existence.
  • Nowadays, as before, the public declaration and confession of Orthodoxy is usually encountered among dull-witted, cruel and immoral people who tend to consider themselves very important. Whereas intelligence, honesty, straightforwardness, good-naturedness and morality are qualities usually found among people who claim to be non-believers.
  • He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began.What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness! A beautiful woman utters absurdities: we listen, and we hear not the absurdities but wise thoughts. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.
  • In our day the feeling of patriotism is an unnatural, irrational, and harmful feeling, and a cause of a great part of the ills from which mankind is suffering, and that, consequently, this feeling – should not be cultivated, as is now being done, but should, on the contrary, be suppressed and eradicated by all means available to rational men.
  • How interesting it would be to write the story of the experiences in this life of a man who killed himself in his previous life; how he stumbles against the very demands which had offered themselves before, until he arrives at the realization that he must fulfill those demands. The deeds of the preceding life give direction to the present life.
  • The whole trouble lies in that people think that there are conditions excluding the necessity of love in their intercourse with man, but such conditions do not exist. Things may be treated without love; one may chop wood, make bricks, forge iron without love, but one can no more deal with people without love than one can handle bees without care.
  • She put both her hands on his shoulders and gazed at him long, with a deep look of ecstasy and yet searchingly. She scrutinized his face to make up for the time she had not seen him. She compared, as she did at every interview with him, the image her fancy painted of him (incomparably finer than, and impossible in actual existence) with his real self.
  • What is the cause of historical events? Power. What is power? Power is the sum total of wills transferred to one person. On what condition are the willso fo the masses transferred to one person? On condition that the person express the will of the whole people. That is, power is power. That is, power is a word the meaning of which we do not understand.
  • Slavery results from laws, laws are made by governments, and, therefore people can only be freed from slavery by the abolition of governments…. And it is time for people to understand that governments not only are not necessary, but are harmful and most highly immoral institutions, in which a self-respecting, honest man cannot and must not take part.
  • Understand then all of you, especially the young, that to want to impose an imaginary state of government on others by violence is not only a vulgar superstition, but even a criminal work. Understand that this work, far from assuring the well-being of humanity is only a lie, a more or less unconscious hypocrisy, camouflaging the lowest passions we posses.
  • If a man, before he passed from one stage to another, could know his future life in full detail, he would have nothing to live for. It is the same with the life of humanity. If it had a programme of the life which awaited it before entering a new stage, it would be the surest sign that it was not living, nor advancing, but simply rotating in the same place.
  • As soon as men live entirely in accord with the law of love natural to their hearts and now revealed to them, which excludes all resistance by violence, and therefore hold aloof from all participation in violence – as soon as this happens, not only will hundreds be unable to enslave millions, but not even millions will be able to enslave a single individual.
  • There are people who, on meeting a successful rival, no matter in what, are at once disposed to turn their backs on everything good in him, and to see only what is bad. There are people, on the other hand, who desire above all to find in that lucky rival the qualities by which he has outstripped them, and seek with a throbbing ache at heart only what is good.
  • So long as people do not consider all men as their brothers and do not consider human life as the most sacred thing, which rather than destroy they must consider it their first and foremost duty to support; that is so long as people do not behave towards one another in a religious manner, they will always ruin one another’s lives for the sake of personal gain.
  • If a man’s aspirations towards a righteous life are serious.. .if he earnestly and sincerely seeks a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from animal food, because, not to mention the excitement of the passions produced by such food, it is plainly immoral, as it requires an act contrary to moral feeling, i. e., killing – and is called forth only by greed.
  • A good player who loses at chess is genuinely convinced hat he has lost because of a mistake, and he looks for this mistake in the beginning of his game, but forgets that there were also mistakes at ever step in the course of the game, that none of his moves was perfect. The mistake he pays attention to is conspicuous only because his opponent took advantage of it.
  • Each man lives for himself, uses his freedom to achieve his personal goals, and feels with his whole being that right now he can or cannot do such-and-such an action; but as soon as he does it, this action, committed at a certain moment in time, becomes irreversible, and makes itself the property of history, in which is has not a free but a predestined significance.
  • All were happy – plants, birds, insects and children. But grown-up people – adult men and women – never left off cheating and tormenting themselves and one another. It was not this spring morning which they considered sacred and important, not the beauty of God’s world, given to all creatures to enjoy – a beauty which inclines the heart to peace, to harmony and to love.
  • Flesh eating is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act which is contrary to moral feeling: By killing, man suppresses in himself, unnecessarily, the highest spiritual capacity, that of sympathy and pity towards living creatures like himself and by violating his own feelings becomes cruel.” “As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.
  • At school he had done things which had formerly seemed to him very horrid and made him feel disgusted with himself when he did them; but when later on he saw that such actions were done by people of good position and that they did not regard them as wrong, he was able not exactly to regard them as right, but to forget about them entirely or not be at all troubled at remembering them.
  • Patriotism in its simplest, clearest, and most indubitable meaning is nothing but an instrument for the attainment of the government’s ambitious and mercenary aims, and a renunciation of human dignity, common sense, and conscience by the governed, and a slavish submission to those who hold power. That is what is really preached wherever patriotism is championed. Patriotism is slavery.
  • Loving with human love, one may pass from love to hatred; but divine love cannot change. Nothing, not even death, can shatter it. It is all the very nature of the soul. Love is life. All, all that I understand, I understand only because of love. All is bound up in love alone. Love is God and dying means for me a particle of love, to go back to the universal and eternal source of love.
  • I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.
  • There are two methods of human activity – and according to which one of these two kinds of activity people mainly follow, are there two kinds of people: One use their reason to learn what is good and what is bad and they act according to this knowledge; the other act as they want to and then they use their reason to prove that that which they did was good and that which they didn’t do was bad.
  • Don’t you know that you are all my life to me? …But peace I do not know, and can’t give to you. My whole being, my love…yes! I cannot think about you and about myself separately. You and I are one to me. And I do not see before us the possibility of peace either for me or for you. I see the possibility of despair, misfortune…or of happiness-what happiness!…Is it impossible?” Vronksy
  • In the evolution of knowledge-mistaken and unnecessary beliefs are forced out and supplanted by truer and more necessary knowledge. So too in the evolution of feelings, which takes place by means of art. Lower feelings-less kind and less needed for the good of humanity-are forced out and replaced by kinder feelings which better serve us individually and collectively. This is the purpose of art.
  • Memento mori – remember death! These are important words. If we kept in mind that we will soon inevitably die, our lives would be completely different. If a person knows that he will die in a half hour, he certainly will not bother doing trivial, stupid, or, especially, bad things during this half hour. Perhaps you have half a century before you die-what makes this any different from a half hour?
  • When it is impossible to stretch the very elastic threads of historical ratiocination any farther, when actions are clearly contrary to all that humanity calls right or even just, the historians produce a saving conception of ‘greatness.’ ‘Greatness,’ it seems, excludes the standards of right and wrong. For the ‘great’ man nothing is wrong, there is no atrocity for which a ‘great’ man can be blamed.
  • What is bad? What is good? What should one love, what hate? Why live, and what am I? What is lie,what is death? What power rules over everything?” he asked himself. And there was no answer to any of these questions except one, which was not logical and was not at all an answer to these questions. This answer was: “You will die–and everything will end. You will die and learn everything–or stop asking.
  • The goal of our life should not be to find joy in marriage, but to bring more love and truth into the world. We marry to assist each other in this task. The most selfish and hateful life of all is that of two beings who unite in order to enjoy life. The highest calling is that of the man who has dedicated his life to serving God and doing good, and who unites with a woman in order to further that purpose.
  • A free thinker used to be a man who had been educated on ideas of religion, law, morality, and had arrived at free thought by virtue of his own struggle and toil; but now a new type of born freethinker has been appearing, who’ve never even heard that there have been laws of morality and religion, and that there are authorities, but who simply grow up with negative ideas about everything, that is savages.
  • He felt all the torment of his and her position, all the difficulties they were surrounded by in consequence of their station in life, which exposed them to the eyes of the whole world, obliged them to hide their love, to lie and deceive, and again to lie and deceive, to scheme and constantly think about others while the passion that bound them was so strong that they both forgot everything but their love.
  • Nothing prevents our denying life by suicide. well then, kill yourself, and you won’t discuss. If life displeases you, kill yourself! You live, and cannot understand the meaning of life – then finish it, and do not fool about in life, saying and writing that you do not understand it. You have come into good company where people are contented and know what they are doing; if you find it dull and repulsive – go away!
  • He looked at her as a man looks at a faded flower he has gathered, with difficulty recognizing in it the beauty for which he picked and ruined it. And in spite of this he felt that then, when his love was stronger, he could, if he had greatly wished it, have torn that love out of his heart; but now when as at that moment it seemed to him he felt no love for her, he knew that what bound him to her could not be broken.
  • Remember that there is only one important time and it is Now. The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion. The most important person is always the person with whom you are, who is right before you, for who knows if you will have dealings with any other person in the future? The most important pursuit is making that person, the one standing at you side, happy, for that alone is the pursuit of life.
  • The vegetarian movement ought to fill with gladness the souls of those who have at heart the realization of God’s kingdom upon earth, not because vegetarianism itself is such an important step towards the realization of this kingdom (all real steps are equally important or unimportant), but because it serves as a criterion by which we know that the pursuit of moral perfection on the part of man is genuine and sincere.
  • Seas of blood have been shed for the sake of patriotism. One would expect the harm and irrationality of patriotism to be self-evident to everyone. But the surprising fact is that cultured and learned people not only do not notice the harm and stupidity of patriotism, they resist every unveiling of it with the greatest obstinacy and passion (with no rational grounds), and continue to praise it as beneficent and elevating.
  • But that had been grief–this was joy. Yet that grief and this joy were alike outside all the ordinary conditions of life; they were loopholes, as it were, in that ordinary life through which there came glimpses of something sublime. And in the contemplation of this sublime something the soul was exalted to inconceivable heights of which it had before had no conception, while reason lagged behind, unable to keep up with it.
  • I looked more widely around me, I studied the lives of the masses of humanity, and I saw that, not two or three, or ten, but hundreds, thousands, millions, had so understood the meaning of life that they were able both to live and to die. All these people were well acquainted with the meaning of life and death, quietly labored, endured privation and suffering, lived and died, and saw in all this, not a vain, but a good thing.
  • Every work of art causes the receiver to enter into a certain kind of relationship both with him who produced the art, and with all those who, simultaneously, previously, or subsequently, receive the same artistic impression. Art is a human activity- that one man consciously by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that others are touched by these feelings and also experience them.
  • The wrongfulness, the immorality of eating animal food has been recognized by all mankind during all the conscious life of humanity. Why, then have people generally not come to acknowledge this law? The answer is that the moral progress of humanity is always slow; but that the sign of true, not casual Progress, is in uninterruptedness and its continual acceleration. And one cannot doubt that vegetarianism has been progressing in this manner
  • In order to carry through any undertaking in family life, there must necessarily be either complete division between the husband and wife, or loving agreement. When the relations of a couple are vacillating and neither one thing nor the other, no sort of enterprise can be undertake. Many families remain for years in the same place, though both husband and wife are sick of it, simply because there is neither complete division nor agreement between them.
  • When a man sees a dying animal, horror comes over him: that which he himself is, his essence, is obviously being annihilated before his eyes–is ceasing to be. But when the dying one is a person, and a beloved person, then, besides a sense of horror at the annihilation of life, there is a feeling of severance and a spiritual wound which, like a physical wound, sometimes kills and sometimes heals, but always hurts and fears any external, irritating touch.
  • People continued regardless of all that leads man forward to try to unite the incompatibles:;: the virtue of love, and what is opposed to love, namely, the restraining of evil by violence. And such a teaching, despite its inner contradiction, was so firmly established that the very people who recognize love as a virtue accept as lawful at the same time an order of life based on violence and allowing men not merely to torture but even to kill one another.
  • The sobs and tears of joy he had not foreseen rose with such force within him that his whole body shook and for a long time prevented him from speaking. Falling on his knees by her bed. He held his wife’s hand to his lips and kissed it, and her hand responded to his kisses with weak movement of finger. Meanwhile, at the foot of the bed, in the midwife’s expert hands, like the flame of a lamp, flickered the life of a human being who had never existed before.
  • If people lacked the capacity to receive the thoughts of the men who preceded them and to pass on to others their own thoughts, men would be like wild beasts. And if men lacked this other capacity of being infected by art, people would be almost more savage still, and, above all, more separated from and more hostile to one another. Therefore the activity of art is a most important one, as important as the activity of speech itself and as generally diffused.
  • At the approach of danger two voices speak with equal force in the heart of man: one very reasonably tells the man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of avoiding it and the other, even more reasonable, says that it is too painful and harassing to think of the danger… better to turn aside from the painful subject till it has come, and to think of what is pleasant. In solitude a man generally yields to the first voice; in society to the second.
  • Only the truth and its expression can establish that new public opinion which will reform the ancient obsolete and pernicious order of life; and yet we not only do not express the truth we know, but often even distinctly give expression to what we ourselves regard as false. If only free men would not rely on that which has no power, and is always fettered upon external aids; but would trust in that which is always powerful and free the truth and its expression!
  • Why does an apple fall when it is ripe? Is it brought down by the force of gravity? Is it because its stalk withers? Because it is dried by the sun, because it grows too heavy, or because the boy standing under the tree wants to eat it? None of these is the cause…. Every action of theirs, that seems to them an act of their own freewill is in the historical sense not free at all but is bound up with the whole course of history and preordained from all eternity.
  • These loaves, pigeons, and two little boys seemed unearthly. It all happened at the same time: a little boy ran over to a pigeon, glancing over at Levin with a smile; the pigeon flapped its wings and fluttered, gleaming in the sunshine among the snowdust quivering in the air, while the smell of freshly baked bread was wafted out of a little window as the loaves were put out. All this together was so extraordinarily wonderful that Levin burst out laughing and crying for joy.
  • They say: sufferings are misfortunes,” said Pierre. ‘But if at once this minute, I was asked, would I remain what I was before I was taken prisoner, or go through it all again, I should say, for God’s sake let me rather be a prisoner and erat horseflesh again. We imagine that as soon as we are torn out of our habitual path all is over, but it is only the beginning of something new and good. As long as there is life, there is happiness. There is a great deal, a great deal before us.
  • To us, it is incomprehensible that millions of Christian men killed and tortured each other because Napoleon was ambitious or Alexander was firm, or because England’s policy was astute or the Duke of Oldenburg was wronged. We cannot grasp what connection such circumstances have the with the actual fact of slaughter and violence: why because the Duke was wronged, thousands of men from the other side of Europe killed and ruined the people of Smolensk and Moscow and were killed by them.
  • Several times I asked myself, “Can it be that I have overlooked something, that there is something which I have failed to understand? Is it not possible that this state of despair is common to everyone?” And I searched for an answer to my questions in every area of knowledge acquired by man. For a long time I carried on my painstaking search; I did not search casually, out of mere curiosity, but painfully, persistently, day and night, like a dying man seeking salvation. I found nothing.
  • What is now happening to the people of the East as of the West is like what happens to every individual when he passes from childhood to adolescence and from youth to manhood. He loses what had hitherto guided his life and lives without direction, not having found a new standard suitable to his age, and so he invents all sorts of occupations, cares, distractions, and stupefactions to divert his attention from the misery and senselessness of his life. Such a condition may last a long time.
  • The essence of any religion lies solely in the answer to the question: why do I exist, and what is my relationship to the infinite universe that surrounds me? It is impossible for there to be a person with no religion (i.e. without any kind of relationship to the world) as it is for there to be a person without a heart. He may not know that he has a religion, just as a person may not know that he has a heart, but it is no more possible for a person to exist without a religion than without a heart.
  • What are wanted …are not Constitutions and Revolutions, nor all sorts of Conferences and Congresses, nor the many ingenious devices for submarine navigation and aerial navigation, nor powerful explosives, nor all sorts of conveniences to add to the enjoyment of the rich, ruling classes… but one thing only is needful: the knowledge of the simple and clear truth …that for our life one law is valid – the law of love, which brings the highest happiness to every individual as well as to all mankind.
  • The workmen’s revolution, with the terrors of destruction and murder, not only threatens us, but we have already been living upon its verge during the last thirty years, and it is only by various cunning devices that we have been postponing the crisis. The hatred and contempt of the oppressed people are increasing, and the physical and moral strength of the richer classes are decreasing: the deceit which supports all this is wearing out, and the rich classes have nothing wherewith to comfort themselves.
  • These prin¬≠ciples laid down as in variable rules: that one must pay a card sharper, but need not pay a tailor; that one must never tell a lie to a man, but one may to a woman; that one must never cheat any one, but one may a husband; that one must never pardon an insult, but one may give one and so on. These principles were possibly not reasonable and not good, but they were of unfailing certainty, and so long as he adhered to them, Vronsky felt that his heart was at peace and he could hold his head up.
  • A wound in the soul, coming from the rending of the spiritual body, strange as it may seem, gradually closes like a physical wound. And once a deep wound heals over and the edges seem to have knit, a wound in the soul, like a physical wound, can be healed only by the force of life pushing up from inside. This was the way Natasha’s wound healed. She thought her life was over. But suddenly her love for her mother showed her that the essence of life – love – was still alive in her. Love awoke, and life awoke.

 

  • I understood, not with my intellect but with my whole being, that no theories of the rationality of existence or of progress could justify such an act; I realized that even if all the people in the world from the day of creation found this to be necessary according to whatever theory, I knew that it was not necessary and that it was wrong. Therefore, my judgments must be based-on what is right and necessary and not on what people say and do; I must judge not according to progress but according to my own heart.
  • The idea, shared by many, that life is a vale of tears, is just as false as the idea shared by the great majority, the idea to which youth and health and riches incline you, that life is a place of entertainment. Life is a place of service, and in that service one has to suffer a great deal that is hard to bear, but more often to experience a great deal of joy.  But that joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.
  • Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man’s emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing objects; and, above all, it is not pleasure; but it is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity.
  • But the older he grew and the more intimately he came to know his brother, the oftener the thought occurred to him that the power of working for the general welfare, a power of which he felt himself entirely destitute was not a virtue but rather a lack of something: not a lack of kindly honesty and noble desires and tastes, but a lack of the power of living, of what is called heart, the aspiration which makes a man choose one out of all the innumerable paths of life that present themselves, and desire that alone.
  • When an individual passes from one period of life to another a time comes when he cannot go on in senseless activity and excitement as before, but has to understand that although he has out-grown what before used to direct him, this does not mean that he must live without any reasonable guidance, but rather that he must formulate for himself an understanding of life corresponding to his age, and having elucidated it must be guided by it. And in the same way a similar time must come in the growth and development of humanity.
  • I have nothing to make me miserable,” she said, getting calmer; “but can you understand that everything has become hateful, loathsome, coarse to me, and I myself most of all? You can’t imagine what loathsome thoughts I have about everything.” “Why, whatever loathsome thoughts can you have?” asked Dolly, smiling. “The most utterly loathsome and coarse; I can’t tell you. It’s not unhappiness, or low spirits, but much worse. As though everything that was good in me was all hidden away, and nothing was left but the most loathsome.
  • Music makes me forget myself, my true condition, it carries me off into another state of being, one that isn’t my own: under the influence of music I have the illusion of feeling things I don’t really feel, of understanding things I don’t understand, being able to do things I’m not able to do… Can it really be allowable for anyone who feels like it to hypnotize another person, or many other persons, and then do what he likes with them? Particularly if the hypnotist is the first unscrupulous individual who happens to come along?
  • Where did I get it from? Was it by reason that I attained to the knowledge that I must love my neighbour and not throttle him? They told me so when I was a child, and I gladly believed it, because they told me what was already in my soul. But who discovered it? Not reason! Reason has discovered the struggle for existence and the law that I must throttle all those who hinder the satisfaction of my desires. That is the deduction reason makes. But the law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.
  • The best generals I have known were… stupid or absent-minded men. Not only does a good army commander not need any special qualities, on the contrary he needs the absence of the highest and best human attributes – love, poetry, tenderness, and philosophic inquiring doubt. He should be limited, firmly convinced that what he is doing is very important (otherwise he will not have sufficient patience), and only then will he be a brave leader. God forbid that he should be humane, should love, or pity, or think of what is just and unjust.
  • Slavery, you know, is nothing else than the unwilling labor of many. Therefore to get rid of slavery it is necessary that people should not wish to profit by the forced labor of others and should consider it a sin and a shame. But they go and abolish the external form of slavery and arrange so that one can no longer buy and sell slaves, and they imagine and assure themselves that slavery no longer exists, and do not see or wish to see that it does, because people still want and consider it good and right to exploit the labor of others.
  • Real art, like the wife of an affectionate husband, needs no ornaments. But counterfeit art, like a prostitute, must always be decked out. The cause of production of real art is the artist’s inner need to express a feeling that has accumulated…The cause of counterfeit art, as of prostitution, is gain. The consequence of true art is the introduction of a new feeling into the intercourse of life… The consequences of counterfeit art are the perversion of man, pleasure which never satisfies, and the weakening of man’s spiritual strength.
  • The main qualities that had earned him this universal respect in the service were, first, an extreme indulgence towards people, based on his awareness of his own shortcomings; second, a perfect liberalism, not the sort he read about in the newspapers, but the sort he had in his blood, which made him treat all people, whatever their rank or status, in a perfectly equal and identical way; and, third – most important – a perfect indifference to the business he was occupied with, owing to which he never got carried away and never made mistakes.
  • The Anarchists are right in everything; in the negation of the existing order, and in the assertion that, without authority, there could not be worse violence than that of authority under existing conditions. They are mistaken only in thinking that Anarchy can be instituted by a revolution. “To establish Anarchy.” “Anarchy will be instituted.” But it will be instituted only by there being more and more people who do not require protection from governmental power, and by there being more and more people who will be ashamed of applying this power.
  • At one time,’ Golenishchev continued, either not observing or not willing to observe that both Anna and Vronsky wanted to speak, ‘at one time a freethinker was a man who had been brought up in the conception of religion, law, and morality, who reached freethought only after conflict and difficulty. But now a new type of born freethinkers has appeared, who grow up without so much as hearing that there used to be laws of morality, or religion, that authorities existed. They grow up in ideas of negation in everything – in other words, utter savages.
  • Music makes me forget my real situation. It transports me into a state which is not my own. Under the influence of music I really seem to feel what I do not feel, to understand what I do not understand, to have powers which I cannot have. Music seems to me to act like yawning or laughter; I have no desire to sleep, but I yawn when I see others yawn; with no reason to laugh, I laugh when I hear others laugh. And music transports me immediately into the condition of soul in which he who wrote the music found himself at that time. ~The Kreutzer Sonata
  • The artist of the future will live the ordinary life of a human being, earning his living by some kind of labour. He will strive to give the fruit of that supreme spiritual force which passes through him to the greatest number of people, because this conveying of the feelings that have been born in him to the greatest number of people is his joy and his reward. The artist of the future will not even understand how it is possible for an artist, whose joy consists in the widest dissemination of his works, to give these works only in exchange for a certain payment.
  • Indeed, ask every man separately whether he thinks it laudable and worthy of a man of this age to hold a position from which he receives a salary disproportionate to his work; to take from the people–often in poverty–taxes to be spent on constructing cannon, torpedoes, and other instruments of butchery, so as to make war on people with whom we wish to be at peace, and who feel the same wish in regard to us; or to receive a salary for devoting one’s whole life to constructing these instruments of butchery, or to preparing oneself and others for the work of murder.
  • But it seems to me that a man cannot and ought not to say that he loves, he said. Why not? I asked. Because it will always be a lie. As though it were a strange sort of discovery that someone is in love! Just as if, as soon as he said that, something went snap-bang – he loves. Just as if, when he utters that word, something extraordinary is bound to happen, with signs and portents, and all the cannons firing at once. It seems to me, he went on, that people who solemnly utter those words, ‘I love you,’ either deceive themselves, or what’s still worse, deceive others.
  • War is like a game of chess … but with this little difference, that in chess you may think over each move as long as you please and are not limited for time, and with this difference too, that a knight is always stronger than a pawn, and two pawns are always stronger than one, while in war a battalion is sometimes stronger than a division and sometimes weaker than a company. The relative strength of bodies of troops can never be known to anyone…. Success never depends, and never will depend, on position, or equipment, or even on numbers, and least of all on position.
  • So you see,’ said Stepan Arkadyich, ‘you’re a very wholesome man. That is your virtue and your defect. You have a wholesome character, and you want all of life to be made up of wholesome phenomena, but that doesn’t happen. So you despise the activity of public service because you want things always to correspond to their aim, and that doesn’t happen. You also want the activity of the individual man always to have an aim, that love and family life always be one. And that doesn’t happen. All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life are made up of light and shade.
  • I’ll get angry in the same way with the coachman Ivan, argue in the same way, speak my mind inappropriately, there will be the same wall between my soul’s holy of holies and other people, even my wife, I’ll accuse her in the same way of my own fear and then regret it, I’ll fail in the same way to understand with my reason why I pray, and yet I will pray–but my life now, my whole life, regardless of all that may happen to me, every minute of it, is not only not meaningless, as it was before, but has the unquestionable meaning of the good which it is in my power to put into it!
  • But she did not take her eyes from the wheels of the second car. And exactly at the moment when the midpoint between the wheels drew level with her, she threw away the red bag, and drawing her head back into her shoulders, fell on her hands under the car, and with a light movement, as though she would rise immediately, dropped on her knees. And at the instant she was terror-stricken at what she was doing. ‘Where am I? What am I doing? What for?’ She tried to get up, to throw herself back; but something huge and merciless struck her on the head and dragged her down on her back.
  • Ivan Ilych saw that he was dying, and he was in continual despair. In the depth of his heart he knew he was dying, but not only was he not accustomed to the thought, he simply did not and could not grasp it. The syllogism he had learnt from Kiesewetter’s Logic: “Caius is a man, men are mortal, therefore Caius is mortal,” had always seemed to him correct as applied to Caius, but certainly not as applied to himself. That Caius – man in the abstract – was mortal, was perfectly correct, but he was not Caius, not an abstract man, but a creature quite, quite separate from all others.
  • A Russian should rejoice if Poland, the Baltic Provinces, Finland, Armenia, should be separated, freed from Russia; so with an Englishman in regard to Ireland, India and other possessions; and each should help to do this, because the greater the state, the more wrong and cruel is its patriotism, and the greater is the sum of suffering upon which its power is founded. Therefore, if we really wish to be what we profess to be, we must not only cease our present desire for the growth of the state, but we must desire its decrease, its weakening, and help this forward with all our might.
  • If patriotism is good, then Christianity, which gives peace, is an idle dream, and the sooner this teaching is eradicated, the better. But if Christianity really gives peace, and if we really want peace, then patriotism is a leftover from barbarous times, which must not only not be evoked and taught, as we now do, but which must be eradicated by all means of preaching, persuasion, contempt, and ridicule. If Christianity is the truth, and if we wish to live in peace, then we must not only have no sympathy for the power of our country, but must even rejoice in its weakening and contribute to it.’