A confession and other religious writings by Leo Tolstoy

By Leo Tolstoy

A range of non secular writings through nineteenth-century Russian author Leo Tolstoy, together with the identify choice that files his 1879 religious hindrance in which he made up our minds he had comprehensive not anything of lasting price in his lifetime; followed by way of an advent and explanatory notes.

summary: a variety of non secular writings via nineteenth-century Russian author Leo Tolstoy, together with the name choice that files his 1879 religious concern in which he made up our minds he had complete not anything of lasting worth in his lifetime; observed by way of an advent and explanatory notes

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In reality I was still confronted with the same insoluble problem of how to teach without knowing what I was teaching. In the higher circles of literary activity it was apparent to me that I could not teach without knowing what it was I taught, for I saw that everyone taught differently and that in our arguments we only concealed our own lack of knowledge from each other. But here with the peasant children I thought I could avoid this difficulty by allowing the children to study whatever they liked.

They are in exactly the same position as I am: they too must either live a lie, or face the terrible truth. What do they live for? Why do I love them and look after them, bring them up and watch over them? In order to reach the same state of despair that fills me, or in order to be dull-witted! If I love them I cannot conceal the truth from them. Each step taken in knowledge leads them to this truth. And the truth is death. ‘Art, poetry…’ For a long time, under the influence of success and praise from others, I had persuaded myself that this was a thing that could be done, despite the fact of approaching death which obliterates everything: myself, my works and the memory of both.

At the time I noticed none of this. Only occasionally, led more by instinct than reason, I rebelled against the superstition so prevalent in our age by which people shield themselves from their failure to understand life. Thus, during my stay in Paris, the sight of an execution revealed to me the precariousness of my superstition in progress. When I saw the heads being separated from the bodies and heard them thump, one after the next, into the box I understood, and not just with my intellect but with my whole being, that no theories of the rationality of existence and progress could justify this crime.

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