Leo Tolstoy.

The journal of Leo Tolstoi .. online

. (page 15 of 24)
Online LibraryLeo TolstoyThe journal of Leo Tolstoi .. → online text (page 15 of 24)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

victory over evil, i.e., in love. The question of
the origin of evil is just as absurd as the question
of the origin of the world. It is not " whence
comes evil? " that one must know, but " how to
conquer it ? How to apply love ? "



Jan. 2. Yasnaya Polyana.

The last time I wrote it was November 25,
which means a month and a week. I made en-
tries in Yasnaya Polyana, then I was in Moscow,
where I did not make one entry. At the end of
November I went to Pirogovo. I returned on the
first and since that time have not been quite well
the small of my back ached and still aches, and
lately I have had something like bilious fever. It
is the second day that I am better.

All this time I have been occupied exclusively
with Resurrection. 374 I have had some communi-
cations about the Dukhobors, 375 an innumerable
pile of letters. Kolechka Gay is with me, with
whom it is a rest to be. ... I am calm in the
fashion of an old man. And that is all.

There is quite a lot to write out. I am going
to write it out on the pages I skipped. Lately I
feel as if my interest in Resurrection has weakened,
and I joyously feel other, more important, inter-
ests, in the understanding of life and death.
Much seems clear.

Made an entry, the 2nd of January. To-day,
Feb. 21. Moscow.

More than six weeks that I have made no en-

The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1899

tries. Am all the time in Moscow. At first Res-
urrection went well, then I cooled off entirely. 376 I
wrote a letter to the non-commissioned officer 377
and to the Swedish papers. 378 For about three
days I have again taken up Resurrection. Am ad-

Students' strike. They are trying to drag me
in all the time. 379 I am counselling them to hold
themselves passively, but I do not feel like writing
letters to them.

... As to me my back is better. There is
living with us, an interesting and live Frenchman,
Sinet, the first religious Frenchman. 380 There
is very much that I ought to write out. Have
been in a very bad mood; now all right.
Feb 22. Moscow.

June 26. Yasnaya Polyana.

Four months that I have made no entries. I
will not say I have lived badly all this time. I
have worked and am working diligently on Resur-
rection. There is much that is good, there is that,
in the name of which I write. During these days
I have been gravely ill ; now well. . . .

Difficult relations because of the printing and
translating of Resurrection, 381 but most of the
time am calm.

Neglected correspondence. They continue
sending money for the famine-stricken, but I can


JUNE] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

do nothing else but send it to them through the
post. 382 Kolichka is with me helping me in the

I continue to write out from my note-book :

14) Nearing the place of destination, one
thinks more and more often of that place to which
one is nearing. Thus also while nearing death,
the change of destination.

15) Only always to remember that there is no
other meaning in life, no other way of finding the
joy of life, but through fulfilling His will. And
how peacefully and joyously one could live !

1 6) In time of illness, to fulfil His will by pre-
paring oneself for the going over into another

17) It seems to us that the real labour is the
labour on something external: to make, to collect
something; property, houses, cattle, fruit; but to
labour on one's own soul that is just phantasy.
And yet every other labour except on one's own
soul, the enlarging of the habits of good, every
other labour is a bagatelle.

1 8) They do not obey God, but adore Him.
It is better not to adore, but to obey.

19) No matter what the work you are doing, be
always ready to drop it. And plan it, so as to be
able to leave it.

20) The machine ... is a terrible machine.


The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1899

If we would have clearly understood its
danger, we would never have permitted it to be

2 1 ) It seems strange and immoral that a writer,
an artist, seeing the suffering of people, sympa-
thises less than he observes, in order to reproduce
this suffering. But that is not immoral. The
suffering of one personality is an insignificant thing
in comparison with that spiritual effect, if it is a
good one, which a work of art will produce.

22) Humanity, it is an enormous animal who
seeks and cannot find what it needs. Very slowly,
sensations call forth emotions, and emotions are
transmitted to the brain and the brain calls forth
acts. The activity of the liberals, Socialists, rev-
olutionaries, are attempts to galvanise, to compel
the animal to" act by arousing its motor nerves and
muscles. But there is one organ which does every-
thing when it is not impaired; in the animal it is
the brain, in the people, religion.

23) I am depressed and I ask God to help me.
But my work is to serve God and not that He
should serve me.

24) An individual, personal life is an illusion.
There is no such life; there is only function, a
tool, for something.

25) ... is vestigal, having no application, like
the appendix.

26) We complain at our depressed spirits, but


JUNE] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

they are necessary. Man cannot stay on that
height to which he sometimes rises; but man
rises and then hypnotises himself for the time
of his depression and in the time of his depression
he already acts from the view-point that was dis-
closed to him in the moment of rising. If only to
know how to make use of those moments of rising
and to know how to hypnotise oneself !

27) The evil of the world, its cause is very sim-
ple. Every one seeks midi a quatorze heures
now in the economic system, now in the political.
I just now read the discussions in the German
parliament, on how to keep the peasants from
running to the cities. But the solution of all prob-
lems is one and no one recognises it and it does not
even seem to be of interest to them. But the
solution is one, clear and undoubted: . . . The
salvation is one : the destruction of false teaching.

28) The difference between people: N thinks
about death, and that does not lead him farther
than the question of how and to whom he should
leave his money, where and how be buried. And
Pascal also thinks about death.

29) ...

30) There is no future. It is made by us.

31) The infinity of time and space is not a
sign of the greatness of the human mind, but on
the contrary, it is a sign of its incompleteness, of
its inevitable falsity.


The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1899

32) We think of the future, we build it; but
nothing future is important, because the impor-
tant thing is to do the creative work of love, which
can be done under every possible condition; and
therefore it is altogether indifferent, what the
future will be.

33) We get angry at circumstances, are pained,
wish to change them, but all possible circumstances
are nothing else than indications as to how to act
in different spheres. If you are in need, you must
work, if in prison think, and if in wealth, free
yourself . . . etc.

It is just like a horse getting angry with the road
on which he is being led.

34) The press that is a lie: with a 'venge-

35) Everything is divided. Only God unites
us, living in everything. That is why He is

36) The conception of God to a religious man,
is continuously destroyed and being replaced by a
new, higher conception.

37) .. . is not only the loss of labour, of
lives, but the loss of the good.

38) With many people it is possible to live
only when you treat them as you would a horse :
not to take them into consideration, not reproach-
ing them, not suggesting, but only finding a modus
vivendi. It is about them: "Not to cast pearls"


JUNE] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

... It is terrible, but without this rule, it would
be worse.

39) Is it possible to imagine to oneself a So-
cialist working-man with faith in the Iversk Ikon?
Then, first of all, there must be a religious eman-

40) We are all agreed that only he is free who
has overcome passion, and yet knowing this, we
seriously trouble ourselves with the freeing of peo-
ple who are full of passions.

41) A rational conviction can never be com-
plete. A full conviction can only be irrational, es-
pecially with women.

42 ) Answer good for evil and you destroy in an
evil man all pleasure which he receives from evil.

43 ) God is love. We know God only in love,
which unites everything. You know God in your-
self through the striving towards this union.

44) One continually thinks that the good will
be good for him. But the good is, or it is not it
is not something that will be.

45) The important thing lies in thoughts.
Thoughts are the beginning of everything. And
thoughts can be directed. And therefore the
principal task of perfection is to work on

June 27. If I live. Y.P.


The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1899

To-day July 4th. Y. P.

All this time I have been ill with my usual
stomach sickness. The work which absorbed me
very much, has stopped.

Christ as a myth; 384 and Kenworthy's book, a
rational exposition of the life of Christ. The
first is better. There is need of a philosophy of
moral economy, i.e., of religious truth. There
is such a thing.

I have had many good thoughts, being ill and
nearing death. I think often with pain of brother

I have noted down the 4th :

1 ) The government destroys faith, but faith is
necessary. Some violating themselves believe in
the miraculous, in the absurd; others in science.
But in which? In the contemporary. But in the
contemporary, there is 99/100 of lie and error.
In every contemporary science there are lies.
Truth revealed by God is of course the right, it is
religion; and truth obtained by the reason of man,
by science, is also of course, the right. But the
matter lies in recognising what is discovered by
God and what has been gained by human reason.

2) Death is the destruction of those organs by
means of which I perceive the world as it appears
in this life; it is the destruction of that glass
through which I looked and a change to another.

3) Educated people using their education not


SEPTEMBER] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

for the enlightenment and freeing of the working-
classes, but for befogging them, are like workers
using their strength not for sustaining life but for
destroying it. These are the intellectual Puga-
chevs, Stenka Razins, only a thousand times more
July 5. Y. P. If I live.

To-day September 28. Y. P.

Have worked all the time on Resurrection; now
I have stumbled on the third part. It is long since
I have made no progress.

... I have wrought for myself a calm which
is not to be disturbed: not to speak and to know
that this is necessary; that it is under these condi-
tions one ought to live.

There are here Ilya, Sonya 385 with the children,
Andrusha with his wife, Masha with her hus-

I am thinking more and more often about the
philosophic definition of space and time. To-day,
if I have time, I am going to write it out.

I read an interesting book about Christ never
having been, that it was a myth. 386 The proba-
bilities that it is right there are as many for it,
as there are against.

Yesterday with the help of Masha I answered
all the letters; many remained unanswered. I am
still ill; rarely a day without pain. I am dissatis-


The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1899

fied with myself, also morally. I have let myself
go very much I do not work physically and I
am occupied with myself, with my health. How
difficult it is to bear sickness resignedly, to go unto
death without resistance and one must.
I have been thinking during this time :

1 ) Women demanding for themselves the work
of man and the same freedom, mostly demand
for themselves unconsciously the freedom for
licence, and as a result go down much lower than
the family, though aiming to stand higher than it.

2) What is this memory which makes from me
one being, from childhood unto death? What is
this faculty connecting separate beings in time,
into one? One ought to ask not what is it that
unites, but what divides, these beings. The
faculty of time divides, beyond which I cannot see
myself. I am one indivisible being from birth un-
til death; but to manifest and to know myself,
I must do so in time. I am now such as I was
and will be; but one who had to and even will
manifest myself and know myself in time. I have
to manifest myself and know myself in time for
communion with other beings and for influencing

3) I plucked a flower and threw it away.
There were so many of them, it was no pity. We
do not value these inimitable beauties of living be-
ings and destroy them, having no pity not only for


SEPTEMBER] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

plants, but for animals, human people. There are
so many of them. Culture, civilisation, is nothing
else than the ruin of these beauties and the re-
placing them . . . with what? The saloon, the
theatre . . .

4) They reproach you with malice, debauchery,
lies, thefts, bring proof, etc. What is to be done?
Answer the question with What time is it? Are
you going to take a swim? Have you seen N N,
etc. That is the best and only means of bearing
these accusations and even clearing them up.

5 ) The dearest thing on earth is the good rela-
tion between people; but the establishment of these
relations is not the result of conversation on
the contrary, they become spoiled by conversation.
Speak as little as possible, and especially with those
people with whom you want to be in good rela-

6) In eating, I destroy the limits between my-
self and other beings; creating children, I do al-
most the same thing. The results of the destruc-
tion of material limits are visible ; the results of the
destruction of the spiritual limits and the union re-
sulting from this are invisible, only because they
are broader.

7) " People are divided (divided from other
beings), and this appears to them as space. The
fact that they are inseparable in essence appears
to them as time." That is the way I have noted


The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1899

it. Space divides, time unites. But this is un-
true. Both time and space are dividers and
they form the impossibility of realising unity.
(Unclear, but I understand. I will make it clear

8) Brotherhood is natural, proper to people.
Non-brotherhood, divisions, are carefully nur-

9) Sometimes one feels like complaining child-
ishly to some one (to God), to beg for help. Is
this feeling good ? It is not good : it is a weakness,
a lack of faith. That which more than anything
resembles faith the beseeching prayer, is in
truth a lack of faith a lack of faith that there is
no evil, that there is nothing to ask for, that if
things are going badly with you, then it only dem-
onstrates that you ought to improve yourself, and
that there is going on, that very thing which ought
to be, and under which you ought to do that which
has to be done.

10) Just now I wrote this coldly, understand-
ing with difficulty that state in which you wish to
live for God alone, and I see through this how
there are people who absolutely never understand
this, not knowing any other kind of life besides the
worldly, for people. I know this state, but can-
not just now call it up in myself, but only remem-
ber it.

n) Everything which lives without conscious-

SEPTEMBER] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

ness, as I live when I sleep, as I lived in the womb
of my mother, lives not materially, i.e., not know-
ing matter, but lives. But life is something
spiritual. Endeavouring to remember my state
before consciousness, on the threshold of con-
sciousness, I know only the feeling of depression,
satisfaction, pleasure, suffering, but there is no
conception of my body or of another's. The con-
ception of body (matter) manifests itself only
when consciousness is manifested. The conception
of body manifests itself only, because conscious-
ness gives understanding of the presence in one's
self of the basis of everything (spiritual). And
at the same time, as I know that I am the basis of
everything, I know also that I am not the whole
basis, but a part of it. And it is this being a part
of a whole, these limits separating me from the
whole, I know through my body : through my own
body and the bodies surrounding me.

12) If you desire something, if you are afraid
of something, that means that you do not believe
in that God of love which is in you. If you had
believed in Him, then you could not have wanted
anything or have been afraid, because all desires
of that God which lives in you are being always
fulfilled, because God is all-powerful; and you
would never have been afraid, because for God
there is nothing terrible.

13) Not to think that you know in what the


The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1899

will of God really lies, but to be humble ; and then
you will be loving. And the will of God in rela-
tion to you, lies only in this.

14) People convincing others that reason can-
not be the guide of life are those in whom reason
is so perverted, that they clearly see that they have
been led into a swamp.

15) The only instance where a man can and
ought to occupy himself with himself, is when he
feels unhappy. Unhappiness is the best condi-
tion for perfection, the ascent to the higher steps.
Unhappiness is a sign of one's own imperfection.
One ought to rejoice at these instances: it is the
preparation of one's self for work, a spiritual

1 6) Now I am an ordinary man, L. N. (Tol-
stoi), and animal, and now I am the messenger
of God. I am all the time the same man, but
now I am the public and now I am the judge
himself with the chain, fulfilling the highest respon-
sibilities. One must put on the chain more often.

L'atterly I have got out of the habit, have
weakened. I have only just now remembered.

17) Man is a being beyond time and beyond
space who is conscious of himself in the conditions
of space and time.

18) Games, cards, women, races, are alluring
because they have been thought out for the biases.
It is not for nothing that the wise teachers have


OCTOBER] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

forbidden them. Artificial play is corrupting.
They are needed for the blase, but the simple
working people need the very simplest plays with-
out preparation.

19) Only then will you produce true love, when
you will resist offence, overcome offence with love,
will love your enemy.

20) They desire, they are excited, they suffer
only for trifles or for bad things. The good
things are accomplished without excitement. It
is from this that the word heart means malice.
(Serdit, to get angry, to put into a passion, comes
from sertse, the heart. Translator's note.)

To-day Oct. 2. Y. P.

I am still ill, I am not suffering, but I feel
threatened constantly. Morally I am better I
remember God in myself more often, and death.
It seems to me I have come out of the difficult
place in Resurrection. . . . Kolichka went away.
Sonya arrived she is ill.

I am continuing to write out from the note-
books :

i ) I have made this note : Space comes from
the consciousness of limits, from the conscious-
ness of one's own separateness; I am one, and
the world is another. And in the world are simi-
lar beings with limits: 2, 3, 4, ... to infinity.

These beings can find place only in space.

The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1899

From the consciousness of limits comes also time.
I have thought this out again and can express it in
this way: Separateness, the non-all-comprehen-
siveness of our selves, is expressed in recognising
a part of moving matter as ourselves. The part
of matter which we recognise as ourselves gives
us an understanding of space; that part of motion
which we recognise as ourselves gives us a con-
ception of time.

Or, in other words : We cannot imagine a part
of matter in any other way than in space. To
imagine a part of motion, we cannot in any other
way than in time. Space comes from the im-
possibility of imagining two or many objects be-
yond time. Time comes from the impossibility
of imagining two, many objects beyond space.
Space is the possibility of representing to one's
self two, many objects at one and the same time.
Time is the possibility of representing to one's
self two, many objects, in one and the same space
(one goes out, the other enters).

Divisions cannot be in one space, without time.
If there were no time (motion) all objects
in space would be unmoving and they would form
not many objects, but one space, undivided and
filled with matter. If there were no space,
there could be no motion and our " self " would
not be separated by anything from all the rest.
My body understood by me as my " self," and


OCTOBER] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

understanding all the rest, is that part of matter
which moves for a definite time and occupies a
definite space.

(Not good, unclear, perhaps even untrue.)

2) Anarchy does not mean the absence of in-
stitutions, but only the absence of those institu-
tions to which people are compelled to submit by
force, but those institutions to which people sub-
mit themselves voluntarily, rationally. It seems
to me that otherwise there cannot be established
and ought not to be, a society of beings endowed
with reason.

3) "Why is it that after sin, suffering does
not follow that person who committed the sin?
Then he would see what ought not to be done "
because people live not separately but in so-
ciety and if every one suffered from the sin of
each one, then every one would have to resist it.

4) Conscience is the memory of society assimi-
lated by separate individuals.

5 ) In old age you experience the same thing as
on a journey. At first your thoughts are on that
place from which you are going, then on the
journey itself, and then on the place to which
you are going.

I experience this more and more often, thinking
of death.

6) It is true that a great sin might be beneficial,
by calling forth repentance before God, independ-


The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1899

ently from human judgment. Such a sin leads
one away from the realm of human judgment,
from vanity, which masters man, and hides from
him his relation to God. 387

7) The physical growth is only a preparation
of material for spiritual work, the service to God
and man which begins with the withering of the

To-day Oct. 13. Y. P.

I am still not fully well. It is as it ought to
be. But that does not hinder from living, think-
ing and moving towards a fixed goal. Resurrec-
tion advances poorly. Have sent away four chap-
ters, I think not passable by the censor, but at
least I think I have settled on one point, and that
I won't make any more great important changes.
I do not cease thinking of brother Sergei, but be-
cause of the weather and ill health I cannot make
up my mind to go. . . . Sonya was in Moscow
and is going again to-day. To-day I had a kind
of intellectual idleness, not only to-day, but all
these latter days. For Resurrection I have
thought out good scenes. Concerning separate-
ness which appears to us as matter in space and
movement in time, I am thinking more and more
often and more and more clearly.

I have also received Westrup's pamphlets from
America about the money, 388 which struck me by


OCTOBER] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

explaining everything that was unclear in financial
questions and reducing everything as it ought to
be, to violence. ... If I get time I will write it
out. I have another important, joyous thought,
although an old one, but which came to me as a
new one and which makes me very happy,
namely :

i) The principal cause of family unhappiness
is because people are brought up to think that
marriage gives happiness. Sex attraction induces
to marriage and it takes the form of a promise, a
hope, for happiness, which is supported by public
opinion and literature; but marriage is not happi-
ness, but always suffering, which man pays for the
satisfaction of his sex desire. Suffering in the
form of lack of freedom, slavery, over-satiety,
disgust of all kinds of spiritual and physical de-
fects of the mate which one has to bear ; malicious-
ness, stupidity, falsity, vanity, drunkenness, lazi-
ness, miserliness, greed and corruption all de-
fects which are especially difficult to bear when not
in oneself but in another person, and from which
one suffers as if they were one's own; and the
same with physical defects: ugliness, uncleanliness,

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 15 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Online LibraryLeo TolstoyThe journal of Leo Tolstoi .. → online text (page 15 of 24)