Leo Tolstoy.

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which He desires will be done by man. God does
His work through us. And there is no time for
God or there is infinite time. When he has
placed reasoning love in man, he has already done

Why has He done this in this way through man,
and not by Himself? The question is stupid and
one which never would have entered one's head
if we were all not spoilt by absurd supersti-
tion. . . .

9) One of the most torturing spiritual suffer-
ings is the not being understood by people when
you feel yourself hopelessly alone in your
thoughts. There is consolation in this, that you


MAY] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

know that that very thing which people do not
understand in you, God understands.

10) To carry over one's "self" from the
bodily to the spiritual, that means to consciously
wish only the spiritual. My body can uncon-
sciously strive for the fleshly, but I consciously
desire nothing of the fleshly, as when I do not de-
sire to fall, but can not but submit to the law of

1 1 ) If you have transferred your " self " to
your spiritual being, you will feel the same pain
in violating love as you will feel physical pain when
you violate the good of the body. The indicator
is just as direct and true. And I already feel it.

12) Sin is the strengthening of the conscious-
ness of life in one's separate being, or the weak-
ening of one's reasoning consciousness, which
shows the inconsistency of animal life. For the
first end, the activity of reason is directed to the
strengthening of the delusion of a separate life:
i, food; 2, lust; 3, vanity, strengthened by reason.
For the second end, are used the means of weak-
ening reason : tobacco, opium, wine.

13) Temptation is the assertion that it is per-
mitted to violate love for the greater good: I, to
oneself; it is necessary to feed, cure, educate, calm
oneself, in order to be in condition to serve men,
and for this it is permitted to violate love; 2, one
must secure, preserve, and educate the family, and


The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1896

for this it is permitted to violate love; 3, one has
to organise, secure, protect the community, the
state, and for this it is permitted to violate love;
4, one has to contribute to the salvation of the
souls of people by violent suggestion, through edu-
cation, and for this it is permitted to violate love.

14) The essay on art has to be begun with a
discussion of the fact, that for the picture here,
which it has cost the master 1000 working days,
he is given 40 thousand working days: for an
opera, a novel, still more. And then, some say
of these works, that they are beautiful; others,
that they are absolutely bad. And there is no
incontestable criterion. There is no such argu-
ment about water, food, and good works. Why
is that so?

15) What is the result of a man recognising
as his " self " not his own separate being, but
God living in him? In the first place, not con-
sciously desiring the good for his own separate
being, that man will not, or will less eagerly, take
the good away from others; in the second place,
having recognised as his " self " God, who desires
the good for all that exists, man also will desire it.

16) Why do people hold on so passionately
to the principle of family, the producing and
bringing up of children? Because to a man who
has not yet transferred his consciousness from his
separate being to that of God, it is the only seem-


MAY] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

ingly satisfactory explanation of the meaning of

17) The meaning of life becomes clear to
man when he recognises as himself, his divine
essence which is enclosed in his bodily envelope.
The meaning of this lies in the fact that this being,
striving for its emancipation, for the broadening
of the realm of love, accomplishes through this
broadening the work of God, which consists in
the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.

18) Violence can neither weaken nor
strengthen a spiritual movement. To act on
spiritual activity by force is just like catching the
rays of the sun no matter how you cover them,
they will always be on top.

19) I have noted down: "Do you imagine
your life in the wood which is being burned down
or in the fire which burns? "

It is this way: you get the wood ready, and
then you are sorry to use it; in the same way you
get yourself ready and then you are sorry. But
the comparison is not good, because fire comes to
an end. A better comparison would be with
food; do you imagine your life in food or in that
which is being fed? Is not that the meaning of
the words of St. John about " my body ", which
ought to be food? Man is food for God if he
gives himself to God.

(Unclear; nonsense.)

The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1896

20) The principal aim of art, if there is art,
and if it has an aim, is to manifest and to express
the truth about man's soul, to express those mys-
teries which it is impossible to express simply by
speech. From this springs art. Art is a micro-
scope which the artist fixes on the mysteries of his
soul and shows to people those mysteries which
are common to all.

21 ) Love, enclosed in man and freed by
reason, manifests itself in two ways: I, by its
expansion, and 2, by the establishment of the
Kingdom of God. It is steam which, in spread-
ing, works.

22) Lately, I have begun to feel such firm-
ness and strength, not my own, but that of that
God's work which I wish to serve, that the irrita-
tion, the reproaches, the mocking people hostile to
the work of God, is strange to me; they are piti-
able, touching.

23) The world, living unconsciously, and
man, in the period of his childhood, performed
unconsciously the work of God. Having awak-
ened to consciousness, he does it consciously. In
the collision between the two methods of serving,
man ought to know that the unconscious passes
and will pass into the conscious and not the oppo-
site and that therefore it is necessary to give one-
self over to the future and not to the past.


MAY] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

24) The delusion of man who has awakened
to consciousness and who continues to consider
his own separate being as himself, is that he con-
siders a tool as himself. If you feel pain at the
disturbing of the good of your separate being, it
is as if you felt on your hand the blows on the
tool with which you work. The tool has to be
taken care of, ground, but not to be considered as

25) God Himself is economical. He has to
penetrate all with love. He has fired man alone
with love and has placed him in the necessity of
firing all the rest.

26) Nothing affects the religious outlook so
much as the way we look upon the world ; whether
with a beginning and an end, as it was looked upon
in antiquity, or infinite as it is looked upon now.
In a finite world, one can construct a reasonable
role for separate mortal man, but in an infinite
world the life of such a being has no meaning.

27) (For Kortevsky] It happens to Katiu-
sha after her resurrection, that she has certain
periods in which she smiles slyly and lazily as if
she had forgotten all which she considered true
before; she is merely joyous and wants to

28) To him who lives a spiritual life entirely,
life here becomes so uninteresting and burden-
some that he can part with it easily.

The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1896

29) Natasha Strakhov 82 asks her father,
when he speaks of something which happened
when she was not yet born : " Where was I then? "
I would have answered : ' You were asleep and
had not yet waked up here." Conception, birth,
childhood are only a preparation to an awaken-
ing, which we see, but not the sleeping ones.

30) The error in which we find ourselves
when we consider our separate beings as ourselves
is the same as when a traveller counts only one
stage as the whole road, or a man, one day as his
whole life.

31) Read about . . . and was horrified at
the conscious deception of men . . .

32) "An eraser." I have forgotten. I
shall recall it.

Have written up to dinner. It is now 2 o'clock
and I am going to dine.

May 28, Ysn. Pol. 12 o'c. noon.

It is already several days that I am struggling
with my work 83 and am making no progress. I
sleep. I wanted to scribble it somehow to the
very end, but I can't possibly do it. Am in a
wretched mood, aggravated by the emptiness, by
the poor, self-satisfied, cold emptiness of my sur-
rounding life.

In. the meantime I have been to Pirogovo. 84 I
have a most joyous impression; my brother Ser-


MAY] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

gei 85 has undoubtedly had a spiritual transforma-
tion. He himself has formulated the essence of
my faith (and he evidently recognises it as true
for himself) ; to raise in oneself the spiritual es-
sence and to subject to it the animal element. He
has a miraculous ikon and he was tortured by his
undefined attitude to it. The little girls 86 are
very good and live seriously. Masha has been
infected by them. Later there were at our house :
Salamon, 87 Tanyee. 88 . . .

A terrible event in Moscow the death of
three thousand 89 I somehow can not express
myself as I ought to. I am indisposed all the
time, getting weaker. In Pirogovo, there was
the harnessmaker, an intelligent man. Yesterday
a working-man came from Tula, intelligent. I
think a revolutionist. To-day a seminary student,
a touching case.

I am advancing very, very badly in my work.
Rather boring letters because they demand polite
answers. I have written to Bondarev, 90 Posha,
and to some one else. O yes; Officer N. was here
too. I think I was useful to him. Splendid notes
by Shkarvan. 91

Yesterday there was a letter from poor N. 92 ,
whom they have driven off to the Persian frontier,
hoping to kill him. God help him. And don't
forget me. Give me life, life, i. e. a conscious,
joyful serving of Thee.


The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1896

In the meantime, I thought,

1) It is remarkable how many people see
some insoluble problem in evil. I have never seen
any problem in it. For me it is now altogether
clear that that which we call evil is that good, the
action of which we don't yet see.

2) The poetry of Mallarme, 93 and others.
We who don't understand it, say boldly that it is
humbug, that it is poetry striking an impasse.
Why is it that when we hear music which we don't
understand and which is just as nonsensical, we
don't say that boldly, but say timidly : yes, perhaps
one ought to understand it or prepare oneself for
it, etc. That is silly. Every work of art is only
a work of art when it is understandable, I do not
say for all, but for people standing on a certain
level of education, on the same level as the man
who reads poetry and who judges it.

This reasoning leads me to an absolutely cer-
tain conclusion that music before any other art
(decadence in poetry and symbolism and other
things in painting) has lost its way and struck an
impasse. And he who has turned it from the
road was that musical genius Beethoven. The
principal factors are the authorities and people
deprived of aesthetic feeling who judge art.

Goethe ? Shakespeare ? 94 Everything that
goes under their names is supposed to be good and
on se bat les flancs in order to find something


MAY] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

beautiful in the stupid and the unsuccessful, and
taste is entirely perverted. And all these great
talents Goethe, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Mich-
ael-Angelo side by side with exquisite things,
produced not only mediocre ones, but disgusting
ones. The mediocre artists produce a medioc-
rity as regards value and never anything very
bad. But recognised geniuses create either
really great works or absolute stuff and nonsense ;
Shakespeare, Goethe, Beethoven, Bach, and

3) To place before myself the most complex
and confused thing which demands my partici-
pation. On all sides it seems there exist insolu-
ble dilemmas; it is bad one way and worse the
other. And it is only necessary to carry over the
problem from the outer realm into the inner, into
one's own life, to understand that this is only an
arena for my inner perfection, that it is a test, a
measure of my moral development, an experiment
as to how much I can and want to do the work of
God, the enlargement of love, and everything re-
solves itself so easily, simply, joyously.

4) A mistake (sin) is the use of reason, given
me to recognise my essence in the love for every-
thing which exists, in acquiring the good for my
separate being. As long as man lived without
a reasoning consciousness, he fulfilled the will of
God in acquiring the good for himself and in


The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1896

struggling for it and there was no sin; but as soon
as reason had awakened, then there was sin.

5) The harness-maker, Mikhailo, says to me
that he does not believe in a future life, that he
thinks that when a man dies, his spirit will
leave him and will go away. But I say to him:
" Well, go off then with this spirit; then you won't
May 29, Ysn. Pol. If I live.

It seems to me, June 6, Ysn. Pol.

The principal thing is that during this time I
have advanced in my work, 95 and am advancing.
I write on sins and the whole work is clear to the

Finished Spier splendid.

The economic movement of humanity by three
means: the destruction of ownership of land ac-
cording to Henry George 98 ; the inheritance
which would give over accumulated wealth to
society, if not in the first generation, then in the
second; and a similar tax on wealth on an excess
of over 1000 rubles income for a family or 200
for each man.

To-day the Chertkovs arrived. Galia 97 is very

The day before yesterday a gendarme came, a
56 '

JUNE] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

spy, who confessed that he was sent after me. It
was both pleasant and nasty. 98

During this time have thought principally the
following :

1) When a man lives an animal life, he does
not know that God lives through him. When
reason awakens in him, then he knows it. And
knowing it, he becomes united with God.

2) Man in his animal life has to be guided by
instinct; reason directed to that which is not sub-
ject to it, will spoil everything.

3) Is not luxury a preparing for something
better, when there is already a sufficiency?

Yesterday was not the 6th, but the 8th. To-
day, June 9, Y. P.

I have written little and not very well. It
seems to me that it is getting clearer. In the
morning I had a conversation with the working-
men who came for books. I remembered the
woman who asked to write to John of Kronstad."

The religion of the people is this : there is a God
and there are gods and saints. (Christ came on
earth, as a peasant told me to-day, to teach people
how and to whom to pray.) The gods and the
saints perform miracles, have power over the
flesh and perform heroic deeds and good works,
and the people have only to pray, to know how


The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1896

and to whom to pray. But people can not per-
form good works, they can only pray. Here is
their whole faith.

I bathed and don't feel well.

June 19, Y. P.

Have been feeling weak all this time and sleep
badly. Posha came yesterday. He spoke about
the Khodinka accident well, but wrote it badly.
Our very idle, luxurious life oppresses me. N.
came. A stranger. He is young and he does
not understand in the same way as I do, that which
he understands, although he agrees with every-
thing. Finished the first draft 10 on the I3th of
June. Now I am revising it, but am working
very little.

. . . Struggled with myself twice and success-
fully. Oh, if it were always so !

Once I passed beyond Zakaz 101 at night and
wept for joy, being grateful for life. The pic-
tures of life in Samara stand out very clearly be-
fore me; the steppes, the fight of the nomadic,
patriarchic principle with the agricultural civil-
ised one. 102 It draws me very much. Konef-
sky was not born in me; that is why it moves so

Have been thinking :

i) Something very important about art: what
is beauty? Beauty is that which we love. " He


JUNE] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

is not dear because he is good, but good because
he is dear." Here is the problem; why dear?
Why do we love? And to say that we love, be-
cause a thing is beautiful, is just the same as saying
that we breathe because the air is pleasant. We
find the air pleasant, because we have to breathe;
and in the same way we discover beauty, because
we have to love. And he who hasn't the power
to see spiritual beauty, sees at least a bodily one
and loves it.

June 26, Y. P. Morning.

All night I did not sleep. My heart aches
without stopping. I continue to suffer and can
not subject myself to God. ... I have not mas-
tered pride and rebellion and the pain in my heart
does not stop. One thing consoles me; I am not
alone but with God, and therefore no matter how
painful it is, yet I feel that something is taking
place within me. Help me, Father.

Yesterday I walked to Baburino 103 and unwil-
lingly (I rather would have avoided than sought
it), I met the 8o-year-old Akime ploughing, the
woman Yaremichov who hasn't a coat to her
household and only one jacket, then Maria whose
husband was frozen and who has no one to gather
her rye and who is starving her child, and Tro-
phime and Khaliavka, and the husband and wife
were dying as well as the children. And we study


The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1896

Beethoven. And I pray that He release me from
this life. And again I pray and cry from pain.
I am entrapped, sinking, I cannot alone, only I
hate myself and my life.

June 30, Ysn. Pol.

Continued to suffer and struggle much, and have
conquered neither one nor the other. But it is
better. Mme. Annenkov 104 was here and put it
very well . . , 105 They have spoiled for me even
my diary which I write with the point of view
of the possibility of its being read by the living 106

Just now upstairs they began to speak about the
New Testament and N. en ricanant proved that
Christ advised castration. I became angry,

Two days ago I went to those who had been
burned out; had not dined, was tired and felt well.
. . . Yesterday I visited the lawyer who wanted
to snatch a hundred rubles from a beggar-woman
to decorate his own house with. It is the same

During this time I have been in Pirogovo. My
brother Serezha has entirely come over to us.
The journey with Tania and Chertkov was joy-
ous. To-day in Demenka m I gave the last
words for his journey to a dying peasant.

I am advancing much on the work. 108 I will

JULY] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

try to write out now what I have jotted down in
the book.

To-day, July /p, 109

I am in Pirogovo. I arrived the day before
yesterday with Tania and Chertkov. In Serez-
ha no there has certainly taken place a spiritual
change; he admits it himself saying that he was
born several months ago. I am very happy with

At home, during this time, I lived through much
difficulty. Lord, Father, release me from my
base body. Cleanse me and do not let your spirit
perish in me and become overgrown. I prayed
twice beseechingly; once that He let me be His
tool; and second that He save me from my ani-
mal " self."

During this time I progressed on the Declara-
tion of Faith. It is far from what has to be said
and from what I want to say. It is entirely in-
accessible to the plain man and the child, but,
nevertheless I have said all that I know coherently
and logically.

In this time also I wrote the preface to the
reading of the Gospels m and annotated the Gos-
pels. Had visitors. Englishmen, Americans
no one of importance.

I will write out all that I jotted down:

i) Yesterday I walked through a twice

The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1896

ploughed, black-earth fallow field. As far as the
eye could see, there was nothing but black earth
not one green blade of grass, and there on the
edge of the dusty grey road there grew a bush of
burdock. There were three off-shoots. One
was broken and its white soiled flower hung; the
other also broken, was bespattered with black dirt,
its stem bent and soiled ; the third shoot stuck out
to the side, also black from dust, but still alive
and red in the centre. It reminded me of Hadji-
Murad. 112 It makes me want to write. It as-
serts life to the end, and alone in the midst of
the whole field, somehow or other has asserted it.

2) He has a capacity for languages, for math-
ematics, is quick to comprehend and to answer,
can sing, draw correctly, beautifully, and can
write in the same way; but he has no moral or
artistic feeling and therefore nothing of his own.

3) Love towards enemies. It is difficult,
seldom does it succeed as with everything ab-
solutely beautiful. But then what happiness
when you attain it ! There is an exquisite sweet-
ness in this love, even in the foretaste of it. And
this sweetness is just in the inverse ratio to the
attractiveness of the object of love. Yes, the
spiritual voluptuousness of love towards enemies.

4) Some one makes me suffer. As soon as I
think about myself, about my own suffering, the
suffering continues to grow and grow and terror


JULY] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

overcomes me at the thought to where it might
lead. It suffices to think of the man on account of
whom you are suffering, to think about his suffer-
ing and instantly you are healed. Sometimes
it is easy when you already love your torturer; but
even when it is difficult, it is always possible.

5) Yesterday in walking I thought what are
those boundaries which separate us, one being
from another ? And it occurred to me. Are not
space and time the conditions of these divisions, or
rather, the consequences of these divisions? If I
were not a separated part, there would be neither
space nor time for me, as there is not for God.
But since I am not the whole, I can understand
myself and other beings through space and time

(I feel that there is something in this, but I
can not yet express it clearly.)

6) There was an argument about whether be-
ing in love was good. For me the conclusion was
clear; if a man already lives a human, spiritual
life, then being in love love, marriage
would be a downfall for him, he would have to
give a part of his strength to his wife, to his fam-
ily, or even at least to the object of his love. But
if he is on the animal plane, if he eats, drinks,
labours, holds a post, writes, plays then to be in
love would be an uplift for him as for animals,
for insects, in the time of . . , 113


The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1896

7) To pray? They say that prayer is neces-
sary, that it is necessary to have the sweet feeling
of prayer which is called forth by service, singing,
reading, exclamations, ikons. But what is prayer ?
A communion with God, a recognition of one's
relation to God, the highest state of the soul. Is
it possible that this state of the soul can be at-
tained by an action upon the outer senses. ... Is
it not more probable that the prayerful state might
be reached only in rare exceptional moments and
necessarily in isolation, as even Christ said and as
Elijah saw God, not in a storm but in a tender

8) Yesterday I looked through the romances,
novels, and poems of Fet. 114 I recalled our in-
cessant music on 4 grand-pianos in Yasnaya Poly-
ana and it became clear to me that all this the
romances, the poems, the music was not art,
something important and necessary to people in
general, but a self-indulgence of robbers, para-
sites, who have nothing in common with life; ro-
mances, novels about how one falls in love dis-
gustingly, poetry about this or about how one lan-
guishes from boredom. And music about the
same theme. But life, all life, seethes with its
own problems of food, distribution, labour, about
faith, about the relations of men ... It is
shameful, nasty. Help me, Father, to serve Thee
by showing up this lie.


JULY] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

9) I was going from the Chertkovs on the 5th
of July. It was evening, and beauty, happiness,
blessedness, lay on everything. But in the world
of men? There was greed, malice, envy, cruelty,
lust, debauchery. When will it be among men
as it is in Nature ? Here there is a struggle, but it
is honest, simple, beautiful. But there it is base.
I know it and I hate it, because I myself am a

(I have not succeeded.)

10) When I suffered in my soul, I tried to
calm myself with the consciousness of serving.
And that used to calm me, but only then when

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