Copyright
Leo Tolstoy.

The journal of Leo Tolstoi .. online

. (page 7 of 24)
Online LibraryLeo TolstoyThe journal of Leo Tolstoi .. → online text (page 7 of 24)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


music is not the history of how real music was
born and spread and developed ; the music of mel-
odies but the history of artificial music, i.e.,
how real melodious music was distorted.

6) Artificial, master-class music, the music of
parasites, feeling its own impotence, its own hol-
lowness, takes recourse, in order to replace real in-
terest by artificiality, now to counterpoint, to the
fugue, now to opera, to illustration.

7 ) Church music is good, therefore, because it is

103



The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1896

understood by the masses. The undeniably good
is only that which is understood by all. And there-
fore it is true, that the more understandable it
is, the better.

8) The various characters expressed by art
touch us only because in each one of us is the possi-
bility of every possible character. (Forgot)

9) The history of music, like all history, is
written on the plan to show how it has gradually
reached that condition in which the thing is found
about which the history is now being written.
The present condition of music, or that about
which the history is written, is supposed to be the
highest. But what if it is not only a lower thing,
but something entirely distorted, an accidental de-
viation towards distortion.

10) Belief in authorities causes the errors of
authorities to be accepted as models.

n) They say that music strengthens the im-
pression of words in arias, songs. It isn't true.
Music gets ahead of impressions made by words,
by heaven knows how far. An aria of Bach ; what
words can rival it at the time when it is being
rendered? It is a different thing the words by
themselves. To whatever music you would place
the Sermon on the Mount, the music would remain
far behind, once you penetrated the words.
" Crucifix " by Faure, 162 the music is pitiable com-
pared to the words. They are two entirely dif-

104



DECEMBER] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

ferent and incompatible feelings. In song they
go along together only because the words give
tone.

(Not exact. About this in another place.)

12) So vividly have I recalled Vasili Per-
fileev 163 and others, whom I saw in Moscow, and
so clear did it become that, although they are
dead, they still are.

13) The Scylla and Charybdis of artists;
either understandable, but shallow, vulgar; or
pseudo-lofty, original and incomprehensible.

14) The poetry of the people always reflected
and not only reflected, predicted, prepared, popu-
lar movements; the Crusades, the Reformation.
What could the poetry of our parasitical circle pre-
dict and prepare? Love, debauchery; debauch-
ery, love.

15) Popular poetry, music, art in general is ex-
hausted, because all the talented have been won
over by bribes to be buffoons to the rich and the
titled; chamber music, opera, odes and 164 . . .

1 6) In all art, there exists the struggle between
the Christian and the pagan. The Christian be-
gins to conquer and the new wave of the I5th Cen-
tury overflows, the Renaissance, and only now at
the end of the I9th, the Christian rises again, and
paganism in the shape of decadence having reached
the highest degree of nonsense, is being destroyed.

17) Besides the fact that the most gifted of the

105



The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1896

people were won over by bribes into the camp of
the parasites, the cause of the destruction of popu-
lar poetry and music were: at first the serfdom
of the people and later the most important one
printing.

18) Chertkov said that around us there are
four walls of the unknown; in front, the wall of
the future, in back the wall of the past, to the
right the wall of ignorance, of that which is tak-
ing place there where we are not, and the fourth
wall, he says, is the ignorance of that which is go-
ing on in the soul of another. In my mind this
is not so. The first three walls are as he says.
One should not look through them. The less we
look beyond them the better. But as to the fourth
wall of the ignorance of that which is going on in
the souls of other people, this wall we ought to
break down with all our strength, striving for a
fusion with the souls of other people. And the
less we will look beyond those three other walls,
the closer we will get to others in this respect.

19) After death in importance, and before
death in time, there is nothing more important,
more irrevocable, than marriage. And just as
death is only good then when it is unavoidable,
but every death on purpose is bad, so it is with
marriage. Only then is marriage not evil, when
it is not to be conquered.

20) Apostasy comes from a man professing

106



DECEMBER] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

what he professes not for himself, not for God,
but for people. He betrays his professions,
either because he has become convinced that more
people, or better people according to his mind, do
not profess the same thing as he, or because that
which he did before, he did for human fame and
now he wants to live for himself, before God.

21 ) If I believed in a personal God to whom
one could turn to with questions, I would say,
Why, for what has God made it so, that some,
knowing the undoubted truth, burn wholly with its
fire, while others do not want it, cannot under-
stand or accept it, and even hate it.

It is now past one. The same weakness, but
keen in spirit, when I remember the significance
of the whole of life, and not only this one which
I have lived through as Leo Nicholaievich (Tol-
stoi). Help me, Lord, to do always, everywhere
Thy will, to be with Thee. But not my will, but
Thine, be done.
December 21, Moscow, if I live.

I am still writing December the 20th, Moscow.

Still the same depression. Father, help me.
Relieve me. Strengthen Thyself in me, vanquish,
drive forth, destroy, the foul flesh and all that
I feel through it.

. . . Father, help me. Moreover, I feel better
already. What is especially calming is the task,
the test of humility, of humiliation, an entirely

107



The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1896

unexpected, exceptional humiliation. In chains,
in a prison, one can pride oneself on one's humili-
ation, but here it is only painful, unless one accepts
it as a trial sent by God. Yes, learn to bear
calmly, joyfully and to love.

December 21. Moscow.

I am learning badly. I continually suffer, help-
lessly, weakly. Only in rare moments do I rise to
the consciousness of the whole of my life (not
only this one) and my duties in it.

I thought (and felt) : There are people lack-
ing both in aesthetic feeling and in the ethical (es-
pecially the ethical), to whom it is impossible to
instil that which is good the less so when they
do and love that which is bad, and think that the
bad is good . . .

December 22, Moscow, if I live, which is get-
ting to be very doubtful; my heart does not stop
aching. Almost nothing gives me rest. To-day
Posha alone refreshed me. It is so disgusting I
want to cry over myself, over the remnant of
my life which is being futilely ruined. But per-
haps it must be so, yes, in fact, it must be so ...

December 25, Moscow.

9 o'c. at night. Spiritually I feel better. But
I have no intellectual, artistic work, and I am mel-
ancholy. Just now I felt that particular Christ-

108



DECEMBER] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

mas softening and gentleness, and poetical im-
pulse. My hands are cold, I want to cry and to
love . . .

December 26, Moscow.

I am still not writing anything, but I feel my
thoughts revive. The devil still does not leave
me.

I thought to-day about The Diary of a Mad
Man. 16 * The principal thing is that I have un-
derstood my filial relation to God, brotherhood,
and my attitude to the whole world has
changed.



109



1 897



Jan. 5, Moscow.

There is still nothing good to write about my-
self. I feel no need of working and the devil
does not leave me. Have been ill for about 6
days.

Began to reread Resurrection and reached
up to his decision to marry and threw it away with
disgust. It is all untrue, invented, weak. It is
hard to repair a spoiled thing. In order to re-
pair it, there is necessary: i) alternately to
describe his feeling and life, and hers, 168 and 2)
sympathetically and seriously hers, and critically
and with a smile, his. I shall hardly finish it.
It is all very spoilt.

Yesterday I read Arkhangelsky's 16T article
" Whom to Serve " and was very delighted.

Have finished the notebook. And here I am
writing from it:

1 ) My article on ... must be written for the
people . . .

2) (For The Notes of a Madman or for
The Drama). Despair because of madness
and wretchedness of life. Salvation from this
despair in the recognition of God and one's filial-
ity to Him. The recognition of filiality is the

"3



The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1897

recognition of brotherhood. The recognition of
the brotherhood of man and the cruel, brutal, un-
brotherly arrangement of life which is justified
by people leads inevitably to a recognition of
one's own insanity or that of the whole world.

3) I read Nakashidze's 188 letter about the
Congress of the Dukhobors, where they dis-
cussed social questions. Here is an instance of
the possibility of administration without violence.
One condition is necessary no, two conditions:
the respect of the youth and of the spiritually
weak in general, to the resolutions of the elected
elders, the spiritually stronger the " little old
men " as the Dukhobors call them; and the second
condition that these " little old men " be rational
and loving. At this Congress the question of
uniting property (in common), was discussed and
the " little old men " were in favour of it, but con-
stantly repeated : " Only let there be no violence,
let things be done voluntarily."

Among the people and the Dukhobors this re-
spect and recognition of the necessity of fulfilling
the resolutions of the old men exist. And all this
without forms; the election of the elders and the
methods of agreement.

4) No matter how you grind a crystal, how
you dissolve it, compress it, it will mould itself
again at the first opportunity into the same form.
And so the structure of society will be always the

114



JANUARY] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

same, no matter to what changes you submit it.
The form of a crystal will only then be changed
when chemical changes occur in it, inner ones;
the same with society.

5) It would be good to write a preface to
Spier 169 containing the following :

The world is such as we see it, only if there do
not exist any other beings differently built from
us and endowed with other senses than ours. If
we see not only the possibility, but the necessity,
of the existence of other beings endowed with
other senses than ours, then the world is in no
case, merely such as we see it. Our imagination
of the world shows only our attitude to the world,
just as the visual picture which we form for our-
selves from what we see as far as the horizon and
the sky represents in no way the actual outlines
of the objects seen. The other senses, hearing,
smell, principally touch, in verifying our visual
impressions give us a more definite conception of
the seen objects; but that which we know as broad,
thick, hard or soft or how the things seen by us
sound or smell, do not prove that we know these
things fully and that if a new sense (above the
five) were given us, it would not disclose to us
that our conception of things formed by our five
senses was not just as deceptive as that conception
of the flatness of objects and their diminishing
in perspective which sight only gives us.



The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1897

I see a man in the mirror, hear his voice and am
fully convinced that he is a real man; but I ap-
proach, I want to grasp his hand and I touch the
glass of the mirror and see my delusion. The
same thing must come to pass in a dying man; a
new feeling is born which discloses to him
(through his new feeling and the new knowledge
it gives him) the delusion of recognising his body
as himself, and of all that he recognised as exist-
ing through the means of the senses of this body.

So that the world is certainly not such as we
know it to be: let there be other instruments of
knowledge and there will be another world.

But no matter how that which we consider as
the world, our attitude to the world, should change
one thing is unalterably such as we know it
and is always unchanging, it is that which knows.
And it knows not only in me, but in everything
which knows. This thing which knows is the
same everywhere and in everything and in itself.
It is God, and it is that for some reason limited
particle of God which composes our actual
" self."

But what then, is this God, i. e., something eter-
nal, infinite, omnipotent, which has become mor-
tal, finite, weak? Why did God divide himself
within himself? I do not know, but I know that
this is so, and that in this is life. All that we
know is nothing else than just such divisions of

116



FEBRUARY] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

God. All that we know as the world is the knowl-
edge of these divisions. Our knowledge of the
world (that which we call matter in space and
time) is the contact of the limits of our divinity
with its other divisions. Birth and death are the
transitions from one division into another.

6) The difference between Christian happiness
and pagan is this, that the pagan seeks happiness,
prepares it for himself, awaits it, demands it
the Christian seeks, prepares, awaits and demands
the kingdom of God and accepts happiness when
it comes as something unexpected, undeserved,
unprepared. And it is no less.

Jan. 18. Moscow.

Dismal, horrid. Everything repels me in the
life they lead around me. Now I free myself
from sadness and suffering, then again I fall into
it. In nothing is it so apparent, as in this, how
far I am from what I want to be. If my life were
really entirely in the service of God, there would
be nothing which could disturb it.

I am still writing on art. It is bad. A Duk-
hobor was here.

Feb. 4. Nicholskoe with the Olsuphievs.

I am already here the 4th day and am inexpress-
ibly sad. I am writing badly on art. I just now
prayed and became horrified at how low I have

117



The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1897

fallen. I think, I ask myself, what am I to do ; I
doubt, I hesitate, as if I did not know or had for-
gotten who I was and therefore what I was to do.
To remember that I am not master, but servant
and to do that to which I have been put. With
what labour have I struggled and attained this
knowledge, how undoubted is this knowledge and
how I can forget it nevertheless not exactly for-
get it, but live without applying it.

. . . Well, enough about this.

I am going to write out what I thought during
this time :

i ) When all is said and done, it is those people
over whom violence is used who always rule, i.e.,
those who fulfil the law of non-resistance. So
women seek rights, but it is they who rule, just
because they are the ones subjected to force
they were and they still are. Institutions are in
the power of men, but public opinion is in the
power of women. And public opinion is a million
times stronger than any laws and armies. The
proof that public opinion is in the hands of women
is that not only the construction of homes, food,
are determined by women, and not only do the
women spend the wealth, consequently control the
labour of men, but the success of works of art, of
books, even the appointment of rulers, are deter-
mined by public opinion; and public opinion is
determined by women. Some one well said that

118



FEBRUARY] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

men must seek emancipation from women, and
not the contrary.

2 ) ( For The Appeal) . 17 Unmask the deceiv-
ers, spread the truth and do not fear. If it were
a matter of spreading deception and murder, then
of course, it would be terrible, but here you would
be spreading the freedom from deception and
murder. Besides, there is no ground for fear.
Of whom? They . . . are themselves afraid.

I remember there worked for us in our village
a weak and phlegmatic 12 year-old boy who once
caught on the road and brought back, an enormous
healthy peasant, a thief, who had taken a coat
from the hall.

3) The poets, the verse-makers torture their
tongues in order to be able to say every possible
kind of thought in every possible variety of word
and to be able to form from all these words some-
thing which resembles a thought. Such exercise
can only be indulged in by unserious people. And
so it is.

4) If we never moved, then everything which
we saw would appear to us flat and not in
perspective. Motion gives us a conception of
things in three dimensions of space. The same
thing is true concerning the material side of things :
if we weren't living, were not moving in life, we
would see only the material side of things; but
moving in life, moving our spiritual side across

119



The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1897

the material side of the world, we recognise the
falseness of the idea that the material is actually
such as it appears to us.

5) Twenty times I have repeated it, and 20
times the thought comes to me as new, that re-
lease from all excitement, fear, suffering, from
physical and especially from spiritual, lies in de-
stroying in one's self the illusion of the union
of one's spiritual " self " with one's physical.
And this is always possible. When the illusion
is destroyed then the spiritual " self " can suffer
only from the fact that it is joined to the physi-
cal, but not from hunger, pain, sorrow, jeal-
ousy, shame, etc. In the first case, as long as it
is joined it does that which the physical " self "
wants: it gets angry, condemns, scolds, strikes; in
the second case, when it is separated from the
physical, it does only that which can free it from
the torturing union. And only the manifestations
of love frees it.

6) For the article on Art. When it is beauty
that is recognised as the aim of art, then every-
thing will be art which for certain people will ap-
pear as beauty, i.e., everything which will please
certain people.

7) I have noted, " the harm of art, especially
music " and I wanted to write that I had forgot-
ten, but while I was writing, I remembered. The

1 20



FEBRUARY] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

harm of art is principally this, that it takes up
time, hiding from people their idleness. I know
that it is harmful when it encourages idleness both
for the producers and those who enjoy it, but I
cannot see a clear definition of when it is permis-
sible, useful, good. I should like to say only then
when it is a rest from labour, like sleep, but I
do not yet know if that is so.

8 ) ( For The Appeal) . You are mistaken, you
poor, if you think that you can shame or touch
or convince the rich man to divide with you. He
cannot do that because he sees that you want the
same thing that he wants and that you are fighting
him with the same means with which he fights you.
You will not only convince him, but you will com-
pel him to yield to you only by ceasing to seek
that which he seeks, ceasing to struggle with him,
but if you cease to struggle you will cease also
. . . (very important).

9) If the end of art is not the good, but pleas-
ure, then the distribution of art will be different.
If its end is the good, then it will inevitably be
spread among the greatest number of people; if
its end is pleasure, then it will be confined to a
small number (not exact and still unclear).

10) Art is I was going to write food, but it
is better to say sleep, necessary for the sus-
tenance of the spiritual life. Sleep is useful, nec-

121



The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1897

essary after labour. But artificial sleep is harm-
ful, does not refresh, does not stimulate, but
weakens.

1 1 ) I heard counterpoint singing and . . . 171
This is the destruction of music, a means of per-
verting it. There is no sense to it, no melody,
and any first senseless sequence of sounds are taken
and from the combination of these insignificant
sequences is formed some kind of a tedious resem-
blance to music. The best is when the last chord
is finished.

12) The most severe and consequential agnos-
tic, whether he wants it or does not want it, recog-
nises God. He cannot but recognise that in the
first place, in the existence both of himself and
of the whole world, there is some meaning inac-
cessible to him ; and in the second, there is a law of
his life, a law to which he can submit or from
which he can escape. And it is this recognition
of the highest meaning of life, inaccessible to
man but inevitably existing, and of the law of
one's life, which is God and His will. And this
recognition of God is immensely stronger than
the recognition of ... etc. To believe like this
means to dig to bedrock, to the mainland, and to
build the house on that.

13) Stepa 172 related the physiologic process
which takes place in the infant when it separates
from its mother. Truly it is a miracle.

122



FEBRUARY] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

This thought occupied me in relation to the doc-
trine that everything material is illusion. How
can illusion take place there where I do not see it?
As you see it, so it takes place. You see every-
thing through your glasses. That is well enough
as regards all other phenomena, but here the most
fundamental thing is taking place, that from which
the whole of my life and of everything living is
composed: the detachment from the world. And
here right in front of my eyes this detachment
is taking place; there was one and there became
two, like among the first cells, (unclear.)

14) Every living being carries within himself
all the possibilities of its ancestors. Having been
detached, he manifests several of them, but car-
ries in himself the remaining ones and acquires
new ones. In this lies the process of life; to unite
and to separate. (Still more unclear.)

I have decided no matter what happens, to write
every day. Nothing strengthens one so much for
the good. It is the best prayer.

Evening, February 4. Nicholskoe.

In the morning I wrote this diary and later tried
to write, but could do nothing; had no desire.
Undoubtedly if there be strength and capacity to
write, then one ought to serve God.

It is just as gloomy. I do not pray enough,
hourly.

123



The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1897
February 5, Nicholskoe. If I live.

February 5, Nicholskoe.

Still the same intellectual, creative, weakness.
But I think it is almost hopeless. There was a
search at Chertkov's. S. arrived.

I thought: I, a worker, am I doing the work
commanded? In this is everything. Lord, help
me.

Feb. 6. Nicholskoe.

In the morning Gorbunov arrived ; in the even-
ing a telegram that the Chertkovs are leaving on
Thursday. 173 I prepared to go with Sonya. 174
Am just going. Health better.

Feb. 7. Petersburg.

Went to Chertkov. It is joyous there. Then
to Yaroshenko. 175

... I pray that I do not abandon here or any-
where the consciousness of my mission, to be ful-
filled by kindness.
Feb. 8. Petersburg. If I live.

I was alive, but made no entries the two days.
To-day, Feb. 10.

It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter, silence. I
was at Stasov's and Tolstoi's. 178 Did nothing

124



FEBRUARY] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

bad, but nothing good either. Rather some good.
Lord keep me from a spell, but I am better.
Have thought nothing.

Again at the Olsuphievs in Nicholskoe, Feb. 16.

I returned on the morning of the day before
yesterday, and fell ill. Yesterday I was better,
wrote on art. Good.

. . . Women do not consider the demands of
reason binding upon themselves and cannot pro-
gress according to them. They haven't got this
sail spread. They row without a rudder. 177

I am again feeling unwell and very sweetly sad.
Wrote a letter to the Chertkovs and to Posha.
Am not working.

Feb. 17. Nicholskoe.

I do not feel well. I tried to write on art. . . .

. . . Received letters; an adaptation of On
Life from the American. 178 Wrote two letters
to Sonya yesterday and sent them to-day. 179

Having been thinking even before Petersburg:

1) (For The Appeal) : To describe the con-
dition of the factory workers, the servants, sol-
diers, agricultural labourers in comparison with
the rich, and show that it all comes from. . . .

2) In the Middle Ages, in the Xlth Century,
poetry was general the people and the masters,
les courtois et les vilains; then they separated and

125



The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1897

les vilains began to mimic the masters' and the
masters the people's. A union ought to take



Online LibraryLeo TolstoyThe journal of Leo Tolstoi .. → online text (page 7 of 24)