Tag: Tolstoy

Vronsky Sees Anna for the First Time – Anna Karenina Quote

Vronsky followed the conductor to the carriage and at the door to the compartment stopped to allow a lady to leave. With the habitual flair of a worldly man, Vronsky determined from one glance at this lady’s appearance that she belonged to high society. He excused himself and was about to enter the carriage, but felt a need to glance at her once more – not because she was very beautiful, not because of the elegance and modest grace that could be seen in her whole figure, but because there was something especially gentle and tender in the expression of her sweet-looking face as she stepped past him. As he looked back, she also turned her head. Her shining grey eyes, which seemed dark because of their thick lashes, rested amiably and attentively on his face, as if she recognized him, and at once wandered over the approaching crowd as though looking for someone. In that brief glance Vronsky had time to notice the restrained animation that played over her face and fluttered between her shining eyes and the barely noticeable smile that curved her red lips. It was as if a surplus of something so overflowed her being that it expressed itself beyond her will, now in the brightness of her glance, now in her smile. She deliberately extinguished the light in her eyes, but it shone against her will in a barely noticeable smile.

Anna Karenina
Tolstoy

April 13 – Some Thoughts – Tolstoy

We understand the divine, spiritual beginning of our life both with our intellect and with our love.

A man is wise who does three things: first, he does by himself those things which he advises others to do; secondly, he does not do anything that contravenes the truth; and thirdly, he is patient with the weaknesses of those who surround him.

Great thoughts come directly from the heart.
Luc DE VAUVENARGUES

A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul
Leo Tolstoy

March 9 – Calendar of Wisdom Quote, Tolstoy

War and Christianity are not compatible.

War is one of the worst, most terrible things in this world.

War in this world can be stopped not by the ruling establishment, but by those who suffer from the war. They will do the most natural thing: stop obeying orders.

The armed world and the wars it wages will be destroyed one day, but not by the kings or the rulers of this world. War is profitable for them. War will stop the moment the people who suffer from war fully understand that it is evil.

A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul, Written and Selected from the World’s Sacred Texts
Leo Tolstoy

Calendar of Wisdom, Tolstoy – August 11

A person dies as he lives his spiritual life, alone.

What you do, you possess. You must believe that eternal goodness exists that is within you, and that it grows and develops as long as you live. —RALPH WALDO EMERSON

You alone plan to commit a sin, you alone plan to do evil; and you alone can escape sin and purify your thoughts. Only your inner self can damn you, and only your inner self can save you. —DHAMMAPADA, a book of BUDDHIST WISDOM

A person may ask God or other people for help, but only his good life can help him, and this he must do on his own. Every person has a depth to his inner life, an essence that cannot be explained. Sometimes you want to explain this essence to people, but you will see that it isn’t possible to explain it to another person so that he understands. Hence the need for your own channel of communication with God. Establish this channel and do not seek anything else.

Tolstoy, Leo. A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul

Quotes on Humility, Being Humble

For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. – LUKE 14:11

A person who stands on his tiptoes cannot stand long, and a person who is too proud of himself cannot set a good example. – LAO-TZU

He who is looking for wisdom is already wise; and he who thinks that he has found wisdom is a stupid man. – EASTERN WISDOM

No exterior force can make you humble. There is only one way to be humble: do not think about yourself, but about how you can serve God and others.

From – A Calendar of Wisdom, Tolstoy, Leo
Amazon

See also this quote by Thomas A. Kempis

Ivan Ilych’s life was the most simple and most ordinary and therefore the most terrible.

The self that dies is radically separate, not only from the material world but also from other selves. My consciousness is essentially private; I cannot directly experience the mind of another. I may know everything public about another conscious being, but I cannot experience being that other. Knowing from direct experience is one thing, and knowing about, from an outside perspective, is quite another. Mortality therefore entails unspeakable loneliness.

Itself a narrativized apothegm, Tolstoy’s novella contains several of his most-cited lines. Ivan Ilych has lived as if his public role exhausted his identity, but in his mortal illness he discovers the private self, inaccessible from the outside, that he has overlooked. He senses with horror that his role will go on but his “I” will die.

None of us can really grasp this fact, but for Ivan Ilych it is all the more terrible because he is losing the self just as he realizes he has it. He has thought of himself as his “place” (mesto), a word that means not only physical location but also job (position) and social role (place in society). He has assiduously avoided doing anything “inappropriate” (literally, out of place). But the self is not a place, and so he has missed it until, when dying, he recognizes that besides what is here and now, there is something else.

What Ivan Ilych takes to be the glory of his life, his amazing ability to “fit in” with others, depends on a “virtuoso” erasure of self. But as he will learn, nothing can be worse than success in such a venture. That is the meaning of the frequently cited apothegm that begins Chapter 2: Ivan Ilych’s life was the most simple and most ordinary and therefore the most terrible. (GSW, 255)

Morson, Gary. The Long and Short of It: From Aphorism to Novel

Tolstoy on History and Causation

When an apple ripens and falls—what makes it fall? Is it that it is attracted to the ground, is it that the stem withers, is it that the sun has dried it up, that it has grown heavier, that the wind shakes it, that the boy standing underneath wants to eat it?

No one thing is the cause. All this is only the coincidence of conditions under which every organic, elemental event of life is accomplished. And the botanist who finds that the apple falls because the cellular tissue degenerates, and so on, will be as right and as wrong as the child who stands underneath and says that the apple fell because he wanted to eat it and prayed for it. As he who says that Napoleon went to Moscow because he wanted to, and perished because Alexander wanted him to perish, will be both right and wrong, so he will be right and wrong who says that an undermined hill weighing a million pounds collapsed because the last worker struck it a last time with his pick. In historical events the so-called great men are labels that give the event a name, which, just as with labels, has the least connection of all with the event itself.

Their every action, which to them seems willed by themselves, in the historical sense is not willed, but happens in connection with the whole course of history and has been destined from before all ages.

Tolstoy, Leo. War and Peace (Vintage Classics) , translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky