“Remember then: there is only one time that is important-- Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!

Leo Tolstoy

“Why, of course," objected Stepan Arkadyevitch. "But that's just the aim of civilization—to make everything a source of enjoyment.”

Leo Tolstoy

“I saw that all who do not profess an identical faith with themselves are considered by the Orthodox to be heretics, just as the Catholics and others consider the Orthodox to be heretics. And i saw that the Orthodox (though they try to hide this) regard with hostility all who do not express their faith by the same external symbols and words as themselves; and this is naturally so; first, because the assertion that you are in falsehood and I am in truth, is the most cruel thing one man can say to another; and secondly, because a man loving his children and brothers cannot help being hostile to those who wish to pervert his children and brothers to a false belief. And that hostility is increased in proportion to one's greater knowledge of theology. And to me who considered that truth lay in union by love, it became self-evident that theology was itself destroying what it ought to produce.”

Leo Tolstoy

“Everything intelligent is so boring.”

Leo Tolstoy

“It's wrong, what you say, and I beg you, if you're a good man, to forget what you've said, as I forget it," she said at last.

Leo Tolstoy

“She danced the dance so well, so well indeed, so perfectly, that Anisya Fyodorovna, who handed her at once the kerchief she needed in the dance, had tears in her eyes, though she laughed as she watched that slender and graceful little countess, reared in silk and velvet, belonging to another world than hers, who was yet able to understand all that was in Anisya and her father and her mother and her aunt and every Russian soul.”

Leo Tolstoy

“Involuntarily it appeared to me that there, somewhere, was someone who amused himself by watching how I lived for thirty or forty years: learning, developing, maturing in body and mind, and how, having with matured mental powers reached the summit of life from which it all lay before me, I stood on that summit -- like an arch-fool -- seeing clearly that there is nothing in life, and that there has been and will be nothing. And he was amused... But whether that "someone" laughing at me existed or not, I was none the better off. I could give no reasonable meaning to any single action or to my whole life. I was only surprised that I could have avoided understanding this from the very beginning -- it has been so long known to all. Today or tomorrow sickness and death will come (they had come already) to those I love or to me; nothing will remain but stench and worms. Sooner or later my affairs, whatever they may be, will be forgotten, and I shall not exist. Then why go on making any effort?... How can man fail to see this? And how go on living? That is what is surprising! One can only live while one is intoxicated with life; as soon as one is sober it is impossible not to see that it is all a mere fraud and a stupid fraud! That is precisely what it is: there is nothing either amusing or witty about it, it is simply cruel and stupid.”

Leo Tolstoy

“The assertion that you are in falsehood and I am in truth ist the most cruel thing one man can say to another”

Leo Tolstoy

“I can't praise a young lady who is alive only when people are admiring her, but as soon as she is left alone, collapses and finds nothing to her taste--one who is all for show and has no resources in herself”

Leo Tolstoy

“It was only at her prayers that she felt able to think calmly and clearly either of Prince Andrey or Anatole, with a sense that her feelings for them were as nothing compared with her feel of worship and awe of God.”

Leo Tolstoy

“The latter part of her stay in Voronezh had been the happiest period in Princess Marya's life. Her love for Rostov was not then a source of torment or agitation to her. That love had by then filled her whole soul and become an inseparable part of herself, and she no longer struggled against it. Of late Princess Marya was convinced- though she never clearly in so many words admitted it to herself- that she loved and was beloved.”

Leo Tolstoy

“There are many faiths, but the spirit is one — in me, and in you, and in him. So that if everyone believes himself, all will be united; everyone be himself and all will be as one.”

Leo Tolstoy

“But the older he grew and the more intimately he came to know his brother, the oftener the thought occurred to him that the power of working for the general welfare – a power of whichhe felt himself entirely destitute – was not a virtue but rather a lack of something: not a lack of kindly honesty and noble desires and tastes, but a lack of the power of living, of what is called heart – the aspiration which makes a man choose one out of all the innumerable paths of life that present themselves, and desire that alone.”

Leo Tolstoy

“The Bible legend tells us that the absence of toil - idleness - was a condition of the first man's state of bliss before the Fall. This love of idleness has remained the same in the fallen man, but the curse still lies heavy on the human race....because our moral nature is such that we are unable to be idle and at peace.”

Leo Tolstoy

“Lord have mercy! Pardon and help us!" he repeated the words that suddenly and unexpectedly sprang to his lips. And he, an unbeliever, repeated those words not with his lips only. At that instant he knew that neither his doubts nor the impossibility of believing with his reason- of which he was conscious- all prevented his appealing to God. It all flew off like dust. To whom should he appeal, if not to Him in whose hands he felt himself, his soul, and his love, to be?

Leo Tolstoy


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