“Every man experiences what you call love for every pretty woman and least of all for his wife. That is what the proverb says, and it is a true one. "Another's wife is a swan, but one's own is bitter wormwood.”

Leo Tolstoy

“Life meanwhile, the actual life of men with their real interests of health and sickness, labour and rest, with their interests of thought, science, poetry, music, love, affection, hatred, passion, went its way, as always, independently, apart from the political amity or enmity of Napoleon Bonaparte, and apart from all possible reforms.”

Leo Tolstoy

“...the role of the disappointed lover of a maiden or of any single woman might be ridiculous; but the role of a man who was pursuing a married woman, and who made it the purpose of his life at all cost to draw her into adultery, was one which had in it something beautiful and dignified and could never be ridiculous....”

Leo Tolstoy

“If you see that some aspect of your society is bad, and you want to improve it, there is only one way to do so: you have to improve people. And in order to improve people, you begin with only one thing: you can become better yourself”

Leo Tolstoy

“One can no more approach people without love than one can approach bees without care. Such is the quality of bees...”

Leo Tolstoy

“Man must not check reason by tradition, but contrariwise, must check tradition by reason.”

Leo Tolstoy

“the same question arose in every soul: "For what, for whom, must I kill and be killed?"

Leo Tolstoy

“Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.”

Leo Tolstoy

“It was long before I could believe that human learning had no clear answer to this question. For a long time it seemed to me, as I listened to the gravity and seriousness wherewith Science affirmed its positions on matters unconnected with the problem of life, that I must have misunderstood something. For a long time I was timid in the presence in learning, and I fancied that the insufficiency of the answers which I received was not its fault, but was owing to my own gross ignorance, but this thing was not a joke or a pastime with me, but the business of my life, and I was at last forced, willy-nilly, to the conclusion that these questions of mine were the only legitimate questions underlying all knowledge, and that it was not I that was in fault in putting them, but science in pretending to have an answer for them.”

Leo Tolstoy

“But the law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.”

Leo Tolstoy

“To improve ourselves, to move toward that goal, perfection, that puts no less a demand on us for being unattainable, requires solitude, removal from the concerns of everyday life. And yet constant solitude renders self-improvement impossible, if not pointless. A balance must be struck between meditating in solitude and then applying this to your everyday life.”

Leo Tolstoy

“I don't want to prove anything; I merely want to live, to do no one harm but myself. I have the right to do that, haven't I?”

Leo Tolstoy

“It was as if the main screw in his head, which held his whole life together, had become stripped. The screw would not go in, would not come out, but turned in the same groove without catching hold, and it was impossible to stop turning it.”

Leo Tolstoy

“If a man lives, then he believes in something. If he didn't believe that one must live for something, then he wouldn't live. If he doesn't see and doesn't understand the illusoriness of the finite, he believes in the infinite; if he does understand the illusoriness of the finite, he must believe in the infinite without which one cannot live.”

Leo Tolstoy

“I think that to find out what love is really like, one must first make a mistake and then put it right.”

Leo Tolstoy


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