“Just as a painter needs light in order to put the finishing touches to his picture, so I need an inner light, which I feel I never have enough of in the autumn.”

Leo Tolstoy

“He went down trying not to look long at her, as though she were the sun, but he saw her, as one sees the sun, without looking.”

Leo Tolstoy

“Answer me two more questions,’ said the King. ‘The first is, Why did the earth bear such grain then and has ceased to do so now? And the second is, Why your grandson walks with two crutches, your son with one, and you yourself with none? Your eyes are bright, your teeth sound, and your speech clear and pleasant to the ear. How have these things come about?’ And the old man answered: ‘These things are so, because men have ceased to live by their own labour, and have taken to depending on the labour of others. In the old time, men lived according to God’s law. They had what was their own, and coveted not what others had produced.”

Leo Tolstoy

“He saw either death or the approach of it everywhere. But his undertaking now occupied him all the more. He had to live his life to the end, until death came. Darkness covered everything for him; but precisely because of this darkness he felt that his undertaking was the only guiding thread in this darkness, and he seized it and held on to it with all his remaining strength.”

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

“Everything I know...I know because I love.”

Leo Tolstoy

“And once he had seen this, he could never again see it otherwise, just as we cannot reconstruct an illusion once it has been explained.”

Leo Tolstoy

“The only real science is the knowledge of how a person should live his life. And this knowledge is open to everyone.”

Leo Tolstoy

“I have learned what must be, and therefore have come to see the whole horror of what is.”

Leo Tolstoy

“that in every individual a spiritual element is manifested that gives life to all that exists, and that this spiritual element strives to unite with everything of a like nature to itself, and attains this aim through love.”

Leo Tolstoy

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Leo Tolstoy

“the children themselves repaid her griefs with small joys. These joys were so small that they could not be seen, like gold in the sand, and in her bad moments she saw only the griefs, only sand; but there were also good moments, when she saw only joys, only gold.”

Leo Tolstoy

“I did not myself know what I wanted: I feared life, desired to escape from it, yet still hoped something of it.”

Leo Tolstoy

“It's like scarlet fever: one has to get it over." "Then one should invent a way of inoculating love, like vaccination.”

Leo Tolstoy

“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


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