Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Tolstoy, Confessions


I'm going to run the "confession" together with the other works in this short book ... "What is Religion", "Religion and Morality", and "The Law of Love and Violence".

When Tolstoy was in his 50's, already well known and admired as an author around the world, he came to a point of crisis which he covers in chapter 4. He had realized (in chapter 3), that his former thought of the morality and purpose of "living in conformity with progress" was nonsense. Anything, no matter how horrible could be justified in the name of "progress". This writing was done prior to WWI, and even prior to the Russian Revolution ... he saw the likely outcome of the dream of "progressivism"-- 10's of millions dead from Nazism and Communism in the 20th century.

He becomes extremely suicidal, and what saves him is what he sees as a revelation that he has an eternal soul and that God has a purpose and meaning for all of this. Being a genius, he immediately skips over the idea of "wisdom" (fear of God), and the fact that he has none of it (wisdom) next to God, as well as forgetting that the human heart is "full of it", but the "it is shit". He then proceeds to cherry pick the Bible as he sees fit, much like Jefferson did in creating the "Jefferson Bible", a "bible" devoid of anything other than a deist god who totally keeps his hands off his creation.

Tolstoy hates "the church", virtually all sorts of government, and postulates a "divine nature" at the core of all humans that just needs to be nurtured (by ourselves) separate from all historical creeds and philosophy. At one level, he realizes that "religion" is a requirement for people living in community ... but is uncertain of what such a "religion" might be.

The book is mainly interesting because it was written by Tolstoy.

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