Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) | Works

Leo Tolstoy (9 September 1828 – 20 November 1910) or as we also know him - Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy – was a famous Russian writer and novelist at first, a cult figure in Russia and also in the world; But in his later years – he became also well known as spiritual and religious seeker, pacifist philosopher and educator;

II Someday I shall relate the story of my life, including both the pathetic and the instructive aspects of those ten years of my youth. I think that many, very many, have had the same experiences. With all my soul I longed to be good; but I was young, I had passions, and I was alone, utterly alone, whenever I

III Thus I lived, giving myself over to this insanity for another six years, until my marriage. During this time I went abroad. Life in Europe and my acquaintance with eminent and learned Europeans confirmed me all the more in my belief in general perfectibility, for I found the very same belief among them. My belief assumed a form that

IV My life came to a stop. I could breathe, eat, drink, and sleep; indeed, I could not help but breathe, eat, drink, and sleep. But there was no life in me because I had no desires whose satisfaction I would have found reasonable. If I wanted something, I knew beforehand that it did not matter whether or not I

v Several times I asked myself: "Can it be that I have overlooked something, that there is something which I have failed to understand? Is it not possible that this state of despair is common to everyone?" And I searched for an answer to my questions in every area of knowledge acquired by man: For a long time I carried

VI In my search for answers to the question of life I felt exactly as a man who is lost in a forest. I came to a clearing, climbed a tree, and had a clear view of the endless space around me. But I could see that there was no house and that there could be no house; I went

VII Having failed to find an explanation in knowledge, I began to look for it in life, hoping to find it in the people around me. And so I began to observe people like myself to see how they lived and to determine what sort of relation they had with the question that had led me to despair. And this

VIII All these doubts, which I am now in a position to express more or less dearly, I was then unable to express: I simply felt that no matter how logically inescapable my conclusions about the vanity of life might have been, there was something wrong with them, even though they had been confirmed by the greatest of thinkers. Whether

IX I ran into a contradiction from which there were only two ways out: either the thing that I had referred to as reason was not as rational as I had thought, or the thing that I took to be irrational was not as irrational as I had thought. And I began to examine the course of the arguments that

x I understood this, but it did not make things any easier for me. I was now prepared to accept any faith, as long as it did not demand of me a direct denial of reason, for such a denial would be a lie. So I studied the texts of Buddhism and Mohammedanism; and more than ever those of Christianity