Leo Tolstoy On Many Topics

“There are two kinds of people in the world . . .”. Whenever I hear a pronouncement that begins with this statement, I almost always think, “Yes: those who believe there are only two kinds of people in this world, and the rest of us.”

That said, “there are two kinds of people in this world” (he said, tongue-in-cheek): “those who think they should read War and Peace, and those who have read it.”

I happen to have read War and Peace (albeit in translation), and I happen to like the novel so much that I re-read it, more or less every two years. I do not even approach the condition whereby I would recommend that anyone else a) read the novel or b) read it multiple times. And I am acutely aware of what Sam Johnson said of Paradise Lost: “No one wished it longer.” Even I, an aficionado of War and Peace, do not wish it longer.

This has all been a circuitous introduction to some quotations from Leo Tolstoy, who qualified, at least, as quirky.

The quotations are from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/l/leo_tolstoy_3.html

All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do.

All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.

Boredom: the desire for desires.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them.

I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means – except by getting off his back.

In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful.

In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.

Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal.

War on the other hand is such a terrible thing, that no man, especially a Christian man, has the right to assume the responsibility of starting it.


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