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Leo Tolstoy and becoming less of a pleb

In many ways I am uncultured and uneducated. The older I get the more I realise how much I have yet to read/watch/hear/taste. I only recently watched the Godfather trilogy which if you haven't yet, you must do as soon as humanly possible.

One writer I have always feared was Leo Tolstoy. Firstly because of the sheer size of Tolstoy's books, but also their subjects seem overwhelmingly dark. Two fairly bad reasons for not reading one of the great writers.

Anyway, I was busy doing some research on an upcoming philosophy lecture I am going to where the speaker will be discussing the meaningfulness of life. I was researching Camus as I really like his approach to asking questions about the meaning of life (although might differ from him in some of his conclusions), and then got sidetracked into Tolstoy and I am really glad I did. Soon I will start tackling the great Russian's writings and will become slightly less uneducated.

Here are some quotes I found that were really great.
  • 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 any means possible, except getting off his back.
  • The vocation of every man and woman is to serve other people.
  • A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral. 
  •  There can be only one permanent revolution — a moral one; the regeneration of the inner man. How is this revolution to take place? Nobody knows how it will take place in humanity, but every man feels it clearly in himself. And yet in our world everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself.
  • The more there is of love, the more man manifests God, and the more he truly exists.
  • Progress consists only in the greater clarification of answers to the basic questions of life. The truth is always accessible to a man. It can't be otherwise, because a man's soul is a divine spark, the truth itself. It's only a matter of removing from this divine spark (the truth) everything that obscures it. Progress consists, not in the increase of truth, but in freeing it from its wrappings. The truth is obtained like gold, not by letting it grow bigger, but by washing off from it everything that isn't gold.

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