Arming Ourselves for the Future with the Knowledge from the Past.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
A quote by Leo Tolstoy, over 100 years ago............
“People are astonished that every year there are sixty thousand cases
of suicide in Europe, and those only the recognized and recorded
cases—and excluding Russia and Turkey; but one ought rather to be
surprised that there are so few. Every man of the present day, if we go
deep enough into the contradiction between his conscience and his life,
is in a state of despair.
“Not to speak of all the other
contradictions between modern life and the conscience, the permanently
armed condition of Europe together with its profession of Christianity
is alone enough to drive any man to despair, to doubt of the sanity of
mankind, and to terminate an existence in this senseless and brutal
world. This contradiction, which is a quintessence of all the other
contradictions, is so terrible that to live and to take part in it is
only possible if one does not think of it—if one is able to forget it.
“What! all of us, Christians, not only profess to love one another, but
do actually live one common life; we whose social existence beats with
one common pulse—we aid one another, learn from one another, draw ever
closer to one another to our mutual happiness, and find in this
closeness the whole meaning of life!—and to-morrow some crazy ruler will
say some stupidity, and another will answer in the same spirit, and
then I must go expose myself to being murdered, and murder men—who have
done me no harm—and more than that, whom I love. And this is not a
remote contingency, but the very thing we are all preparing for, which
is not only probable, but an inevitable certainty.
recognize this clearly is enough to drive a man out of his senses or to
make him shoot himself. And this is just what does happen, and
especially often among military men. A man need only come to himself for
an instant to be impelled inevitably to such an end.
this is the only explanation of the dreadful intensity with which men of
modern times strive to stupefy themselves, with spirits, tobacco,
opium, cards, reading newspapers, traveling, and all kinds of spectacles
and amusements. These pursuits are followed up as an important, serious
business. And indeed they are a serious business. If there were no
external means of dulling their sensibilities, half of mankind would
shoot themselves without delay, for to live in opposition to one’s
reason is the most intolerable condition. And that is the condition of
all men of the present day. All men of the modern world exist in a state
of continual and flagrant antagonism between their conscience and their
way of life. This antagonism is apparent in economic as well as
political life. But most striking of all is the contradiction between
the Christian law of the brotherhood of men existing in the conscience
and the necessity under which all men are placed by compulsory military
service of being prepared for hatred and murder—of being at the same
time a Christian and a gladiator.”
Source: Leo Tolstoy
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