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tolstoy kingdom of god is within you

The peasants are cursed, beaten, locked up, but they stick to their determination and do not do what is contrary to their faith. or, What shall we drink? Men say that a Christian life without violence cannot be established, because there are savage nations outside of Christian society — in Africa, in Asia (some people represent the Chinese as such a peril for our civilization) — and there are such savage, corrupt, and, according to the new theory of heredity, confirmed criminals amidst Christian societies; and that violence is needed for the purpose of keeping either from destroying our civilization. This is the last expression of refined culture, and at the same time of that obscuring of consciousness with which all the cultured classes of our time are occupied. We’ve discounted annual subscriptions by 50% for our End-of-Year sale—Join Now. One set of religious people, of whom there are millions in Russia, the so-called sectarians, recognize this order as false and subject to destruction on the basis of the Gospel teaching as taken in its real meaning; others consider it to be false on the basis of socialistic, communistic, anarchistic theories, which now have penetrated into the lower strata of the working people. He throws off his fur coat, pulls off his boots with his feet, takes off his vest, draws his shirt over his head, and with protruding ribs, naked, with shivering body, and emitting an odor of liquor, tobacco, and perspiration, with bare feet, enters into the Office, without knowing what to do with his bared muscular arms. “If a man fulfilled what was preached by Christ, he would destroy his life; and if all men should fulfil it, the whole human race would come to an end,” they say. The fate of a whole generation depends on the hour at which some sombre politician will give the signal, which will be followed. I remember, I was once present in the monastery bookstore of Óptin Cloister, when an old peasant was choosing some religious books for his grandson, who could read. This property of foreseeing the path on which humanity must travel is in a greater or lesser degree common to all men, but there have always, at all times, been men, in whom this quality has been manifested with particular force, and these men expressed clearly and precisely what was dimly felt by all men, and established a new comprehension of life, from which resulted an entirely new activity, for hundreds and thousands of years. Thieves, plunderers, murderers, cheats, who commit acts that are recognized as evil by themselves and by all men, serve as an example of what ought not to be done, and deter men from evil. With the present socialistic propaganda it may happen that I will command you to shoot at your own relatives, your brothers, even parents — which God forfend — and then you are obliged without murmuring to do my commands. Then it is demanded that this child, according to his age, shall learn to pray. But not only do all men who are connected with the structure of the state shift their responsibility for deeds committed upon others: the peasant who is drafted into the army, upon the nobleman or merchant who has become an officer; and the officer, upon the nobleman who holds the position of governor; and the governor, upon the son of an official or nobleman who occupies the position of minister; and the minister, upon a member of the imperial house who holds the position of emperor; and the emperor again, upon all these officials, noblemen, merchants, and peasants; not only do men in this manner free themselves from the consciousness of responsibility for acts committed by them — they even lose the moral consciousness of their responsibility for this other reason, that, uniting into a political structure, they so constantly, continuously, and tensely convince themselves and others that they are not all identical men, but men who differ from one another as does “one star from another,” that they begin themselves sincerely to believe so. It consists in taking the wealth away from the laboring classes in the shape of monetary taxes, and distributing this wealth among the officials, who for this remuneration are obliged to maintain and strengthen the enslavement of the masses. I have no part, it is said, in the counsels of the government, and am not therefore responsible for its crimes. The natural sciences have in our time confirmed the mysterious law which was revealed to Joseph de Maistre by the inspiration of his genius and the consideration of primitive dogmas; he saw how the world redeems its hereditary falls by a sacrifice; the sciences show us how the world is perfected by struggle and by compulsory selection; this is the assertion from two sides of the same decree, written out in different expressions. The same is true in all other crimes. But if protection against barbarians is meant, then one-thousandth of all the armies now under arms would suffice. The peasants objected. And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: and thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot (Deut. They know that they are in slavery, and are perishing in want and darkness, in order to serve the lust of the minority, which keeps them in slavery. And yet this corruption of Christianity, having brought men to the condition in which they now are, was a necessary condition for the majority of men to be able to receive it in its real significance. But the Christian profession differs in this very thing from the pagan, in that it does not demand of a man certain external negative acts, but places him in another relation to man from what he was in before, a relation from which may result the most varied acts, which cannot be ascertained in advance, and so a Christian cannot promise to do another person’s will, without knowing in what the demands of this will may consist, and cannot obey the variable human laws; he cannot even promise to do anything definite at a certain time or to abstain from anything at a certain time, because he cannot know what at any time that Christian law of love, the submission to which forms the meaning of his life, may demand of him. To pray means to stand straight in front of the boards on which the faces of Christ, the Virgin, the saints, are represented, and incline his head and his whole body, and with his right hand, with fingers put together in a certain form, to touch his brow, shoulders, and stomach, and pronounce Church-Slavic words, of which all the children are particularly enjoined to repeat, “Mother of God, Virgin, rejoice!” etc. The ideal which operates upon people is not an invented one, but one which is borne in the soul of every man. However much misapplication or abuse of a principle may prejudice the minds of those who are unacquainted with a subject, it is yet no argument against its truth. Just as a man of the social life-conception says to a savage, “Come to your senses, bethink yourself! People generally say that the moral teaching of Christianity is good, but exaggerated — that, in order that it should be absolutely good, we must reject from it what is superfluous, what does not fit in with our structure of life. At the same time, however, the governments annually increase the military forces of their countries, impose new taxes, make loans, and leave to future generations, as a legacy, the obligation to bear the blunders of the present senseless politics. We all know, and we cannot help but know, even if we have never heard or read this thought clearly expressed and have never expressed it ourselves, we, having imbibed this consciousness, which is borne in the Christian atmosphere, know with our whole heart, and we cannot help but know, that fundamental truth of the Christian teaching, that we all are the sons of one Father, all of us, no matter where we may live or what language we may speak — that we are all brothers and are subject only to the law of love, which by our common Father is implanted in our hearts. By its inertia this mass always retards the rapid, frequent transitions, unverified by human wisdom, from one structure of life to another, and for a long time retains every truth which, verified by a long experience of a struggle, has entered into the consciousness of humanity. Suddenly the greatest variety of men, wheelwrights, professors, merchants, peasants, gentlemen, as though by agreement, all refuse to serve, not for causes which are recognized by the law, but because the court itself, according to their conviction, is an illegal, non-Christian thing, which ought not to exist. Hence, we deem it unlawful to bear arms, or to hold a military office. In this does the fundamental difference between the Christian teaching and the teaching of the positivists and of all the theorists of the non-Christian universal brotherhood consist. A man cannot help but suffer, when his whole life is determined in advance by laws which he must obey under the menace of punishment, and in the rationality and justice of which he does not believe, and the unnaturalness, cruelty, injustice of which he clearly recognizes. xxiv. Having conscientiously given a short review of my book, Farrar says: [Tolstoy] came to the conclusion that a coarse deceit had been palmed upon the world when these words were held by civil society to be compatible with war, courts of justice, capital punishment, divorce, oaths, national prejudice, and indeed with most of the institutions of civil and social life. In our time they not only preach patriotism and aristocratism, as it was preached two thousand years ago, but they even preach the coarsest epicureanism, animality, with this one difference, that the men who then preached it believed in what they preached, while now the preachers themselves do not believe in what they say, and they cannot believe, because what they preach no longer has any meaning. A Christian has under no condition the right to deprive of life or to subject to insult him who does evil to his neighbor. One execution, which is performed by well-to-do, cultured men, not under the influence of passion, but with the approval and cooperation of Christian pastors, and presented as something necessary, corrupts and bestializes men more than hundreds and thousands of murders, committed by uncultured laboring men, especially under the incitement of passion. And the door opens, and out come, staggering, and with a look of bravado, the accepted recruits — Petrúkha, and Vanyúkha, and Makár — trying not to look at their relatives. With this means the circle of violence is closed. “I can run the bayonet through him,” he replied, in the peculiar, senseless voice of a soldier. Thus, judge also nonmilitary, so-called learned, cultured, refined people. Is he fit for the army?”. In these letters, which express their sympathy with my views concerning the unlawfulness for Christianity of all violence and war, the Quakers informed me of the details of their so-called sect, which for more than two hundred years has in fact professed Christ’s teaching about non-resistance to evil, and which has used no arms in order to defend itself. This means consists in representing the existing state structure (no matter what it may be — whether a free republic or the wildest despotism) as something sacred and invariable, and so in inflicting the severest penalties for any attempt at changing it. 1 - FULL AudioBook | Greatest Audio Books - YouTube. On this inequality and exaltation of one class of men and the annihilation of the other is mainly based the inability of men to see the irrationality of the existing order and its cruelty and criminality, and of that deception which is practised by some and to which the others submit. How can we love men in these troubled times, when the morrow is but a menace? The love of one’s nation, which is of the same race, tongue, and faith with one, is still possible, though this sentiment is far from being as strong as the love of self, or even of family and race; but the love of a country, like Turkey, Germany, England, Austria, Russia, is almost an impossible thing, and, in spite of the intensified education in this direction, is only assumed and does not exist in reality. But nothing of the kind happened. But, besides your belonging to a certain state, and the obligations resulting therefrom, you also belong to the infinite life of the world and to God, and have certain obligations resulting from this relation. The sobs and groans of the crowd became louder; but the representative of the governmental power continued the torture. It is better for one man to perish, than that a whole nation should perish, you say, like Caiaphas, and you sign one, two, three death-warrants, load your gun for that man who is to perish for the common good, put him in prison, take away his property. In the majority of cases, the men of our time do not believe in the justice of this law, despise it, and yet obey it. I congratulate you on your Tsar’s service.” And the poor fellows (somebody has instructed them what to do) babble something with an unaccustomed, half-intoxicated tongue to the effect that they are glad of it. A diplomatic congress ought to meet every year. In saying that without the power of state the evil men would rule over the good, they take it for granted that the good are precisely those who at the present time have power, and the bad the same who are now subjugated. It may subject us to insult, outrage, suffering, yea, even death itself. When I was a little fellow, I was assured that to catch a bird it was just necessary to pour some salt on its tail. The Russian government practises extortion on its subjects, for centuries has not troubled itself about the Little Russians in Poland, nor about the Letts in the Baltic provinces, nor about the Russian peasants who have been exploited by all manner of men, and suddenly it becomes a defender of the oppressed against the oppressors, those very oppressors whom it oppresses. You might be able to risk making a mistake, if you had time to see and correct your mistake, and if that in the name of which you should take your risk had any importance. But, mindful of the condition, all the courtiers say that they see the garment, and they praise it. It is the culmination of thirty years of Tolstoy's Christian thinking, and lays out a new organization for society based on a literal Christian interpretation of the Bible. A Christian is freed from every human power in that he considers for his life and for the lives of others the divine law of love, which is implanted in the soul of every man and is brought into consciousness by Christ, as the only guide of his life and of that of other men. The Alabama question was decided by a court of arbitration, it was proposed to have the question about the Caroline Islands submitted to the arbitration of the Pope. Then it is impressed on the parents, and even demanded of them under threat of punishment in case of non-fulfilment, that the child shall be baptized, that is, dipped three times in water by the priest, in connection with which incomprehensible words are pronounced and even less comprehensible acts performed — the smearing of various parts of the body with oil, the shearing of the hair, and the blowing and spitting of the sponsors on the imaginary devil. “The bad will rule over the good and will do violence to them.”. One of these causes is this, that both the believers and the unbelievers are firmly convinced that Christ’s teaching has been comprehended by them long ago, and so completely, indubitably, and finally, that there can be no other meaning in it than the one they ascribe to it. The higher ruling classes know that fifty thousand soldiers will soon be insufficient, and, no longer depending on Pinkerton’s army, they feel that the security of their position lies only in an increase of the army. The men of the higher ruling classes, the proprietors, ministers, kings, officers, take part in these matters, thus supporting the existing order, because it is advantageous for them. They speak of the past, and more frequently of the imaginary future of violence, but themselves without cessation commit acts of violence. No matter how much men have devised means for depriving men in power of the possibility of subordinating the common interests to their own, or for entrusting the power only into the hands of infallible men, there have so far been discovered no means for doing either. Is it not perfectly Christian to murder hundreds of thousands of fellow human beings; to ravish defenseless females, sack and burn cities, and enact all the other cruelties of war? I have often been struck by this observation, which would be comical, if its consequences were not so terrible, that men, taking hold of each other in a circle, deceive one another, without being able to get out of the enchanted circle. The people have in our time reached the remarkable state when their hearts are so hardened that they look and do not see, that they listen and do not hear or understand. Tolstoy is my favorite writer. Again they write to St. Petersburg, and from there comes the decision that the young man be transferred to the army at the frontier, where it is in a state of siege, and where he may be shot for refusing to serve, and where the matter may pass unnoticed, since in that distant country there are few Russians and Christians, and mostly natives and Mohammedans. The men of antiquity, and even of the Middle Ages, believed, believed firmly, that men are not equal, that only the Persians, only the Greeks, only the Romans, only the French were real men. Indeed, how can we subjugate by force the nations whose whole education, all whose traditions, even religious teaching, leads them to see the highest virtue in a struggle with their enslavers and in striving after liberty? And yet these propositions just as strictly result from the Christian conception of life as the tenet about giving up one’s labor for the common good, about sacrificing one’s life in the defence of one’s country, results from the social conception. Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this The Kingdom of God Is Within You study guide. The king hires the tailors, and they begin to sew, having informed him that the peculiarity of their garment is this, that he who is useless in his office cannot see the garments. This other method of attaining a newly revealed truth and transition to a new structure of life consists in this, that men do not attain the truth simply because they perceive it with a prophetic feeling or experience of life, but also because at a certain stage of the dissemination of the truth all men who stand on a lower stage of development accept it all at once, out of confidence in those who have accepted it in an internal way, and apply it to life. Men say, “By what shall we be made secure, when the existing order is destroyed? The intermediate people, who, partly submitting to the higher, and partly considering themselves to be superior, succumb simultaneously I to the intoxication of power and that of servility, and so I lose the consciousness of their responsibility. All these men more or less believe in the unchangeableness of the existing order, because, above all else, it is advantageous for them. Having withdrawn from human protection, what can sustain us but that faith which overcomes the world? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. The same is done to those who on the same grounds refuse to be witnesses at court. There can be but two answers: either we have to find a true and indisputable criterion of what an evil is, or we must not resist evil with violence. And then the men, feeling, on the one hand, the necessity of submitting to the new public opinion, and not daring, on the other, to depart from the former, find themselves in an unnatural, wavering state. The patriotic superstition is encouraged by means of public celebrations, spectacles, monuments, festivities, which are arranged by the governments and the ruling classes on the money collected from the masses, and which make people prone to recognize the exclusive importance of their own nation and the grandeur of their own state and rulers, and to be ill inclined toward all other nations and even hate them. It is not only unknown in Europe, but even among the Americans, who so highly esteem Garrison’s memory, this declaration is almost unknown. Germany was the first to hit upon this plan, and the moment one government did it, all the others were obliged to do the same. The sobs and groans of the mass of women grew louder and more heartrending, and the faces of the men grew gloomier and gloomier; but the troops stood all about them, and the torture did not stop until the work was accomplished in the measure which for some reason appeared indispensable to the caprice of the unfortunate, half-drunken, deluded man, called a governor. We shall not keep it from fondling the hope of the chimera of a golden age, which, if it should be realized, would soon become an age of mire. Word Count: 860. If the same unanimity which is revealed in essential points of belief is found also in rejecting certain tendencies, are we not right to conclude that these tendencies were in flagrant opposition to the fundamental principles of Christianity? With the admission of murder in the form of executions, wars, self-defence, there may be a semblance of morality, but no real morality. 19), and, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts v. 29). But commerce and the banking industry consist in nothing but selling at a higher price than that at which the purchases are made, and so the proposition that articles should not be sold except at a purchase price, and that money should be abolished, is tantamount to a proposition that they should abolish themselves. To subjugate these men to Christianity, there is but one, the only way — the Christian public opinion, which can be established among these men only by means of the true Christian teaching, confirmed by a true, Christian example of life. “Speak louder!” shouts to him the colonel with the shining shoulder-straps. It is incorrect to think that such a crisis can cure us of the political and economical calamities which oppress us. Let us, then, enter into this unavoidable, indispensable Palace of War; and we shall have occasion to observe in what manner the most stubborn of our instincts, without losing anything of its force, is transformed, in submitting to the different demands of historic moments. Better or worse men? Why do mothers buy their children helmets, guns, swords as their favorite toys? Look at the private life of separate individuals; listen to those valuations of acts, which men make in judging one another; listen, not only to the public sermons and lectures, but also to those instructions which parents and educators give to their charges, and you will see that, no matter how far the political, social life of men, which is united through violence, is from the realization of Christian truths in private life, it is only the Christian virtues that are by all and for all, without exception and indubitably, considered to be good, and that the anti-Christian vices are by all and for all, without exception and indubitably, considered to be bad. This Congress expresses its opinion that all teachers of history should call the attention of the young to the grave evils inflicted on mankind in all ages by war, and to the fact that such war has been waged, as a rule, for most inadequate causes. Cannon Scott Holland, Rev. (E. Kod, Le Sens de la Vie, pp. And so now the Governor of Túla was travelling with his officials, officers, and soldiers, in order to perform just such a work. Since then both powers have been aiding one another and have striven after external glory. War arrives. And so there can be no obligatory rules for this teaching. Men obviously enslave themselves, suffer from this slavery, and believe that it must be so, that it is all right and does not interfere with the liberation of men, which is being prepared somewhere and somehow, in spite of the ever increasing and increasing slavery. Besides, this fear of the abolition of the visible protection of the policeman is preeminently a fear of city people, that is, of people who live under abnormal and artificial conditions. Eighteen hundred years ago there appeared in the pagan Roman world a strange, new teaching, which resembled nothing which preceded it, and which was ascribed to the man Christ. Unable to part from their wealth during their lifetime, many of them will it away after their death in favor of public institutions. All the citizens must take part in court proceedings in the capacity of jurymen. And so the men of our time, it would seem, cannot possibly pretend that they do not know these their obligations. Even the men of the Middle Ages and the men of the end of the last and the beginning of this century could have believed so. But the learned do not want to see this, and all hope to find a combination by which the governments, who produce the wars, will limit themselves. History testifies to that. If Columbus had reflected thus, he would never have weighed anchor. An external cult and serving charity and truth are hard to harmonize; for the most part one thing excludes the other. Thus, uniting into herds of four hundred thousand men, marching day and night without any rest, not thinking of anything, nor studying anything, nor learning anything, nor reading anything, not being useful to a single person, rotting from dirt, sleeping in the mire, living like the brutes in a constant stupor, pillaging cities, burning villages, ruining peoples, then meeting another conglomeration of human flesh, rushing against it, making lakes of blood and fields of battered flesh, mingled with muddy and blood-stained earth and mounds of corpses, being deprived of arms or legs, or having the skull crushed without profit to any one, and dying in the corner of a field, while your old parents, your wife, and your children are starving — that’s what is called not to fall into the most hideous materialism. Among millions of those who swear, there are a few dozens who do not. I have covenanted to forsake all and follow Him, through good and evil report, until death. Liberty cannot be granted to a Christian or to Christians, or taken from them. Not only does this freedom give the good to men, but it is also the one means for the accomplishment of the work which is done by the life of the world. And, no matter what arguments may be adduced to a man who has outgrown the political form, about its indispensableness, he cannot return to it, cannot take part in the affairs which are denied by his consciousness, just as the full-grown chicks can no longer return into the shell which they have outgrown. In this consists the fifth and most effective means for removing the contradiction in which the ecclesiastic Christianity has placed itself by professing Christ in words and denying His teaching in life, and teaching the same to others. But what can they do with men who, not wishing to destroy anything, nor to establish anything, wish only for their own sakes, for the sake of their lives, to do nothing which is contrary to the Christian law, and so refuse to fulfil the most common obligations, which are most indispensable to the governments? Thus it was in the time of the Roman and the Byzantine emperors, and so it continued even afterward. The foreign critics proceeded from the same bases, but their reviews of my book differed from those of the Russian critics not only in a lesser degree of irritability and a greater degree of culture, but also in the essence of the matter. A man’s greater or lesser good, according to this teaching, depends, not on the degree of perfection which he attains, but on the greater or lesser acceleration of motion. The excited crowd, generally deceived by its leaders, does not understand a word that the representative of the power says in official book language, and continues to be agitated. One and the same thing is repeated with all these works. And these contradictions do not result, as may appear, because people pretend to be Christians, when in reality they are pagans, but, on the contrary, because people lack something, or because there is some force which keeps them from being what they already feel themselves to be in their consciousness and what they actually wish to be. And the men who think so adduce in confirmation of their opinion philosophic, historic, and even religious arguments, which to them seem incontrovertible. Peter Sídorov is startled, makes the sign of the cross, and enters into a small room with a glass door. A. If you are dissatisfied with your purchase or shopping experience, we would like to hear from you. Why did they kill her boy, her fine boy, her only hope, her pride, her life? I vote on. 55.]. But, in asserting this, the defenders of the existing order of things decide in advance the justice of the position which it is for them to prove. In life people are impressed with the necessity of observing the following rules: not to eat meat or milk food on certain days, on other certain days to celebrate masses for the dead, on holidays to receive the priest and give him money, and several times a year to take the boards with the representations out of the church and carry them on sashes over fields and through houses. Thus writes a talented, sincere author, who is endowed with that penetration into the essence of the matter which forms the essence of the poetical genius. The author concludes his book with the following: Christ has chosen his disciples out of the world. To whom does Jesus refer in the words, “It has been said?”. 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