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Leo Tolstoy's secrets of success. Writer about education, science and death
Leo Tolstoy's secrets of success. Writer about education, science and death

In the literary community, jokes about the length of the works of Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy are among the most popular. However, the writer not only successfully composed lengthy sentences, but also knew how to express thoughts vividly in a short form. Theory & Practice cites Tolstoy's best diaries about art, education and death.

About the creative process

1888, December 5.Slept criminally.

1903, March 13.Again all that, but not that.

1884, September 3.I went to pick mushrooms. Yearned. Sheel.

1884, May 28.Everything I do is bad, and I suffer terribly from this evil. As if I am not the only one who is not a madman; I live in a madhouse run by madmen.

1889, February 1.I got up at 8. I worked a lot, wrote it down, and go to have breakfast. Now, after breakfast, my stomach ached. I was very sick, but lived no worse than healthy days.

1884, May 12. Early. Tried not to smoke. Moving forward. But it's good to see your trashy.

1884, September 8. Seems to have worked a little.

1884, March 9. Everyone works except me.

About self-education

1852, June 3. How long have I been trying to educate myself! But how much have I improved? It's time to despair; but I still hope and look forward to chance, sometimes providence. I hope that something will arouse more energy in me and not forever will I be mired with lofty and noble dreams of fame, benefit, love in a colorless pool of petty, aimless life. I go to bed.

1847, April 17. Now I ask. What will be the purpose of my life in the countryside for two years? 1) Study the entire legal course required for the final exam at the university. 2) Study practical medicine and part of the theoretical. 3) Learn languages: French, Russian, German, English, Italian and Latin. 4) Study agriculture, both theoretical and practical. 5) Study history, geography and statistics. 6) Study mathematics, gymnasium course. 7) Write a dissertation. 8) Achieve an average degree of excellence in music and painting. 9) Write the rules. 10) Get some knowledge in natural sciences. 11) Compile essays from all the subjects that I will study.

1847, April 18. I suddenly wrote many rules and wanted to follow them all; but my strength was too weak for that.

1909, July 5. The most difficult, critical age is when a person stops growing physically, getting stronger … I think about 35 years old. Development, the growth of the body comes to an end, and development, spiritual growth should begin. For the most part, people do not understand this and continue to care about bodily growth, and the wrong direction taken can be destructive.

About school and teaching

1901, April 22. Teaching is nothing more than the assimilation of what smart people thought before us.

1860, October 13/25. School is not in schools, but in magazines and cafes.

1905, March 6. I thought about what is taught in our schools, gymnasiums: the main subjects: 1) ancient languages, grammar - are not needed for anything; 2) Russian literature, limited to the closest ones, that is, Belinsky, Dobrolyubov and we, sinners. All the great world literature is closed. 3) History, which is understood as a description of the bad lives of various villains, kings, emperors, dictators, military leaders, that is, a perversion of the truth, and 4) the crown of everything is senseless, stupid traditions and dogmas, which are boldly called the Law of God.

This is in the lower schools. In the lower schools, the denial of everything reasonable and necessary. In higher schools, in addition to specialties such as technology, medicine, materialistic, that is, a limited, narrow doctrine, which must explain everything and exclude any reasonable understanding of life, is being deliberately already taught.


1909, April 2. I also thought how destructive and corrupting children are at the gymnasium (Volodenka Milyutin - there is no God), how it is impossible to teach history, mathematics and the Law of God side by side. School of unbelief. It would be necessary to teach moral teaching.

1881, April 18. Destroy the universities, that is, everything fresh, truthful and educated.

1910, May 12. 1) How easy it is to assimilate what is called civilization, a real civilization, both by individuals and nations! Pass the university, clean your nails, use the services of a tailor and a hairdresser, go abroad, and the most civilized person is ready. And for the peoples: more railways, academies, factories, dreadnoughts, fortresses, newspapers, books, parties, parliaments - and the most civilized people are ready. It is from this that people grab for civilization, and not for enlightenment - both individuals and nations. The former is easy, effortless, and approving; the second, on the contrary, requires intense effort and not only does not arouse approval, but is always despised, hated by the majority, because it exposes the lies of civilization.

1884, March. I have now read the middle and new history from a short textbook.

Is there a worse reading in the world? Is there a book that could be more harmful for young men to read? And they teach her. I read it and for a long time could not wake up from melancholy. Murder, torture, deception, robbery, adultery, and nothing else. They say that you need a person to know where he came from. Did each of us come out of there? That, from where I and each of us came out with his own worldview, that is not in this story. And there is nothing to teach me.

1910, September 29. What a terrible mental poison modern literature is, especially for young people of the people. First, they fill their memory with the vague, self-confident, empty chatter of those writers who write for the present. The main feature and harm of this chatter is that it all consists of hints, quotes from the most diverse, newest and most ancient writers. They quote words from Plato, Hegel, Darwin, about which those who write do not have the slightest idea, and nearby words from some Andreev, Artsybashev and others, about which it is not worth having any idea; secondly, this chatter is harmful in that, filling the heads, it leaves no room or leisure in them to get acquainted with the old writers who have stood the test, not only ten, hundred, thousand years old.

About science and art

1847, March 19. A passion for science begins to appear in me; although of the passions of man this is the noblest, but no less than that I will never indulge in it one-sidedly.

1870, April 5. There is no art and is not needed, they say, science is needed.

1889, March 11. Art says: sun, light, warmth, life; science says: the sun is times larger than the earth. I'm going to dinner.

1889, August 22. Science for science, art for art.

About death

The last sheet of Tolstoy's notebook. So h [that] nѣt evil, if there is evil, then only that to [which] the person [ovѣk] himself desires. Nѣt and death.

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