All we can know is that we know nothing. And that's the height of human wisdom.
Every man had his personal habits, passions, and impulses toward goodness, beauty, and truth.
I feel not only that I cannot disappear, as nothing disappears in the world, but that I will always be and have always been. I feel that, besides me, above me, spirits live, and that in this world there is truth.
Life meanwhile, the actual life of men with their real interests of health and sickness, labour and rest, with their interests of thought, science, poetry, music, love, affection, hatred, passion, went its way, as always, independently, apart from the political amity or enmity of Napoleon Bonaparte, and apart from all possible reforms.
She danced the dance so well, so well indeed, so perfectly, that Anisya Fyodorovna, who handed her at once the kerchief she needed in the dance, had tears in her eyes, though she laughed as she watched that slender and graceful little countess, reared in silk and velvet, belonging to another world than hers, who was yet able to understand all that was in Anisya and her father and her mother and her aunt and every Russian soul.
There will be today, there will be tomorrow, there will be always, and there was yesterday, and there was the day before...
Writing laws is easy, but governing is difficult.
And from the height of this perception all that had previously tormented and preoccupied him suddenly became illumined by a cold white light without shadows, without perspective, without distinction of outline. All life appeared to him like magic-lantern pictures at which he had long been gazing by artificial light through a glass. Now he suddenly saw those badly daubed pictures in clear daylight and without a glass.
Everything depends on upbringing.
I often think how unfairly life's good fortune is sometimes distributed.
Man cannot possess anything as long as he fears death. But to him who does not fear it, everything belongs. If there was no suffering, man would not know his limits, would not know himself.
Sitting in his old schoolroom on the sofa with little cushions on the arms and looking into Natasha's wildly eager eyes, Rostov was carried back into that world of home and childhood which had no meaning for anyone else, but gave him some of the greatest pleasure in his life.
This history of culture will explain to us the motives, the conditions of life, and the thought of the writer or reformer.
You can love a person dear to you with a human love, but an enemy can only be loved with divine love.
And what will be there, and what has there been here? Why was I so reluctant to part with life? There was something in this life I did not and do not understand.
Everything ends in death, everything. Death is terrible.
I simply want to live; to cause no evil to anyone but myself.
Man lives consciously for himself, but serves as an unconscious instrument for the achievement of historical, universally human goals.
Smiling with pleasure, they went through their memories, not sad, old people's memories, but poetic, youthful ones, those impressions from the very distant past where dream merges with reality, and they laughed softly, rejoicing at something.
Those whom God wishes to destroy he drives mad.
You say: I am not free. But I have raised and lowered my arm. Everyone understands that this illogical answer is an irrefutable proof of freedom.
As the sun and each atom of ether is a shphere complete in itself, yet at the same time only a part of a whole too vast for man to comprehend, so each individual bears within himself his own purpose, yet bears it ot serve a general purpose unfathomable to man.
For a few seconds they looked silently into each other's eyes, and the distant and impossible suddenly became near, possible, and inevitable.
I think that when you remember, remember, remember everything like that, you could go on until you remember what was there before you were in the world.
Millions of men, renouncing their human feelings and reason, had to go from west to east to slay their fellows, just as some centuries previously hordes of men had come from the east to the west slaying their fellows.
The higher a man stands on the social ladder, the greater the number of people he is connected with, the more power he has over other people, the more obvious is the predestination and inevitability of his every action.
Though the doctors treated him, let his blood, and gave him medications to drink, he nevertheless recovered.
At moments of departure and a change of life, people capable of reflecting on their actions usually get into a serious state of mind. At these moments they usually take stock of the past and make plans for the future.
For if we allow that human life is always guided by reason, we destroy the premise that life is possible at all.
If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.
Napoleon, the man of genius, did this! But to say that he destroyed his army because he wished to, or because he was very stupid, would be as unjust as to say that he had brought his troops to Moscow because he wished to and because he was very clever and a genius
The latter part of her stay in Voronezh had been the happiest period in Princess Marya's life. Her love for Rostov was not then a source of torment or agitation to her. That love had by then filled her whole soul and become an inseparable part of herself, and she no longer struggled against it. Of late Princess Marya was convinced- though she never clearly in so many words admitted it to herself- that she loved and was beloved.
To us, it is incomprehensible that millions of Christian men killed and tortured each other because Napoleon was ambitious or Alexander was firm, or because England's policy was astute or the Duke of Oldenburg was wronged. We cannot grasp what connection such circumstances have the with the actual fact of slaughter and violence: why because the Duke was wronged, thousands of men from the other side of Europe killed and ruined the people of Smolensk and Moscow and were killed by them.
At that moment it meant nothing to him who might be standing over him, or what was said of him; he was only glad that people were standing near him and only wished that they would help him and bring him back to life, which seemed to him so beautiful now that he had today learned to understand it so differently.
He had learned that, as there is no situation in the world in which a man can be happy and perfectly free, so there is no situation in which he can be perfectly unhappy and unfree.
I'm getting old, that's the thing! What's in me now won't be there anymore.
Natasha ran into the house and went on tiptoe through the half-open door into the sitting room, where there was a smell of vinegar and Hoffman's drops.
The man who ten years earlier and one year later was considered a bandit and outlaw is sent a two-day sail from France, to an island given into his possession, with his guards and several million, which are paid to him for some reason.
Tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner.
Because of the self-confidence with which he had spoken, no one could tell whether what he said was very clever or very stupid.
He had the unlucky capacity many men have of seeing and believing in the possibility of goodness and truth, but of seeing the evil and falsehood of life too clearly to take any serious part in it.
In the best, the friendliest and simplest relations flattery or praise is necessary, just as grease is necessary to keep wheels turning.
Nikolushka and his upbringing, Andre, and religion were Princess Marya's comforts and joys; but, besides that, since every human being needs his personal hope, Princess Marya had in the deepest recesses of her soul a hidden dream and hope, which provided the main comfort of her life.
The march of humanity, springing as it does from an infinite multitude of individual wills, is continuous.
We are asleep until we fall in Love!
But all these hints at foreseeing what actually did happen on the French as well as on the Russian side are only conspicuous now because the event has justified them. If the event had not come to pass, these hints would have been forgotten, as thousands and millions of suggestions and supposition are now forgotten that were current at the period, but have been shown by time to be unfounded and so have been consigned to oblivion.
He is not apprehended by reason, but by life.
It seems as though mankind has forgotten the laws of its divine Saviour, Who preached love and forgiveness of injuries-and that men attribute the greatest merit to skill in killing one another.
Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of intelligent women.
The old with the old, the young with the young, the hostess by the tea table, on which there were exactly the same cakes in a silver basket as the Panins had at their soiree - everything was exactly the same as with everyone else.
More Leo Tolstoy Quotations (Based on Topics)
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