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[THIS KINDLE BOOK QUALITY IS GUARANTEED: It has been carefully edited with a fully interactive content.] A Confession, or My Confession, is a short work on the subject of melancholia, philosophy and religion by the acclaimed Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. It was written in 1879 to 1880, when Tolstoy was of late-middle age. BONUS : • A Confession Audiobook. • The 19 Best L [THIS KINDLE BOOK QUALITY IS GUARANTEED: It has been carefully edited with a fully interactive content.] A Confession, or My Confession, is a short work on the subject of melancholia, philosophy and religion by the acclaimed Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. It was written in 1879 to 1880, when Tolstoy was of late-middle age. BONUS : • A Confession Audiobook. • The 19 Best Leo Tolstoy Quotes. • Biography of Leo Tolstoy ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: Rutilus classics publishes great works of literature at an affordable price. Our books have been carefully edited with a fully interactive content.


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[THIS KINDLE BOOK QUALITY IS GUARANTEED: It has been carefully edited with a fully interactive content.] A Confession, or My Confession, is a short work on the subject of melancholia, philosophy and religion by the acclaimed Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. It was written in 1879 to 1880, when Tolstoy was of late-middle age. BONUS : • A Confession Audiobook. • The 19 Best L [THIS KINDLE BOOK QUALITY IS GUARANTEED: It has been carefully edited with a fully interactive content.] A Confession, or My Confession, is a short work on the subject of melancholia, philosophy and religion by the acclaimed Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. It was written in 1879 to 1880, when Tolstoy was of late-middle age. BONUS : • A Confession Audiobook. • The 19 Best Leo Tolstoy Quotes. • Biography of Leo Tolstoy ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: Rutilus classics publishes great works of literature at an affordable price. Our books have been carefully edited with a fully interactive content.

30 review for A Confession (Illustrated) + Free Audiobook

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Исповедь = Meine Beichte = A confession and other religious writings, Leo Tolstoy Describing Tolstoy's crisis of depression and estrangement from the world, A Confession (1879) is an autobiographical work of exceptional emotional honesty. By the time he was fifty, Tolstoy had already written the novels that would assure him of literary immortality; he had a wife, a large estate and numerous children; he was "a happy man" and in good health - yet life had lost its meaning. In this poignant confes Исповедь = Meine Beichte = A confession and other religious writings, Leo Tolstoy Describing Tolstoy's crisis of depression and estrangement from the world, A Confession (1879) is an autobiographical work of exceptional emotional honesty. By the time he was fifty, Tolstoy had already written the novels that would assure him of literary immortality; he had a wife, a large estate and numerous children; he was "a happy man" and in good health - yet life had lost its meaning. In this poignant confessional fragment, he records a period of his life when he began to turn away from fiction and aesthetics, and to search instead for "a practical religion not promising future bliss, but giving bliss on earth". تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هشتم ماه آگوست سال 2013 میلادی عنوان: اعتراف؛ نویسنده: لئو تولستوی؛ مقدمه: سعید نفیسی؛ مترجم: هوشنگ فتح اعظم؛ تهران، دانشگاه تهران، 1328؛ در 230 ص؛ چاپ دوم: اداره مطبوعاتی پروین، موضوع: نوشتارهای نویسندگان روسیه - سده 19 م عنوان: اعترافات من؛ لئو تولستوی؛ مترجم: سعید فیروزآبادی؛ تهران، جامی، 1386؛ در 167 ص؛ شابک: 9789647468947؛ عنوان: اعتراف؛ نویسنده: لئو تولستوی؛ برگردان: نسرین مجیدی؛ تهران، روزگارنو، 1392؛ در 104 ص؛ شابک: 9786006867458؛ کتاب غیرداستانی «اعتراف من»، اثر «تولستوی»، در حوزه ی فلسفه، و تفکر فلسفی است. ترجمه ی جناب آقای «سعید فیروزآبادی»، نخستین بار در سال 1386 هجری خورشیدی منتشر شد، و به گفته مترجم: (در «جام جم آنلاین» روز پنجشنبه 17 ماه مرداد 1392 هجری خورشیدی در صفحه فرهنگ و سینما)، کتاب از سوی «ارشاد» خریداری شد، ولی در بازار توزیع نشد. ترجمه ی ایشان نیز اخیرا با ویراستی دیگر، از سوی نشر جامی چاپ و عرضه شده است. ا. شربیانی

  2. 5 out of 5

    brian

    in his 50's, a severely panicked and depressed tolstoy wished for the strength to kill himself, but couldn't do it. instead he wrote this book detailing his discovery that life is 'evil and meaningless'. the first half is simply astonishing: i can't recall reading a more honest description of a life lived under the shadow of the inevitability of death; much less from a man who was, at the time, one of the world's most famous people. tolstoy's Confession is staggering in its simplicity, which is in his 50's, a severely panicked and depressed tolstoy wished for the strength to kill himself, but couldn't do it. instead he wrote this book detailing his discovery that life is 'evil and meaningless'. the first half is simply astonishing: i can't recall reading a more honest description of a life lived under the shadow of the inevitability of death; much less from a man who was, at the time, one of the world's most famous people. tolstoy's Confession is staggering in its simplicity, which is partially the point: talk to the scientists, the philosophers, the holy men, and the artists... none can give the answers that a slow eight year old couldn't give regarding the answers to the most basic questions: "why are we here?" "what is the meaning of life?" -- in the second section, the bearded coot describes his movement towards religion and, oops!, discovery that the church was horribly hypocritical... i may disagree with the conclusions tolstoy arrived at, but that's irrelevant... truth be told, in this lifetime (and this certainly plagued ol' leo) we'll never know if christopher hitchens or jerry falwell holds the secrets of the universe. sigh... a sad state of affairs. as one seriously afflicted with existential panic myself, it eases the pain, if only a little bit, to read this and know that, at the very least, we're all linked by fear and uncertainty and questions... read this. tolstoy's stunning honesty, his acute powers of observation, and obvious skills as a novelist makes this book a classic of sorts...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Fergus

    When Tolstoy had a Massive Enlightenment experience in mid age, his illusions were irreparably shattered. He saw clearly now that he had goofed up - big time - with War and Peace and Anna Karenina, the very blockbusters that had made him a worldwide household name. Like Sartre, the irruption of the Absurd had set his world - and his Very Fame - on its head. And Tolstoy knew he had had it all wrong. For his vision of a happy family was based on a petit bourgeois sham, as Sartre saw. Instead of all h When Tolstoy had a Massive Enlightenment experience in mid age, his illusions were irreparably shattered. He saw clearly now that he had goofed up - big time - with War and Peace and Anna Karenina, the very blockbusters that had made him a worldwide household name. Like Sartre, the irruption of the Absurd had set his world - and his Very Fame - on its head. And Tolstoy knew he had had it all wrong. For his vision of a happy family was based on a petit bourgeois sham, as Sartre saw. Instead of all happy families now being the same, as in ‘Anna’, all ‘happy’ families were now just ‘keeping up with appearances.’ And yet pop Christianity puts the ‘nuclear family’ on a pedestal... No, Tolstoy thought - unhappy couples trying to make their marriages WORK are the Happy Ones! The Lord does the rest. So, you see, unlike Sartre, Tolstoy had found HOPE. It’s basic Taoism. Work alongside things taking their natural course - with a Faith that they’ll work out! But Tolstoy was a towering Genius, and thus had a Daemon within him that wanted to subvert ‘normal’ faith. So he opposed the national church. He supported splinter groups like Canada’s immigrant Dukhubors. He wreaked merry mayhem in Czarist Russia, and even this whole polite planet was too small for his raging iconoclasm! Now, let me ask you: if you rifle through the online discussions here on GR any night of the week, whadaya see? I’ll tell you. You see traditionalists opposing modernists. You see Hegelian dialectics disturbingly at work, breaking structures down - and building New Ones up. You see people speaking their minds. You see Tolstoyan conflicts playing out and resolving themselves. In short, you see PERSONAL GROWTH. Get it? Tolstoy NEVER stopped growing! And neither should WE, folks. Want a gripping coming-of-Age autobiography about a great man finally facing off - and Coming Clean - with HIMSELF? And REFUSING to compromise, failing and being laughed at - but Always getting up again? Read THIS. It’s beautiful. And it’s so US.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mark André

    An interesting little book. Unhappy with just being brilliant, famous and wealthy the author narrates the story of his personal quest to find the truth about existence: the point to being alive, and the correct way to happiness. First he challenges science and philosophy for answers. Then he contemplates suicide. Then he turns to the simplicity of the animals as he calls them, the peasants in the fields, and turns back to God and the church of his childhood. But once there he must challenge the An interesting little book. Unhappy with just being brilliant, famous and wealthy the author narrates the story of his personal quest to find the truth about existence: the point to being alive, and the correct way to happiness. First he challenges science and philosophy for answers. Then he contemplates suicide. Then he turns to the simplicity of the animals as he calls them, the peasants in the fields, and turns back to God and the church of his childhood. But once there he must challenge the authenticity of organized religions' manifest intolerances for each other, and decides he must now study all the scriptures, and promises another book which I have not seen. A very honest effort.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Henk

    Tolstoi’s struggle with the meaning of life, and his conclusion: it’s complicated An interesting pendant to Anna Karenina; you recognize a lot of Ljevin, Vronski and even Anna in Leo Tolstoy his tale about his life and spiritual awakening. General a.k.a. what's the meaning of life? I vividly remember a discussion with some friends during a dinner party, where the topic was the meaning of life. Despite it's importance, this proved a hard question, I think "living a good life" came around but the an Tolstoi’s struggle with the meaning of life, and his conclusion: it’s complicated An interesting pendant to Anna Karenina; you recognize a lot of Ljevin, Vronski and even Anna in Leo Tolstoy his tale about his life and spiritual awakening. General a.k.a. what's the meaning of life? I vividly remember a discussion with some friends during a dinner party, where the topic was the meaning of life. Despite it's importance, this proved a hard question, I think "living a good life" came around but the answer I most remember was a rather shocking but biologically correct "to reproduce" from a girl. Tolstoy takes the same question eloquently on in his A Confession. Is this all there is? The book is chatty, quite easy to read despite a heavy subject. The mismatch between material and spiritual fulfillment seems to be the start of Tolstoy his search, which is quite similar to what Ljevin goes through in Anna Karenina. Interesting in this first part is he says he committed murder and rape, I presume this is hyperbole, but the feeling of "What’s next/Is this all there is?" is clear and feels very modern. Basically that’s what drives Tolstoi to write this, after he asserts that being a more famous writer than William Shakespeare does not give him true satisfaction. Tolstoy takes then takes on the corrupting power of money and success, the irritation of all debates and discussion in the educated classes is also recognisable for any reader of Anna Karenina. The thoughts of suicide that we also see with Anna, Vronski and Ljevin, clearly stems from the struggles of Tolstoi with this topic; he strikes me as rather depressed. Chapter 6 for instance is really full on anti-natalist. An epiphany leading to religiousness And then, after a reversion to old certainties (i.e. religion) when science and progress can’t give new ones that pass scrutiny, we (or rather Tolstoy) has an epiphany that I find hard to capture but that goes like: rationality can’t explain the purpose of life and we have always searched for meaning to life with religion, faith in a God can’t be wrong since it is universally backed by the continued existence of billions of humans. The will to life is the proof of god if I condense it. It's a bit like the realisation Doctor Manhattan arrives at in Watchmen and hard to follow for me as a secular modern person. The congruency between life and faith, which is so rare with people of higher class and sophistication according to Tolstoi, is something he starts to strive for. Even if people say they are religious they live in a same manner as someone from the high society who isn’t. But can a farmer who lives a hard, short life of labor not be anything else than (truly) be religious to be able to live that life? Tolstoy admirers their stoicism, a love also clearly coming back in the agricultural scenes in Anna Karenina. He is a bit like Adam and Eve, wishing he could return to innocence. And this great Russian writer even wishes that he is a simple, illiterate farmer rather than his own knowing, doubting self. But is this answer really all there is? The rift between Church and beliefs then brings him to a rejection of Orthodoxy. The cruelty if Christians killing Christians (and others) adds to this line of thinking. An in the end Tolstoy is left searching and questioning. A deeply personal tale, feeling very human, but also foreshadowing the religious Tolstoy he becomes more and more later in life.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Piyangie

    I'm not quite sure how to write a review for this nakedly honest disclosure of the mid life spiritual crisis of one of the greatest literary giants. This short work really left me stunned and it took some time to quiet my mind enough to pen my thoughts. In the first part of the story, Tolstoy explains his frustration (which ultimately shapes in to depression) over not understanding the meaning of life. He resorts to science, philosophy, metaphysics and religious practices to learn the true meani I'm not quite sure how to write a review for this nakedly honest disclosure of the mid life spiritual crisis of one of the greatest literary giants. This short work really left me stunned and it took some time to quiet my mind enough to pen my thoughts. In the first part of the story, Tolstoy explains his frustration (which ultimately shapes in to depression) over not understanding the meaning of life. He resorts to science, philosophy, metaphysics and religious practices to learn the true meaning of life. But at every quarter he is disappointed. Having not found the clear answer to his question and seeing the suffering and death as inevitable and thinking there is nothing but darkness ahead, he contemplates suicide. But although he contemplates suicide, he never attempts at it and calls it cowardly (I disagree with him there). In very plain words he describes how he avoided every opportunity and every temptation by distancing himself from everything with which he could harm himself. The second part of the story describes the methods to which he ultimately resorts to find a comprehensible answer to his question on the meaning of life. In this part, Tolstoy describes how the Christian teachings (separate from Christian traditional practices of Orthodox Church) helped him to answer the question. This genuine and honest account was really heart wrenching. I just couldn't believe that I was reading the tortured mind of one of the most successful and revered authors of all time. This was the literary giant who wrote two great masterpieces that continue to awe its readers. And honestly I had a hard time accepting that the same genius mind was tortured to this extent after writing all those great masterpieces. At the same time I felt a closeness to him. Some years ago, I had a personal crisis in my life that forced me to seek "truth" in life in order to find solace. I'm of a different faith, but that is immaterial, for I too resort to my religion guided by faith that it is where the truth lies. The quest was similar although the circumstances lead to that quest differed. And although Tolstoy stops his account at his chosen path to reach his destination, it is not a secret that he did find comfort and a purpose to live for through his religious convictions. Similarly I too found my peace. Reading this true account brought some bittersweet memories but in an odd way it brought me comfort too.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hammad Ali

    Love Tolstoy but judging by this book Tolstoy would have made a horrible dinner companion (or be really really bad at small talk). "The fish is really good" Tolstoy: "It is no good deceiving oneself. It is all vanity." "So how was your day" Tolstoy: "Why does everything exist that exists, and why do I exist? Because it exists" "The weather is pretty nice today" Tolstoy: "Surely that question has been asked since man began" Overall good book, it has provided me with enough "DEEP" one liners that I c Love Tolstoy but judging by this book Tolstoy would have made a horrible dinner companion (or be really really bad at small talk). "The fish is really good" Tolstoy: "It is no good deceiving oneself. It is all vanity." "So how was your day" Tolstoy: "Why does everything exist that exists, and why do I exist? Because it exists" "The weather is pretty nice today" Tolstoy: "Surely that question has been asked since man began" Overall good book, it has provided me with enough "DEEP" one liners that I can use to sound smart for the next few years and be that guy who ruins all conversations in a social gathering. Seriously though.. I felt he ended up repeating a lot of things and then there were other things that I couldn't really comprehend(probably due to my slow brain). Also he mentions an Eastern fable in the book which is in reality attributed to Ghazali (R). I found it interesting because he uses the fable to highlight how meaningless life essentially is while Ghazali used it to highlight how our efforts and our quest to fulfill all of our desires in this world are ultimately meaningless because it is the next life that matters. Overall I felt it was the general story of a seeker. And followed the format of what other seekers go through while searching for the truth. That is 1. Questioning your inner beliefs and the meaning of your existence. 2. Abandoning religion and searching for some meaning in life. 3. Being fed up with everything around you, especially the lives of the people around you and how their minds can be possibly so busy with so many meaningless things. 4. Contemplating suicide (In an extreme case as such in Tolstoy's case) 5. Searching for meaning, any sort of meaning that can end this misery of yours and free your soul. 6. And... lastly if you're lucky and fortunate enough to end up with religion and more specifically to end up with God and the true definition of a moral life. (Though everyone's journey is different, one example that comes to my mind is of Muhammad Asad. He mentions his journey in Road to Mecca. Definitely not as miserable as this but there were some similarities) Tolstoy's journey heading towards suicide ends with this realization which ultimately saves him "I live, really live, only when I feel Him and seek Him. "What more do you seek?" exclaimed a voice within me. "This is He. He is that without which one cannot live. To know God and to live is one and the same thing. God is life" "Live seeking God, and then you will not live without God." And more than ever before, all within me and around me lit up, and the light did not again abandon me. And I was saved from suicide."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Loretta

    I very much enjoyed this short novel that deals with life's struggles as it pertains with ones beliefs. Since I very much enjoy books on religion, spirituality and God, this book hit all the right buttons and then some. I could definitely feel Tolstoy's anguish and agony in trying to figure out the meaning of life. I feel we've all been there at some point in our life. This book probably isn't for everyone but, if you enjoy Tolstoy, then I encourage you to read this short novel and embrace his wor I very much enjoyed this short novel that deals with life's struggles as it pertains with ones beliefs. Since I very much enjoy books on religion, spirituality and God, this book hit all the right buttons and then some. I could definitely feel Tolstoy's anguish and agony in trying to figure out the meaning of life. I feel we've all been there at some point in our life. This book probably isn't for everyone but, if you enjoy Tolstoy, then I encourage you to read this short novel and embrace his words. Shout out to my Goodreads friend Piyangie for reading the book and encouraging me to do likewise. 😊

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ibrahim choeb

    ”for in much wisdom is much grief, and he that increases his knowledge increases his sorrow”. “My life came to a standstill. I could breathe, eat, drink, and sleep, and I could not help doing these things; but there was no life, for there were no wishes the fulfillment of which I could consider reasonable. I satisfied my desire or not, nothing would come of it. I could not even wish to know the truth, for I guessed of what it consisted. The truth was that life is meaningless.” “I should long ago ha ”for in much wisdom is much grief, and he that increases his knowledge increases his sorrow”. “My life came to a standstill. I could breathe, eat, drink, and sleep, and I could not help doing these things; but there was no life, for there were no wishes the fulfillment of which I could consider reasonable. I satisfied my desire or not, nothing would come of it. I could not even wish to know the truth, for I guessed of what it consisted. The truth was that life is meaningless.” “I should long ago have killed myself, if i had not had a dim hope of finding him. I only really live when i feel and seek him. I remembered that i had lived only when i believed in a god.” Absurdity of life and the inevitable death, tolstoy represents a lot of people’s approach into seeking the ultimate meaning of life which is seeking god, he is simply mirroring a lot of people’s thoughts and misery to reach that outcome, which makes it a great book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    It shouldn't surprise you when it happens, but it always does: you read someone's thoughts from over a hundred years ago and they mirror yours, exactly, in content if not in eloquence. Tolstoy's struggle extrating a faith he needs from a doctrine he abhors is a nearly universal intellectual journey. The book is most valuable for two reasons: it explains how the irrational conclusions of fate actually fit into a system of reason, by changing the expectations of reason, and it details how denomina It shouldn't surprise you when it happens, but it always does: you read someone's thoughts from over a hundred years ago and they mirror yours, exactly, in content if not in eloquence. Tolstoy's struggle extrating a faith he needs from a doctrine he abhors is a nearly universal intellectual journey. The book is most valuable for two reasons: it explains how the irrational conclusions of fate actually fit into a system of reason, by changing the expectations of reason, and it details how denominations and sects ultimately work against the simple purpose of faith. "Having looked around further at people in other countries and at my contemporaries and predecessors, I saw the same thing. Where there is life there is faith. Since the day of creating faith has made it possible for mankind to live, and the essential aspects of that faith are always and everywhere the same." [58:] Whatever answers faith gives, regardless of which faith, or to whom the answers are given, such answers always give an infinite meaning to the finite existence of man; a meaning that is not destroyed by suffering, deprivation or death. This means that only in faith can we find the meaning and possibility of life... Faith is the force of life. If a man lives, then he must believe in something. If he did not believe that there was something he must live for he would not live." [58:] "To know God and to live are one in the same thing. God is life. 'Live in search of God and there will be no life without God!' And more powerfully than ever before everything within and around me came to light, and the light has not deserted me since." [75:] "I shall not seek the explanation of everything. I know that the explanation of all things, like the origin of all things, must remain a secret of eternity. But I want to understand in such a way as to be brought to the invetably inexplicable. I want to realize that all that is inexplicable is so, not because the demands of my intellect are at fault (they are correct and apart from them I can understand nothing), but because I can recognize the limits of my intellect. I want to understand in such a way that everything inexplicable presents itself to me as being necessarily inexplicable and not as being something I am under an obligation to believe." [94:]

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bogdan

    This book is not for religious persons only. As an Atheist I was quite touched by Tolstoy's struggle with the absurdity of life and the inevitability of death. Tolstoy looks for answers to life's biggest question "Why?" in the fields of science and philosophy but he is dissatisfied. Reason cannot explain the absurdity of life. Because of this, Tolstoy turns his attention towards faith. I was quite impressed by the hardships he suffered in order to reach a truth that has meaning to him. All those This book is not for religious persons only. As an Atheist I was quite touched by Tolstoy's struggle with the absurdity of life and the inevitability of death. Tolstoy looks for answers to life's biggest question "Why?" in the fields of science and philosophy but he is dissatisfied. Reason cannot explain the absurdity of life. Because of this, Tolstoy turns his attention towards faith. I was quite impressed by the hardships he suffered in order to reach a truth that has meaning to him. All those years of searching, of meditating. He struggled with depression and he was haunted by suicidal thoughts. Tolstoy is so often misunderstood from both the religious and the secular perspective, being called by each of them a "heretic" and a "lunatic". Tolstoy is a true christian. A true christian lives only for God, which is love. I think that through the concept of God, Tolstoy was able to love life, by loving God was life. Tolstoy explains that faith enables people to go on with their lives,because the hardships and sorrows of life are shadowed by the perspective of Heaven and eternal life. I don't think Tolstoy tries to justify his faith using reason and scientific arguments. He just believes and if that stopped him from putting a bullet in his brains, I find no harm in it. The book is a mirror into the soul of one of the greatest writers and thinkers who ever lived.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ammara Abid

    One of the most terrific account I have ever read. This confession left me completely awestruck. Don't know what to say.... Great people Great courage and Great sayings..... "I did not myself know what I wanted: I feared life, desired to escape from it, yet still hoped something of it". "I began to understand that in the replies given by faith is stored up the deepest human wisdom and that I had no right to deny them on the ground of reason, and that those answers are the only ones which reply to l One of the most terrific account I have ever read. This confession left me completely awestruck. Don't know what to say.... Great people Great courage and Great sayings..... "I did not myself know what I wanted: I feared life, desired to escape from it, yet still hoped something of it". "I began to understand that in the replies given by faith is stored up the deepest human wisdom and that I had no right to deny them on the ground of reason, and that those answers are the only ones which reply to life's question". "Faith is the strength of life. If a man lives he believes in something. If he did not believe that one must live for something, he would not live. If he does not see and recognize the illusory nature of the finite, he believes in the finite; if he understands the illusory nature of the finite, he must believe in the infinite. Without faith he cannot live".

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joey

    I have been an avowed atheist for two years. I had mustered up enough courage to abandon the Christian life after a long battle of shattering the doubts. I was not able to do so because of the fear instilled in me that I would go to hell or not be saved from the Judgment Day. At that time, I was still an utter simpleton believing in something beyond logic. After reading some said heretical books such as of Richard Dawkins’ God Delusion ( 5 stars), Sam Harris’ A Letter to a Nation ( 5 stars ) and I have been an avowed atheist for two years. I had mustered up enough courage to abandon the Christian life after a long battle of shattering the doubts. I was not able to do so because of the fear instilled in me that I would go to hell or not be saved from the Judgment Day. At that time, I was still an utter simpleton believing in something beyond logic. After reading some said heretical books such as of Richard Dawkins’ God Delusion ( 5 stars), Sam Harris’ A Letter to a Nation ( 5 stars ) and An Atheist Manifesto ( 5 stars ) , Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great ( 3 stars ), and George H. Smith’s Atheism: The Case Against God ( 4 stars ), I have been awoken to the reality as though the experience was a rude awakening. So, do not dare lecture me that I must be veering off my faith because faith is another argument of foolish illusion. By the same token, I have read one apologetic book to defend the sides of the Christianity . Still, the side of the atheists stands for me. For sure, I would be the subject to the brick brat here on Goodreads. Like or unlike this , it is neither here nor there. This book deals with Leo Tolstoy’s midlife crisis in his spirituality and existentialism. Like what the atheists above experienced , Tolstoy came to the point that he questioned the religious teachings foisted upon him since he was still young. To find the answer, he went on a pilgrimage until he thought he had found the answer to his questions: He concluded that God does not exist. Still, not completely convinced , he had the persistent and obtrusive realization that there may be Supernatural unknown which can be called God. His experience was like backsliding to his delusion. In other words, Tolstoy ended up as agnostic- a question which has been a debate among religion and atheism apologists. If Tolstoy had existential crisis in his 50’s , it may be ridiculous for others if I say that I have had come to it in my 20’s .Perhaps, information in the internet is now accessible to everyone. Tolstoy, as a rule, is considered as the world’ best novelist . His writing for others is considered flawless. No doubt in this book, every sentence is beautifully written- the aftereffect of his emotional impact, an experience bears half resemblance to Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore and Antichrist by Nitzsche. Probably the big credit is to its English translator. As a bright philosopher put it that there are many kinds of truth since there are many kinds of beholders, you might misunderstand that Tolstoy’s’ intellectual hubris is conveyed in the sentences. In this book, Tolstoy said that people who believe in something beyond logic are not intellectual. Come to think of it. Do not be carried out by your deep-seated beliefs. Rating : 4/ 5 stars for Leo Tolstoy’s beautiful sentences.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Yousra Serry

    3.5 What I really learned from reading this is that Tolstoy and I would have really enjoyed each other's company.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    I read this because my friend Jenn said she was reading it. Last year I read Anna Karenina (which I loved) and decades ago I had read War and Peace and some of his terrific stories such as "The Death of Ivan Ilych", but I had never read this piece. I think of myself as an agnostic, brought up in a conservative Dutch Calvinist religion, and once taught Bible in a Christian school, so I am familiar with and have read theology and am always exploring spiritual issues in my reading, one way or the o I read this because my friend Jenn said she was reading it. Last year I read Anna Karenina (which I loved) and decades ago I had read War and Peace and some of his terrific stories such as "The Death of Ivan Ilych", but I had never read this piece. I think of myself as an agnostic, brought up in a conservative Dutch Calvinist religion, and once taught Bible in a Christian school, so I am familiar with and have read theology and am always exploring spiritual issues in my reading, one way or the other. That said, I was not blown away by this book. I felt I knew some of it through my own experience. The book is called a "confession" because it is a story of the spiritual struggles, in his fifties, that led him to the brink of suicide. So the first half of the book is dark and challenging. Spoiler alert: he does not commit suicide, of course--he says he was not "courageous" enough to go through with it--but instead comes to a fresher vision of faith he can embrace, one that is simpler, more connected to the lower classes he over time came to admire (and you can see that in Anna Karenina), a simple faith he sees reflected in the farmers and serfs. In contrast, he denounces the upper classes he came from (and still was technically part of as a pretty wealthy landowner) and the followers of the religion in which he was raised, Russian Orthodoxy, because of what he sees as their cynicism, consumerism, and hypocrisy. The text is simple, straightforward, and very short, especially for Tolstoy. This is a small book format for a pretty short essay which is more like a letter to the members of his religious "circle" and fellow upper class people. He denounces them and romanticizes the lower classes. I guess the pattern for the essays owes something to Augustine's Confessions: I was a terrible and lost sinner, I committed all the sins you can think of, and now I know better. He does confess a few specific sins in the first half of the book. Tolstoy as he got older got more devout, and more entrenched in his own kind of orthodoxy, maybe, with simpler, more Buddhist leanings, more existentialist than typically Christian approaches. Out of these views he wrote his last novel Resurrection, which I recall being pretty didactic. I liked Anna Karenina, the last of his books that represents real complexity and doubt and struggle. This "Confession" makes it clear that he has now "arrived" at some truths. I prefer the doubting Tolstoy, and his contemporary also doubting Fyodor Dostoevsky's anguished spiritual exploration, The Brothers Karamazov. But Confession helped Tolstoy gain thousands of followers, all the way to his death, who saw him as a spiritual leader, so it is seen as kind of a spiritual classic. And Tolstoy, it should come as no surprise, is a great writer, so that in itself is a pleasure.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Beyrouthy

    At first glance, you would probably scoff at this typical account of a non-believer who finds his way back to God, something I'm sure everyone has been exposed to during their excruciating years on the desks of Jesuit classrooms. But you would find yourself intrigued and disconcerted when the author is none other than the Russian giant, Leo Tolstoy. And really, who am I to give a mediocre rating to a book by such an erudite writer and ingenious thinker? It is the man whose anarcho-pacifism inspir At first glance, you would probably scoff at this typical account of a non-believer who finds his way back to God, something I'm sure everyone has been exposed to during their excruciating years on the desks of Jesuit classrooms. But you would find yourself intrigued and disconcerted when the author is none other than the Russian giant, Leo Tolstoy. And really, who am I to give a mediocre rating to a book by such an erudite writer and ingenious thinker? It is the man whose anarcho-pacifism inspired Gandhi to liberate India through nonviolence and here I am, granting him no more than a 2-star rating. After almost 50 years of epicurean pursuit of pleasure, Tolstoy was appalled when he looked back at his life: depravity, contempt, adultery, theft and warfare. He found himself unhappy and unable to find a meaning to this senseless and evil life, perplexed at his inability to answer the simple question that every wise child asks: "What am I? and What is the meaning of my life? What will come of what I am doing today or shall do tomorrow?" Adhering to the rational and scientific knowledge he spent his whole lifetime corroborating, Tolstoy found no solace, no palliative for the empty chasm inside him that would soon swallow him up whole and push him to the edge of suicide. Pleading enlightenment from wise men of thought like Schopenhauer and Socrates, Tolstoy was again facing an impasse: "We approach truth only inasmuch as we depart from life" said Socrates. Numerous speculations and diligent quests for truth were in vain, but finally Tolstoy found a dim beacon of hope when he turned his aristocratic-self to the proletariat, the masses of people that constitute the underprivileged labor force. Then, the author of Anna Karenina had a life-changing revelation: those people who wallow in adversity and ignorance, who bequeath nothing but debt to their posterity, whose inborn poverty is their death sentence, those people who are supposed to be miserable were revealed to be the happiest people, accepting illness and misfortune, performing arduous tasks for meager salaries and most importantly, very conscious of the meaning of life, that big existential crisis for a learned aristocrat like Tolstoy, wasn't of any ambiguity to the uneducated masses. And that is because they clung to religion and they pledged allegiance to the Holy Trinity. Ever since, Tolstoy's long abandoned Christian faith surged once again to salvage him and bring him back ashore from the uproarious storm that shook up his entire being to its core.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ibrahim

    ENG: I really enjoyed reading "A confession" from Leo Tolstoy. I used to read a small trilogy of him and really hadn't a clear vision of his style. It is hard to believe that you can read exactly what you were and are feeling every time you start to think about the meaning of life and some cursed questions. Probably, you know what I mean and I won't go to deep levels by analyzing the philosophical and moral aspects of the book. However, the only and main thing what I really aspire to say is that ENG: I really enjoyed reading "A confession" from Leo Tolstoy. I used to read a small trilogy of him and really hadn't a clear vision of his style. It is hard to believe that you can read exactly what you were and are feeling every time you start to think about the meaning of life and some cursed questions. Probably, you know what I mean and I won't go to deep levels by analyzing the philosophical and moral aspects of the book. However, the only and main thing what I really aspire to say is that after the reading this book I got sure that I am not alone with my dark thoughts inside my head. This road, the road of truth which we seek with of our all existence is somewhere and we can find it if we listen to our soul and real "me". Tolstoy confessed his intimate thoughts about this road and when you realize the essence of this search you can break all chains and grab that award which is named as "eternity" or "truth". I'll give you a hint: everything begins and ends inside you. So, you have a beginning and an end. The only mission of your is to fill the gap between them. Never stop and you will find peace. --------------------------- AZE:Seçim qarşısında olmaq, "hansını seçim?" deyə düşünmək, öz həyat yolunu tapmaq, insan övladının bəlkə də lənəti, ya da bir ömür onun ən sadiq müəllimidir. Ən pisi, seçimləri edərkən nəyə güvəməyi seçə bilməməkdir: başqa insanlara, ya özünə? İdeyalara, ya materiyaya? Elmlərə, ya mistikaya? İnsan min illərdir bu tələdə ora-bura vurnuxur. Hərə də bir cürə özünə təsəlli və ya rahatlıq tapır. Kimsə peşəkar olur, kimsə sərxoş, ya da narkomaniyanın min-bir üsulundan birini seçir, kimsə yazıb-yaradır, kimsə özünü ağrıtmaqla məşğul olur (mazoxizm). Cəmiyyətlər üstünlük illüziyasını yaradıb ortaya atsalar da, əslində hamı eyni aqibəti yaşayır. Nəfərlərin gəldiyi nəticələr şəbəkələrin gəldiyi nəticələrlə eynilik təşkil edir. Həmişə belə olur. Əgər kitab sənin içindəki suallarla rezonans yaradırsa, səninlə dərdləşirsə, sənə seçimləri daha da aydın görməyə kömək edirsə, bax onda o kitabın yeri səndə fəxri pillələrin birində olur. "Etiraf" haqqında demək istədiklərim isə bunlarla bitmir... Kitabın adı ilə onun mahiyyəti arasında yaranan ideal uyğunluq heyranedicidir. Adətən analoji mövzularda yazılan əsərlər ideoloji penetrasiya formatında, ya da məcburi anaxronik məğzə malik olur. Mövzu çərçivəsində yazıb-yaradan orta və kiçik kalibrli filosoflar və yazıçıların əslində spekulyasiya etdiyini başa düşdüm, çünki məsələ ancaq Tolstoy kimi dahilərin və "həqiqi həqiqət"in axtarışçılarının işidir. Məhz onun qələminin izləri zamanın sınağından çıxmaq iqtidarında olub bizlərə də azdan-çoxdan kömək edə bilər. Bəli, azdan-çoxdan, çünki əlbəttə ki, işin çox böyük hissəsi bizim öz üzərimizdədir. Əgər cücəyə yumurtadan çıxmağa hansısa yad qüvvə kömək etsə, onda cücə bir ömür zəif və aciz bir canlı kimi formalaşacaq. Bizim məsələdə də əslində vəziyyət belədir və əsərin "Etiraf" olaraq adlandırılması elə-belə deyil. Diqqətlə düşünəndə başa düşürsən ki, belə intim mövzularda insan ancaq müəyyən şeyləri bölüşə və ya indiki halda etiraf edə bilər. Daha zor gücünə hansısa ideyaları və yanaşmaları qəbul etdirib bütpərəstliyə sövq etmək kainat qarşısında əsl günahdır. Ömrünün 50-ci illərində Tolstoyun belə ekzistensialist əzablar çəkməyi, bəzən nihilizmə yönəlməyi və bəzən də intihara meyilliliyi, aramsız və amansız cavab axtarışları onu inanc, tanrı və sadə insanlara yaxınlaşdırır. Bu yaxınlaşmanın özündə belə əbədi skeptizm və sabit tənqid var. Tolstoy "Biz niyə buradayıq?" və ya "Həyatımızın mənası nədir?" suallarını verərək həqiqətə yaxınlaşır. Eyni suallaır verib məhvə və ya heçliyə yaxınlaşanlar da olub. Bu məsələ ilə əlaqədar Tolstoy özü əsərində ideal qruplaşdırma təqdim edib. Mütaliədən qazandıqlarıçı cəmləyəndə bir daha başa düşürəm ki, insanın məna və "mən" axtarışı əbədi prosesdir. Bu yolda mümkün olan ən ideal təcrübə isə Tolstoyun "Etiraf"ında öz əksini tapıb. Bu əsərlə tanışlığıma çox şad oldum. Xüsusilə də "Parlaq imzalar" nəşriyyatı çox gözəl iş görüb. Nəşr işi sadəcə vərəqləri bir-birinə tikib ortaya üz qabığı rəngbərəng nə isə əşya qoymaq deyil. Bu əsl incəsənətdir ki, "Parlaq imzalar" da bunun öhdəsindən yüksək səviyyədə gəlib. Mütaliəmin belə zövqverici olmasına vəsilə olan nəşriyyata bir daha öz təşəkkürümü bildirməyi özümə borc bilirəm. https://niftiyevibrahim.blogspot.com/

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Kennedy

    Tolstoy's struggle with faith in mid-life...reconciling concrete knowledge with belief without proof which offered him wisdom of meaning in his life and death.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is Tolstoy's desperate middle age search for the meaning of life. This is not just any search (this is Tolstoy we're talking about here), but an expansive, in-depth search of the mind. Despite this, he breaks it all down in simple terms and threads out the unnecessary, creating a short work in which each page is important, but also reads easy (Leo is a king of deduction). Tolstoy's crisis was major. He had come to the realization that life no longer had meaning. Writing popular, award winni This is Tolstoy's desperate middle age search for the meaning of life. This is not just any search (this is Tolstoy we're talking about here), but an expansive, in-depth search of the mind. Despite this, he breaks it all down in simple terms and threads out the unnecessary, creating a short work in which each page is important, but also reads easy (Leo is a king of deduction). Tolstoy's crisis was major. He had come to the realization that life no longer had meaning. Writing popular, award winning novels, having worldwide intellectual influence, having a loving family; none of it was adequate anymore. He had made up his mind: meaning or suicide. When exploring philosophy as the answer to the meaning of life, he found, "instead of an answer one gets the same question, only in a complex form." When he looked to mathematics and experimental science, he found that there are only answers that are unrelated to the question, pulling one further away from true meaning instead of closer. He then chooses to look towards the great minds of history and the wisdom of the ages; people like Schopenhauer, Buddha, Soloman, and Socrates. Here he found, "not that the result at which I had arrived was the fruit of error or of a diseased mind, but on the contrary, that I had thought correctly, and that my thoughts coincided with the conclusions of the most powerful of human minds...Happy is he who has not been born: death is better than life, and one must free oneself from life." His conclusion of suicide had been further confirmed. Reason led Tolstoy to the unreasonable: He chose to continue living despite his knowledge that life is "senseless and an evil." Why was it that the intellectuals who had figured out that life was meaningless and rank had been foolish enough as to keep living, to keep suffering? Why were they ignoring their reason? Clearly it should have led them to suicide. They were cowards, and Tolstoy had decided that he would be no coward - ending his life was a clear-set, close option. All through time, people continued to find meaning through a higher power, how so? Tolstoy concludes that the answer to finding meaning in life is not in rational knowledge, but through framing the question between the relation of the finite and the infinite. "And I understood that, however irrational and distorted might be the replies given by faith, they have this advantage, that they introduce into every answer a relation between the finite and the infinite, without which there can be no solution....What meaning has life, that death doesn't destroy?--Union with the eternal God: heaven. So that besides rational knowledge, I was inevitably brought to acknowledge that all live humanity has another irrational knowledge - faith which makes it possible to live." Tolstoy now starts a new search, a search for and through faith. Through this, it's clear that he keeps his mind skeptical and analytical; his reason unthwarted, and his intellectual honesty intact. "A Confession" is the perfect title for this book. Tolstoy's journey is full of doubts, reservations, and finding of hypocrisies in institutions, in others, and in himself. But through it all, the man is able to find faith and a meaning to life, and those of us who have been fortunate enough to read this book are better off because of it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    I like to think an elderly Tolstoy would be distraught about the effect his Confession (1880) has had on me, which is to deeply unsettle me with his thinking during his depressed period, without my finding comfort in his ultimate conclusion that faith is the essence of life. He would be such because he came to find all art (or creative works such as this) which aren’t immediately comprehensible by the simplest of simpletons, and which points them in the direction of salvation, to be worthless1. I like to think an elderly Tolstoy would be distraught about the effect his Confession (1880) has had on me, which is to deeply unsettle me with his thinking during his depressed period, without my finding comfort in his ultimate conclusion that faith is the essence of life. He would be such because he came to find all art (or creative works such as this) which aren’t immediately comprehensible by the simplest of simpletons, and which points them in the direction of salvation, to be worthless1. Indications of this belief, fully expressed in What is Art? (1897—in which, among other things, Tolstoy condemns Shakespeare as “tedious and repulsive”), are also visible in A Confession; Tolstoy claims he always saw his writing, even War and Peace, as a trivial endeavor. The change which comes about Tolstoy late in life isn’t a reappraisal of his work, but of the morality or immorality of devoting oneself to trivialities. Tolstoy decides that, relative to what he has come to view as the obvious goodness of faith and of manual labor, such trivialities are the devil’s work, and they can bring only idleness or the useless sense of melancholy which has been weighing on my shoulders for the last two and a half hours. I can only imagine being stuck next to the 51-year old count on an airplane. Would Lev Nikolayevich care for some peanuts? “Life is meaningless and evil.” Fasten your seatbelt, please? “The blessings of the dead are greater than those of the living, and it is better to not exist.” That Tolstoy ultimately rejects these beliefs is no solace for me because his reasons for rejecting them seem to rest on shaky assumptions. Specifically, these assumptions are about the peasantry. Of them he writes: Contrary to what I saw among the people of our class […] these people spent their lives at hard labor and were less dissatisfied with life than the wealthy. [T]hese people endure sickness and tribulation without question or resistance—peacefully, and in the firm conviction that this is as it should be, cannot be otherwise, and is good. [T]hese people live, suffer, and draw near to death peacefully and, more often than not, joyfully. […] And these people, who are deprived of everything that for Solomon and me constituted the only good in life, yet who nonetheless enjoy the greatest happiness, form the overwhelming majority of mankind. To which I say, respectfully: Pah! These exaltations smack of noble-savage mythology. I am no expert on the Russian peasantry of the 19th century, but if they were anything like the modern poor of America, they endured (or succumbed to) sickness and tribulation with much resistance and a broad range of questions, they drew near to death with horror and repulsion, and they do not enjoy the greatest happiness, because he who attempts to escape from his current circumstances (as the poor do2) cannot possibly be happy; he may be deluded about what will bring him happiness in the future (e.g. wealth), but it is impossible to be deluded about the state of one’s own present happiness. It is very possible, however, to be deluded about the happiness of others, as Tolstoy makes clear here, with his oft-repeated distinction between the peasants and ‘people of our class’, that is, those plagued with property, enchanted by the roulette wheel, tormented by the ennui of aristocracy, who by their fireplaces3 fidget in their fur-lined chairs and, tugging their perfectly-kempt beards in nervous agitation, query, “What is it all for?” hoping that whichever blockheaded servant is on duty at this hour won’t take the rhetorical question as an invitation to speak. Tolstoy uses his severely misguided impressions of the Russian peasant as evidence the goodness of faith. Assuming that the Russian people are so happy, Tolstoy assumes one more time that what makes them so is their faith, concluding, “I was certain that my life did not have and could not have any meaning, and not only did the principles of faith no longer seem unnecessary to me, but experience had unquestionably led me to the conviction that only the principles of faith gave life meaning.” Yes, the statement ‘only the principles of faith [give] life meaning’ is true; however, Tolstoy is begging his question here. He assumes that life has a meaning, and is frustrated when, upon inquiry, the scientists he speaks to don’t pull out a chalkboard and say, “we have proven by such-and-such equation shown here that the meaning of life is to do good unto your fellow man.” Despite Tolstoy’s implication that they would, no scientist would tell you that science is a tool useful for moral judgments. The difference in outlook between the two is that Tolstoy is so narrow-minded, so possessed of his search for a proof of goodness—a goodness which he already assumes to be true, as, obviously, Tolstoy would reject any ‘proof’ which saw murder and theft as good deeds—that he is blinded to the goodness that the tools of science can do, whereas the scientist is well aware of this potential. But here I have stuffed Tolstoy with straw; I haven’t given him enough credit for his efforts to reach out to the Russian people. His support for Raskolniks and other dissidents and his condemnation of the Russian army as an evil killing machine took true courage regardless of the background of the speaker; furthermore we shouldn’t criticize Tolstoy for how me might have acted differently had he not had the advantages he did when he began to test the censor’s patience—both by birth and by his well-earned literary fame. For the same reason we won’t label his calls for passive resistance hypocritical; to do either of these things is to surrender one’s judgment to identity politics, to think of the speaker and not of what is being said. Tolstoy’s goal, in all of his writing, is that the reader of his work be sufficiently moved to do something selfless and kind, and nourish at least two souls in the process. Regardless of the validity of Tolstoy’s solution to his darkness, we can be glad that he found it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    ATJG

    Fresh as paint, this. Much more than a Boy-Meets-God rerun, Confession is Tolstoy telling you in earnest how it was for him. Early religious uncertainty gives way to youthful arrogance, and eventually, full-blown nihilistic malaise. He becomes fearful of hunting with a gun lest he should become quarry for his thoughts; rope appears suddenly lovely and wonderful. Though he longs to stop living, he cannot bring himself to end his life. The second half of Confession amounts to the bargain Tolstoy str Fresh as paint, this. Much more than a Boy-Meets-God rerun, Confession is Tolstoy telling you in earnest how it was for him. Early religious uncertainty gives way to youthful arrogance, and eventually, full-blown nihilistic malaise. He becomes fearful of hunting with a gun lest he should become quarry for his thoughts; rope appears suddenly lovely and wonderful. Though he longs to stop living, he cannot bring himself to end his life. The second half of Confession amounts to the bargain Tolstoy struck with the world that he might live and live happily. Parts of this bargain are standard fare (namely the well-worn "leap of faith") but the nuance of Tolstoy's reconciliation with life is rich and compelling. He leaves us, finally, with images from a dream of lying suspended between two abysses. What's one to do but choose to look up?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Simona

    I read somewhere that this is the most important book for understanding his works. I agree with this part, but I don't completely agree with his thinking ... but hey, that's his confession and who I am to judged his thoughts and feelings ... except that - I think it's the best book I've read this year, so far. Slightly socially critical, moving, an extraordinary insight into his thoughts about depression, faith, life, family ... and, of course, the main starting point of all the thinking is the I read somewhere that this is the most important book for understanding his works. I agree with this part, but I don't completely agree with his thinking ... but hey, that's his confession and who I am to judged his thoughts and feelings ... except that - I think it's the best book I've read this year, so far. Slightly socially critical, moving, an extraordinary insight into his thoughts about depression, faith, life, family ... and, of course, the main starting point of all the thinking is the ultimate question - WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Does anyone know the answer?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    From BBC radio 4 Extra: Episode 1 of 10 Early doubts about religion and the existence of God. Episode 2 of 10 Leo Tolstoy's passionate search for the meaning of life. Can writing and family provide the answer? Episode 3 of 10 Does death make life pointless? Leo Tolstoy's passionate search for the meaning of life read by Joss Ackland. Episode 4 of 10 Leo Tolstoy's passionate search for the meaning of life. Can philosophy provide an answer? Episode 5 of 10 Leo Tolstoy's passionate search for the meaning of From BBC radio 4 Extra: Episode 1 of 10 Early doubts about religion and the existence of God. Episode 2 of 10 Leo Tolstoy's passionate search for the meaning of life. Can writing and family provide the answer? Episode 3 of 10 Does death make life pointless? Leo Tolstoy's passionate search for the meaning of life read by Joss Ackland. Episode 4 of 10 Leo Tolstoy's passionate search for the meaning of life. Can philosophy provide an answer? Episode 5 of 10 Leo Tolstoy's passionate search for the meaning of life. Can simply living life provide an answer? Episode 6 of 10 Can doubting logical thoughts lead to an answer? Episode 7 of 10 Leo Tolstoy's passionate search for the meaning of life. Can the irrational knowledge of faith help us? Episode 8 of 10 Leo Tolstoy's passionate search for the meaning of life. Can the search for God help to provide an answer? Episode 9 of 10 Leo Tolstoy's passionate search for the meaning of life. Can reason and belief exist in the same answer? Episode 10 of 10 Leo Tolstoy's passionate search for the meaning of life. Can simplifying faith give us an answer? By the time he was 50, Russian writer Leo Tolstoy had found fame and success through his great literary achievements. He had a wife and family, and a large estate. But he hadn't found what was most important: the meaning of life. A Confession compellingly describes his search for the truth. Read by Joss Ackland. Abridged in ten episodes by Andrew Simpson. Producer: Claire Campbell Smith First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1993. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09s...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hans

    What makes this book so powerful for me is the fact that I too am struggling with similar issues, questions and doubts that Tolstoy experienced and wrote about in this concise book. I can almost feel the agonizing pain he suffers as he questions life, its meaning and his own purpose in it. I suppose anyone who spends a great deal of time on introspection will sooner or later go through this crisis that he writes about here. The part that I appreciated the most for its profundity was his statemen What makes this book so powerful for me is the fact that I too am struggling with similar issues, questions and doubts that Tolstoy experienced and wrote about in this concise book. I can almost feel the agonizing pain he suffers as he questions life, its meaning and his own purpose in it. I suppose anyone who spends a great deal of time on introspection will sooner or later go through this crisis that he writes about here. The part that I appreciated the most for its profundity was his statements on rationality and faith. By his assertions reason is unable to link man to the infinite but can only link man to the finite. Faith is the bridge to the infinite from the finite. It is not something explained or even completely understood but merely expereinced or aligned with. I cannot elaborate on it any clearer than he has. It was something that simply struck me and resonated with me

  25. 4 out of 5

    Meaningless

    The only absolute knowledge attainable by man is that life is meaningless. Everything in the world-both folly and wisdom, wealth and poverty, joy and sorrow-all is vanity and emptiness. A man dies and nothing remains. And this is absurd," says Solomon. What will come of what I do today and tomorrow? What will come of my entire life? Expressed differently, the question may be: Why should I live? Why should I wish for anything or do anything? Or to put it still differently: Is there any meaning in my lif The only absolute knowledge attainable by man is that life is meaningless. Everything in the world-both folly and wisdom, wealth and poverty, joy and sorrow-all is vanity and emptiness. A man dies and nothing remains. And this is absurd," says Solomon. What will come of what I do today and tomorrow? What will come of my entire life? Expressed differently, the question may be: Why should I live? Why should I wish for anything or do anything? Or to put it still differently: Is there any meaning in my life that will not be destroyed by my inevitably approaching death? Faith is the knowledge of the meaning of human life, whereby the individual does not destroy himself but lives. Faith is the force of life. If a man lives, then he must have faith in something. If he did not believe that he had something he must live for, then he would not live. If he fails to see and understand the illusory nature of the finite, then he believes in the finite; if he understands the illusory nature of the finite, then he must believe in the infinite. Without faith it is impossible to live

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Douglas Rowland

    Finding myself at 38 in much the same crisis as Tolstoy found himself at 51, I decided to read this to see if the so-called Russian master could help save me from the terrifying meaninglessness of existence. SPOILER ALERT: after 50 pages of saying the same thing over and over again (namely that life is an evil absurdity) he suddenly finds GOD. After disparaging GOD for most of the book he realizes he is absolutely FILLED WITH GOD. Or some such useless shit. He should have followed his heart and Finding myself at 38 in much the same crisis as Tolstoy found himself at 51, I decided to read this to see if the so-called Russian master could help save me from the terrifying meaninglessness of existence. SPOILER ALERT: after 50 pages of saying the same thing over and over again (namely that life is an evil absurdity) he suddenly finds GOD. After disparaging GOD for most of the book he realizes he is absolutely FILLED WITH GOD. Or some such useless shit. He should have followed his heart and shot himself like a REAL MAN.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    “But then I turned my gaze upon myself, on what went on within me, and I remembered all those cessations of life and reanimations that recurred within me hundreds of times. I remembered that I only lived at those times when I believed in God. As it was before, so it was now; I need only be aware of God to live... All this was clear to me, and I was glad and at peace. Then it is as if someone is saying to me, "See that you remember." And I awoke.”

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marwa Assem Salama

    “Why am I here?” Not this familiar existential question, which no one could answer, is what earns this book special. Simply it is the time it has been asked at is what makes all the remainder to me. As Leo Tolstoy has never held the essence of this question while he was in the bottom of nothing. On the contrary, he exercised that when he was on the top of everything; Success, fame, and social stability. Perhaps that’s why I felt this confession is very nearly similar to the painstaking doubt jou “Why am I here?” Not this familiar existential question, which no one could answer, is what earns this book special. Simply it is the time it has been asked at is what makes all the remainder to me. As Leo Tolstoy has never held the essence of this question while he was in the bottom of nothing. On the contrary, he exercised that when he was on the top of everything; Success, fame, and social stability. Perhaps that’s why I felt this confession is very nearly similar to the painstaking doubt journey that Islamic philosopher “Abu Hamed Al Ghazaly” has been through and wrote about in his well-known book “Deliverance from Error”. Not just that, but also because the determination they have achieved after years of suffering and delirium was merely a spiritual tone, “a light” that cannot be tested by any coherent arguments or scientific grounds. And as Al Ghazaly once said: “I owed my deliverance, not to a concatenation of proofs and arguments, but to the light which God caused to penetrate into my heart---the light which illuminates the threshold of all knowledge. To suppose that certitude can be only based upon formal arguments is to limit the boundless mercy of God.” As Tolstoy here says: ““What are these deaths and revivals? It is clear that I do not live whenever I lose my faith in the existence of God, and I would have killed myself long ago if I did not have some vague hope of finding God. I truly live only whenever I am conscious of him and seek him. "What, then, do I seek?" A voice cried out within me. "He is there, the one without whom there could be no life." To know God and to live come to one and the same thing. God is life.” “Live seeking God, and then you will not live without God.” And more than ever before, all within me and around me lit up, and the light did not again abandon me.” No one came back from death to tell us the truth, but it seems that Tolstoy has returned from a subconscious dream like this not only with faith but also with certainty and peace. Saying: “I wrote the above three years ago. The other day, as I was looking over this printed portion and returning to the thoughts and feelings that went through me when I was experiencing all this, I had a dream. This dream expressed for me in a condensed form everything I lived through and wrote about; there for I think that for those who have understood me, a description of the dream will refresh, clarify, and gather into one piece what has been discussed at length in these pages. Here is the dream: I see that I am lying in bed. Feeling neither good nor bad, I am lying on my back. But I begin to wonder how and on what I am lying, something that up till now had not entered my mind. Looking about my bed, I see that I am lying on some cords woven together and attached to the sides of the bed. My heels are resting on one of the cords and my lower legs on another in an uncomfortable way. Somehow I know that these cords can be shifted. Moving one leg, I push away the furthest cord. It seems to me that it will be more comfortable that way. But I have pushed it too far away; I try to catch it, but this movement causes another cord to slip out from under my legs, leaving them hanging down. I rearrange my whole body, quite certain I will be settled now; but this movement causes still other cords to shift and slip out from under me, and I see the whole situation is getting worse: the whole lower part of my body is sinking and hanging down, and my feet are not touching the ground. I am supported only along the upper part of my back, and for some reason I begin to feel not only uncomfortable but terrified. Only now do I ask myself what had not yet occurred to me: where am I and what am l lying on? I begin to look around, and the first place I look is down toward where my body is dangling, in the direction where I feel I must soon fall. L look below, and I cannot believe my eyes. I am resting on a height such as I could never have imagined, a height altogether unlike that of the highest tower or mountain. I cannot even tell whether I can see anything down below in the bottomless depths of my abyss over which I am hanging and into which I am drawn. My heart stops, and I am overcome with horror. It is horrible to look down there. I feel that if I look down, I will immediately slip from the last cord and perish. I do not look, yet not looking is worse, for now I am thinking about what will happen to me as soon as the last cord breaks. I feel that I am losing the last ounce of my strength from sheer terror and that my back is slowly sinking lower and lower. Another instant and I shall break away. And then a thought occurs to me: this cannot be real. It is just a dream. I will wake up. I try to wake up, but I cannot. “What am I to do, what am I to do?" I ask myself, looking up. Above me there is also an abyss. I gaze into this abyss of sky and try to forget about the one below, and I actually do forget. The infinity below repels and horrifies me; the infinity above attracts me and gives me strength. Thus, I am hanging over the abyss suspended by the last cord that have not yet slipped out from under me. I know I am hanging there, but I am only looking upward, and my terror passes. As it happens, in a dream, a voice is saying, "Mark this, this is it!" I gaze deeper and deeper into the infinity above me, and I seem to grow calm. I recall everything that has happened, and I remember how it all came about: how I moved my legs, how I was dangling there, the horror that came over me, and how I was saved from the horror by looking up. And I ask myself, “Well, am I still hanging here?" And as soon as I glance around, I feel with my whole body a support that is holding me up. I can see that I am no longer dangling or falling but am firmly supported; I touch myself, look around, and see that there is a single cord underneath the center of my body, that when I look up I am lying on it firmly balanced, and that it alone has supported me all along. As it happens, in a dream, the mechanism by which I am supported seems quite natural, understandable, and beyond doubt, in spite of the fact that when I am awake the mechanism is completely incomprehensible. In my sleep I am even astonished that I had not understood this before. It seems that there is a pillar beside me and there is no doubt of the solidity of the pillar, even though it has nothing to stand on. The cord is somehow very cleverly yet very simply attached to the pillar, leading out from it, and if you place the middle of your body on the cord and look up, there cannot even be a question of falling. All this was clear to me, and I was glad and at peace. Then it is as if someone is saying to me, "See that you remember." And I awoke." I discovered this Audiobook via this channel, which delivers many other intellectual gems too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xALNQ...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rasydan Fitri

    A journey and reflection of Tolstoy's own walk through the balance between reason and faith, life and death. I am experiencing some similar thoughts and it helped me strengthen my own stand on life and faith. It also critiques society especially the learned and literary groups.

  30. 4 out of 5

    UpdatedSpring

    In this book Tolstoy seeks the answer to a question no doubt we all have: " What is the meaning of life?" or how he expressed it: "Is there any meaning in my life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?" His journey was, if anything, a most relatable one. It's a cathartic experience when someone, who lived 100+ years ago, under completely different circumstances, can in detail describe the dread and despair one experiences when seeking the answer. His despair was at a point where In this book Tolstoy seeks the answer to a question no doubt we all have: " What is the meaning of life?" or how he expressed it: "Is there any meaning in my life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?" His journey was, if anything, a most relatable one. It's a cathartic experience when someone, who lived 100+ years ago, under completely different circumstances, can in detail describe the dread and despair one experiences when seeking the answer. His despair was at a point where he contemplated suicide, but described himself as "weak" because he couldn't go through with it. Finding that the sciences/philosophy could never give him the answer he sought, he ultimately found his answer through faith. Faith, as he defines it, is the way we connect our finite existence to the infinite: "Whatever the faith may be, and whatever answers it may give, and to whomsoever it gives them, every such answer gives to the finite existence of man an infinite meaning, a meaning not destroyed by sufferings, deprivation, or death. This means that only in faith can we find for life a meaning and a possibility." "...faith is a knowledge of the meaning of human life in consequence of which man does not destroy himself but lives. If a man lives he believes in something. If he did not believe that one must live for something, he would not live." This led Tostoy to search for a faith, which brought him to Christianity. An interesting point in his journey is that he left his church because of the painful experience he had during communion where he was told that he was going to eat the flesh of Christ. Since he couldn't believe in that, he opted to study the bible by himself without performing the rituals which made him painfully deny his reason. This book provides an interesting perspective that would be valuable to anyone interested in the meaning of our lives.

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