Reposting Excerpts from ‘Tula’ by Leo Tolstoy.

There have been some difficulties with this post, which is companion to Simone Weil‘s Necessity and to Edith Sitwell‘s The Wind’s BastinadoBoth the above poems were transcribed from a small  library in Mayo, the original Tula was removed earlier today, this is an edited version.

Leo Tolstoy: Essays from Tula, with an introduction by Nicolas Berdyaev. London, Sheppard Press, 1948.

  1. Bethink Yourselves.
  2. The Slavery of our times.
  3. An Appeal to Social reformers.
  4. True criticism.
  5. I Cannot be Silent.
  6. Thou Shalt Kill No One.
  7. A Letter to the Peace Conference.
  8. The End of the Age.
  9. Love one Another.

Foreword by Nicholas Berdyaev

The book has an interesting tale, it came to me via my favourite wee private book collection in Westport, where the borrowing involves making a note of essay/book/monograph, author and  ISBN.

The borrowing can be long term  unlike the public libraries which tend toward a three week limit and a fining system.That collection (in Mayo) is also good for transcribing portions of poetry books, and books that are no longer in circulation and is in the way of a discipline regarding what reading matter one wishes to access. Interestingly, a small group of books that are in my possession have been requested by someone who the owner judged not to be ready to request.

It’s funny that often the books we would disregard at certain stages gather potency and relevance as we get a bit more life-experienced (or indeed world-weary).

” Yet a religion which answers to the demands of our time does exist and is known to all men, and in a latent state lives in the hearts of men of the Christian world. Therefore that this religion should become evident to and binding upon all men it is only necessary firstly that educated men, the leaders of the masses, should understand that religion is necessary to man. That without religion man cannot live a good life, and that what they call science cannot replace religion; and secondly that those in power and support the old empty forms of religion should understand that what they support and preach under the form of religion is not only not religion but is the chief obstacle to men’s appropriating the true religion which  they already know, and which alone can deliver men from their calamities”.

I have indeed published this in excerpt before now on this very blog. That’s probably because it is imperative to understanding the concept of evolutionary development in human philosophies and wisdom. Theres a huge apocrypha which goes ignored and unconserved in our drive to modernism which really does leave the best bits of our philosophies out. I am not into theorising on why theocracies indulge the most totalitarian aspects of collectivism or why dogma is anti-intellectual: sure that’s all been done before. I would simply say that each individual will take something different from a book they are reading be it poetry, theology, politics, philosophy and that to have that chance is important to everyone and not to the guardians of dogmatism who in many ways have failed quite simply to engage people at any level of understanding saving the overtly materialistic.

I’d highly recommend the writings of Simone Weil to those who wish study how anti-intellectualism makes many of us outsiders to a shared heritage and how close we come to totalitarianism by arrogantly accepting dogma with blind obedience. I will add in the Weill links at the base of this small post.

  • Necessity
  • Leo Tolstoy’s Essays from Tula with an introduction by Nicolas Berdyaev London, Sheppard Press 1948.

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