Monday, January 17, 2011

Tolstoy for MLK

Tuppy in my writing room window
About a week ago, we watched the film, The Last Station, about the end of Tolstoy's life (with stellar performances by Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren).  The movie was enough to make me want to read more about Tolstoy, and I have come to learn that his ideas about nonviolence were hugely influential for Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Some quotes:
Love is life. All, everything that I understand,
I understand only because I love.
Everything is, everything exists,
only because I love.
Everything is united by it alone.

The greater the state, the more wrong
and cruel its patriotism, and the greater is the
 sum of suffering upon which its power is founded.
 
 Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.


5 comments:

Linnea said...

Thank you for sharing, Christine. I never knew that. I'll put the movie and the Tolstoy on my reading list.

(That photo of Tuppy is gorgeous.)

svasti said...

More yogis who probably never did yoga :)

These truths are universal, and there are many paths to get there.

Ellen said...

I never thought of Tolstoy like that Christine - interesting. I'll look out for that movie, especially since I basically love any movie with Helen Mirren. I actually loved War and Peace which I read in my 20's. I read it mainly for the love story though. And my impression of Tolstoy was that he gets kind of mystical about love of the land and love of a spouse - I haven't thought of him as a lover of peace before. Cheers

Christine Claire Reed said...

Ellen, actually as he got older, Tolstoy quit writing fiction and dedicated himself completely to radical Christianity, a literal reading of Christ that led to the formation of a whole (new at the time) school of thought about income distribution, etc. He saw this as his most important work, far surpassing his novel writing.

Christine Claire Reed said...

Oh, and as I have just learned, in 1908 he wrote a book called A letter to a Hindu in which he stated that the only way for India to become independent was to practice passive resistance. Gandhi read the book and used the idea. :)