Tolstoy, Leo - Confessions - Know yourself
Type of Spiritual Experience
with Tatiana his grand-daughter
A description of the experience
Leo Tolstoy – Confessions
If one turns to the branches of science that tend to pontificate on the big questions of life - to physiology, psychology, biology, sociology, - there is a staggering spirit of poverty in their replies, an unjustified claim to solve issues which they are not competent to solve.
They only end up putting the thinker in perpetual conflict with other thinkers and often with himself…… These sciences openly ignore the question of life.
“--What you are and why you live, we do not have answers for and we do not deal with these topics; but if you need to know the laws of light and chemical compositions, the laws of
development of organisms, if you need to know the laws of body shape and relationship of numbers and quantities, if you need to know the laws of your mind, then, for all this, we have clear answers, clear and indisputable”.
In general, the explanation of the experimental sciences to the issue of Life can be expressed as:
QUESTION: Why do I live?
ANSWER: In the infinitely large space in the infinitely long time, infinitely small portions change in complicated infinite phases, and when you understand the laws of these changes you will understand why you live.
In the theoretical field, I thought:
All Humanity lives and develops according to the principles of the spiritual ideal that guides them. The ideal is expressed in religion, in science, in art, in the form of government.
This ideal becomes more beautiful the higher is the march towards humanity. I am part of humanity and, therefore my vocation is to cooperate in knowledge and the realization of what is the ideal for humanity as a whole. And as the weakening of my mind progressed, I contented myself with this reply; but as soon as the question of life was clearly raised in me, this whole theory collapsed suddenly.
Regardless of whether the unconscious lack of precision with which the results obtained by the study of a small part of humanity pass for general principles, ignoring glaring contradictions between supporters of different opinions on the ideal of humanity, the oddity, if not the folly of this view is in that, to answer the question in front of each man:
"What am I?" - Or, "Why do I live" - or, "What do I know "- the man must first answer the question:
" What is the life of all mankind? "
Now, this humanity is unknown.
We know a small part, limited to a very small period of time. …..
So, just as in the field of positive science, the man who sincerely asks, "Why do I live" cannot be satisfied with the response:
"Study in infinite space the infinite changes according to the time and the complication of infinitely small parts, and then you will understand your life ";
even a sincere man cannot be satisfied with the answer:
"Study the life of all humanity, which we can know neither the beginning nor the end of and of which the majority is unknown; then you will understand your life."
And as these Half sciences are moving away from their own education, they are more full of darkness and indecision, of folly and contradiction.
The only science in this area which succeeds is that of metaphysics or philosophy.
This science clearly raises the question:
“--What Am I, and what is the universe? And why am I and why the whole universe?”
And she always answers the same way. That I am Spirit, but why I exist they do not answer.
And philosophy, not only does not answer, but it is precisely this question that is the subject of all philosophy.