Peaks

Day 92 of A Year of War and Peace

‘You talk of schools,’ he went on, crooking a finger, ‘education and so forth; that is, you want to raise him,’ (pointing to a peasant who passed by them taking off his cap) ‘from his animal condition and awaken him to spiritual needs, while it seems to me that animal happiness is the only happiness possible, and that is just what you want to deprive him of. I envy him, but you want to make him what I am, without giving him any means. They you say, “lighten his toil.” But as I see it, physical labor is as essential to him, as much a condition of his existence, as mental activity is to you or me. You can’t help thinking. I go to bed at two in the morning, thoughts come and I can’t sleep but toss about till dawn, because I think and can’t help thinking, just as he can’t help ploughing and mowing; if he didn’t he would go to the tavern or fall ill. Just as I could not stand his terrible physical labor but should die of it in a week, so he could not stand my physical idleness, but would grow fat and die. The third thing — what else was it you talked about?’ and Prince Andrei crooked a third finger, ‘Ah, yes, hospitals, medicine. He has a fit, he is dying, and you come and bleed him and patch him up. he will drag about as a cripple, a burden to everybody for another ten years. It would be far easier and simpler for him to die. Others are being born and there are plenty of them as it is. It would be different if you grudged losing a labourer — that’s how I regard him — but you want to cure him from love of him. And he does not want that. And besides, what a notion that medicine ever cured anyone! Killed them, yes!’ said he, frowning angrily and turning away from Pierre.

DAILY MEDITATION

This is the ninety-second installment in a daily, yearlong, chapter-by-chapter reading devotional and meditation on Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. For more information on this project please read the introduction to the series here.

I’m also very interested in hearing what you have to say about the novel. So leave a comment and let me know.

If you like these essays and would like to support me please consider purchasing my eBook A Year of War and Peace. I also have a Patreon or you could make a one time donation to my PayPal account at brianedenton@gmail.com. Please use that email address if you want to contact me. Or you could follow me on Twitter.

For my friends and family, love. For my enemies, durian fruit.

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