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Leo Tolstoy "Change"

Leo Tolstoy "Change"


Not to be outdone by his novels, Tolstoy lead an epic life. To the manor born, young Leo did poorly in school and had more interest in gambling and romancing. That all changed when he enlisted and fought in the Crimean War. The experience converted him from a libertine dissolute into a non-violent reformer and spiritual anarchist.

He spent the rest of his life writing on social issues and thinking about how to help build a kinder, gentler society. He was an anachronistic thinker: an aristocrat who opposed serfdom and property rights, a devout Christian who drew profound inspiration from Indian sacred text, and a proto-communist who was deeply skeptical of government in any form. He also inspired Mahatma Gandhi to pursue peaceful resistance in India. He founded the first institute of democratic education , happily worked alongside peasants in the fields, practiced moral vegetarianism, and (oh yeah!) banged out War & Peace, Anna Karenina, A Day in the Life of Ivan Ilyich, and eight other novels and social treatises.

We love this quotation from his diary, written in 1900 under the heading “Some Social Remedies: Three Methods of Reform.” Lest the more revolutionary amongst us take issue with his assertion to look inward first, remember that we discovered it only by peeping in his diary, and that his intended audience was himself.

In our illustration, two camps of protestors converge in a struggle to change each other’s minds. The composite clash takes the shape of a face, contemplating the many voices and issues at hand, leading to an act of thoughtful self-examination.

See the print. 

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