kingdom is within you
notes/quotes from book by leo tolstoy (1893)
Tolstoy believed that a true Christian could find lasting happiness by striving for inner perfection through following the Great Commandment of loving one’s neighbor and God, rather than guidance from the Church or state. Another distinct attribute of his philosophy based on Christ’s teachings is nonresistance during conflict.
reading kindle version (200ish pages) thanks to anarchist library [https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/leo-tolstoy-the-kingdom-of-god-is-within-you]
My acquaintance with the activity of the Quakers and with their writings — with Fox, Paine, and especially with Dymond’s book (1827), — showed me that not only had the impossibility of uniting Christianity with violence and war been recognized long ago, but that this incompatibility had long ago been proved so clearly and so incontestably that one has only to marvel how this impossible connection of the Christian teaching with violence, which has been preached all this time by the churches, could have been continued.
relates to simone weil abolition of parties.. and marsh label law.. et al.. ie: we agree to label/contract/commandments/party w/o reading/grokking fine print.. so later war is ok as ‘resisting evil’ et al.. oi
The son of William Lloyd Garrison, the famous champion for the liberation of the negroes, wrote to me that, when he read my book, in which he found ideas resembling those expressed by his father in 1838, he, assuming that it might be interesting for me to know this, sent me the “Declaration of Non-resistance,” which his father had made about fifty years ago: ‘Declaration of Sentiments Adopted by the Peace Convention, Held in Boston in 1838.. We register our testimony, not only against all wars, whether offensive or defensive, but all preparations for war; against every naval ship, every arsenal, every fortification; against the militia system and a standing army; against all military chieftains and soldiers; against all monuments commemorative of victory over a foreign foe, all trophies won in battle, all celebrations in honor of military or naval exploits: against all appropriations for the defence of a nation by force and arms on the part of any legislative body; against every edict of government, requiring of its subjects military service. Hence, we deem it unlawful to bear arms, or to hold a military office.. It follows, that we cannot sue any man at law, to compel him by force to restore anything which he may have wrongfully taken from us or others; but, if he has seized our coat, we shall surrender up our cloak, rather than subject him to punishment..he history of mankind is crowded with evidences, proving that physical coercion is not adapted to moral regeneration; *that the sinful dispositions of men can be subdued only by love; that evil can be exterminated from the earth only by goodness; that it is not safe to rely upon an arm of flesh…. to preserve us from harm; that there is great security in being gentle, harmless, long-suffering, and abundant in mercy; that it is only the meek who shall inherit the earth, for the violent who resort to the sword are destined to perish with the sword. Hence, as a measure of sound policy — of safety to property, life, and liberty — of public quietude and private enjoyment, as well as on the ground of allegiance to Him who is King of kings, and Lord of lords, we cordially adopt the non-resistance principle; being confident that it provides for all possible consequences, will ensure all things needful to us, is armed with omnipotent power, and must ultimately triumph over every assailing foe...’
I wrote to Ballou, and he answered me and sent me his writings. Here are a few extracts from them: ‘I have covenanted to forsake all and follow Him, through good and evil report, until death. But I am nevertheless a Democratic Republican citizen of the United States, implicitly sworn to bear true allegiance to my country, and to support its Constitution, if need be, with my life. Jesus Christ requires me to do unto others as I would that others should do unto me. The Constitution of the United States requires me to do unto twenty-seven hundred thousand slaves the very contrary of what I would have them do unto me, viz., assist to keep them in a grievous bondage…. But I am quite easy. I vote on. I help govern on. I am willing to hold any office I may be elected to under the Constitution. And I am still a Christian. I profess on. I find no difficulty in keeping covenant both with Christ and the Constitution….’
61 ness et al
‘It is incomparably safer to act justly than unjustly; to bear an insult than to resist it with violence — it is safer even in relation to the present life. If all men did not resist evil with evil, the world would be blessed.. Thus, if all kept the commandment of non-resistance, it is evident that there would be no offences, no evil deeds. If these formed a majority, they would establish the reign of love and good-will, even toward the ill-disposed, by never resisting evil with evil, never using violence. If there were a considerable minority of these, they would have such a corrective, moral effect upon society that every cruel punishment would be abolished, and violence and enmity would be changed to peace and love. If there were but a small minority of them, they would rarely experience anything worse than the contempt of the world, and the world would in the meantime, without noticing it, and without feeling itself under obligation, become wiser and better from this secret influence. And if, in the very worst case, a few members of the minority should be persecuted to death, these men, dying for the truth, would leave behind them their teaching, which is already sanctified by their martyr’s death.
A Christian, according to Chelčický’s interpretation, can not only not be a chief or a soldier, but cannot even take part in the government, be a merchant or even a landowner; he can be only an artisan or an agriculturist.
It seems that this is a very living question, one, the answer to which is particularly important in connection with the military service of the present time. All, or a vast majority of men — Christians — all males, are called on to perform military service. What must a man, as a Christian, answer in reply to this demand? Dymond’s answer is as follows: ‘It is his duty, mildly and temperately, yet firmly, to refuse to serve.. We are, indeed, not responsible for the crimes of our rulers, but we are responsible for our own; and the crimes of our rulers are our own, if, whilst we believe them to be crimes, we promote them by our cooperation.’
Very much has been said in reference to my book about how incorrectly I interpret this or that passage in the Gospel, how I err in not acknowledging the Trinity, the redemption, and the immortality of the soul; very much has been said, but this one thing, which for every Christian forms the chief, essential question of life: how to harmonize what was clearly expressed in the teacher’s words and is clearly expressed in the heart of every one of us — the teaching about forgiveness, humility, renunciation, and love of all men, of our neighbors and of our enemies — with the demand of military violence exerted against the men of one’s own nation or another nation.
huge huge huge
What an enormous amount of evil must take place, as it actually does, as the result of arrogating to ourselves the right to prevent an evil that may occur! Ninety-nine hundredths of the evil of the world, from the Inquisition to dynamite bombs and the executions and sufferings of tens of thousands of so-called political criminals, are based on this reflection.
yeah that.. protection in love ness.. turkish films ness.. oi
They actually recognize the commandment against fornication, and so never, under any condition, admit that fornication is not an evil. The preachers of the church never point out any cases when the commandment against fornication ought to be broken, and they always teach that we must avoid the offences which lead to the temptation of fornication. But this is not the case with the commandment about non-resistance. All the church preachers know cases when this commandment may be broken. And thus they teach men. And they not only do not teach how to avoid these offences, of which the chief one is the oath, but themselves commit them. The church preachers never and under no condition preach the violation of any other commandment; but in relation to the commandment of non-resistance they teach outright that this prohibition must not be understood in too direct a sense, and not only that this commandment must not be carried out at all times, but that there are conditions, situations, when directly the opposite should be done, that is, that we should judge, wage war, execute. Thus, in reference to the commandment about non-resistance to evil, they in the majority of cases preach how not to fulfil it. The fulfilment of this commandment, they say, is very difficult and is characteristic only of perfection. But how can it help but be difficult, when its breach is not only not prohibited, but is also directly encouraged, when they directly bless the courts, prisons, guns, cannon, armies, battles? Consequently it is not true that this commandment is recognized by the church preachers as of equal significance with the other commandments. The church preachers simply do not recognize it, and only because they do not dare to confess it, try to conceal their failure to recognize it.
And such are, without exception, all the criticisms of the cultivated believers, who, therefore, do not understand the perilousness of their position. The only way out for them is the hope that, by using the authority of the church, of antiquity, of holiness, they may be able to confuse the reader and draw him away from the thought of reading the Gospel for himself and of considering the question with his own mind. And in this they are successful. To whom, indeed, will it occur that all that which with such assurance and solemnity is repeated from century to century by all these archdeacons, bishops, archbishops, most holy synods, and Popes, is a base lie and calumny, which they foist on Christ in order to secure the money which they need for the purpose of leading a life of pleasure, while sitting on the backs of others — a lie and a calumny, which is so obvious, especially now that the only possibility of continuing this lie consists in frightening men into belief by their assurance, their unscrupulousness? It is precisely the same that of late years has taken place in the Recruiting Sessions: at the head of the table, with the Mirror of Laws upon it, and beneath the full-sized portrait of the emperor, sit dignified old officials in their regalia, conversing freely and unreservedly, noting down, commanding, calling out. Here also, with the cross over his breast and in silk vestments, with his gray hair falling down straight over his scapulary, stands an imposing old man, the priest, in front of the pulpit, on which lies a gold cross and a gold-trimmed Gospel.
Iván Petróv is called out. A young man steps out. He is poorly and dirtily dressed and looks frightened, and the muscles of his face tremble, and his fugitive eyes sparkle, and in a faltering voice, almost in a whisper, he says: “I — according to the law I, a Christian — I cannot —”
“What is he muttering there?” impatiently asks the presiding officer, half-closing his eyes and listening, as he raises his head from the book.
“Speak louder!” shouts to him the colonel with the shining shoulder-straps.
“I — I — I — as a Christian —”
It finally turns out that the young man refuses to do military service, because he is a Christian.
“Talk no nonsense! Get your measure! Doctor, be so kind as to take his measure. Is he fit for the army?”
61 ness et al.. oi
Those who justify themselves by the first method, asserting outright and rudely that Christ has permitted violence — wars, murder — withdraw themselves from Christ’s teaching; those who defend themselves according to the second, the third, and the fourth methods get themselves entangled, and it is easy to point out their untruth; but these last, who do not discuss, who do not condescend to discuss, but hide themselves behind their greatness and make it appear that all this has been decided long ago by them, or by somebody else, and that it no longer is subject to any doubt, seem invulnerable, and they will be invulnerable so long as people will remain under the influence of hypnotic suggestion, which is induced in them by governments and churches, and will not shake it off.
The discussions of all the lay writers, both Russian and foreign, no matter how different their tone and the manner of their arguments may be, in reality reduce themselves to one and the same strange misunderstanding, namely, that Christ’s teaching, one of the consequences of which is non-resistance to evil, is useless to us, because it demands that our life be changed.
Christ’s teaching is useless, because, if it were put into practice, our life could not continue; in other words — if we began to live well, as Christ has taught us, we could not continue to live badly, as we live and are accustomed to live. The question of non-resistance to evil is not discussed, and the very mention of the fact that the demand for non-resistance to evil enters into Christ’s teaching is considered a sufficient proof of the inapplicability of the whole teaching.
And yet, it would seem, it is indispensable to point out some kind of a solution to this question, because it lies at the foundation of nearly all affairs which interest us.
The question consists in this: how are we to harmonize the conflicts of men, when some consider an evil what others consider to be good, and vice versa? And so, to consider that an evil which I consider an evil, although my adversary may consider it good, is no answer. There can be but two answers: either we have to find a true and indisputable criterion of what an evil is, or we must not resist evil with violence.
The first solution has been tried since the beginning of historical times, and, as we all know, has so far led to no satisfactory results.
myth of tragedy and lord et al
The failure to comprehend Christ’s teaching in its true, simple, and direct sense in our time, when the light of this teaching has penetrated all the darkest corners of human consciousness; when, as Christ has said, that which He has spoken in the ear, they now proclaim upon the housetops; when this teaching permeates all the sides of human life — the domestic, the economic, the civil, the political, and the international — this failure to comprehend would be incomprehensible, if there were no causes for it.
on each heart ness
One of these causes is this, that both the believers and the unbelievers are firmly convinced that Christ’s teaching has been comprehended by them long ago, and so completely, indubitably, and finally, that there can be no other meaning in it than the one they ascribe to it. This cause is due to the duration of the tradition of the false comprehension, and so of the failure to understand the true teaching.
It is possible to explain the most intricate matters to a man of very hard comprehension, so long as he has not formed any idea about them; but it is impossible to explain the simplest thing to a very clever man, if he is firmly convinced that he knows, and, besides, incontestably knows, what has been transmitted to him.
graeber model law et al
The Christian teaching presents itself to the men of our world precisely as such a teaching, which has for a long time and in a most indubitable manner been known in its minutest details, and which cannot be comprehended in any other manner than it now is.
No proofs were given of the teaching, except the truth, except the correspondence of the teaching with the truth. The whole teaching consisted in the knowledge of the truth and in following it, in a greater and ever greater approximation to it, in matters of life. According to this teaching, there are no acts which can justify a man, make him righteous; there is only the model of truth which attracts all hearts, for the inner perfection — in the person of Christ, and for the outer — in the realization of the kingdom of God. The fulfilment of the teaching is only in the motion along a given path, in the approximation to perfection — the inner — the imitation of Christ, and the outer — the establishment of the kingdom of God. A man’s greater or lesser good, according to this teaching, depends, not on the degree of perfection which he attains, but on the greater or lesser acceleration of motion.
The motion toward perfection of the publican, of Zacchæus, of the harlot, of the robber on the cross, is, according to this teaching, a greater good than the immovable righteousness of the Pharisee. A sheep gone astray is more precious than ninety-nine who have not. The prodigal son, the lost coin which is found again, is more precious, more loved by God than those who were not lost.. The good is only in the motion toward perfection; but the stopping at any stage whatsoever is only a cessation of the good.. The fulfilment of the teaching is only in unceasing motion — in the attainment of a higher and ever higher truth, and in an ever greater realization of the same in oneself by means of an ever increasing love, and outside of oneself by an ever greater realization of the kingdom of God.
The consequence of such a method of confirmation was this, that the more these confirmations of the truth by means of stories of miracles heaped up upon one another, the more did the teaching itself depart from its original meaning, and the less comprehensible did it become.
As early as the time of Constantine the whole comprehension of the teaching was reduced to a résumé confirmed by the worldly power — a résumé of disputes which took place in a council — to a creed of faith, in which it says, I believe in so and so, and so and so, and finally, in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church, that is, in the infallibility of those persons who call themselves the church, so that everything was reduced to this, that a man no longer believes in God, nor in Christ, as they have been revealed to him, but in what the church commands him to believe.
It was these assemblies, which later on, with the aid of the support of the temporal power, passed into mighty institutions, that were the chief impediments in the dissemination of the true comprehension of Christ’s teaching.
Nor could it be otherwise: the chief peculiarity of Christ’s teaching, as distinguished from all the former teachings, consisted in this, that the men who accepted it tried more and more to understand and fulfil the teaching, whereas the church doctrine asserted the full and final comprehension and fulfilment of this teaching.
However strange it may seem to us people educated in the false doctrine about the church as a Christian institution, and in the contempt for heresy, it was only in what is called heresy that there was true motion, that is, true Christianity, and it ceased to be such when it stopped its motion in these heresies and became itself arrested in the immovable forms of the church.
Expressing in these questions this thought, among others, that the verbal expression of the essence of faith, which was demanded by the church, and a departure from which was considered a heresy, could never completely cover the world-conception of the believer, and that, therefore, the demand for an expression of faith by means of particular words was the cause of heresy, he says, in Questions 21 and 33: “And if the divine acts and thoughts present themselves to a man as so great and profound that he does not find corresponding words in which to express them, must he be recognized as a heretic, if he is not able precisely to express his ideas? And is not this true, that in the early times there was no heresy, because the Christians did not judge one another according to verbal expressions, but according to the heart and acts, in connection with a complete liberty of expression, without fear of being recognized as a heretic? Was it not a very common and easy method with the church,” he says in Question 21, “when the clergy wanted to get rid of a person or ruin him, to make him suspected as regards his doctrine and to throw over him the cloak of heresy, and thus to condemn and remove him?
Heresy is the opinion of people who do not recognize the indisputableness of the church truth.
No matter at what stage of comprehension and perfection a disciple of Christ may be, he always feels the insufficiency of his comprehension and of his fulfilment, and always strives after a greater comprehension and fulfilment. And so the assertion about myself or about an assembly, that I, or we, possess the complete comprehension of Christ’s teaching, and completely fulfil it, is a renunciation of the spirit of Christ’s teaching.
No matter how strange this may seem, the churches, as churches, have always been, and cannot help but be, institutions that are not only foreign, but even directly hostile, to Christ’s teaching. With good reason Voltaire called the church “l’infâme” [the infamous]; with good reason all, or nearly all, the Christian so-called sects have recognized the church to be that whore of whom Revelation prophesies; with good reason the history of the church is the history of the greatest cruelties and horrors.
The servants of the churches of all denominations have tried, especially of late, to appear as advocates of motion in Christianity; they make concessions, wish to mend the abuses which have stolen into the church, and say that for the sake of the abuses we ought not to deny the principle of the Christian church itself, which alone can unite all men and be a mediator between men and God. But all this is not true. The churches have not only never united, but have always been one of the chief causes of the disunion of men, of the hatred of one another, of wars, slaughters, inquisitions, nights of St. Bartholomew, and so forth, and *the churches never serve as mediators between men and God, which is, indeed, unnecessary and is directly forbidden by Christ, who has revealed the teaching directly to every man, and they put up dead forms in the place of God, and not only fail to reveal God to man, but even conceal Him from them. Churches which have arisen from the failure to comprehend, and which **maintain this lack of comprehension by their immobility, cannot help persecuting and oppressing every comprehension of the teaching. They try to conceal this, but this is impossible, because every motion forward along the path indicated by Christ destroys their existence.
**naming the colour ness et al
But why speak of the past, judge of the past, which may have been falsely represented to us? The churches with their foundations and with their activity are not a work of the past: the churches are now before us, and we can judge of them directly, by their activity, their influence upon men.
But if one wants to care for his soul, he is taught, according to this faith, that the greatest amount of blessedness is secured for the soul in the world to come by contributing money for churches and monasteries, by putting holy men thus under obligation to pray for him. Other soul-saving measures, according to this faith, are the visiting of monasteries and the kissing of miracleworking icons and relics.
All this, and the worship of persons and icons, is introduced into theologies, into catechisms; the masses are carefully taught this theoretically, and, being hypnotized practically, with every means of solemnity, splendor, authority, and violence, are made to believe in this, and are jealously guarded against every endeavor to be freed from these savage superstitions.. In my very presence, as I said in reference to my book, Christ’s teaching and his own words concerning nonresistance to evil were a subject of ridicule and circus jokes, and the churchmen not only did not oppose this, but even encouraged the blasphemy;
structural violence et al
a man who believes in the doctrine and the preaching of the church about the compatibility of executions and wars with Christianity, cannot believe in the brotherhood of men.
It was possible for a man, who regarded the heaven as a finite, firm vault, to believe, or not, that God created the heaven, that heaven was opened, that Christ flew to heaven; but for us these words have no meaning whatsoever. Men of our time can only believe that they must believe so; but they cannot believe in what has no meaning for them
It was all very well for a man who never saw any men of another faith than his own to believe that his own faith was the correct one; but a thinking man need only come in contact, as he now does all the time, with equally good and equally bad men of various denominations, which condemn the doctrines of one another, in order to lose faith in the truth of the religion which he professes. In our time only a very ignorant man or one who is quite indifferent to the questions of life, which are sanctified by religion, can stay in the church faith.
What cunning and what effort must be exerted by the churches, if, in spite of all these conditions which are subversive of faith, they are to continue building churches, celebrating masses, preaching, teaching, converting, and, above all, receiving for it a fat income, like all these priests, pastors, intendants, superintendents, abbots, archdeacons, bishops, and archbishops.
Special, supernatural efforts are needed. And such efforts, which are strained more and more, are used by the churches. With us, in Russia, they use (in addition to all other means) the simple, coarse violence of the civil power, which is obedient to the church. Persons who depart from the external expression of faith and who give expression to it are either directly punished or deprived of their rights; while persons who strictly adhere to the external forms of faith are rewarded and given rights.
Thus do the Orthodox; but even all other churches, without exception, use for this all such means, of which the chief is what now is called hypnotization.
But, no matter how strong this action of hypnotization may be, the chief and most deleterious activity of the churches does not lie in this. The chief, most pernicious activity of the church is the one which is directed to the *deception of the children, those very children of whom Christ said that it will be woe to him who shall offend one of these little ones. With the very first awakening of the child, they begin to deceive him and to impress upon him with solemnity what those who impress do not believe in themselves, and they continue to impress him, until the deception, becoming a habit, is engrafted on the child’s nature. **The child is methodically deceived in the most important matter of life, and when the deception has so grown up with his life that it is difficult to tear it away, there is revealed to him the whole world of science and of reality, which can in no way harmonize with the beliefs instilled in him, and he is left to make the best he can out of these contradictions.
*not yet scrambled ness
**khan filling the gaps law et al
If we should set ourselves the task of entangling a man in such a way that he should not be able with his sound reason to get away from the two opposite world-conceptions, which have been instilled in him since his childhood, we could not invent anything more powerful than what is accomplished in the case of every young man who is educated in our so-called Christian society.
What the churches do to people is terrible, but if we reflect on their condition, we shall find that those men who form the institution of the churches cannot act otherwise. The churches are confronted with a dilemma — the Sermon on the Mount, or the Nicene Creed — one excludes the other: if a man sincerely believes in the Sermon on the Mount, the Nicene Creed, and with it the church and its representatives, inevitably lose all meaning and significance for him; but if a man believes in the Nicene Creed, that is, in the church, that is, in those who call themselves its representatives, the Sermon on the Mount will become superfluous to him. And so the churches cannot help but use every possible effort to obscure the meaning of the Sermon on the Mount and to attract people toward itself. Only thanks to the tense activity of the churches in this direction has the influence of the churches held itself until now. Let a church for the shortest time arrest this action upon the masses by means of hypnotizing them and deceiving the children, and people will understand Christ’s teaching. But the comprehension of the teaching destroys the churches and their significance. And so the churches do not for a moment interrupt the tense activity and hypnotization of the adults and the deception of the children. And it is this activity of the churches, which instills a false comprehension of Christ’s teaching in men, and serves as an obstacle in its comprehension for the majority of so-called believers.
The three life-conceptions are these: the first — the personal, or animal; the second — the social, or the pagan; and the third — the universal, or the divine.
The savage recognizes life only in himself, in his personal desires. The good of his life is centred in himself alone. The highest good for him is the greatest gratification of his lust. The prime mover of his life is his personal enjoyment. His religion consists in appeasing the divinity in his favor, and in the worship of imaginary personalities of gods, who live only for personal ends.
A pagan, a social man, no longer recognizes life in himself alone, but in the aggregate of personalities — in the tribe, the family, the race, the state — and sacrifices his personal good for these aggregates. The prime mover of his life is glory. His religion consists in the glorification of the heads of unions — of eponyms, ancestors, kings, and in the worship of gods, the exclusive protectors of his family, his race, his nation, his state
What is taking place is what in the majority of cases serves as a source of the coarsest human errors — men who are standing on a lower level of comprehension, coming in contact with phenomena of a higher order, instead of making efforts to understand them, instead of rising to the point of view from which they ought to look upon a subject, judge it from their lower point of view, and that, too, with greater daring and determination the less they understand what they are talking about.
For the majority of scientific men, who view Christ’s vital, moral teaching from the lower point of the social conception of life, this teaching is only a very indefinite, clumsy combination of Hindu asceticism, Stoical and Neoplatonic teachings, and Utopian antisocial reveries, which have no serious significance for our time, .. The result of it is this, that all these men, beginning with Comte, Strauss, Spencer, and Renan, who do not understand the meaning of Christ’s sermons, who do not understand why they are uttered and for what purpose, who do not even understand the question to which they serve as an answer, who do not even take the trouble to grasp their meaning, if they are inimically inclined, deny outright the rationality of the teaching; but if they wish to be condescending to it, they correct it from the height of their grandeur, assuming that Christ wanted to say precisely what they have in mind, but did not know how to say it.
endnote: christ would have liked to speak well, but he did not know how to express himself as precisely and clearly as we, in the spirit of criticism, and so we will correct him.. everything he said about meekness, sacrifice, poverty, the thoughtlessness of for the morrow.. he said by chance, having been unable to express himself scientifically
It is possible not to share this life-conception; it is possible to reject it; it is possible to prove its inexactness and irregularity; but it is impossible to judge of the teaching, without having first grasped the life-conception from which it results; still less possible is it to judge about a subject of a higher order from a lower point of view, to judge of the tower by looking at the foundation. But it is precisely this that the learned men of our time are doing. They do so because they abide in an error, which is like the one of the churchmen, the belief that they are in possession of such methods of the study of the subject that, as soon as these methods, called scientific, are used, there can be no longer any doubt as to the correctness of the comprehension of the subject under advisement.
It is this possession of an instrument of cognition, which they deem infallible, that serves as the chief obstacle in the comprehension of the Christian teaching by unbelievers and so-called scientific men, by whose opinion the vast majority of unbelievers, the so-called cultured men, are guided. From this imaginary comprehension of theirs arise all the errors of the scientific men in respect to the Christian teaching, and especially two strange misconceptions which more than any other impede the correct comprehension of it.
The first misconception about the impracticality of the teaching consists in this, that the men of the social comprehension of life, being unable to comprehend the method by means of which the Christian teaching guides men, and taking the Christian indications of perfection to be rules which determine life, think and say that it is impossible to follow Christ’s teaching, because a complete fulfilment of this teaching destroys life.. And they are quite correct, if we take the indications of perfection, as given by Christ, for rules, which every man is obliged to carry out, just as in the social teaching everybody is obliged to carry out the rule about paying the taxes, about taking part in court, etc.
Christ’s teaching differs from previous teachings in that it guides men, not by external rules, but by the internal consciousness of the possibility of attaining divine perfection. And in man’s soul there are not moderated rules of justice and of philanthropy, but the ideal of the complete, infinite, divine perfection.. The ideal which operates upon people is not an invented one, but one which is borne in the soul of every man. Only this ideal of the complete, infinite perfection acts upon people and moves them to activity. *A moderated perfection loses its power to act upon men’s souls.
on each heart ness
.. and so the motion toward perfection of the publican Zacchæus, of the harlot, of the robber on the cross, forms a higher degree of life than the immovable righteousness of the Pharisee. And so there can be no obligatory rules for this teaching. A man who stands on a lower step, in moving toward perfection, lives more morally and better, and better performs the teaching, than a man who stands on a much higher stage of morality, but who does not move toward perfection.. In this sense the lost sheep is dearer to the Father than one which is not lost. The prodigal son, the lost coin which is found again, are dearer than those which were not lost.
sermon on mount.. 1\ The ideal consists in having no ill-will against any one,..in loving all; .. 2\ The ideal is complete chastity, .. the purity of the marital life,.. 3\ The ideal is not to care for the future, to live only in the present; ..not to swear, not to promise anything to men.. 4\ The ideal is never, under any condition, to make use of violence; ..not to repay evil with evil, but to suffer insult, to give up one’s cloak.. 5\ The ideal is to love our enemies, who hate us; ..to do no evil to our enemies, to speak well of them, to make no distinction between them and our fellow citizens.
It is natural for any one to love himself, and every person loves himself without any special incitement; to love my tribe, which supports and defends me, to love my wife, the joy and helpmate of my life, my children, the pleasure and hope of my life, and my parents, who have given me life and an education, is natural: and this kind of love, though far from being as strong as the love of self, is met with quite frequently.. To love one’s race, one’s nation, for the sake of oneself, of one’s pride, though not so natural, is still to be met with. .. almost an impossible thing, and, in spite of the intensified education in this direction, is only assumed and does not exist in reality. With this aggregate there ends for man the possibility of transferring his consciousness and of experiencing in this fiction any immediate sensation. .. Since the consciousness and the love of personality are transferred to the family, from the family to the race, the nation, the state, it would be quite logical for men, to save themselves from struggle and, calamities, which are due to the division of humanity into nations and states, most naturally to transfer their love to humanity. This would seem to be the most logical thing, and this is theoretically advocated by men, who do not observe that love is a sentiment which one may have, but cannot preach, and that, besides, for love there must be an object, whereas humanity is not an object, but only a fiction.. The tribe, the family, even the state, are not invented by men, but were formed naturally like a swarm of bees or ants, and actually exist.
oh my.. all off/on whalespeak
Humanity? Where is the limit of humanity? Where does it end and where does it begin? Does humanity stop short of a savage, an idiot, an alcoholic, an insane person? If we are going to draw a line of demarcation for humanity, so as to exclude the lower representatives of the human race, where are we going to draw it?
We do not know humanity as an external object — we do not know its limits. Humanity is a fiction, and it cannot be loved. It would indeed be very convenient, if men could love humanity just as they love the family; it would be very convenient, as the communists talk of doing, to substitute the communal for the competitive tendency of human activity, and the universal for the individual, so that every man may be for all, and all for every man, only there are no motives whatever for it. .. The necessity for widening the sphere of love is incontestable; but at the same time this very necessity for its widening in reality destroys the possibility of love and proves the insufficiency of the personal, the human love.
There, with a greater and ever greater widening of the sphere of love for the salvation of the personality, love was a necessity and was applied to certain objects — self, the family, society, humanity; with the Christian conception of life, love is not a necessity and is not adapted to anything, but is an essential quality of man’s soul. Man does not love because it is advantageous for him to love this man or these men, but because love is the essence of his soul — because he cannot help loving.
he keeps trying to define love.. oi
It knows the teaching which ought to be put at the foundation of the life of this new age, but from inertia continues to hold on to the previous forms of life.
We need only to compare the practice of life with its theory, in order that we may be frightened at the crying contradiction of the conditions of life and of our consciousness, in which we live.. Our whole life is one solid contradiction to everything we know and consider necessary and right. This contradiction is in everything — in the economic, the political, the international life. As though forgetting what we know, and for a time putting aside what we believe in (we cannot help but believe, because this constitutes our only foundations of life), we do everything contrary to what our conscience and our common sense demand of us.
We all know, and we cannot help but know, even if we have never heard or read this thought clearly expressed and have never expressed it ourselves, we, having imbibed this consciousness, which is borne in the Christian atmosphere, know with our whole heart, and we cannot help but know, that fundamental truth of the Christian teaching, that we all are the sons of one Father, all of us, no matter where we may live or what language we may speak — that we are all brothers and are subject only to the law of love, which by our common Father is implanted in our hearts.. Be he master or slave, a man of our time cannot help but experience a constant agonizing contradiction between his consciousness and reality, and sufferings which arise from it.
All men are above all else educated in the habits of obedience to the laws of the state. The whole life of the men of our time is determined by the law of the state. A man marries or gets a divorce, educates his children, even professes a faith (in many states) in accordance with the law
oi.. supposed to’s of school/work et al
A man cannot help but suffer, when his whole life is determined in advance by laws which he must obey under the menace of punishment, and in the rationality and justice of which he does not believe, and the unnaturalness, cruelty, injustice of which he clearly recognizes. We recognize the uselessness of custom-houses and import duties, and we must pay the duties; we recognize the uselessness of the expenses for the support of royal courts and many governmental offices; we recognize the harmfulness of the church propaganda, and we must contribute to the support of these institutions; we recognize the cruelty and unscrupulousness of the penalties imposed by courts of justice, and we must take part in them; we recognize the irregularity and harmfulness of the distribution of land-ownership, and we must submit to it; we do not recognize the indispensableness of armies and of war, and must bear terrible burdens for the maintenance of armies and the waging of wars, and so forth.
But these contradictions are as nothing in comparison with the contradiction which has now arisen among men in their international relations, and which, under threat of ruining both human reason and human life, demands a solution. This is the contradiction between the Christian conscience and war.
“We ruin ourselves,” says Frédéric Passy, in a note read at the last Universal Peace Congress (1890), at London, “in preparing the means for taking part in the mad butcheries of the future, or in paying the interests of debts bequeathed to us by the mad and culpable butcheries of the past. We die of starvation, in order to be able to kill one another off.”
“I am always very much surprised at the way religion is carried on in this country,” says Sir Wilfrid Lawson, at the same Congress. “You send a boy to the Sunday-school, and you tell him, ‘My dear boy, you must love your enemies; if any boy strikes you, don’t strike him again; try to reform him by loving him.’ Well, the boy stays in the Sunday-school till he is fourteen or fifteen years of age, and then his friends say, ‘Put him in the Army.’ What has he to do in the army? Why, not to love his enemies, but whenever he sees an enemy to run him through the body with a bayonet. That is the nature of all religious teaching in this country. I do not think that that is a very good way of carrying out the precepts of religion. I think if it is a good thing for the boy to love his enemy, it is a good thing for the man to love his enemy.”
War has ceased for them to be an act which has anything to do with morality. They have no other joy, in the fatigue and perils of the camp, than that of being victorious, and no other sadness than that of being vanquished…. Do not tell me that they serve their country.
What characterizes the slave is this, that he is in the hands of his master like a chattel, a tool, and no longer a man. Just so it is with a soldier, an officer, a general, who march to murder and to death without any care as to justice, by the arbitrary will of ministers.… Thus military slavery exists, and it is the worst of slaveries, particularly now, when by means of enforced military service it puts the chain about the necks of all free and strong men of the nations, in order to make of them tools of murder, killers by profession, butchers of human flesh, for this is the only opus servile for which they are chained up and trained….
oi.. 61 ness et al
Every monarch keeps on a war footing all the troops which he might need in case his people were in danger of being exterminated, and this state of tension, of all against all, is called peace.
They marvel why annually sixty thousand suicides are committed in Europe, and those only the ones that are recorded, which excludes Russia and Turkey; but what we ought to marvel at is not that there are so many suicides, but so few. Every man of our time, if he grasps the contradiction between his consciousness and his life, is in a very desperate condition. To say nothing of all the other contradictions between life and consciousness, which fill the life of a man of our time, the contradiction between this last military condition, in which Europe is, and the Christian profession of Europe is enough to make a man despair, doubt the rationality of human nature, and put an end to his life in this mad and beastly world. This contradiction, the military contradiction, which is the quintessence of all others, is so terrible that a man can live and take part in it only by not thinking of it, by being able to forget it.
How is this? We are all Christians — we not only profess love of one another, but actually live one common life, the pulse of our life beats with the same beats, we aid one another, learn from one another, more and more approach one another, for a common joy! In this closer union lies the meaning of the whole of life —
and tomorrow some maddened head of a government will say something foolish, another man like him will answer him, and I shall go, making myself liable to be killed, to kill men who not only have done me no harm, but whom I love. And this is not a distant accident, but what we are preparing ourselves for, and it is not only a possible, but even an inevitable event.
It is enough to understand this clearly, in order to lose our mind and shoot ourselves. And it is precisely what happens with special frequency among the military. We need but think for a moment, in order that we may come to the necessity of such an ending. It is only thus that we can explain that terrible tension with which the men of our time incline to intoxicate themselves with wine, tobacco, opium, cards, the reading of newspapers, travelling, all kinds of spectacles, and amusements. All these things are done like serious, important affairs. They are indeed important affairs. If there existed no external means for dimming their consciences, on-half of the men would at once shoot themselves, because to live contrary to one’s reason is a most intolerable state, and all men of our time are in such a state. All men of our time live in a constant crying contradiction between consciousness and life. These contradictions are expressed in the economic and political relations, but most startling is this contradiction between the recognition of the law of the brotherhood of men, as professed by Christians, and the necessity, in which all men are placed by the universal military service, of being prepared for hostility, for murder — of being at the same time a Christian and a gladiator.
Disarmament, demanded by one nation of another, is tantamount to a declaration of war.
oi.. (after list of 19 made at congressional peace mtg.. oi)
But commerce and the banking industry consist in nothing but selling at a higher price than that at which the purchases are made, and so the proposition that articles should not be sold except at a purchase price, and that money should be abolished, is tantamount to a proposition that they should abolish themselves. The same is true of the governments. The proposition made to the governments that no violence be used, and that the differences be decided on their merits, is a proposition that the government as such should abolish itself, and to this no government can consent.
The mistake is based on this, that learned jurists, deceiving themselves and others, assert in their books that the government is not what it is — a collection of one set of men, doing violence to another — but, as science makes it out to be, a representation of the aggregate of citizens.
All this is not only harmless, but even useful to the governments, in that it takes people’s minds away from the most essential question, as to whether each individual man, who is called to become a soldier, should perform the universal military service or not.
“Peace will soon be established, thanks to alliances and congresses and in consequence of books and pamphlets, but in the meantime go, put on uniforms, and be prepared to oppress and torture yourselves for our advantage,” say the governments. And the learned authors of congresses and of writings fully agree to this.
maupasant: ‘..War! To fight! To butcher! To massacre people! And today, at our period of the world, with our civilization, with the expansion of science and the degree of philosophy which we deem the human genius to have attained, we have schools in which they teach how to kill; to kill at a great distance, with perfection, a lot of people at the same time — to kill poor innocent fellows, who have the care of a family and are under no judicial sentence. And what is most startling is the fact that the people do not rise against the governments! What difference is there really between the monarchies and the republics? It is most startling that society does not rise in a body and revolt at the very mention of the word “war.”‘
moltke (w/in maupasant quote): ‘War is sacred and divinely instituted; it is one of the sacred laws of the world; it nurtures in men all the great and noble sentiments — honor, disinterestedness, virtue, courage — and, to be short, keeps men from falling into the most hideous materialism.’
maupasant: ‘Thus, uniting into herds of four hundred thousand men, marching day and night without any rest, not thinking of anything, nor studying anything, nor learning anything, nor reading anything, not being useful to a single person, rotting from dirt, sleeping in the mire, living like the brutes in a constant stupor, pillaging cities, burning villages, ruining peoples, then meeting another conglomeration of human flesh, rushing against it, making lakes of blood and fields of battered flesh, mingled with muddy and blood-stained earth and mounds of corpses, being deprived of arms or legs, or having the skull crushed without profit to any one, and dying in the corner of a field, while your old parents, your wife, and your children are starving — that’s what is called not to fall into the most hideous materialism.‘
maupasant: ‘To enter a country, to kill a man who is defending his home, simply because he wears a blouse and has no cap on his head, to burn the habitations of wretched people who have no bread, to smash the furniture, to steal some of it, to drink the wine which is found in the cellars, to rape the women who are found in the streets, to burn millions of dollars’ worth of powder, and to leave behind them misery and the cholera — this is what is called not to fall into the most hideous materialism.‘
maupasant: ‘..Nobody has the absolute right to govern others. This can be done only for the good of the governed. Whoever rules is as much obliged to avoid war as a captain of a boat is obliged to avoid a shipwreck. When a captain, has lost his boat, he is judged and condemned, if he is found guilty of negligence or even of incapacity. Why should not the governments be judged after the declaration of a war? If the nations understood this, if they themselves sat in judgment over the death-dealing powers, if they refused to allow themselves to be killed without reason, if they made use of their weapons against those who gave them to them for the purpose of massacring, war would be dead at once! But this day will not come!‘
The author sees all the horror of war; he sees that its cause is in this, that the governments, deceiving people, compel them to go out to kill and die without any need; he sees also that the men composing the armies might turn their weapons against the governments and demand accounts from them. But the author thinks that this will never happen, and that, therefore, there is no way out of this situation. He thinks that the business of war is terrible, but that it is inevitable and that the demands of the governments that the soldiers shall go and fight are as inevitable as death, and that, since the governments will always demand it, there will always exist wars.
e kod: ‘And their sons will erect statues to those who shall have massacred them better than any one else!..t The fate of a whole generation depends on the hour at which some sombre politician will give the signal, which will be followed. We know that the best among us will be mowed down and that our work will be destroyed in the germ. We know this, and we tremble from anger, and we are unable to do anything. We are caught in the net of offices and red tape, which it would take too violent an effort to break. We belong to the laws which we have called into life to protect us, but which oppress us. We are only things of this Antinomian abstraction, the state, which makes every individual a slave in the name of the will of all, who, taken separately, would want the very opposite of what they are compelled to do.’
e kod: ‘Our pleasures are those of the condemned criminal, who fifteen minutes before his execution is offered a choice morsel.’
doucet: ‘No matter how much may be said against war and against duelling at all the congresses of the world, above all arbitrations, above all treaties, above all legislations, will eternally stand man’s honor, which has ever demanded duelling, and the national advantages, which will eternally demand war.‘
The meaning is this, that men’s honor demands that people should fight, and the advantages of the nations demand that they should ruin and destroy one another, and that the attempts at stopping war are only worthy of smiles
The meaning of this is, that it does no harm to talk of what no one intends to do, and what ought not to be done at all. But when it comes to business, we must fight.
In spite of the unceasing efforts made by men in power to conceal this and to ascribe a different meaning to power, power is the application of a rope, a chain, by which a man will be bound and dragged along, or of a whip, with which he will be flogged, or of a knife, an axe, with which they will cut off his hands, feet, ears, head — an application of these means, or a threat that they will be used. Thus it was in the time of Nero and of Genghis-Khan, and thus it is even now, in the most liberal of governments, in the republic of America and in that of France. If men submit to power, they do so only because they are afraid that in case they do not submit these actions will be applied to them. All governmental demands, the payment of taxes, the execution of public works, the submission to punishments imposed upon one, exile, penalties, and so forth, to which men seem voluntarily to submit, have always had bodily violence, or a threat that such will be used, for their base… The basis of power is bodily violence
The social concept of life justified itself only so long as all men voluntarily sacrificed their interests to the common interests; but the moment there appeared men who did not voluntarily sacrifice their interests, and power was needed, that is, violence, for the purpose of limiting these individuals, the decomposing principle of power, that is, violence exerted by one set of people against another, entered into the social concept of life and the structure which is based upon it.. For the power of one set of men over another to attain its end of limiting men who strove after their individual interests to the disadvantage of those of the aggregate, it was necessary to have the power vested in the hands of infallible men,
Thus the evil of violence, passing over into the hands of power, keeps growing more and more, and in time comes to be greater than the one which it is supposed to destroy, whereas in the members of society the proneness to violence keeps weakening more and more, and the violence of power grows less and less necessary.
People generally think that the armies are increased by the governments for the purpose of defending the states against other states, forgetting the fact that armies are needed by the governments for the purpose of protecting themselves against their own crushed and enslaved subjects.
Every person who does not know this will find it out in every attempt at not conforming or at changing this order of things. Therefore armies are first of all indispensable to the governments and the ruling classes, in order to maintain the order of things which not only does not result from the necessity of the nation, but is frequently opposed to it and is advantageous only to the government and to the ruling classes.
The armies have reached their present millions not merely because the neighbors threatened the states; this resulted above all from the necessity of crushing all attempts at revolt on the part of the subjects..
In consequence of this, the European governments, in emulating one another in the greater and ever greater increase of the army, arrived at the inevitable necessity of the universal military service, since the universal military service was a means for obtaining in time of war the greatest quantity of soldiers at the least expense.. The moment this happened, it happened that all the citizens were put under arms for the purpose of maintaining all that injustice which was committed against them; what happened was that all the citizens became oppressors of themselves.. The governments were to have freed men from the cruelty of the struggle of individuals and to have given them the assurance of the inviolability of the order of the state life; but, instead, they impose upon the individuals the necessity of the same struggle, except that the struggle with the nearest individuals is transferred to the struggle with the individuals of other states and they leave the same danger
The establishment of the universal military service is like what would happen if a man were to brace up a dilapidated house..A point is finally reached when the supports indeed hold the house together, but it is impossible to live in the house because there are so many supports.. The same is true of the universal military service. It destroys all those advantages of the social life which it is called to preserve.
The governments assert that the armies are needed mainly for the purpose of external defence; but that is not true. They are needed first of all against their subjects, and every man who does military service involuntarily becomes a participant in all the violence which the state exerts over its own subjects.
He who does military service becomes a participant in all these matters, which in some cases are doubtful to him and in many cases are directly opposed to his conscience. Some people do not wish to leave the land..pay the taxes..recognize the obligatoriness for them of laws which they have not made..be deprived of their nationality — and I, by doing military service, am obliged to come and beat these people. Being a participant in these deeds, I cannot help but ask myself whether these deeds are good, and whether I ought to contribute to their execution.
Universal military service is for the government the last degree of violence, which is necessary for the support of the whole structure;.. t and for the subjects it is the extreme limit of the possibility of their obedience. It is that keystone which holds the walls and the extraction of which causes the building to cave in.
“The state,” we are told, “is indispensably necessary, in the first place, because without the state, I and all of us would not be protected against violence and the attack of evil men; in the second place, without the state all of us would be savages, and would have no religious, nor educational, nor mercantile institutions, nor roads of communication, nor any other public establishments; and, in the third place, because without the state we should be subject to enslavement by neighboring nations.”
But it is not only by theoretical reflections that any man may see that the sacrifices demanded of him by the state have no foundation whatever; even by reflecting practically, that is, by weighing all those hard conditions in which a man is placed by the state, no one can fail to see that for him personally the fulfilment of the demands of the state and his submission to military service is in the majority of cases more disadvantageous than a refusal to do military service.
If the majority of men prefer submission to insubmission, this is not due to any sober weighing of the advantages and disadvantages, but because the men are attracted to submission by means of the hypnotization to which they are subjected in the matter. In submitting, men only surrender themselves to those demands which are made upon them, without reflection, and without making any effort of the will; for in submission there is a need of independent reflection and of effort, of which not every man is capable.
Such are the disadvantages of insubmission; but the disadvantages of submission will consist in this: at best I shall not be sent out to kill men, and I myself shall not be subjected to any great probability of crippling or death, but shall only be enlisted as a military slave — I shall be dressed up in a fool’s garments; I shall be at the mercy of every man above me in rank, from a corporal to a field-marshal; I shall be compelled to contort my body according to their desire, and, after being kept from one to five years, I shall be left for ten years in a condition of readiness to appear at any moment for the purpose of going through all these things again. In the worst case I shall, in addition to all those previous conditions of slavery, be sent to war, where I shall be compelled to kill men of other nations, who have done me no harm, where I may be crippled and killed, and where I may get into a place, as happened at Sevastopol and as happens in every war, where men are sent to certain death; and, what is most agonizing, I may be sent out against my own countrymen, when I shall be compelled to kill my brothers for dynastic or other reasons, which are entirely alien to me. Such are the comparative disadvantages.
The comparative advantages of submission and of insubmission are these:
For him who has not refused, the advantages will consist in this, that, having submitted to all the humiliations and having executed all the cruelties demanded of him, he may, if he is not killed, receive red, golden, tin-foil decorations over his fool’s garments, and he may at best command hundreds of thousands of just such bestialized men as himself, and be called a field-marshal, and receive a lot of money.
But the advantages of him who refuses will consist in this, that he will retain his human dignity, will earn the respect of good men, and, above all else, will know without fail that he is doing God’s work, and so an incontestable good to men.
Previous to Christ’s teaching it appeared to men that there was but one way of solving a struggle, and that was by resisting evil with violence, and so they did, each of the contending parties trying to convince himself and others that what each of them considered to be an evil was a real, absolute evil.
greatest is love..
But the longer men lived, the more complex their relations became, the more obvious did it become that it was irrational by means of violence to resist that which is by every one regarded as an evil, that the struggle was not diminished by doing so, and that no human definitions could succeed in making that which was considered to be evil by one set of men considered such by others.
This was even then felt and understood by many, and it was then that Christ preached His teaching, which did not consist simply in this, that evil ought not to be resisted by means of violence, but in the teaching of the new comprehension of life, a part, or rather an application of which to public life was the teaching about the means for abolishing the struggle among all men, not by obliging only one part of men without a struggle to submit to what would be prescribed to them by certain authorities, but by having no one, consequently even not those (and preeminently not those) who rule, employ violence against any one, and under no consideration.
any form of m\a\p as violence
But men were not prepared to receive the solution which was given by Christ, and the former means for the definition of the evil, which had to be resisted by establishing laws which, being obligatory for all, were carried out by the use of force, continued to be applied.
Men who were vested with sanctity regarded as evil what men and institutions that were vested with civil power considered to be good, and vice versa, and the struggle became ever more acute. And the more such people held to this method for solving their struggle, the more obvious did it become that this method was useless, because there is and there can be no such external authority for the definition of evil as would be recognized by all men.
and the men who obeyed the power began to obey it, not because they believed that the definitions of evil given by this power were correct, but only because they could not help but obey.. the landowners use the land which they do not work, and the capitalists make use of the labors of others, not because this is good, useful, and needful to men and because the contrary is evil, but because those who are in power want it to be so. What has happened is what happens now: one set of men commit acts of violence, no longer in the name of resisting evil, but in the name of their advantage or whim, while another set submit to violence, not because they assume, as was the case formerly, that violence is exerted against them in the name of freeing them from evil and for their good, but only because they cannot free themselves from this violence.
incontestably convinced that the existing violence of the power was necessary in order to free him from evil, that taxes, levies, serf law, prisons, whips, knouts, hard labor, capital punishment, militarism, wars, must exist — it will be hard now to find a man who either believes that all acts of violence free any one from anything, or even does not see clearly that the majority of all those cases of violence to which he is subject and in which he partly shares are in themselves a great and useless evil.
There is now no such a man who does not see, not only the uselessness, but even the insipidity, of collecting taxes from the laboring classes for the purpose of enriching idle officials; or the senselessness of imposing punishments upon corrupt and weak people in the shape of deportation from one place to another, or in the form of imprisonment in jails, where they live in security and idleness and become more corrupted and weakened; or, not the uselessness and insipidity, but simply the madness and cruelty of military preparations and wars, which ruin and destroy the masses and have no explanation and justification — and yet these cases of violence are continued and even maintained by the very men who see their uselessness, insipidity, and cruelty, and suffer from them..t
huge.. hari rat park law
Violence is now no longer maintained on the ground that it is necessary, but only that it has existed for a long time, and has been so organized by men to whom it is advantageous, that is, by governments and the ruling classes, that the men who are in their power cannot tear themselves away from it.
history ness and blindness
The governments in our time — all governments, the most despotic and the most liberal — have become what Herzen so aptly called Genghis-Khans with telegraphs, that is, organizations of violence, which have nothing at their base but the coarsest arbitrary will, and yet use all those means which science has worked out for the aggregate social peaceful activity of free and equal men, and which they now employ for the enslavement and oppression of men.
The governments and the ruling classes do not now lean on the right, not even on the semblance of justice, but on an artificial organization which, with the aid of the perfections of science, encloses all men in the circle of violence, from which there is no possibility of tearing themselves away..t This circle is now composed of four means of influencing men. All those means are connected and sustain one another, as the links in the ring of a united chain.
1/ The first, the oldest, means is the means of intimidation. This means ..state structure ..as something sacred and invariable, and so in inflicting the severest penalties for any attempt at changing it. ..there is no possibility of overthrowing the government, no matter how senseless or cruel it may be.
2/ The second means is that of bribery. It consists in taking ..taxes, and distributing this wealth among the officials, who for this remuneration are obliged to maintain and strengthen the enslavement of the masses.. These bribed officials, ..defend the governmental violence, upon which their very well-being is based.
3/ The third means is what I cannot call by any other name than the hypnotization of the people. This means consists in retarding the spiritual development..beginning its action in childhood, continues over men to their death.. in compulsory schools ..directly opposed to the modern consciousness of humanity. .. in republican governments they are taught the savage superstition of patriotism, and the same imaginary obligation of obeying the authorities. . The patriotic superstition is encouraged by means of public celebrations, spectacles, monuments, festivities, which are arranged by the governments and the ruling classes on the money collected from the masses, and which make people prone to recognize the exclusive importance of their own nation and the grandeur of their own state and rulers, and to be ill inclined toward all other nations and even hate them. .. besides, all governments without exception conceal from the masses everything which could free them, and encourage everything which could corrupt them, .. t
4/ The fourth means consists in this, that with the aid of the three preceding means there is segregated, from the men so fettered and stupefied, a certain small number of men, who are subjected to intensified methods of stupefaction and brutalization, and are turned into involuntary tools of all those cruelties and bestialities which the governments may need. This stupefaction and brutalization is accomplished by taking the men at that youthful age when they have not yet had time to form any firm convictions in regard to morality, and, having removed them from all natural conditions of human life, from home, family, native district, rational labor, locking them all up together in narrow barracks, dressing them up in peculiar garments, and making them, under the influence of shouts, drums, music, glittering objects, perform daily exercises specially invented for the purpose, and thus inducing such a state of hypnosis in them that they cease to be men, and become unthinking machines, which are obedient to the command of the hypnotizer. These hypnotized, physically strong young men (all young men, on account of the present universal military service), who are provided with instruments of murder, and who are always obedient to the power of the governments and are prepared to commit any act of violence at their command, form the fourth and chief means for the enslavement of men.
With this means the circle of violence is closed.
huge huge huge
Intimidation, bribery, hypnotization, make men desirous to become soldiers; but it is the soldiers who give the power and the possibility for punishing people, and picking them clean (and bribing the officials with the money thus obtained), and for hypnotizing and enlisting them again as soldiers, who in turn afford the possibility for doing all this.
The circle is closed, and there is no way of tearing oneself away from it by means of force.
The whole evil of our life seems to exist for no other reason than that it was done long ago, and the men who have done it have not yet had time to learn how not to do it, though none of them wish to do it.
All this evil seems to exist for some other reason, which is independent of the consciousness of men.
begs a means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature..
No matter how strange and contradictory this may seem, all the men of our time despise the very order of things which they help to maintain..t
The men of our time do not pretend to hate oppression, inequality, the division of men, and all kinds of cruelty, not only toward men, but also toward animals — they actually do hate all this, but they do not know how to destroy it all, and they have not the courage to part with what maintains all this and seems to them to be indispensable.
And each of them taken privately, especially in speaking of another, will tell you that it is not. And yet this same man, who sees all the execrableness of these acts, who is himself not urged by any one, will himself voluntarily, and frequently without the monetary advantage of a salary, for the sake of childish vanity, for the sake of a porcelain trinket, a ribbon, a piece of lace, which he is permitted to put on, go into military service, become an examining magistrate, a justice of the peace, a minister, a rural officer, a bishop, a sexton, that is, he will take an office in which he is obliged to do things the disgrace and execrableness of which he cannot help but know.
that’s what i heard/saw.. led to this
2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b legit free people
But, no matter how they may try to deceive themselves and others, all these men know that what they do is contrary to everything they believe in, and in the name of which they live, and in the depth of their hearts, when they are left alone with their consciences,..t they think with shame and pain of what they are doing, especially if the execrableness of their activity has been pointed out to them
from benjamin’s critique of violence:
this remains a ‘product situated w/in the mentality of violence’ no matter how it may disdain all open violence because the effort toward compromise is motivated not internally but from outside.. .. no compromise, however freely accepted is conceivable w/o a compulsive character
yeah that.. huge
public consensus always oppresses someone(s)
back to tolstoy:
In nothing is the degree of the contradiction which the lives of the men of our time have reached so striking, as in that phenomenon which forms the last means and expression of violence — in the universal military service.
Only because this condition of universal arming and military service has come step by step and imperceptibly, and because for its maintenance the governments employ all means in their power for intimidating, bribing, stupefying, and ravishing men, we do not see the crying contradiction between this condition and those Christian feelings and thoughts, with which all the men of our time are really permeated.
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critique of violence et al