Monday, August 8, 2011

From War and Peace

War and Peace...

--Book X, chapter 16

At the approach of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal force in the heart of man: one very reasonably tells the man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of avoiding it; the other even more reasonable says that it is too painful and harassing to think of the danger, since it is not a man's power to provide for everything and escape from the general march of events; and that it is therefore better to turn aside from the painful subject till it has come, and to think of what is pleasant. In solitude a man generally yields to the first voice; in society to the second.

--Book X, chapter 17

War is like a game of chess ... but with this little difference, that in chess you may think over each move as long as you please and are not limited for time, and with this difference too, that a knight is always stronger than a pawn, and two pawns are always stronger than one, while in war a battalion is sometimes stronger than a division and sometimes weaker than a company. The relative strength of bodies of troops can never be known to anyone.... Success never depends, and never will depend, on position, or equipment, or even on numbers, and least of all on position.

--Book X, chapter 25

War is not a polite recreation but the vilest thing in life, and we ought to understand that and not play at war. We ought to accept it sternly and solemnly as a fearful necessity.

--Book X, chapter 25

Absolute continuity of motion is not comprehensible to the human mind. Laws of motion of any kind become comprehensible to man only when he examines arbitrarily selected elements of that motion; but at the same time, a large proportion of human error comes from the arbitrary division of continuous motion into discontinuous elements.

He did not, and could not, understand the meaning of words apart from their context. Every word and action of his was the manifestation of an activity unknown to him, which was his life.

--Book XII, chapter 13

Love hinders death. 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. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.

--Book XIII, Chapter 16

Man is created for happiness ... happiness is within him, in the satisfaction of simple human needs, and ... all unhappiness arises not from privation but from superfluity.

--Book XIV, chapter 12

There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.

--Book XIV, chapter 18

Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy.

--Book XV, chapter 1

History is the life of nations and of humanity. To seize and put into words, to describe directly the life of humanity or even of a single nation, appears impossible.

--Epilogue II

In historical events great men — so-called — are but labels serving to give a name to the event, and like labels they have the least possible connection with the event itself. Every action of theirs, that seems to them an act of their own free will, is in an historical sense not free at all, but in bondage to the whole course of previous history, and predestined from all eternity.

--Book IX, chapter 1

Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly.

--Book IV, chapter 11