Tatiana's Reviews > Resurrection

Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy
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Aug 18, 07

bookshelves: classics

This is Tolstoy in his preachy-crazy-old-man phase. I admire him deeply as a person, because he was willing to live his convictions, but I think he was wildly misguided by this point in his life. You get a lot of points for trying hard to do good, but at some level the total train wreck that your actions make of the lives you touch does have some weight. What you actually accomplish does matter, in the end, when considered beside what you intend. The novel is uninteresting.
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message 1: by Rob (new)

Rob have you read The Kingdom of God is Within You? he published it 5 years earlier and i found it astounding and wonderful (and preachy, i guess, but it struck me as so true that i didn't care). it was so good that Gandhi said it was one of the three greatest modern influences on his life.


Tatiana No, I haven't! It sounds good. I dig Gandhi. I'll check it out. Are you a fan of MLK too? It seems like we like a lot of the same people.


message 3: by Rob (new)

Rob you know, i'm kind of ambivalent about MLK. i mean, obviously his cause was great, and non-violence is great, but was HE so great, i mean, greater than the other million very very good people who were just as dedicated to equal rights? i've always had this feeling that he was one of those people who was in the right place at the right time in history and kind of had greatness thrust upon him by ending up as the spokesperson for a mass movement he didn't start, didn't finish, and just found himself riding the crest of a wave of history.

like people saying that Reagan "brought about the collapse of the USSR" just because it started its death throes at the end of his term.

i don't know. i've never really read anything he wrote, or a biography of him.


Tatiana Oh, his greatness lies in his oratory, as well as his courage and determination which as you point out he shared with the other people of the movement. I do think it takes a lot of guts when you've narrowly escaped death by bombing (at the A.G. Gaston Motel) to continue to have just as high a profile doing what you do. But you can't really like him until you hear him speak. I have a cd called "A Call to Conscience" of a lot of his talks. The first one was when he was totally unknown, a young preacher of a church in Montgomery, talking to the Montgomery Improvement Association about Ms. Rosa Parks being arrested and how the community would boycott the buses. His talk repeated the phrase "we're tired", with the double meaning of being tired from standing up and being sick and tired of being treated the way they were treated on the buses then.

The whole story of the Civil Rights movement thrills me, because ordinary people accomplished an astonishing change for the better in society. It shows how much power regular individuals actually have. It inspires me. =)

Reading the text of MLK's speeches don't capture it at all. You have to listen to him. He's electrifying.


message 5: by Rob (new)

Rob of course i've seen/heard the i have a dream speech, and it does give me goosebumps. and a few other speeches. i do think he was an electrifying speaker.

and i DO think that there is a definite genius that is displayed in physical performance. I love watching tiger woods. and glenn gould. and bruce lee. i think all three of those guys are (were) geniuses. seriously. geniuses.

but when i think of the top tier of "People I Like", i just feel much more attraction for the intellectuals, the ones who explain, who help me find my way through the murk of my own mind and the universe. most likely that bias is one of my shortcomings.


Tatiana Yes, I understand what you mean. So who are in your top tier of "People I Like"? Are they all to be found on your bookshelf?


message 7: by Rob (last edited Aug 22, 2007 05:51PM) (new)

Rob well, no, not all of them. how many are missing depends on whether you count their appearance by proxy. hoffer refers to Michel de Montaigne a lot, but i've never sat down to read montaigne himself. so is he on my bookshelf? one thing i love from j.l.borges is this idea that you don't really need to read the original, full text, if someone very smart has read it for you and distilled it and updated it and put it into perspective.

for example, maybe John Stuart Mill and Adam Smith are in my top tier, even though i've never read more than snippets of them, and it's quite likely i never will. and i'm not going to read einstein to learn general relativity.

others in the top tier but not "on the shelf" might include thoreau, socrates, diogenes of sinope, john wooden, ... i don't know. more, i suppose. like that guy John McCarthy who made that sustainability page. or maybe stanley kubrick and a few other filmmakers.

maybe one or two of them aren't on on the bookshelf page...but are on the "friends" page. ha!(?)

how about you? are they all represented there for you?

btw did you get my email?


Tatiana I did get your email and read it with great interest. As usual, it takes me a while to get time to answer properly. Hopefully by this weekend.

I like the idea of having your "people I like" on your friends page. =) I think the ones on my bookshelf are all the writers I love, including scientists who wrote. Dostoyevsky, Feynman, Hofstadter, Gould, Tolkien, Gamov, Nevil Shute, Ursula K. LeGuin, Darwin, Octavia Butler, Orson Scott Card, Thornton Wilder, Kazantzakis, Mark Salzman, etc. I also have a group of worldsavers / worldchangers that I love, like the Dalai Lama, MLK, Diane Nash, Thurgood Marshall, Gandhi, Vaclav Havel, and so on.

As you know, I'm religious, so I have religious figures I admire (in addition to those in the category above, many of whom drew inspiration from religion). I really like the dude who founded the Hare Krishna movement in the U.S. It's just ordinary bhakti yoga from India, but over here it looks weird. It really isn't. And his writings are fascinating. I think he was a very holy man. Of course I love Joseph Smith, a complicated and delightful character with a lot of rough edges and wonderful weirdnesses. The ideas that came into the world through him have changed me profoundly for the better. I like the Buddha too. Such a jolly fellow. Oh and the Prophet Mohammed was also extremely cool. I don't want to leave him out. I am sort of every religion rolled into one, which is cool because Brigham Young said everything true is part of our religion. :)

Anyway, that may be straying too far away from the intellectual for your tastes. I have a lot to say to you on the topic of reading fiction. Maybe it'll make it into that email. :)


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