Igor Stojanov's Reviews > On the Significance of Science and Art

On the Significance of Science and Art by Leo Tolstoy
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Tolstoy describes the purpose of Art and Science, the purpose of specialization in our daily jobs. Discovering your own talents and utilizing them for the greater good of society is one's duty. He asks several times what is one to do with ones life, and at the end he summarizes with three points:

"First, Not to lie to myself, however far removed my path in life may be from the true path which my reason discloses to me.

Second, To renounce my consciousness of my own righteousness, my superiority especially over other people; and to acknowledge my guilt.

Third, To comply with that eternal and indubitable law of humanity,—the labor of my whole being, feeling no shame at any sort of work; to contend with nature for the maintenance of my own life and the lives of others."

Some other quotes:
-The foundations of every doctrine are always stated in a theory, and the so-called learned men merely invent further deductions from the foundations once stated.

-The theory is as follows: All mankind is an undying organism; men are the particles of that organism, and each one of them has his own special task for the service of others.  In the same manner, the cells united in an organism share among them the labor of fight for existence of the whole organism; they magnify the power of one capacity, and weaken another, and unite in one organ, in order the better to supply the requirements of the whole organism.

-to labor with their hands in the universal struggle of mankind with nature.

-the science of what it is most useful for man to know.  This science has always had for its object the knowledge of what is the true ground of the well-being of each individual man, and of all men.

-It is possible to study out how many beetles there are in the world, to view the spots on the sun, to write romances and operas, without suffering; but it is impossible, without self-sacrifice, to instruct people in their true happiness, which consists solely in renunciation of self and the service of others, and to give strong expression to this doctrine, without self-sacrifice.

-First of all, in answer to the question, “What is to be done?” I told myself: “I must lie neither to other people nor to myself.  I must not fear the truth, whithersoever it may lead me.”

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Reading Progress

July 26, 2018 – Started Reading
July 29, 2018 – Shelved
July 29, 2018 – Finished Reading

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