Investing his life with meaning

A long beautiful quotation from Anna Karenina has its application to many an unhappy young man out there.

“Then, for the first time, realizing that for every man, and he himself too, there was nothing ahead but suffering, death, eternal oblivion, he had decided that to live under such conditions was impossible — he must either find an explanation to the problem of existence which would make life seem something other than the cruel irony of all malevolent spirit, or he must shoot itself.
“But he had done neither the one nor the other: he had gone on living, thinking and feeling, and even at that very time married, had experienced many joys and been happy whenever he was not pondering on the meaning of his life.
“What did that show? It showed that he had been living rightly, but thinking wrongly.

“Now it was clear to him that he could only live by virtue of the beliefs in which he had been brought up.
`What should I have been, and how should I have spent my life had it not been for those beliefs, had I not known that one must live for God and not for one’s own needs? I should have robbed, lied, murdered. Nothing of what makes the chief happiness of my life would ever have existed for me.’ And try as he would he was unable to picture to himself the brutal creature he would have been if he had not known what he was living for.
“`I shall still lose my temper…, I shall still embark on useless discussions and express my opinions inopportunely; there will still be the same wall between the sanctuary of my innermost soul and other people, even my wife; I shall probably go on scolding her in my anxiety and reprinting of it afterwards; I shall still be as unable to understand with my reason why I pray, and I shall still go on praying — but my life now, my whole life, independently of anything can happen to me, every minute of it is no longer meaningless as before, but has a positive meaning of goodness with which I have the power to invest it.'”
Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

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