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A Comparative Study on the Thought of Inaction and Tolstoyism in “Resurrection”

  Tolstoyism is synonymous with Tolstoy’s religious thoughts and views. Leo Tolstoy’s world view changed dramatically in his later period. Generally speaking, it is believed that his Tolstoyism has very obvious characteristics of Chinese philosophy. In 1877, Leo Tolstoy became interested in Chinese philosophy, which reached its peak in 1884. He not only read a lot of works and papers on Chinese philosophy, such as studying the translation of “Tao Te Ching” into French, but also wrote and translated related articles and books, such as “Review of Chinese Theory” and “Confucius’ Works”. He once said that from 1878 to 1891, Confucius and Mencius had a “great influence” on him, while Laozi had a “huge” influence. But he wasn’t a devoted fanatic. “His special research on the philosophers may not be thorough, but he can accurately and keenly grasp the essence related to his own exploration, and his ideological foundation is in Tolstoy’s enlightenment democratic thought.” It can be said that In fact, Leo Tolstoy studied Chinese
  philosophy .
  Tolstoyism is a system of thought that is compatible with East and West. The spirit of fraternity for all mankind is its tenet, and its main contents are moral self-improvement, non-violence against evil, asceticism and consciousness of repentance. Laozi’s thought of inaction and Tolstoyism have many coincidences, and there are also many contradictions and conflicts. Leo Tolstoy took what he needed, extended it, and used it, making the thought of inaction one of the theoretical supports of Tolstoyism. Tolstoyanism is perfectly presented in the concluding tome, The Resurrection. This article will start from the two perspectives of personal moral perfection and social reflection, and compare the thought of inaction with Tolstoyism shown in “Resurrection”, so as to further analyze the similar views, contradictions and conflicts between the two and Leo Tols Tai’s combination of it.
  1. Moral perfection
  (1) The understanding and extension of “Tao”
  Lao Tzu’s thought of doing nothing is extended from “Tao”. In Laozi’s view, “Tao” is the general law that all things in the world should follow, just as it is written in the “Tao Te Ching” that “man follows the earth, the earth follows the sky, the sky follows the Tao, and the Tao follows nature”. “Tao” makes Laozi’s other core thought “inaction” practical, which is the basis of his argument. Leo Tolstoy admired Lao Tzu’s “Tao” very much. However, before coming into contact with the “Tao Te Ching”, Leo Tolstoy first came into contact with the “Tao” in the “Gospel”. Defined as “God’s Word”, “Truth” and “Spirit”. Tolstoyism was proposed by Leo Tolstoy on the basis of the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, and it is centered on God. Leo Tolstoy believed that people should perfect their own morality and transform from physical life to soul life. In this way, you can communicate with God and get closer to the truth.
  The religious environment cultivated Leo Tolstoy’s spirit of fraternity. While studying at Kazan University, Leo Tolstoy came into contact with the works of Western Enlightenment thinkers such as Rousseau and Voltaire. He deeply agrees with the idea of ​​returning to nature, equality and fraternity. Before Leo Tolstoy dabbled in Chinese cultural thoughts, his thoughts had many coincidences with Chinese philosophy. In 1884, Leo Tolstoy studied the French translation of “Tao Te Ching” and interpreted “Tao” as “God”. In 1893, he translated “Tao Te Ching” into Russian, believing that he was greatly influenced by Lao Tzu. Leo Tolstoy believed that Laozi’s “Tao” was also related to “God”. “He taught people to transform from physical life to soul life. He called his theory ‘Tao'”.
  But in fact, Laozi’s “natural way” is not the same as Leo Tolstoy’s “God’s way”. Laozi’s “Tao” emphasizes nature, the original law inherent in all things, and is objective. “Wuwei” refers to doing things in accordance with the way of nature, and embodies the perfect morality that Lao Tzu believes at the level of human beings, that is, sticking to one’s good nature, having no selfishness and desire, and following the laws of nature. This enables people to be in a state of harmony and unity, as well as between people and the universe. The eighth chapter of “Tao Te Ching” writes: “The highest goodness is like water. Water is good for all things without fighting, and it is evil for everyone, so it is almost in Tao. Live in a good place, have a good heart, be kind and benevolent, speak good faith, be good at governance, and do good and capable things , move good times. Husbands do not fight, so there is no preference.” In Lao Tzu’s view, there are many people in society who are far away from nature and are bound by ingenuity and ingenuity. Don’t act for yourself, don’t worry about yourself, become the embodiment of the best to guide the people.
  Leo Tolstoy’s “Word of God” is a “loving personal God”, just as “God so loved” is written in “John’s Gospel”. In the “Gospel”, God regards love as the highest order. In Chapter 8 of “John’s Gospel”, Jesus forgives the adulterous woman and exhorts her to “stop sinning again”. This is a demonstration of Jesus’ love. This is also reflected in “Resurrection”. When Maslova was brought to court as a convict, a charcoal seller crossed her and gave her a kopeck. At the end of the novel, Leo Tolstoy wrote: “Now Nekhludoff understands that society and order can exist not because there are legal criminals judging and punishing others, but because despite There is this corruption, and yet people still love each other.” It is God’s plan to deal with the evil in the world with love (forgiveness is love).
  Leo Tolstoy’s “Tao” is a “personal god”, while Lao Tzu’s “Tao” is an objective law of nature. Leo Tolstoy, who was deeply influenced by the “Gospel”, believed that people can choose to repent and be reborn, just like the thief who can choose to repent beside Jesus in the “Gospel of Luke”. Lao Tzu pinned his hopes on the ruler, hoping that the ruler can achieve the ultimate good and guide the people.
  (2) Asceticism
  Leo Tolstoy believed that people should transform from physical life to soul life to get closer to God. In “Resurrection”, Maslova and Nekhludoff started out as a love affair, but it eventually turned into a tragedy. Leo Tolstoy advocated “asceticism” and confession to improve morality and maintain the purity of human nature. In “Resurrection”, the resurrection of Nekhludoff’s soul is reflected in the confession and repentance and the practice of the teachings of the “Gospel”. As he shouted in the article: “He felt the existence of God, so he felt not only freedom, courage, and joy of life, but also the full power of good.” Nekhludoff’s attitude changed from focusing on personal happiness to caring about the fate of the people, realizing After “purifying the soul”, he pursues the happiness of being unified with others and himself. The resurrection of Maslova’s soul is reflected in the changes in her outlook on life and behavior, and her heart, which was numb from suffering, also began to wake up. She suffered a lot in prison, but still cared about others. During her exile, she returned to her innocence and goodness. Both Nekhludoff and Maslova experienced the transformation from physical life to soul life, perfected their self-morality, and thus realized “spiritual awakening and resurrection”.
  Leo Tolstoy was very interested in Lao Tzu’s idea of ​​”less selfishness and fewer desires”, and believed that this was one of the important ways to deal with conflicts between the soul and the body. He believes: “People should learn to live not for material desires but for spirituality. This is exactly what Lao Dan taught.” Both of them show the importance of spirit in a way of abstinence, and advocate not doing things for material desires. Live spiritually. But there are differences between the two. The “abstinence” advocated by Laozi is for “preserving life”. “The reason why I have a big patient is because I have a body. And I don’t have a body, what trouble do I have?” Because of having a “body”, it will disturb the mind. Lao Tzu believes that people should first have less selfish desires and not be driven by desires, so that they can maintain their xinxing and live better in this world. The “asceticism” of Tolstoyism is more inclined to the sublimation of the spirit, and the purpose of “soul purification” is to “melt one’s own life with the life of the heavenly father”.

  In terms of moral perfection, Leo Tolstoy interpreted the objective “Tao” in Lao Tzu’s thought as “Personal God”. They both advocate abstinence and abstinence, but their purposes are different: Birth”, Leo Tolstoy for “soul purification”.
  2. Reflections on society
  (1) Do not use violence to resist evil and use softness to overcome
  rigidity When Leo Tolstoy wrote “Resurrection”, Russian society was already in an endangered state. Leo Tolstoy traveled across Russia through the “Road to Resurrection” of the hero and heroine, and witnessed the pain of the people and the darkness of society. With Maslova as the center, he showed the absurd prison scene: The injustice case of 130 imprisoned plasterers and Minshoff’s mother and son. When Nekhludoff ran around to save Maslova, he witnessed the miserable and shocking life of the people outside the prison and in the city. “(The beggar) was in ragged clothes, with a swollen face, and stood with the children to beg for food.” The elderly and children were brutally treated by the police and landlords. “When all kinds of violence, cruelty, and bestiality are beneficial to the government, instead of being banned by the government, they are approved by the government.” Cruelty acts are considered legal by the government by default, and then atrocities will prevail in society.
  Influenced by the “Gospel” Sermon on the Mount and Indian Gandhi’s thought of “Do not fight evil with evil”, opposing violence is the purpose of Leo Tolstoy’s lifelong exploration. “Resist evil with no violence” in Tolstoyism is a criticism of the current political system. Leo Tolstoy advocated Lao Tzu’s view that “weakness prevails over strong” which is similar to “inaction”. “The softness of the world is the most firm in the world.” Leo Tolstoy said: “There is no obstacle, the water flows; when it encounters a dam, the water stops; when the dam breaks, the water flows. In a square vessel , water is square; in a round vessel, water is round. Because of this, using softness to overcome rigidity is more important and powerful than all other things.” (2) The understanding and extension of ”
  Wuwei”
  Leo Tolstoy longed for a new order, as he wrote in “Resurrection”: “The supreme happiness of mankind – the establishment of a heaven on earth – can also be realized.” In order to achieve the ideal society constructed in the heart and solve social evils, Leo Tolstoy believed that instead of violence, one should believe in God and uphold fraternity. This is consistent with Lao Tzu’s political inaction thought to some extent. Lao Tzu’s “way of inaction” is the origin of all things in the world, the way of being a human being, and Lao Tzu’s ideal standard for governing the country. Just as it is written in the “Tao Te Ching”: “Tao is always doing nothing but doing nothing. If the king can guard it, all things will transform themselves. If you want to make it, I will suppress it with the nameless simplicity, and the nameless simplicity will also have no desires, no desires. With tranquility, the world will decide for itself.” He believed that governing the country should not violate the laws of social development, otherwise it would lead to the failure of the country. This is Lao Tzu’s idea of ​​tranquility and inaction when it comes to social issues.
  Leo Tolstoy’s admiration and reference to Laozi’s thought of inaction is the development of his insistence on negating social reform, that is, “doing”. He completely denied the tsarist system, recognized the hypocrisy of the beliefs and morals of the upper class in Russia, and opposed the violent revolution theory of Marxism to the social improvement movement of bourgeois liberalism. He broke with the traditional concepts of the nobles and landlords, and was eager to find new beliefs to “save souls”. In a letter to Shirkov on May 15, 1893, Leo Tolstoy spoke of Lao Tzu’s “inaction”. He agrees with Lao Tzu’s thought of inaction and integrates it into one of the theoretical supports of Tolstoyism. The “inaction” proposed here is to hope that the ruling class will not do evil. It is worth noting that Laozi’s “inaction” refers to conforming to the way of heaven, while Leo Tolstoy’s “inaction” criticizes the “inaction” of the tsarist government, which is more socially critical than Laozi’s “inaction”. In “Resurrection”, Leo Tolstoy believes that the root of all suffering is the tsarist system and the official church. The officials searched for the people’s fat and anointed and abused the people, and the official church fooled the people. Moreover, Lao Tzu’s “doing nothing” has to return to “doing nothing without doing nothing”, while Leo Tolstoy advocated saving human beings by relying solely on the perfection of the individual spirit.
  The difference can be seen in the ideal society constructed by Lev Tolstoy and Lao Tzu respectively. “A small country with few people makes the people have a lot of weapons and doesn’t use them, makes the people die hard and doesn’t move far. Although there are boats, there is nothing to ride on; Enjoy the food, enjoy the clothes, live comfortably, and enjoy the customs. Neighboring countries look at each other, the sound of chickens and dogs is heard, and the people do not communicate with each other until old age and death.” Lao Tzu pursues a social life that is simple and natural, and reduces political interference . Leo Tolstoy’s “Kingdom of Heaven” requires everyone to be morally perfect, full of love, and not to fight against evil with violence. This is a utopia that cannot be realized on earth.
  In terms of social reflection, Leo Tolstoy’s “Don’t use violence to resist evil” is consistent with Lao Tzu’s “weakness wins the strong”; He advocated and advocated, integrated his own philosophical views, and formed his own “inaction theory” to support Tolstoy’s thought of “resist evil with violence”.
  3. Conclusion
  This article analyzes Tolstoyism in “Resurrection” and Lao Tzu’s thought of inaction in “Tao Te Ching” from the perspectives of moral perfection and social reflection. Leo Tolstoy, on the basis of his own views on religion and philosophy, absorbed Laozi’s thought of inaction with a sublation attitude, and integrated Laozi’s thought of inaction into the construction of Tolstoyism. In short, whether it is Laozi or Leo Tolstoy, they are deeply concerned about the governance of the country and the security of the people in a unique way. Whether it is Tolstoyism or Laozi’s thought of doing nothing, they are full of feelings of worrying about the country and hurting the people, and they are the ultimate concern for the people.