Leo Tolstoy: The Law of Love and the Law of Violence

to be of use

[The Last Station, the wonderful film about Leo Tolstoy’s relationships with his wife and followers, and his last days, is now available on Netflix.]

At the end of his wistful last book, The Law of Love and the Law of Violence, Leo Tolstoy wrote:

Put the good of your life in the progressive liberation of your mind, freedom from all the illusions of the flesh, and in the perfecting of your love for your fellow man — which is in essence the same thing. As soon as you begin to live like this, you will feel a joyous sensation full of liberty and happiness. You will be surprised to find that the same external conditions which caused you such anxiety, and which were far from what you wanted, will not prevent your experiencing the greatest possible happiness.

And if you are unhappy — I know that you are — reflect upon what is proposed to you here, which is not the product of my imagination merely, but of the thoughts and feelings of the best minds and hearts. It provides the only way to deliver you from your unhappiness and give you the greatest good you can get in this life.

That is what I have wanted to say to you, my brothers. Before I died.


After contemplating this conundrum for many decades (65 yesterday) I have come to the conclusion that violence is an entirely dependent reaction that finds its origin in fear. The continuum seems to be from the neurochemistry of love and that of fear. Each can banish the other.

Law of Love…. is a magnificent little book. I heartily recommend it. Although its very Christian don’t let that stop you. It warmed and challenged this non-theists heart. And its freely downloadable.