Saturday, April 15, 2006

"They saw everything upside down..."

Poor Ellen! Poor Moscow! And the poor Emperor!

I've slowly but surely been resuming my reading. Dipped a toe in here, done a wrist-deep splash there. This book has truly been my Korea companion. I've gone into hiding, I've gone into a haze of foreigners and activities and late nights, I've gone into a full plate of artsy activities, I've gone into give-work-your-all mode. And with each plunge headlong the book has been with me, mirroring my steady progress. The war keeps marching along, and the peace is always there waiting in the wings.

Moscow's inhabitants have fled to distant provinces and Tolstoy comments that people looking back at that historical period think everyone was engaged in heroic acts. People looking back do not see the personal human interest stories of the moment.

And yet actually those personal interests of the moment are always so much more significant than the general issues that because of them the latter are never felt -- not even noticed, in fact. The majority of the people paid no attention to the general course of events but were influenced only by their immediate personal interests. And it was just these people whose activities were of the greatest service at the time. Those who endeavored to understand the general course of events and hoped by self-sacrifice and heroism to take part in it were the most useless members of society...The law forbidding us to taste of the fruit of the tree of knowledge is particularly manifested in historical events. Only unconscious action bears fruit... - pp. 1126-1127

This book is full of riches. Hoping to take part? I've done that. "Unconscious action bears fruit." Indeed.

Well, Happy Easter! Go in peace.

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