23 February 2008 - Tolstoy on Complexity, Flow, and Marriage - 0 Comments

"Every man, knowing to the smallest detail all the complexity of the conditions surrounding him, involuntarily assumes that the complexity of these conditions and the difficulty of comprehending them are only his personal, accidentally peculiarity, and never thinks that others are surrounded by the same complexity as he is. So it seemed to Vronsky."

"They finished another swath and another. They went through long swaths, short swaths, with bad grass, with good grass. Levin lost all awareness of time and had no idea whether it was late or early. A change now began to take place in his work which gave him enormous pleasure. In the midst of his work moments came to him when he forgot what he was doing and began to feel light, and in those moments his swath came out as even and good as Titus's. But as soon as he remembered what he was doing and started trying to do better, he at once felt how hard the work was and the swath came out badly."

"And here is my opinion for you. Women are the man stumbling block in a man's activity. It's hard to love a woman and do anything. For this there exists one means of loving conveniently, without hindrance - that is marriage. How can I tell you, how can I tell you what I'm thinking,' said Serpukhovsky, who liked comparisons, 'wait, wait! Yes, it's as if you're carrying a burden, and doing something with your hands is only possible if the burden is tied to your back - and that is marriage.'"

- Tolstoy (trans. P&V), Anna Karenina, 1878


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