Talk:Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool

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I believe I have revised the article so that it now gives a fair summary of Orwell's points and hence meets the quality stadards of the Wikipedia. I reread the essay for the purpose of revising the article.

Ojevindlang 14:20, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

I want to make it known[edit]

It is a bad habit in Wikipedia to present your own conclusions, still less to sneak them in the back way. But I must remark this, because there is an error in Orwell's essay which cannot be overlooked.

Orwell says:

Obviously neither of these conclusions could have been pleasing to Tolstoy. The first of them expresses the ordinary, belly-to-earth selfishness from which he was genuinely trying to escape. The other conflicts with his desire to eat his cake and have it — that is, to destroy his own egoism and by so doing to gain eternal life.

Evidently he thinks that Tolstoy is trying to "gain eternal life." Now here is Tolstoy's answer, directly from "What I Believe" (see Wikisource):

Let us suppose that Christ’s words concerning the day of judgment and the end of the world, as well as the words we read in the gospel of St. John, do promise a life beyond the grave for the souls of the dead, yet there can be no doubt that His doctrine of the light of life, of the kingdom of God, has a meaning as intelligible to us as it was to his hearers; i.e., that true life is but the life of the son of man, according to the will of the Father. This can be more easily admitted, as the doctrine concerning true life, according to the will of the Father of Life, includes the idea of immortality and life beyond the grave. It would perhaps be more just to infer that man, after a life passed in following his own will in this world, will enjoy an eternal individual life of bliss in paradise. That would perhaps be more just, but to think thus, to believe in eternal bliss awaiting me as a reward for the good I have done, and eternal torment as the punishment of my evil deeds, does not lead to a clear comprehension of Christ’s doctrine. To think thus is, on the contrary, to do away with the groundwork of Christ’s doctrine.

(I erased a "not" in the middle of the sentence "will enjoy an eternal individual life of bliss in paradise," translating from the original:

Но положим, что слова Христа о Страшном суде и совершении века и другие

слова из Евангелия Иоанна имеют значение обещания загробной жизни для душ умерших людей, все-таки несомненно и то, что учение его о свете жизни, о Царстве Бога имеет и то доступное его слушателям и нам теперь значение, что жизнь истинная есть только жизнь сына человеческого по воле Отца. Это тем легче допустить, что учение о жизни истинной по воле Отца жизни включает в себя понятие о бессмертии и жизни за гробом. Может быть, справедливее предположить, что человека после этой мирской жизни, пережитой для исполнения его личной воли, все-таки ожидает вечная личная жизнь в раю со всевозможными радостями; может быть, это справедливее, но думать, что это так, стараться верить в то, что за добрые дела я буду награжден вечным блаженством, а за дурные -- вечными муками, -- думать так не содействует пониманию учения Христа; думать так -- значит, напротив, лишать учение Христа самой главной его основы.

I let readers drawn their own conclusions. This mistake undermines the entire argument. --VKokielov (talk) 19:50, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

How do you interpret the quote that you're posting? The reason that I ask is that it seems as if that quote is saying "I'm not being good in order to earn the reward" as opposed to "there is no reward". Only the latter would actually contradict Orwell's statement. (talk) 06:51, 14 February 2011 (UTC)sean

Broken link to text of the pamphlet[edit]

Dang, it's the only thing actually useful on this page (why have an encyclopedic page about a pamphlet that itself only runs to a few pages, what is this, Cliff's Notes?)

Anyway, seems to have been ill/inactive since the start of 2008 - the site is extant in some curious ISP way, but the only content I can get to is a https:// admin login. Such is life, well, such is the internet.

There must be a better source. So far as I know Orwell's works aren't the subject of copyright snafu.

Jbowler (talk) 00:53, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Here's an alternative link that doesn't seem to be an "attack" site:

A Russian link to the article by Orwell

Lee-Anne (talk) 03:54, 30 June 2012 (UTC)