Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/162

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

CHAPTER XIII

FURTHER LITERARY AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

In his book "On Life," Tolstoy defines the conditions under which a man's regeneration to a new life begins. Every conscious man must observe that in his endeavour to acquire personal happiness he finds himself in direct conflict with those around him, who are also struggling for happiness, and this strife gives him no rest—even poisons his efforts for well-being. Besides, if man succeeds in snatching a particle of happiness, it ceases very soon to satisfy him, because he understands its illusory character. The more he experiences the satisfaction of reaching personal well-being, the more he recognises its ephemeral character, and this conclusion does not allow him to enjoy happiness when obtained. And, further, however stable and complete the material well-being may appear, a conscious man cannot help seeing death ready at any moment to devour him and thus destroy all his illusion of acquired happiness.

118