Reading for Thursday 02/10 – 5.13
This chapter is a rather amusing little throwaway moment, which I think is Tolstoy having a go at the different levels of belief.
I’m not sure if that’s the right way to phrase it, but basically, in this world, people can often look down on other people’s beliefs by making a judgment call about other people’s intelligence levels.
So, for instance, we in the Western world might look down on the beliefs of native people living in some remote jungle somewhere precisely because the people live in a remote jungle, and don’t know as much as we in the advanced West.
In the meantime, however, even in Western nations, some of us look down on Christians or Muslims, because they seem to hold blind beliefs rather than being “rational”.
If I’m right about that, then this chapter is kind of a companion to the last one. In 5.12, Andrei didn’t really buy into the whole Freemasonry thing, and because Pierre is somewhat naive, that would also cause him to be sceptical. What’s funny in this chapter is that both Andrei and Pierre find the pilgrims amusing, because the pilgrims are very naive and unknowledgeable. It’s just ironic that Pierre immediately sees through the scam of the weeping icon, without pausing to think about his own Freemasonry.
Hmm . . . not sure if that thought made any sense. But we’ll move on. I liked the bit where the little old lady talked about the general who didn’t believe, who went and gave his star (given to him by the Tsar) to the icon of the holy mother. Andrei’s line is priceless: “And didn’t they make the holy mother a general?”