And back to Pierre again, now recovering from an illness. It wasn’t actually till it was mentioned in this chapter, that I realised the cumulative death of Andrei and Ellen (Helene) really did rob Pierre of all the people that were close (if you can call his marriage close) at the time. So he is really left to work out his own thoughts all by himself this time.

But he seems wonderfully calm, as he tries on another way of looking at the world. This time, he seems to have borrowed Karataev’s way of looking at the world.

It reminds me very much of the religious debates about the nature of God and the world that have raged over the centuries. Pierre has been used to ignoring the real world for abstraction and philosophy (a very Greek way of thinking), but now he is seeing God in the real world.

It’s interesting, because Christianity (my religion) has always been somewhere in the middle – we believe there is something bigger than this world – but we believe in a world, created by God. The world isn’t God, which is where Pierre and I would differ, but it tells you a lot about Him.

We shall see where Pierre’s thoughts lead, but in the meantime, I have to run for dinner . . .

2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 15.12 – An Answer to the Question

  1. I assume, but am not sure, that the view of life, and its meaning, which Pierre comes to understand in this chapter is pretty much reflective of Tolstoy’s own views. But, aside from whether we agree with Pierre, or Tolstoy, it is a beautifully written chapter – the sort of meaning-of-life-meaning-of-the-universe writing that is such a feature of Russian literature and here it is given its unique Tolstoyan flavour – where the meaning of the universe, the meaning of God, is all bound up inextricably with the inner reality of the individual soul. There is something almost existentialist in this view of life that Pierre experiences here, I think – a view that sees real meaning not in what lies beyond, but more in what lies within, the here and now.

    But, in any event, it is, as I say, beautifully written. I just love the way in which Tolstoy describes Pierre’s search for meaning in the distance – his belief that it had to be great and profound simply because it was invisible. There’s some wonderful imagery there, and some wonderful language.

  2. Dare I disagree with your view of God and the world? I consider the world and everything God created to be representative of God – therefore ‘I Am’ and ‘You Are’.

    And yes – the world is God!

    Just thought I’d share that. It’s just my humble opinion . . . I’m not inviting a debate on same.

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