Reading for Monday, 1 June
Okay, now this is a bit of a tricky chapter, because Tolstoy is playing around with a few historical/philosophical ideas at the same time. Mainly it revolves around answering the critics who later thought Alexander I did a lousy job of leading the country.
I don’t think Tolstoy necessarily disagrees with their statement, but I think he’s merely saying that the forces that produce a man and his outlook (ie his upbringing, his philosophies, etc) are formed in such a way that sometimes you’ll like what they produce and then other times you will not like they produce.
So thus, how can we, as critics of history, really criticise people, because the same forces that produce the things we like, produce the things we don’t.
If they didn’t, Tolstoy is arguing, then we’d really just all conform to some mindless mass and we really wouldn’t have any individuality at all.
At least, I think that’s what he’s saying.
Maybe it will become clearer as I read on . . .