Reading for – oh stuff it, it should be 30 June
Well, here we go – some 33 days late – but the post on the final chapter of War and Peace. Nothing particularly earth-shattering after everything Tolstoy has built up. Just simply the idea that history must run on laws, but because we sense that we have free will, therefore it’s hard to buy into them.
It’s like admitting that the earth revolves around the sun, when to us it feels like it’s standing still.
If we admit that we have perfect free will and can cause whatever we like, we fly in the face of all the evidence Tolstoy has built up. But if we admit we have no free will, because like automatons. The truth is, Tolstoy wants us to accept both.
So now that I’ve read his full argument, what do I think?
Myself, I do believe that history is predetermined – it’s a major thing that distinguishes Christianity from Deism is that Christians believe not just in a God that set the world going – but a God who keeps it going.
With Tolstoy’s view, it could be either. God could have made the world (or it could have just come into being some other way) and it just runs along by itself, following necessary laws and interactions.
But I don’t quite buy that – because that really does take away from man’s free will. I believe simply that God is in control of all things ultimately, but he has created man to make his own choices and to wear his own consequences.
Because, really, we have choices. Certainly, our environment, our past experiences – these do all combine to make us who we are. But not everyone who grew up in a poor area surrounded by criminals chooses a life of crime. People with identical backgrounds can be put in different situations and make different choices.
But at the same time, in ways we can’t understand, God is running the whole show. Nobody does something and makes God say, “Whoa! I wasn’t expecting that one!” But by the same token, nobody feels like they’re a robot – compelled to do things they didn’t want to do.
So the end result is that one person can play a part in changing the world. If a group of people get together for a common purpose, they can change a larger part. It’ll start with your values that you use to make decisions as an individual and work its way out from there.
Well, look, as they say, “all good things” . . . however, I’m not quite finished with War and Peace yet. I’ve got two more posts I’d like to do.
One is just a general round-up of my thoughts on the whole novel, now that I’ve read it twice and a few thank yous. The other is a bit of a musical treat, which may or may not be obvious to guess, but I’ll leave it for a surprise. Talk to you soon.