Showing posts with label jordan peterson on leo tolstoy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jordan peterson on leo tolstoy. Show all posts

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Jordan Peterson on Leo Tolstoy's Four Ways to deal with Nihilism and Depression

The towering Leo Tolstoy himself began to question the value of human existence. He reasoned in this way: "My position was terrible. I knew that I could find nothing in the way of rational knowledge except a denial of life; and in faith I could find nothing except a denial of reason, and this was even more impossible than a denial of life. According to rational knowledge, it followed that life is evil, and people know it. They do not have to live, yet they have lived and they do live, just as I myself had lived, even though I had known for a long time that life is meaningless and evil." Try as he might, Tolstoy could identify only four means of escaping from such thoughts. One was retreating into childlike ignorance of the problem. Another was pursuing mindless pleasure. The third was "continuing to drag out a life that is evil and meaningless, knowing beforehand that nothing can come of it." He identified that particular form of escape with weakness: "The people in this category know that death is better than life, but they do not have the strength to act ratio­nally and quickly put an end to the delusion by killing themselves. . . ." Only the fourth and final mode of escape involved "strength and energy. It consists of destroying life, once one has realized that life is evil and meaningless." Tolstoy relentlessly followed his thoughts: "Only unusually strong and logically consistent people act in this manner. Having realized all the stupidity of the joke that is being played on us and seeing that the blessings of the dead are greater than those of the living and that it is better not to exist, they act and put an end to this stupid joke; and they use any means of doing it: a rope around the neck, water, a knife in the heart, a train."

-- An excerpt from 12 Rules of Life - An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson
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