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Darius responed to IAmNeverGoingToGetFamousWithMyWiki :

Tolstoy wrote his 'Confession' in 1879, at which time he was the most famous writer and thinker in Russia.


'I had already tasted the temptations of authorship, the temptations of enormous financial gain and applause for my trivial work, and I devoted myself to it as a means of improving my material position and of stifling any questions in my soul regarding the meaning of my own life, or of life in general.

'I wrote, teaching what was for me the only truth: that we must live in order to give ourselves and our families the best possible in life.

'And so I lived until five years ago when something very strange started happenning to me. At first I began experiencing moments of bewilderment; my life would come to a standstill, as if I did not know how to live or what to do, and I felt lost and fell into despair. But they passed and I continued to live as before. Then these moments of bewilderment started to recur more frequently, always taking the same form. On these occasions, when life came to a standstill, the same questions always arose: Why? What comes next?'

'At first I thought the questions pointless and irrelevant. I felt the answers were well known and that should I wish to resolve them it would cost me not much effort; that for the timw being I did not have the time to work it all out, but that when I put my mind to it I would find all the answers. However, the questions repeated themselves over and over again, demanding answers with more and more urgency. They felt like full stops, always on the same spot, uniting in one large black spot.

'And then, what happens to everyone stricken with a fatal inner disease happened to me. At first minor signs of indisposition appear, which the sick person ignores; then these symptoms appear more and more frequently, merging into one interrupted period of suffering. The suffering increases and before the sick man realizes what is happening he discovers that the thing he had taken for an indisposition is in fact the thing that is more important to him than anything in the world: it is death.

'This is just what happened to me. I realised that it was not just a casual indisposition but something very serious and that if the same questions kept repeating themselves they would have to be answered. And I tried to answer them. The questions seemed so stupid, simple and childish. But the moment I touched upon them and tried to resolve them I was immediately convinced, firstly, that they were not childish and stupid questions but were the most important and profound questions in life, and secondly that, however much I thought about them I could not resolve them.

'Before occupying myself with my Samara estate, with the education of my son, or with the writing of books, I had to know why I was doing these things. While I did not know why, I could not do anything. Amidst my thoughts concerning the farm, which at the time kept me very busy, a question would suddenly come into my head: "Well, fine, so you will have 6000 desyatins in the Samara province and 300 horses, and then what? And feeling completely taken aback, I would not know what to think next. Or beginning to reflect on the education of my children, I would ask myself, "Why?" Or deliberating on how the peasants might achieve prosperity I would suddenly ask myself, "What concern is it of mine?" Or thinking about the fame my own writing brought me, I would say to myself, "Well fine, wo you will be more famous than Gogol, Pushkin, Shakespeare, Moliere, more famous than all the writers in the world, and so what?"

'And I had absolutely no answer.'


So there you go Phil, maybe you should be glad your wiki will never make you famous.


Actually I'm pretty tranquil about not being famous :-) But what's the message from Tolstoy? Would the questions go away if he were not successful? Surely success reveals that success is vacuous. But without success, presumably you don't even know that. So what then? You spend your life pursuing an empty success? – PhilJones

Fame inversely proportional to the degree of pain it addresses : http://www.softwareqatest.com/qatfaq1.html#FAQ1_4

See also: OnTheMeaningOfLife, OnHappiness