“Do not do unto others what you would not have done to you.”
Tolstoy was born in 1828 at Jasnaja Poljana in Russia. Between 1860 and 1880 he wrote his two most famous novels, War and Peace and Anna Karenina. But it is in his other books, such as “The Kingdom of God is Inside You”, where we find his deep reflections on non-violence. After a spiritual crisis he came to Christianity, trying to grasp its original and genuine sense, which had been lost in the official religion.
According to Tolstoy, the church has forgotten the two simple essential principles of the Gospel: loving humanity and not opposing evil with violence. Therefore, even though Christianity is everywhere around us, it has not entered the hearts and lives of men. “And Christ taught at that time his doctrine which consisted not only in the fact that one must not oppose himself to evil with violence, but also with a new concept of life whose application to social life would have resulted in making fighting among men disappear, not by submitting some of them to certain authorities, but forbidding men, especially those in power, to use violence against anyone, no matter what the situation.” However, this message was really accepted only by few and when States welcomed Christianity, they did so by accepting only the surface of the doctrine, out of pure utility. “The contradiction between conscience and life and, therefore, the split in two of our existence has reached their extreme limit.”
On the one hand we speak of humanity, understanding and justice, and at the same time we silently or explicitly support a society founded on violence. Whoever is in government always uses violence when his power is threatened. War is therefore justified as a need to keep evil from reaching power, but those practicing war are the violent ones, and all they want to do is to protect their apparently advantageous situation. And so they will use public opinion to convince others that they are only using violence against an objective evil which puts everyone in danger.
If we were not blinded by hypocrisy, the simple things in life would be really truly clear to us. “Share what you have with others, do not accumulate richness, do not become haughty, do not steal, do not cause suffering, do not kill, do not do to others what you wouldn’t like to have done to yourself, this has all been said not eighteen centuries, but five thousand years ago, and there could be no doubt on the truth of this law if hypocrisy did not exist. The only meaning of life is to serve humanity, concurring to the institution of God’s Kingdom, which cannot be done if each man does not recognize and profess the truth. “God’s kingdom will not come in a way that can be observed. And it will not be said: Here it is, or there it is. Due to the fact that, there it is, the Kingdom of God is within you.”.