Look around you. Observe the world you are living in. Can you feel the beating of a thousand desperate hearts? Can you see the fear for tomorrow in the looks of people? Can you hear the cries of a thousand mothers who are losing their children each day?
Now ask yourself, is this the place where you always wanted to live? Is this the place where each child expects to grow up when they open their innocent eyes and see the world for the first time? Are you able to look in the eyes of those children without the feeling of shame for this reality full of evil, which they have to face? Is this what we have prepared for them throughout centuries and years?
We cannot deny the simple truth that we were the ones who have been constantly shaping this reality. But another simple truth is that it is not too late to change something. We can make this world a better place if we try. So why not to create good instead of evil? Why not to make peace instead of war? Why not to spread love and compassion instead of hate and arrogance?
No one is born with evil within. We are born, filled with love towards everyone and everything around us. But instead of just following our hearts full of light, we keep feeding ourselves with darkness over and over again. When did we stop to judge people by their personality and started to consider the color of their skin? What urged us to acknowledge someone as an enemy just because of the place they were born in? Isn't Earth the only place all of us were born in? Are the borders that someone has drawn on the map powerful enough to build in our souls the borders of prejudice, alienating us from each other? Yes, they are! As long as we let them be. As long as we teach our children to let them be powerful enough.
When the world and this life are nearly destroyed by the evil and hate we spread, we would hardly care about the power we have towards others. We would hardly care about the God others are praying for, as long as those prayers can give us a chance to survive. So why won't we stop caring about it right now, at this very moment? Why won't we start making this world a better place by creating peace and compassion? And finally, why won't we earn the right to look at our children's eyes with the feeling of pride for the world we have built for them?
Think about these questions and, no doubt, you will find the answers. Because the answers to those questions are buried deep inside each one of us. And we will discover those answers as soon as we dispel the dust of evil and hate from our hearts...
Find Anush Kostanyan on Twitter @anushkostanyan, Linkedin, or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Why is Pierre initially satisfied with Freemasonry as a framework for meaning in his life, but then ultimately disappointed? What does Pierre’s later spiritual development provide that the Masons could not offer?
2. Andrew seems to love Natasha genuinely, yet he obeys his father by waiting a year to marry. Andrew’s duty to respect his father’s wishes does not seem to fully explain his decision, as he defies his father on other occasions. Does Andrew use his father’s command as an excuse for stalling Natasha? If so, why is Andrew conflicted about marrying her?
3. Tolstoy characterizes General Kutuzov as an admirable leader who is wise, devout, humble, and patient. But near the end of War and Peace, Kutuzov loses support and is widely criticized. Why does Tolstoy make this great leader into a neglected and unappreciated figure at the end of the novel?
4. Though the Kuragin family is highly successful in the early parts of the novel, the family’s fortunes turn sour by the end, as Helene and Anatole meet untimely deaths. What is the significance of Tolstoy’s representation of the sudden shift in the Kuragin fortunes?
5. At the beginning of the novel, Natasha is a bold, lively girl with a passion for life. By the end, however, Tolstoy emphasizes her stodginess—even dullness—and her careless disregard for her personal appearance. Is the final image of Natasha as a Russian matron a positive development, or a deterioration from her earlier liveliness?