A Calendar of Wisdom

Living with Leo: Tolstoy's impressive dynasty | The Independent

PDF:  A Calendar of Wisdom

On March 15, 1884, Leo Tolstoy (September 9, 1828–November 20, 1910) wrote in his diary:

I have to create a circle of reading for myself: Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Lao-Tzu, Buddha, Pascal, The New Testament. This is also necessary for all people.

So he set out to compile “a wise thought for every day of the year, from the greatest philosophers of all times and all people”. This noble quest resulted in Thoughts of Wise Men and later retitled A Calender of Wisdom. It is well worth your time to read this classic. Most poignant of all are Tolstoy’s own thoughts, which appear after the collected quotations. His insights are quite revelatory & one in particular caught my eye as it mirrors what I’ve always thought:

“If all knowledge were good, then pursuit of every sort of knowledge would be useful. But many false meditations are disguised as good and useful knowledge; therefore, be strict in selecting the knowledge you want to acquire.”

Although you may not agree with everything Tolstoy meditated on (much of it was shaped & honed by times in which he lived), you will nonetheless be impressed with the timeless secular sagacity.

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