I’m working my way through ‘War and Peace’ at the moment. This was motivated by both S. Misanthrope and Vox Day both extolling the virtues of it, in very similar terms. The tide of history; the way men are swept up in events; the relative irrelevance of Great Men; witnessing the change of people over the course of decades and how events shape them; how those who strive for greatness can become disillusioned, and those who submit to the current can become great… all interesting stuff that piqued my curiosity.
I should post some more quotes that I like from the book, but this just made me chuckle rather loudly at its accuracy – especially the comment on the English, which our American children seem to have inherited from us:
Germans are self-confident on the basis of an abstract notion—science, that is, the supposed knowledge of absolute truth. A Frenchman is self-assured because he regards himself personally, both in mind and body, as irresistibly attractive to men and women. An Englishman is self-assured, as being a citizen of the best-organized state in the world, and therefore as an Englishman always knows what he should do and knows that all he does as an Englishman is undoubtedly correct. An Italian is self-assured because he is excitable and easily forgets himself and other people. A Russian is self-assured just because he knows nothing and does not want to know anything, since he does not believe that anything can be known. The German’s self-assurance is worst of all, stronger and more repulsive than any other, because he imagines that he knows the truth—science—which he himself has invented but which is for him the absolute truth.