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An Issue of Higher Purpose in Tolstoy’s "My Confession"

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A majority of the world’s population spend their entire lives searching for their meaning in life when the answer is clear as day. It is more likely than not that every individual has some sort of religious experience within their lives. Whether it be taught through generations or a sudden awakening, it is a shame that some people have drifted off from that standpoint. A higher purpose, a devotion to God, opens the door to finding the meaning of life which is highlighted in Tolstoy’s “My Confession”. Whereas many individuals go to chase money, beauty, or fame to provoke their sense of success, they fail to see that it is ultimately a distraction from true meaning. Those who believe in materials that are possible to lose, will become so afraid of its vanishment, that it will begin to take over and allow us to suffer. For example, if you believe that your meaning is to be successful and make money, you will be scared of becoming a nobody and poor.

When writing “My Confession”, Tolstoy makes note that, “I felt that what I was standing on had given way, that I had no foundation to stand on, that that which I lived by no longer existed, and that I had nothing to live by…”. Despite all the money, fame and success he worked effortlessly for, Tolstoy felt a bareness within him in which he could not seem to figure out why. It was a sudden realization that materialistic things only create a void in the heart that only God can fill because they heart cannot be touched by anything besides God. He created our souls, hence he is the only one who knows how to mend it. No matter how much we want to believe that we can find meaning through accomplishments, it is obvious that is not the case and can be particularly seen with major celebrities. Take Robin Williams for example; a man of many accomplishments. He was known all around the world for his acting and comedy, he possessed millions of dollars, and had a loving family, yet he took his own life because he was not satisfied with it. It could be argued that he was lost, similarly to Tolstoy who stated, “I experienced the same feeling which a man who has lost his way in the forest may experience”.

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I believe that both of them felt a disconnect with themselves due to the fact that they had a disconnect with God. They fail to recognize that their faith cannot be taken away from them no matter the circumstance, unless they choose to stray from it. Therefore, it is safe to say that the idea of a higher purpose gives one a true meaning to life, simply by the fact that it cannot be revoked from us, allowing us to be able to constantly strive to devote ourselves to God.

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