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Welcome to Spotlight. I'm Robin Basselin.
And I'm Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting.
It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.
"A question brought me to the point of ending my life when I was fifty years old.
My question was the most simple one that lies in every person...
It is the question without which life is impossible:
Why do I live? Why do I wish for anything, or do anything?...
Is there anything in my life that will not be destroyed by my death?"
These are the words of the famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy.
Like Tolstoy, many people ask these difficult questions.
And they struggle to find meaning in their life.
Tolstoy spent his whole life trying to answer difficult questions like these.
His search for answers influenced his writing.
Today's Spotlight is on Leo Tolstoy, his faith and his writings.
On August 28th, 1828 Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy was born in the country of Russia.
Both of his parents died while he was still a child.
He and his brothers and sisters lived with other family members for the rest of their childhoods.
As a child, Tolstoy was a member of the Russian Orthodox Church.
But as a young man, he began to question that faith.
Tolstoy wanted to make his own moral decisions; he was tired of being told what to believe.
He thought people could achieve a degree of perfection - if they tried hard enough.
So he worked very hard at being the best in everything he did.
He thought that he would find meaning and truth in success.
In the 1850s, Leo Tolstoy wrote his first stories.
He wrote about his experiences in the military.
He also told stories about when he was a child.
These works were published and Tolstoy became a well-known writer.
Tolstoy was finally successful.
He earned the respect he always wanted.
Many wealthy and intelligent men met and talked with Tolstoy.
Some of the men were writers like him.
They talked a lot about faith and the meaning of life.
But soon Tolstoy recognized that these men were not perfect.
They were proud and they made very bad moral choices.
Tolstoy had thought these rich and powerful men could answer his questions about faith.
Now he knew they could not.
So in the 1860s, Tolstoy tried a different way to find meaning.
He opened a school for the children of his serfs - the people who worked on his land.
These workers were very poor.
He wanted to help them because he thought they were more honest than the wealthy people he knew.
Tolstoy learned many things from his workers.
He respected how they worked hard to provide for their families.
He began to believe that marriage and family would give his life meaning.
So in 1862, Leo Tolstoy married a young woman named Sonya Bers.
The next 15 years were the best years of Tolstoy's life.
It was during this time that he wrote his most famous books - "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina."
Many literature experts say that "War and Peace" is one of the greatest books ever written.
Both "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina" communicate Tolstoy's beliefs about the Russian nation, church and people.
They also communicate what he thought was the answer to all his questions.
Tolstoy believed humans were supposed to live a simple life and take care of their families.
Tolstoy thought this would satisfy him and bring him happiness.
But after writing these books, Tolstoy entered into a dark depression.
He was very sad and lonely. He had achieved everything he wanted.
He had a large family, a loving wife and all the respect and money he could ever want.
But he could not help wondering if any of that would matter after his death.
Leo Tolstoy began wondering if believing in God would answer his questions about life.
For nine years he wrote only about faith and religion.


Listen English everyday to Improve English listening skills (Part 1)

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Ershun Zhou 2015 年 12 月 31 日 に公開
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