Thursday, May 27, 2010

Volume II, Book III, Chapter VI

Poor Pierre. He just seems lost.

IT's two years previous, in 1808, that we meet Pierre again. Pierre has become the head of the masons involuntarily. He cannot stop his enteraintements and "bachelor companies", but now he does them and feels guilty about them. He's also paying for shortages in dues, charities, etc.

In short, he's being taken advantage of.

He begins to feel that masonry is not all it's cracked up to be. He feels there are those interested in science, those interested in god, and those interested in furthering themselves by belonging to an organization with wealthy connected people. Some, even those as rich as he is, are stingy with their dues, in direct opposition to the ideas they propound.

Unlike, and in direct contrast to Andrei, his ideas are not thought out. He gives a speech to the masons about responsibility: "The entire project of the order should be based on forming people who are firm, virtuous, and bound together by unity of conviction, a conviction that consists of persecuting vice and stupidity everywhere and with all their might, and of patronizing talent and virtue..."

Yeah, good luck with that. It actually doesn't have much of an action plan except for recruiting and secretly building people to take over towns for the masons, but provokes ire nonetheless. It strikes most as smacking of Illuminism, which had political goals, and is mostly rejected. The masons do not take it up, and Pierre leaves.

It's interesting here how Tolstoy criticizes the Russian masons for losing track, and also has that habit of referring to them as "our", assuming we are Russian readers (probably at the time a worthy assumption. You always feel like you're on his team.)

Anyhow, sad for Pierre, who seems so lost. It's a stark contrast to Andrei and his successes.

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