I love old bookstores and the wonderful old used books I can find there. I just picked up Tolstoy’s “A Confession and Other Religious Writings.” So far, the reflections of this man on the world he lived in and his own spiritual transformation have not been disappointing.

Take a look at this excerpt and ask yourself what this reminds you of today:

“I acquired…an insane conviction that it was my vocation to teach people without knowing what I was teaching…

At the time we were all convinced that we must talk and talk and write and publish as quickly as possible, and as much as possible, and that this was all necessary for the good of mankind. And thousands of us, contradicting and abusing one another, published and wrote with the aim of teaching others. Failing to notice that we knew nothing, that we did not know the answer to the most basic question of life–what is good and what is evil–we all spoke at the same time, never listening to one another. At times we indulged and praised each other in order to be indulged and praised in return, at other times we grew angry and shrieked at each other, just as if we were in a madhouse.

It is now clear to me that there was no difference between our behavior and that of people in a madhouse; but at the time I only dimly suspected this and, like all madmen, I thought everyone was mad except myself.”

Think about these words of Tolstoy’s the next time you watch any “news” program in which people are talking over each other and screaming but nobody is listening.