Arts and Crafts Utopia

How we live, and how we might live.

Leo Tolstoy’s Secrets to Happiness

Tolstoy - slaveryThe BBC has shared a nice little article on “The secrets to a happy life — courtesy of Leo Tolstoy.” Many of the “secrets” will be familiar not only to readers of Tolstoy, but any of the progressive writers and thinkers of the late 19th century: Peter Kropotkin, William Morris, Henry George, et al. Tolstoy belonged to a generation of reformists and radicals committed to the total regeneration of society through a radical revaluation of our habits, lifestyles, and beliefs (an inner transformation) as well as an overthrow of existing and oppressive social-political-economic structures (the external transformation). Certain recommendations will be familiar to any Arts and Crafts adherents (e.g. “Master the art of simple living” and “Become a craftsman.”)

Here’s the list of “secrets,” expanded on in the article. 

1.  Keep an open mind.

2.  Practice empathy.

3.  Make a difference.

4.  Master the art of simple living.

5.  Beware your contradictions.

6.  Become a craftsman.

7.  Expand your social circle.


  1. “back in Lefortovo, Socrates and Don Quixote, Ulysses and Gargantua, Oedipus and Hamlet, had rushed to my aid. I felt a spiritual bond with these figures; their struggles reverberated with my own, their laughter with mine. They accompanied me through prisons and camps, through cells and transports. At some point I began to feel a curious reverse connection: not only was it important to me how these characters behaved in various circumstances, but it was also important to *them*, who had been created many centuries ago, to know how I was acting today. And just as they had influenced the conduct of individuals in many lands and over many centuries, so I, too, with decisions and choices had the power to inspire or disenchant those who had existed in the past as well as those who would come in the future.”

    Thank you for inspiring transformations and making Morris proud <3

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