Originally Posted by Earl_of_Rochester
"but it is not that which can convince me, dear friend--life and death are what convince.
What convinces is when one sees a being dear to one, bound up with one's
own life, before whom one was to blame and had hoped to make it right"
(Prince Andrew's voice trembled and he turned away), "and suddenly that
being is seized with pain, suffers, and ceases to exist.... Why? It
cannot be that there is no answer. And I believe there is.... That's
what convinces, that is what has convinced me," said Prince Andrew.
"Yes, yes, of course," said Pierre, "isn't that what I'm saying?"
"No. All I say is that it is not argument that convinces me of the
necessity of a future life, but this: when you go hand in hand with
someone and all at once that person vanishes there, into nowhere, and
you yourself are left facing that abyss, and look in. And I have looked
- War & Peace, Tolstoy
I think the remainder of this passage is interesting and pretty. Tolstoy continued:
"Well, that's it then! You know that there is a there and there is a Someone? There is the future life. The Someone is- God."
Prince Andrew did not reply. The carriage and horses had long since been taken off, onto the farther bank, and reharnessed. The sun had sunk half below the horizon and an evening frost was starring the puddles near the ferry, but Pierre and Andrew, to the astonishment of the footmen, coachmen, and ferrymen, still stood on the raft and talked.
"If there is a God and future life, there is truth and good, and man's highest happiness consists in striving to attain them. We must live, we must love, and we must believe that we live not only today on this scrap of earth, but have lived and shall live forever, there, in the Whole," said Pierre, and he pointed to the sky.
Prince Andrew stood leaning on the railing of the raft listening to Pierre, and he gazed with his eyes fixed on the red reflection of the sun gleaming on the blue waters. There was perfect stillness. Pierre became silent. The raft had long since stopped and only the waves of the current beat softly against it below. Prince Andrew felt as if the sound of the waves kept up a refrain to Pierre's words, whispering:
"It is true, believe it."
He sighed, and glanced with a radiant, childlike, tender look at Pierre's face, flushed and rapturous, but yet shy before his superior friend.
"Yes, if it only were so!" said Prince Andrew. "However, it is time to get on," he added, and, stepping off the raft, he looked up at the sky to which Pierre had pointed, and for the first time since Austerlitz saw that high, everlasting sky he had seen while lying on that battlefield; and something that had long been slumbering, something that was best within him, suddenly awoke, joyful and youthful, in his soul. It vanished as soon as he returned to the customary conditions of his life, but he knew that this feeling which he did not know how to develop existed within him. His meeting with Pierre formed an epoch in Prince Andrew's life. Though outwardly he continued to live in the same old way, inwardly he began a new life.