Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 12 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 8, Chapter 12 Summary

Levin walks about and is absorbed by his new spiritual condition, which is unlike anything he had ever before experienced. All the disjointed, impotent, separate thoughts that have incessantly occupied his mind are suddenly being transformed and combined into a unified whole, as if moved by an electric shock. There is something new and joyful in his soul, though he does not yet know what it is.

He thinks about living not for his own wants, attractions or desires, but for something incomprehensible, for God, whom no one can understand or define. Though he does not understand God, Levin knows he understands the thresher’s words. He does not doubt their truth; the words were not “stupid, obscure, inexact.” More than anything else in his life, Levin understands these words more fully and clearly than anything else in life, and there are no doubts.

Levin has been searching for a miracle to convince him, but now he realizes it has been surrounding him on all sides and he never noticed it. Living for one’s self, to fill one’s belly, is a necessity to a rational being. Millions of men over ages in time, rich and poor, have known the truth: all men have only one “firm, incontestable, clear knowledge” which cannot be explained by reason. Goodness has no causes or it is not goodness, and it can have no effects, for rewards are not goodness, either. Goodness is beyond the chain of cause and effect, yet Levin knows it and everyone else knows it too. There can be no greater miracle, Levin thinks.

As he walks, Levin wonders if his prolonged sufferings are over, and soon his relief is so delicious and so overwhelming that he can walk no farther. He lays in the shade of an aspen tree on the uncut grass and ponders his new discoveries; soon he decides that he discovered nothing. He has just found what he already knew and has been set free from falsity. He has found the Master.

Though he has spent most of his adult life struggling to find...

(The entire section is 531 words.)