The moment the head of the State will cease to direct war, the soldier to fight, the minister to prepare means for war, the journalist to incite thereto--then, without any new institutions, adaptations, balance of power, tribunals, there will of itself be destroyed that hopeless position in which men have placed themselves, not only in relation to war, but also to all other calamities which they themselves inflict upon themselves.

In the paragraph above, I do not understand the highlighted part, especially "destroyed that hopeless."

-- From Leo Tolstoy, Bethink Yourselves https://tinyurl.com/y8ysh7as

  • 1
    It's a bit stilted and archaic. That hopeless position in which men have placed themselves will be destroyed of itself (i.e. by itself, or as such). – tripleee Apr 23 '18 at 12:46

Bethink Yourselves [The translation below is better English]. Here we can see that the sentence is saying: that "hopeless position" [...] will cease to exist.

And as soon as the head of the state ceases to direct war, the soldier to fight, the politician to prepare means for war, and the journalist to incite men thereto – then, without any new institutions, devices, balance of power, or tribunals, that hopeless position in which people have placed themselves not only as regards war but as regards all their other self-inflicted calamities will cease to exist.

Transcribed and edited by www.nonresistance.org.

I cannot find the translator's name but this translation is better. However, if you compare the excerpt given above to the OP's excerpt, it can be seen that this one is quite clear and easy to understand.

better translation

| improve this answer | |

Here is one rough simplification:

Men put themselves into a hopeless situation.

The nature of this situation is such that it will cause its own destruction as soon as leaders and institutions stop beginning and operating wars, unless there are certain changes.

| improve this answer | |

"destroyed that hopeless" is not a clause or unit of language in the given quote. Instead it says that when certain things no longer happen, then "here will of itself be destroyed" something, meaning that that thing will automatically vanish. What will be destroyed? " that hopeless position in which men have placed themselves" in regard to war and other things.

To summarize and simplify, the passage says that when rulers stop ordering people to go to war, when soldiers stop fighting wars, when government officials stop preparing for wars, when news writers stop advocating for war, then automatically the disastrous things that people inflict on themselves, including wars, will no longer happen.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.