Oblonsky has a problem. He wants the best of two worlds. He would like to continue in his infidelities and enjoy the company of a succession of beautiful women. However, his “worn-out, already growing elderly, ordinary” wife and mother of his children stands in his way. “Oh, how awful,” Oblonsky repeats over and over to himself. “What am I to do?” I chuckled to myself, imagining him pacing back and forth in his study trying to figure out how to have the impossible.
Although Oblonsky’s problem is not mine, I certainly do have problems. I wager we all do. Some of them seem impossible to solve. Thankfully, some of us can rely on Wisdom greater than ourselves to help in our dilemmas, and I know what that Wisdom would have to say to Oblonsky! However, I think Oblonsky’s ultimate response to his problem is very typical of human nature:
He could find no answer, except life’s usual answer to the most complex and insoluble questions. That answer is: live in the needs of the day, that is, find forgetfulness…he must seek forgetfulness in the dream of life. Part 1, Ch. 2
It’s a lot easier to just keep on going and hope the problem resolves itself, or just plow ahead in our vocations, with the tasks assigned to that particular day in order to forget the pressing problem at hand. Thanks for putting words, to it, Tolstoy! I’m off to find forgetfulness. All I have to do is look around me to find a host of “needs of the day.”