chapter  VII
Freedom and Suggestion
Pages 17

Absolute freedom is a purely fanciful conception. To remove influences so that nature may freely manifest may become at any moment a contradiction in terms, for even nature herself is made up of influences. In the nature of man, and especially of the child, there is constantly working a force by means of which the absolute spontaneity of the individual becomes an abstraction impossible to realize. This force is suggestion. Suggestion plays a large part in the doctrine of Tolstoi. This has not been sufficiently understood: which is one reason for insisting on it here. In addition, it is regarding education that Tolstoi's ideas on this subject are most clearly made known the author have seen that he identifies education with suggestion and it is perhaps mainly on this point that Tolstoi the teacher will enlighten us as regards Tolstoi the philosopher, by drawing our attention to one aspect of his thought which has received but slight attention.