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More wisdom from the Russian playwright and author Anton Chekhov:

February 8, 2010

“There are no low, high, or medium moralities, but only one, namely, that given us in his day by Jesus Christ and which now deters you, and me. . .from stealing, offending, lying, and so on. In all my life, if I can rely upon the repose of my own conscience, neither by word, deed or intention, nor in my stories or plays have I coveted my neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his ox or his ass, or anything that is my neighbor’s; I have not stolen, dissembled, flattered the powerful or sought their favor, have not blackmailed or lived on other people. It is true that in idleness I have wasted by substance, laughing madly, overeating, drinking to excess, have played the prodigal but surely all of this is personal to me and does not deprive me of the right to think that in the morality section I do not deviate much either up or down from the normal. No notable feats, no mean acts—that is how I am, like the majority; my sins are many, but in morality we are quits, since I am atoning lavishly for those sins through the discomforts they bring in their wake.”

His letter to Ivan Leontiv March 22, 1890, quoted from Selected Letters (ed. Lillian Hellman, translated Sidonie K. Lederer, published Barnes and Noble 2007).

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