Commonplace Book #153

“…the question suddenly occurred to him: ‘What if my whole life has been wrong? It occurred to him that what had appeared perfectly impossible before, namely that he had not spent his life as he should have done, might after all be true. It occurred to him that his scarcely perceptible attempts to struggle against what was considered good by the most highly placed people, those scarcely noticeable impulses which has had immediately suppressed, might have been the real thing, and all the rest false. And his professional duties, and the whole arrangement of his life and of his family, and all his social and official interests, might all have been false. He tried to defend all those things to himself and suddenly felt the weakness of what he was defending. There was nothing to defend….He lay on his back and began to pass his life in review in quite a new way. In the morning when he saw first his footman, then his wife, then his daughter, and then the doctor, their every word and movement confirmed to him the awful truth that had been revealed to him during the night. In them he saw clearly that it was not real at all, but a terrible and huge deception which had hidden his physical suffering tenfold. 

Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych