If to live is to suffer, as Tolstoy understood so well, then to persevere is to find meaning in one's suffering. Does hardship make us beasts, Tolstoy asks, or better human beings? Do we continually focus on getting what we think we want, or on making something meaningful out of what we have, no matter how miniscule or shabby it might seem?
The only candidates in the 2016 race who might embrace these ideas are Bernie Sanders for the Democrats, and Jill Stein with the Greens. To help incubate a new politics of peace, though, a think tank co-founded by intellectuals Michael Lerner and Cornel West called the "Network for Spiritual Progressives" (NSP) has some good ideas.
For the opening of her exhibit, Patti Smith: Camera Solo at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT last week, Patti Smith gave a concert celebrating essential connections between art, music, and literature.