Part III 1
What is history?
What is history for the uneducated?
1. History as fact.
2. History as a project for resuscitation, which is a demand of human nature and of life.
In order to avoid any arbitrariness in defining history or siding with any party (learned or unlearned – that is to say, popular) and, above all, in order not to fraudulently appropriate the right to set limits to the scope of human work, it must be said that history is always resuscitation and not judgement, because the subjects of history are not the living but the dead. So in order to judge it is necessary to resuscitate, even if not literally, those who have died, that is, those who have already suffered the supreme penalty – capital punishment. For thoughtful people history is merely a verbal resuscitation, a metaphor; for those endowed with imagination, it is artistic resuscitation; for those in whom feeling is stronger than thought, history will be sorrowful remembrance, lamentation or a representation mistaken for reality – that is, self-deception.
1.Only excerpts arc given from Part III, since Fedorov's views on historical events are obsolete, biased and of little interest to modern readers, apart from his definition of history as a chronicle of mutual extermination and the despoliation by humans of their natural environment. Fcdorov attributes much importance to the struggle between Asia and Europe, from the Graeco-Persian wars right up until his own day with the domination by Western maritime powers of India and South-East Asia and also, in some ways, of China; and to the West's hostility to Russia. He stresses the role of Constantinople – 'Tsargrad' for the Russians – as a link between the continents and therefore as a centre for human reunification. The failure of Byzantium to achieve the mission of universal unification through the spread of Christianity is attributed to its losing the pristine purity of the Christian faith. This leads him to criticise Catholicism for its authoritarianism. Protestantism for individualism and dissension, and even Orthodoxy for replacing action by symholism. The fall of Byzantium, which triggered the Renaissance in Western Europe, is seen as a return to paganism, which was further promoted by the French Revolution and the ensuing rise of Communism, and the general loss of the sense of kinship.
What is history for the learned, is prayerful remembrance for the uneducated. History as resuscitation embraces the learned as well as 'the lower classes', and even savages who write history as remembrance on their own skin (tattooing). History as a purely objective account or tale amounts to recalling the deceased out of idle curiosity, while history as propaganda – that is to say, when the dead are called up as witnesses in
favour of some particular idea, political or economic (for example, in support of a federation or a constitution) – is profanation, the work of people living an artificial life who have lost any natural sense or goal; it is no longer the work of worthy sons, but rather of sons who have forgotten their fathers – of prodigals.
One should not take the name of God in vain, nor should one use that of the dead in vain, either. Therefore, history as propaganda should be rejected as an infringement of that commandment; it is not history itself that should be rejected, but vanity. Lastly, there is history as a search for a sense, a meaning, to life. This is another philosophy of history that is open to vilification or subjectivism. The philosophy of history has itself a long history, although it has not yet found the meaning of life and has even despaired of finding it. Indeed, history cannot make sense as long as humanity fails to attain true wisdom. So if there is no sense, inanities are bound to occur. Inanities may show a certain constancy or frequency, which will give them the appearance of laws and are the subject of statistical history. There will be no sense in history so long as it is an unconscious and involuntary phenomenon.
History cannot be our action, the result of our activity, as long as we live in discord. Even when we are united our tribal life cannot be ruled by reason, as long as man depends on the blind forces of nature and fails to make it into a tool of his collective reason and single collective will.
The search for meaning is the search for a goal, a cause, a common task. Those who do not accept this must either assume an external, transcendental existence (the religious philosophy of history) or become zoomorphists (the secular philosophy of history), whether they admit the evolution of species (progress) or reject it. The former are partisans of transformism, evolution or development, the latter of the doctrine of cultural-historical types or castes. Only a goal gives meaning to human life. Man need not search for the meaning of life if he recognises that he is a son and mortal, that is, the son of deceased fathers. History itself will tell him that, being an account of the past, history is merely an imaginary resuscitation and, therefore, pointless until it becomes real...
What is history for the unlearned ?
1. History as fact is mutual extermination, the extermination of people like ourselves, the pillage and plunder of nature (that is, the Earth) through its exploitation and utilisation, leading to degeneration and dying (culture). History as fact is always mutual extermination, either overt in times of barbarism or covert in times of civilisation, when cruelty is merely more refined and even more evil. This situation raises the question: must man be the exterminator of his own species and the predator of nature, or must he be its regulator, its manager, and the restorer to life of his
own kin, victims of his blind unruly youth, of his past – that is, of history as fact?...
2. What should the project be?
If the life of the human race is unconscious, what should it be if it were conscious?
Meditation for most people is a temporary, exceptional state of the soul, transitory even for the soul of a scholar; whereas thinking about a task, that is, planning, is for most people a constant state of mind, even among the learned class. The value of a thought is determined by the larger or smaller number of people it concerns; the most general evil affecting all – a crime, in fact – is death, and therefore the supreme good, the supreme task, is resuscitation.
...If we consider history as the 'Good News', it is clear that the reason why the Resurrection of Christ was not followed by general resurrection is that the Resurrection of Christ was the beginning and history is the continuation. General resurrection could not immediately follow that of Christ because it has to be the conscious work of the human race uniting the length and breadth of the globe – indeed, the field of action is not limited to planet Earth. By using the mass of Earth and transforming it into conscious force, the united human race will give to the telluric force, controlled by reason and feeling – that is, by a life-giving force – domination over the blind force of other celestial bodies, and will involve them in a single life-giving force of resuscitation.
Humanity has not yet begun this task consciously, though the necessary preliminary unification of the human race has begun and is continuing, albeit in a distorted way... The great Common Task which constitutes the essence of Christianity has come to be replaced by competition in the production of trifles, which has brought conflict and war. An investigation into the causes of this distortion (loss of kinship) would be the turning-point towards conscious unification for the purpose of resuscitation. Such an investigation would entail not only knowledge: its aim would be to discover the life purpose of mortals – not that of one, or of several, but of all.
For scholars, history is judgement, judicial sentences passed by them on the deceased, but for the unlearned (among whom the scholars are a drop in the ocean), history is a prayer for the departed. If this prayer is sincere it cannot remain a prayer only, a lament, but must become a general task of resuscitation, the only task which enables men to feel brothers and not merely participants or shareholders in some enterprise. Only then will history become universal...
...However, our account of history begins with that of the disunion among people who had forgotten their kinship; it begins with the history of a campaign waged by the West against the East, which can be seen as an ever-expanding battlefield spreading over the whole globe, and taking both direct and indirect routes along natural pathways, transforming them
into artificial roads, straightened and smoothed. They bring together West and East, continental and coastal countries, in an accelerating movement, the direct routes leading to Tsargrad, the circuitous to the Pamir.
Will the coming together be peaceful, or not?
With its inventions, its improved means of communication, science enables both the Far East and the Far West to join in the battle for mutual annihilation, in the 'scientific' struggle, applying all its knowledge to rapid-action and long-range guns, to smokeless gunpowder with melanite and roburite; in battles fought on land and at sea, under ground and under water, in the air, night and day, by the light of electric suns. The most fantastic apocalypse pales before reality. The West, having provided a scientific organisation for the disorganised masses of the Far and Near East, will lead the maritime nations against the continentals.
It is for scientific strategy to determine the last focal point of the scientific battle. However, Constantinople and the Pamir are bound to be the focus of confrontation for the continental and maritime forces. In the event of a peaceful outcome to their encounter, it is easy to understand the Christian significance of these two centres, if one represents the Pamir (the hypothetical grave of the ancestors) as a skull over crossed bones, and Constantinople (the first place to be blessed by the cross) as the centre for the transformation of the destructive force into a life-giving one...
.. .Our history is a saga of confrontation as well as a dirge for all those who fell under the walls of Troy and were lamented by Homer (and those who still read Homer), and for those who fell under Plevna2 and on the Shipka Pass... Our history is both secular and sacred. As a history of struggles it is secular. As that of the preaching of 'Thou shalt not kill, nor make war, nor battle' it is not yet sacred, nor Christian, but remains ancient history. Man does not cease to kill, to make war, to battle. On the contrary, he improves and invents ever more lethal weapons (modern history begins with the invention of gunpowder) to defend his accumulated riches which are increasing in the wake of progress. History will become sacred only when remembrance – which is love – replaces the superfluous by the necessary, mass production by handicrafts, and death-bearing armaments by life-giving tools to unite all in a single task. To become sacred, Christian, history must cease to be the saga of men's struggles against each other, of East against West – which has become nowadays the struggle of maritime countries against continental ones. History must become the chronicle of the struggle for each other and against the blind force of nature acting both outside and within us; not a struggle to the finish against each other, but a struggle to the finish for union against death, for resuscitation and life.
2. Plevna: a Turkish fortress in Bulgaria, which
during the Russo-Turkish war withstood 3 assaults and inflicted heavy casualties on the Russian and Romanian armies, before its garrison of 50,000 men surrendered in Dec.1877. The Russians captured the Balkan mountain pass of Shipka in July 1877 and held it till Jan.1878, eventually allowing a Russian breakthrough into the Bulgarian plain.
The learned consider their work completed when they have explained to their own satisfaction the causes of conflict by the influence of external and internal natural factors (temperament and character). However, for the unlearned it is only here that the solution to the problem begins. Universal military service is a preparation for the common sacred struggle not against but for each other, against the force of nature acting outside and within us.
The present part of our memorandum is designed to explain their obligations to those called up for service. It is a catechism not in form but in essence, and sets out what a human being ought to do. It teaches the sons of man, who are the participants in history, how to solve the problem of lack of kinship and how to redirect their arms...
...The Common Task is a response to catastrophes affecting all humans – that is, death and all that leads to it – whereas social problems concern not all but a greater or lesser part of society and are a response to phenomena such as poverty. However, considered at a deeper level than the superficial and frivolous one which informed the French Revolution, it becomes apparent that phenomena like poverty will exist as long as death exists. As Christ said, 'The poor always ye have with you.' The Common Task knows no compromises even with death, because there is nothing arbitrary about it, whereas social objectives are essentially compromises.
Participation in a common task makes understandable the Christian idea of God as a perfect Triune Being. However, if we consider social tasks as ultimate goals, we distort the idea of God, we deprive Him of perfection, we perceive Him as Ruler and Judge, we admit that we are incapable of being brothers and have no Father, that we need a Ruler and Judge; and the lower we fall morally, the sterner is the Ruler we need. In ascribing to God our own characteristics of domination and justice, we do not mean to reduce the greatness of God but, rather, we exalt the importance of these features because we prefer that society be organised so that everyone, however temporarily, has some power to dominate others, the right to judge and to punish. So we take as an ideal arrangement the principle of the [French] Revolution, that everyone periodically, temporarily, can exercise supreme power.
We appear to prefer such an organisation of society to one where a common task opens up to all a wide field of activity, and eliminates dissension, superfluous power and law courts. Which society is better; the one where justice (power and law) dominates, and is exercised
and belongs in turn to everyone, and where no one is deprived of this power to judge and punish – that is to say, it is a power that cannot belong to a kinsman, since a father is not made to judge his son nor the obverse (though such cases have happened and are signalled as cases where love was sacrificed to justice and kinship to the public good) – or a society founded on parental, filial and brotherly love?
Even if, through the good economic organisation of society, the impossible were to be achieved and criminality were eliminated, the outcome would still not be brotherhood, because even when people are not battering each other they do not necessarily love each other. Even to achieve that much is hardly possible, not because people are bad but because man cannot live without interacting with others in some great common task; he cannot be content with trifles...
...Equality itself cannot be regarded as Good, so long as people are insignificant – that is, mortal. For the sake of equality any superiority, any higher abilities, must be driven out, whereas among those united in brotherhood for the sake of a common cause, any talent arouses not envy but joy. The same applies to liberty. The freedom to live only for oneself is a great evil, even when it does not impinge on the rights of others and when justice would prevent conflict. The highest degree of equity can only demand that those capable of working should not be deprived of work, and that those incapable of working should not be deprived of means of existence. Yet that which in a society that has no common cause or purpose, a society of legality, of law and order, is the highest, is the lowest in a society of paternal and filial love and brotherhood.
A common cause enables all to take part in religion, science and art, the object of which is to achieve rehabilitation and a secure existence for all. In such a society there can be no question of the right to work, because it is the duty of all, without exception, to participate in it ; nor can there be any question of those incapable of working merely receiving the means of subsistence, because part of the Common Task is to rehabilitate them or endow them with the abilities of which they are deprived. If at last we become participants in the Common Task, we will be able to thank fate for having been saved, for not having wasted our forces, by being able to apply them to the Common Task...
...Now we can see how right is the view that the French Revolution was, in fact, two quite different revolutions, one of which benefited individualism (starting in 1789), the other being a noisy attempt at fraternity (ending on 9 Thermidor). Both were forms of anti-Christianity, with which we have already met – pagan individualism and Semitic socialism, that is, the subjugation of individuality. For the sake of fraternity, noisy or, rather, bloody action was taken by those who strove for it and failed, because they mistook for
fraternity (identified with liberty and equality) what are in fact the consequences of fraternity. Moreover, they wanted to achieve it through violence – that is to say, in an unbrotherly way. So even the little they wanted to achieve could not be achieved, and even placed obstacles to its achievement in the future. Only love liberates, making duty towards others desirable and the implementation of that duty pleasant, something that is not a burden but ardently longed for. Only love equalises, making those more richly endowed with abilities and strength sincerely anxious to serve the less fortunate.
Therefore, love alone leads to brotherhood, whereas neither the liberty to satisfy one's own whims nor envious equality can lead to fraternity. According to the Christian doctrine of original sin, to popular belief and even to prevailing modern views, heredity is an incontrovertible fact. It follows that no sinful, vicious feeling that prompts enmity or the like can disappear without leaving traces. It will find an outlet ; it will manifest itself even when the object that aroused it has passed away. Therefore, it is quite impossible to create fraternity when hate and bitterness are aroused in the generation that originally experienced these feelings, nor among their descendants, even in the narrow sense of fraternity as understood by the men of the Revolution and their forerunners, the philosophes. No external organisation can annihilate inherent characteristics. Sins are material, they are diseases which need to be cured... All the peoples of Western Asia bordering on the Mediterranian, as well as India and China, have been subjected to the invasions of barbarians. All strove, without realising it, to transform those nomads into settled tillers of the soil, and to persuade the country whence these 'scourges of God1 came to adopt agriculture. That country was known to the Aryans of Iran by the name of Turan, the kingdom of darkness and evil; Ezekiel spoke of Magog, the kingdom of Gog, whose invasion was to be so terrible as to signal the end of the world. Byzantium shared the wishes of the peoples of Western Asia, having experienced 'the sufferings of Tantalus', in the words of Polybius,3 as a result of the devastations caused by the nearby barbarians and even by the more distant ones, for whom the renamed Constantinople had become the most coveted prize.
3. Polybius: Greek historian (204-124 BC). Even before the Emperor; Constantino made Byzantium a capital of the Roman Empire and renamed it j Constantinople, the city, founded probably in the seventh century BC, had been of some importance because of its geographical position.
The West, in the fifth century, had similar experiences, though it attributed its disasters to its having abjured its gods while it was pagan, and to its sins in general when it became Christian. What the prophets had hoped for in the fifth century – namely
the rout of the 'scourges of God' – came about not in the way they expected, not in a transcendental way, but in a natural, human way when the Slavs and Russia in particular formed a bulwark against the invaders...
...Europe sees Russia as an enemy. But should this enemy, these pseudo-Turanians – incidentally, we do not despise this relationship – perish, Europe would witness the visit of real Turanians. Can it be possible, now that a thousand years of: working towards the expansion of agriculture is nearingi completion, now that our borders are approaching the Indian; Caucasus, now that we can stretch out our hand to England and thus close the Christian circle surrounding Islam... can it be possible that all that work will be destroyed by the moral short-sightedness of the West?
...The project that sets the doctrine of the Trinity as a model and comprises that of resuscitation should consist of the following:
1. The object of the action, namely, the Earth in its relation to the Sun and nature in general.
2. The method of the action, that is, via various professions, in particular agriculture, being transformed by experimentation and research work.
3. The coordination of these activities towards a common goal, that is, towards a focal point...
...All human endeavours have tended to concentrate in two such focal points: Constantinople and India. The latter was the centre of seduction and temptation which, however, pointed to the Pamir, the centre of atonement. These centres promoted the improvement of routes and the discovery of new ones. Although they contributed to closer relations, these were purely superficial and all too often were pretexts for further conflict. So the unconscious activity which could have worked out a means of resuscitation directed people to the destruction towards which the world is veering. That the world is approaching its end is believed by the faithful, while science comes to the same conclusion on the basis of the classification of worlds, that is, stars, according to their age as determined by spectral analysis. According to this classification our solar world has already passed its youth; it no longer belongs to the stars of the first class, although it has not yet reached the degree of cooling and eventual extinction of third-class stars.
If in any one of these stars consciousness emerged (which is very doubtful), it failed to become the governing, creative reason of that world undoubtedly because those conscious beings limited themselves to the procreation of similar ones, to laboratory experiments (experimental science), and wasted their time in internecine squabbles, in local government and constitutional intrigues (politics and social work) or in idle contemplation (philosophy). Meanwhile the energies of that world became diffused and spent themselves into extinction. Our sun is dimming, however slowly, and we are right to say that the hour will come when it will no longer
give light, that ‘the time is at hand’. The extinction of stars (sudden or slow) is an instructive example, a terrifying warning. The growing exhaustion of the soil, the destruction of forests, distortions of the meteorological process manifested in floods and droughts – all this forebodes ‘famines and plagues’ and prompts us to heed the warning. Apart from a slowly advancing end, we cannot be certain whether a sudden catastrophe may not befall the Earth, this tiny grain of sand in the vastness of the Universe.
And yet, planet Earth is perhaps the only bearer of, salvation, and the other millions of worlds merely nature's unsuccessful attempts. Do we not hear the awe-inspiring ‘Ye know not the place, nor the day, nor the hour’, and does this not spur us to even greater watchfulness and work in order to resolve this agonising uncertainty? So the world is nearing its end and man contributes to this by his activities, because civilisation and exploitation without restoration can have no other result than that of accelerating the end.
What should we do ?
Resuscitation as an ongoing act unites all religions and denominations; it unites in a common filial love and a single activity both believers and doubters, the learned and the unlearned, all classes, both urban and rural. The age of disputation comes to an end, because words and thoughts are no proof. And when a dogma becomes an assignment, a filial duty, we move from the field of theory – the most controversial – to the field of morals and action – the least controversial. The doubters are in the position of the apostle Thomas: his doubts did not impede him from being a follower of Christ. The other apostles, too, had been unwilling to believe a rumour, and were convinced only when they saw with their own eyes. For Thomas the testimony of even ten eyewitnesses was not enough. Doubt in his case was the manifestation of a most profound love, the longing to hear and see the beloved Teacher and be convinced by the most tangible proofs. Love is above faith or hope; even with faith, but without charity, we are nothing (I Cor. 13:1).
The union of faith and charity, the union of the three so-called theological virtues, is faithfulness to God as to the one Father, just as the faithfulness to the fathers is unthinkable without faithfulness to the brothers. All evil is betrayal, or to use the expression of our common people, a misfortune. Yet even the most unfortunate of all, whose name has become synonymous with the supreme degree of criminal betrayal and whom the West in the words of Dante placed in the depths of hell without issue, can be cursed only by him who is without sin (‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a-stone’)...
Food and sanitary problems
The interests of past generations are not contrary to those
of present and future ones, provided the overriding concern is the assured existence of humanity, and not mere enjoyment. But an assured existence is impossible so long as our earth remains isolated from other worlds. Because of its very isolation it cannot provide for immortal beings. On every planet the means of subsistence are limited, and not inexhaustible even if they are very great. Consequently starvation may set in even if, for other fortuitous reasons, death does not appear. A greater or lesser shortage of food results in a quicker or slower death. Shortages lead to struggles which shorten life, limiting living beings in both time and space. Death comes also through sickness caused by the more or less harmful influences of death-bearing nature (death as decomposition, contagion, and so on). Generally speaking, death is the consequence of our being at the mercy of the blind force of nature, acting without and within us and not subject to our control. Yet we accept this dependence and submit to it.
Hunger and death are due to the same causes. Therefore the problem of resuscitation is bound up with that of freedom from hunger. To achieve freedom from hunger man must know himself and the world so as to produce himself out of the very basic elements into which the human body can be decomposed. In this way he will acquire the possibility, indeed the necessity, to recompose himself and all deceased beings. In other words, the living must submit themselves and those already dead to the process of resuscitation, and only through the resuscitation of the dead can they re-create in themselves life everlasting.
Alongside the problem of nutrition – of hunger and food comes the sanitary problem. Again, because of the isolation of our Earth the process of decomposition is necessary for the life of successive generations, but it results in epidemics that may hasten the end of the human race, if it remains inactive. Methods of burial are a part of global sanitary measures. The systematic burning of corpses, the destruction of all rotting substances by fire, could lead to soil exhaustion and eventually to death through starvation. The problems of famines and epidemics impel us to transcend the confines of the globe. Human labour must not be limited by the boundaries of the planet, particularly since no such boundaries or frontiers exist. The planet Earth is open from every side. Means of transportation, and methods of living in different environments, can and must be changed.
A radical solution of the sanitary problem consists in the return of the particles (molecules) of decomposition to the creatures to whom they belonged in the first place. Thus the sanitary problem, like that of food supply, leads us to general resuscitation. By transforming the unconscious processes of eating and procreating into one of conscious resurrection, humanity re-creates generations and discovers in other worlds means of subsistence. This solves the Malthusian
equation of balancing population growth with food production. Herein lies the only way to eliminate general mortality, a fortuitous event due to ignorance, and the ensuing impotence that heredity has made into an epidemic disease, compared to which other epidemics are mere sporadic outbreaks. Death has become a general organic evil, a monstrosity, which we no longer notice and no longer regard as an evil and a monstrosity.
Both the food and the sanitary problems can obviously be solved only by the agricultural class. The urban population contributes nothing – it merely refines what is produced in the countryside. For town dwellers the food problem is merely one of distribution: they ignore how dependent humanity is on nature. They are equally indifferent to a bumper harvest or to a crop failure; they do not imagine, and do not even wish to know, that in the latter case it is impossible to divide 100 lb. of bread among a hundred persons so that each gets 2 lb. of bread. This explains the strangeness of the socio-economic solutions that are proposed. The split between town and country, the independent existence and even domination of manufacturing industry over agriculture, are a root cause of proletarianisation. Apart from mutual insurance, the city has invented nothing and, since nature has no part in its obligation, the validity of such insurance is questionable.
While civilisation is capable of making considerable profits for some, it is incapable of ensuring the necessary minimum, always, for all. Considering the indifference of town dwellers to good or bad harvests, one might think that they believe, literally, that 'any trade feeds the worker'. Yet large-scale crop failures remind them of their dependence on the countryside, which provides the essentials for the very existence of humanity. A minute aphis, beetle or fly can bring to an end the life of mankind. What is the place of these insects in the general destiny of the Universe? Insect control based on the use of certain fungi which cause epidemics among beetles is not the same as forestalling their proliferation or distorting a natural process, one which endows an organic force with an entomological form. Yet the very production of cereals (which has transformed the steppe into an endless wheatfield) has contributed to the increase in cereal-eating insects. Will the advocates of natural progress (as opposed to rational labour) consider this phenomenon – the spread of a fauna which lives off the work of others – a progressive one? For them, bugs have the same right to exist as humans. The struggle for survival decides who has the greater right to exist. For them, the means of pest control used by man are unnatural and hence unlawful. If, however, progress is the transformation of the spontaneous (procreation) into conscious work, we must regard parasites as an inherent evil. The control method used is undoubtedly immoral, since it takes advantage of the natural evil of an
epidemic. Nor can the annihilation of any insect be considered moral. Only the complete transfiguration of a blind force (procreation) into a conscious act can be called moral.
Another method of pest control (used against the Hessian fly) is to alter the time of sowing. This can be done within fairly narrow limits and still gives a chance of survival to those individual flies which hatch later. Methods of tilling, better soil cultivation, crop rotation, and so on, may reduce but not destroy parasitic populations. As virgin lands are brought under cultivation, so will the cereal-eating species proliferate and adapt to the crop rotation of cultivated plants. The fundamental biological problem is to discover the conditions which cause an organic force to take on an entomological form.
With the growth of towns, food and sanitary problems become more acute and urgent. The very existence of towns is a proof that man prefers luxury and momentary enjoyment to a secure existence. The growth of towns and their domination over the countryside has occurred mainly among maritime nations. In continental countries, in their backwoods, another form of life has prevailed. Here the emphasis has been on agriculture, and here industry could become an ancillary occupation. In these backward areas communal land tenure persists. The death of the father involves the loss of the land holding (which reverts to the community). This heightens the sense of loss and fosters the feeling that is at the basis of the duty of resuscitation. Moreover, the community provides new holdings, not for each new-born child but for those who come of age, and this encourages chastity, which is also required by the duty of resuscitation. But the greatest advantage of communal land ownership is that it prevents agriculture from becoming an industry designed to achieve higher rather than stable incomes – that is, regular, reliable harvests. Thus the commune promotes the desire to achieve a secure existence, the highest form of which is immortality, rather than temporary pleasure and enjoyment.
In industrialised countries science cannot come to full fruition because it cannot find applications momentous enough to match the breadth of knowledge. There, reality does not coincide with knowledge because whereas reality is limited to the production of trifles and frippery, knowledge tends to encompass nature as a whole. Clearly, science has outgrown its cradle. Factory and workshop are too constricting; science needs more space. Admittedly, some scientists hope that science will make possible the industrial production of foodstuffs (the ideal of the urbanised West), but the varied activities of the farmer would then be reduced to the monotonous motions of a valve, a lever, and so on. A factory prison instead of fields and sky!!! In any case, these measures are doomed to failure because the resources of the planet are finite. Besides, how mean and even nasty they are (and what
a moral and intellectual threat to our people), compared with the boundless scope of discovering the conditions that affect harvest and plant life and are not limited to our planet. For, as peasants say, ‘It is not the earth that feeds us but the sky’.
The regulation of natural meteorological processes by means of lightning conductors raised on aerostats seems to have been invented specifically for the agricultural commune. Fortunately for the human race, the latter has not been killed by modern civilisation in its present form. The common folk in the majority of countries, even those whose upper classes have been europeanised, still live in communes. It is not beyond belief that the nations of Western Europe and America may re-establish such communes if the majority of the human race retains this way of life, not out of backwardness, as is the case today, but because people will have realised its advantages over other forms of civilised life. When the instruments proposed by Karazin1 become available to all communes, the entire terrestrial meteorological process will be regulated; wind and rain will become the ventilation and irrigation of the earth, worked as a unified economy.
1.Sec note 19 to the Introduction.
From clouds.and rain it is a natural step to showers of shooting stars and clouds of meteorites: ‘When we see showers of shooting stars, we cross the path of some comet and, observing it in the sky, we actually observe at a distance a cloud of meteorites.’* Those who have not lost all sense of kinship seek, and will continue to seek, in every discovery a way of re-establishing and securing life. This is contrary to the theories of Laplace and Kant, who only seek to explain the systems of the Universe without participating in or acting on these worlds with the creative power of reason. The first approach seeks to revitalise decaying worlds by using the power of active reason ; only in this manner will the formation of the systems of the Universe be understood, for without the ability to reconstitute them we are reduced to mere supposition.
* Quotation abridged from Sir J. Norman Lockyer's Elementary Lessons in Astronomy (first publ. 1868, Macmillan, London), Lesson XXIV, § 299.
Just for the sake of argument, let us develop Karazin's idea and assume that electrical currents have been sent in certain directions, perhaps with the help of telegraph cables encircling the Earth in a spiral formation or in some other way – then our huge siderolite, our natural magnet, becomes an electromagnet. This might enlarge the magnetic field of the Earth, and bring in the small siderolites that are said to move in Earth's orbit (and manifest themselves as zodiacal light). These could be condensed like vapour or diffused to affect the intensity of solar radiation; they could be made to increase the mass of the Earth,
or to form rings or spirals in the path of the Earth or around the sun. They could control the magnetic field of the sun itself. Experimentation would no longer be confined to laboratories – it would become literally infinite. And however incredible and impossible such assumptions may sound from the point of view of present-day science, to reject them out of hand would be criminal. It would mean rejecting the elimination of crime the crimes of revolution, disorder, turmoil and war. It would also mean rejecting the criminals, who in this case would be not the worst but the best people, the most gifted, whose strengths, nurtured by the expanse of continents and oceans, need greater scope.
A classless agricultural commune, where the intellectuals would be the teachers and where cottage industries would be carried on during the winter months, would end competition, speculation, social unrest, revolutions and even international wars, because all those vital forces now squandered on quarrelling would find a boundless field of application. In the worldwide activity of the classless rural communes there would be scope for peaceful Tabour and also for daring courage, the spirit of adventure, the thirst for sacrifice, novelty and exploits. And any commune is likely to have a percentage of such innate abilities. Out of such stuff were made knights errant, the ascetics who opened up the forests of the far north, Cossacks, runaway serfs, and the like. Now they would be the explorers, the new explorers of celestial space.
The prejudice that the celestial expanse is unattainable to man has grown gradually over the centuries, but cannot have existed ab initio. Only the loss of tradition and the separation of men of thought from men of action gave birth to this prejudice. However, for the sons of man the celestial worlds are the future homes of the ancestors, since the skies will be attainable only to the resurrected and the resurrecting. The exploration of outer space is only the preparation for these future dwelling places.
The spread of humanity over the planet was accompanied by the creation of new (artificial) organs and coverings. The purpose of humanity is to change all that is natural, a free gift of nature, into what is created by work. Outer space, expansion beyond the limits of the planet, demands precisely such radical change. The great feat of courage now confronting humanity requires the highest martial virtues such as daring and self-sacrifice, while excluding that which is most horrible in war – taking the lives of people like oneself.
The destiny of the Earth convinces us that human activity cannot be bounded by the limits of the planet. We must ask whether our knowledge of its likely fate, its inevitable extinction, obliges us to do something or not. Can knowledge be useful, or is it a useless frill? In the first case we can say that Earth itself has become conscious of its fate through man, and this consciousness
is evidently active – the path of salvation. The mechanic has appeared just as the mechanism has started to deteriorate. It is absurd to say that nature created both the mechanism and the mechanic; one must admit that God is educating man through his own human experience. God is the king who does everything for man but also through man. There is no purposefulness in nature – it is for man to introduce it, ami this is his supreme raison d’ ętre. The Creator restores the world through us and brings back to life all that has perished. That is why nature has been left to its blindness, and mankind to its lusts. Through the labour of resuscitation, man as an independent, self-created, free creature freely responds to the call of divine love. Therefore humanity must not be idle passengers, but the crew of its terrestrial craft propelled by forces the nature of which we do not even know – is it photo-, thermo- or electro-powered? We will remain unable to discover what force propels it until we are able to control it. In the second case, that is to say, if the knowledge of the final destiny of our Earth is unnatural, alien and useless to it, then there is nothing else to do than to become passively fossilised in contemplating the slow destruction of our home and graveyard.
The possibility of a real transcendence from one world to another only seems fantastic. The necessity of such movements is self-evident to those who dare take a sober look at the difficulties of creating a truly moral society, in order to remedy all social ills and evils, because to forgo the possession of celestial space is to forgo the solution of the economic problem posed by Malthus and, more generally, of a moral human existence. What is more of a fantasy – to think how to realise a moral ideal while closing one's eyes to the tremendous obstacles in the way, or to boldly recognise these obstacles? Of course, one can give up morality, but that implies giving up being human. What is more fantastic – to create a moral society by postulating the existence of other beings in other worlds and envisioning the emigration thither of souls, the existence of which cannot be proven, or to transform this transcendental migration into an immanent one – that is, to make such a migration the goal of human activity?
The obstacle to the building of a moral society is the absence of a cause or task great enough to absorb all the energies of those who spend them at present on discord. In world history we know of no event which, although threatening the end of the society in question, could unite all its forces and stop all quarrels and hostilities within that society. All periods of history have witnessed aspirations that reveal humanity as unwilling to remain confined within the narrow limits of our Earth. The so-called states of ecstasy and ravishments into heaven were manifestations of such aspirations. Is this not a proof that unless mankind finds a wider field of activity,
eras of common sense, or rather of fatigue and disillusionment with fruitless longings, will be succeeded by eras of enthusiasm, ecstatic visions, and so on? Throughout history these moods have alternated. Our era confirms all this, for we see alongside ‘the kingdom of this world’, with its filthy reality, a ‘Kingdom of God’ in the form of revivalist movements, spiritualistic table-turning, and the like. So long as there are no real translations to other worlds, people will resort to fantasies, ecstatic rapture and drug abuse. Even common drunkenness is apparently caused by the absence of a wider, purer, all-absorbing activity.
The three particular problems – the regulation of atmospheric phenomena, the control of the motion of the Earth and the search for 'new lands' (to colonise) form one general problem, that of survival or, more precisely, the return to life of our ancestors. Death can be called real only when all means of restoring life, at least all those that exist in nature and have been discovered by the human race, have been tried and have failed. It should not be assumed that we hope that a special force will be discovered for this purpose. What we should assume is that the transformation of the blind force of nature into a conscious force will be that agent. Mortality is an inductive conclusion. We know that we are the offspring of a multitude of deceased ancestors. But however great the number of the deceased, this cannot be the basis for an incontrovertible acceptance of death because it would entail an abdication of our filial duty. Death is a property, a state conditioned by causes; it is not a quality which determines what a human being is and must be.
We know no more about the essence of death, actual death, than about actual life. Yet by limiting our knowledge to the phenomena of life we narrow our field of action; whereas by rejecting the proud right to decide what death is in reality, we widen our field of action, we become the executors of God's will and the tools of Christ in the cause of general resurrection.
In discussing the immortality of the soul, the intellectual class display scepticism and distrust; they demand convincing proof. Yet their credulity borders on philosophical superstition when it comes to discussing death. This is far from innocuous, for such childishly superstitious credulity narrows their field of research. Decomposition is regarded as a sign which admits of no further experimentation. However, one should remind them that decomposition is not a supernatural phenomenon and that the dispersed particles do not scatter beyond finite space. The organism is a machine and consciousness relates to it like bile to the liver – so reassemble the machine and consciousness will return to it. These are your own words, and they should impel you to start at last on the job... Thus posed, the problem of death obliges us to transform burial places and actual tombs into objects of active research.
Natural science and medicine (in its applied form) should abandon their pharmaceutical and therapeutical laboratory experiments carried out in hospitals and clinics, and endeavour to utilise the telluric-solar and psychophysiological force brought under control by knowledge. They should seek to eliminate sickness in general, and not limit themselves to the treatment of individuals. Could the instrument designed by Karazin be used on corpses for the sake of research, and possibly even of reanimation, as a first step towards resuscitation?
The study of the molecular structure of particles is not sufficient for resuscitation because they are scattered throughout the solar system, perhaps even beyond. Gathering them would make the problem of resuscitation a telluric-solar one – and possibly telluric-cosmic.
To ensure good harvests, agriculture must extend beyond the boundaries of the Earth, since the conditions which determine harvests and, in general, plant and animal life do not depend on soil alone. If the hypotheses are correct that the solar system is a galaxy with an eleven-year electromagnetic cycle during which the quantity of sunspots and magnetic (the Northern Lights) and electric storms reach in turn their; maximum and minimum, and that the meteorological process depends on these fluctuations, it follows that good and bad harvests do so too. Consequently, the entire telluric-solar process must be brought into the field of agriculture. If, moreover, it is true that interactions between phenomena are of an electrical nature and that this force is akin to or even; identical with that of the nervous impulses which serve will and consciousness, then it follows that the present state of the solar system can be compared to an organism in which the nervous system has not yet fully developed and has not yet? become differentiated from its muscular and other systems.
Man's economic needs require the organisation of just such, a regulatory apparatus, without which the solar system would remain a blind, untrammelled, death-bearing entity. The problem consists, on the one hand, in elaborating the paths: which would transmit to human consciousness everything going on in the solar system and, on the other, in establishing the conductors by means of which all that is happening in it, all that is procreating, could become an activity of restoration. So long as no such paths for informing consciousness exist, so long as we have no more than conductors directing activity – mere revolutions and upheavals – the world will present a strange, distorted order, which could better be described as disorder, indifferent nature', unfeeling and unconscious, will continue ‘to shine with eternal beauty’,* while a being conscious of the beauty of incorruption will feel both excluded and excluding. Could a Being which is neither excluded nor excluding be the Creator of what is a chaos rather than a cosmos?
Pifehkin's poem “Brozhu li ya vdol’ ulits shumnykh...”, 1829.
Of course we cannot know what the world was like in the beginning because we only know it as it is. However, judging by the Creator, we can to some extent presume or imagine what a world of innocence and purity could have been. Could we not envision, too, that the relations of the first humans with the world were similar to those of an infant not yet in control of his organs, who has not yet learned to manage them – in other words, could the first humans have been beings who should (and could, without suffering or pain) have created such organs as would have been capable of living in other worlds, in all environments? But man preferred pleasure and failed to develop, to create organs adapted to all environments, and these organs (namely, cosmic forces) became atrophied and paralysed, and the Earth became an isolated planet. Thought and being became distinct. Man's creative activity of developing organs corresponding to various environments was reduced to feeding and then to devouring.
Man placed himself at the mercy of fate (that is to say, the annual rotation of the Earth), he submitted to the Earth; childbirth replaced the artistry of reproducing oneself in other beings, a process comparable to the birth of the Son from the Father, or the procession of the Holy Ghost. Later, proliferation increased the struggle, which was fostered by an unbridled surge of procreation; and with the increase in birth, mortality increased too. The conditions which could have regulated this concatenation of phenomena disappeared, and gradually there came revolutions, storms, drought and earthquakes; the solar system became an uncontrolled world, a star with an eleven-year cycle or some other periodicity of various catastrophes. Such is the system we know. One way or another, to confirm us in our knowledge, the solar system must be transformed into a controlled economic entity.
The immensity of the solar system is sufficient to inspire awe and, naturally, objectors will stress our smallness. When we turn our attention to small particles which consist of an enormous number of even smaller ones and which should also be brought within human economic management, then the objection will be our own size; indeed, for infusoria these tiny particles seem very great, and yet they are more accessible to them than to us.
The problem is obviously not one of size, and our relative smallness or bigness only indicates the difficulty – a severe difficulty, but not an impossibility. For a vast intellect able to encompass in one formula the motions both of the largest celestial bodies in the Universe and of the tiniest atoms, nothing would remain unknown; the future as well as the past would be accessible to him. The collective mind of all humans working for many generations together would of course be vast enough – all that is needed is concord, multi-unity.