Childhood is over. Fairy-tales are over. The One Who Knows appears.
He looks around and sees people walking, animals running, birds flying; plants are pushing up from the ground, water is lapping, wind is blowing, fire is burning; the sun is shining, and stars are twinkling. All in all, wherever He casts His glance, there is Nature.
The One Who Knows is charmed. At long last! Everything has clicked into place, and now one can see everything with remarkable clarity. This is it: life in the light of reason! Apparently, now you can leave everything the way it is, take Nature into account, and only enjoy yourself. The only point is that from now on life will be going under the sign of Nature.
A magnificent view that has opened up cannot but evoke admiration. The One Who Knows is really fascinated with Nature. It arouses interest, even makes one somewhat exited. One is eager to learn more about It. What does It consist of? What is It like in detail and on the whole? The One Who Knows is poised to comprehend It in the fullest possible way.
Now He is not just the One Who Knows. He is the One Who Cognizes. There begins a long and difficult path of cognition, the path from what is known to what is cognized. It is growth of sorts. But it is not that of Child. This growing is characteristic of the One Who Knows, and Nature comes out here as something for Him to outgrow.
Water. Cooling down, it converts into ice, and, warming up, into vapour. Having evaporated, it again pours onto the earth in the form of rain, snow, or hail. Besides, water is that with which all the living things slake thirst.
Earth. Having drunk in water, earth becomes fertile. Then plants take root in it and obtain from it their food. Plants themselves serve as food for animals. As for Man, He eats both animals and plants.
Fire. Now it blazes up, now it goes out. At times it provides light and warm, at times it mercilessly burns down everything on its way. And yet, new life emerges from the ashes, and this new life may be even better than before.
Air. It fans everything around. Now it gambols, turning into the wind, now it stands rigid. But what is most important, it is that with which one breathes, and one cannot live without it even if for a little while.
Everything in Nature consists of particles invisible for an unaided eye. First of all, these are molecules. Molecules, in turn, consist of atoms, and atoms, of even tinier particles. As for living creatures, they, apart from it, consist of cells.
Plants grow, blossom, bear fruits, and die off. Out of their fruits, new plants come out which, again, bear fruits and die off in the same way. And this repeats itself, apparently, for ever and ever.
Animals and birds display noticeable sex differences, they are males and females. They mate, give birth to the young and eventually die. Their young grow, maturate, again mate, again give birth to their young, and, again, die. And this repeats itself, apparently, for ever and ever.
Humans, too, display sex differences, they are men and women. They marry, give birth to children and eventually die. Their children grow, become adult, again marry, again give birth to children, and, again, eventually die. And this repeats, apparently, for ever and ever. All in all, humans are the same as animals, but they are “rational” ones, that is, those who are aware of their existence.
All these plants and animals, both reasonable and unreasonable, live on the Earth. The Earth is a spherical heavenly body, in other words, a planet. Its surface consists of water and dry land. The planet Earth itself is surrounded by the air and revolves around the Sun. The Sun is a fiery planet, from which the Earth receives light and heat required for life.
Stars in the sky are also the same suns, around which may as well revolve planets, including inhabitable ones. These suns now blaze up, now go out. Respectively, planets around them also emerge and disappear in due time. On some of them, life may originate, including reasonable life. But this life will disappear together with the planet it has originated on. And all this repeats itself, apparently, for ever and ever.
How exactly does life originate? One cannot tell for sure. Apparently, it occurs in the following way.
A new star blazes up. Scorching lumps break off from it. Many of them fly out into the infinite space. But some of them start to revolve around the star. Many of such satellites cool down completely. But a few do not cool down, but only become covered with a coating. Inside of them, however, the star fire is conserved. On such a planet life originates. First, inferior species emerge, followed by superior ones. Eventually, rational beings come into existence.
Fist of all, mosses and lichens appear. They are followed by full-fledged plants. Then, unicellular animals emerge, for example, amoebas, followed by more complex ones, molluscs. From them, fish appears. Fish gradually get on dry land and become amphibians. Eventually, they become fully adapted to living on land and some of them even rise up into the air. In such a way, birds emerge. After that, mammals come into existence, both predators and vegetarians. Some of them acquire a monstrous shape and size: they are dinosaurs.
In the depths of all this animal variety, there ripens one remarkable species: they are apes. Those creatures have many superior qualities compared to other animals. From large apes, animals are formed who become to be aware of their existence: they are humans. Thus, life becomes “rational”.
However, if you look more attentively at the life of humans, you will find that not everything is the same there as with animals. For example, humans can enjoy art. Out of various objects of Nature, they can make items that turn out to be like they were alive. Besides, humans can feel shame. Despite sex differences, not all people marry. Some of them even have a special period in their life, youth, when they prefer friendship to marriage, and they exert most of their effort to reach perfection in their mind, body, and soul. Some of them even take the monastic vows. Some do marry, and at that point their self-perfection usually comes to an end. Still, even being married, some people may somehow stay true to the dreams of their youth. In particular, it may show, again, in creating works of art or in various kinds of “labour of love”.
Still, everybody dies, both those “advanced” and bumpkins. So, it is not quite clear what all this self-perfection is needed for.
Before death, humans, as well as all living creatures, commonly are taken ill or otherwise suffer. Death apparently comes as a result of excessive suffering. People have invented many medicines and other means to fight illness and suffering and can even artificially prolong one’s life for some time. On the other hand, they have invented many tools that increase suffering and shorten life.
And yet, maybe there exists a certain summit of perfection which only very few can reach. Sometimes “God’s men” appear among humans who contend that in reality there is no death. They also contend that the above self-perfection is needed exactly so as to reach immortality. Some people believe these “God’s men” and even try to follow their ways. But the majority would treat their preaching with distrust, because at issue here are things that are not obvious.
Immortality is recognized by the majority of people only in the sense of the infinite reproduction of life in the Universe. But as to individual people or individual objects of Nature, immortality is something that all these are denied.
Still, one must admit that the case is not so simple with Human, and human life is far from being confined to reproduction. In it, there is a certain superhuman (or human proper?) dimension. Let us call it “culture”. One may say that Human is not just “rational”, but “cultural” animal.
Culture develops. Sometimes it reaches extraordinary heights. But every time, it seems to fail to find an outright completion. Moreover, at times it gives place to even greater barbarism than it once replaced. Therefore, it is not quite clear what it is needed for at all. This remains a mystery for the One Who Cognizes.
- But what is Nature all about?
In the broad sense of the word, It is all that exists.
But what actually exists?
At first sight, it is a certain multitude of objects, namely, a stone, a tree, an animal, a human, etc. Besides, each of these objects comes out, again, in the form of some multitude, that is, stones, trees, animals, humans, etc. So, Nature represents a multitude of such multitudes. There are no unique or irreplaceable objects there (with the exception of Nature Itself, perhaps).
Furthermore, all objects of Nature are finite, or mortal. They do not exist continuously, but appear and disappear, that is, are reproduced, and they are reproduced, apparently, infinitely. That is to say, finiteness, or mortality is not for the objects of Nature something fatal. They are eternal in their multiplicity. At the same time, Nature thereby turns out somewhat “flickering”.
One can also notice that Nature is “ranked”. It is put in order, advancing from “inferior” to “superior”, from “simple” to “complex”, from “non-organic” to “organic”. It is arranged in the order of the genesis and evolution of life”. As a matter of fact, three major levels are discernable in It, that is, the elemental, the living, and the rational. Respectively, one may say that Nature has Its Body, Soul, and Mind.
One may also suppose that Nature evolves, or develops: from the elemental to the living, and from the living to the rational. Moreover, It is always present at each of the above-mentioned levels, that is, It always exists as Element, as Life, and as Mind.
In general, Nature can be defined as a multilevel, developing multitude of infinitely reproduced multitudes. “At bottom” there are elements, in the middle, animal life, and at the top, rational life. In other words, Nature consists of elemental, animal, and rational parts that are ranked in the above order.
The One Who Cognizes regards Himself as Human. He represents the “rational part” of Nature, Its “crown”. With Him, the edifice of Nature seems to be completed. With Him, It reaches rationality. This is the Nature that cognizes Itself. Hence, the supreme purpose of Human is to be the One Who Cognizes, it is the cognition of Nature. So, it turns out that Human is ultimately Scientist.
It seems that with this discovery one could safely brush all doubts away, just enjoy life and keep on cognizing Nature in between. But, in reality, it proves not quite so.
THE ORIGIN OF NATURE
The One Who Cognizes once stopped being content with just knowledge (with the awareness of His existence) and started to cognize. Now that Nature has to a sufficient extent been studied and generalized, a new concern captivates Him. The question arises of the origin of Nature. Where all this come from? And what was “before”?
It looks like this question has already been posed. But it was posed and solved within the limits of Nature. Then the One Who Cognizes went as far as to conclude that Nature existed by Itself. It just advances, from the inferior to the superior, from elements through life to intellect. So, as far as the Origin is concerned, It must be rooted somewhere in Nature Itself.
However, such a solution does not seem convincing by now. In essence, the question of the Origin of Nature is substituted here by the question of Nature’s evolution, that is, Its self-evolution, to be more precise. In other words, this question boils down to that of what Part of Nature should be given preference. The latter can be given sometimes to Body, sometimes, to Soul, sometimes to Mind. The One Who Cognizes struggles to cope with “bodyism”, “soulism”, and “mindism”. In doing so, he, however, fails to go beyond the limits of Nature. Nevertheless, this question cannot be solved without going beyond those limits.
Now that Nature, at last, appears in Its wholeness, such an opportunity opens up. Certainly, the One Who Cognizes is not already Child, and He cannot admit that Nature was created by Someone. And yet, to solve this problem one will, sooner or later, have to admit the existence of an Extranatural Factor.
However, the One Who Cognizes cannot break out from the circle of Nature. Yes, He can cognize Nature. He can figure It in a generalized form, as a Whole. He can even pose a question of the Origin of Nature. But He cannot solve this question while remaining the One Who Cognizes.
Besides, The One Who Cognizes poses this question, as it were, in isolation from Himself, thinking that it does not have anything to do with Him personally. It seems to Him that Nature exists independently, “by Itself”, without Him. Nevertheless, this question cannot help but touch the One Who Cognizes, Who represents Nature’s integral part. Therefore, the question of the Origin of Nature is, not last of all, the question of the Origin of the One Who Cognizes Himself.
As a matter of fact, the One Who Cognizes develops, too. He develops, cognizing and generalizing Nature. The Latter, however, does not develop at all, strictly speaking. So, the question here is rather “Who had the One Who Cognizes been before He became Such?” and “Who will He become after He ceases to be Such?” In other words, the question of Truth turns out wider, than that of the cognition of Nature. The One Who Cognizes finds Himself to be part of a larger-scale evolution.
What is important here is the formation of the One Who Cognizes Himself, but not as an object of Nature, that is, not out of Nature. This very One Who Cognizes, Who tries to infer Nature from Itself, and Himself from Nature, He Himself once appeared from Somewhere. He does encounter Nature on His way. But the moment comes when It is left behind.
At the same time, the One Who Cognizes continues to consider Himself “one of the humans”, mortal, the way other individual people and objects of Nature are. He is convinced that He can only be “eternal” as One Who Cognizes, as the crown of Nature. It looks like He is doomed to eternal cognition, to eternally reveal in Nature more and more new details.
The Mountain Climber has scaled a new height. He sees a valley stretching out in front of him, with no end in sight. He is considered “Human” here, and what is around Him is considered “Nature”. Here, He learns His name, who his parents are, and what names the surrounding objects bear. He feels like staying there and living there the way other people do. Nevertheless, He keeps on climbing higher.
Now He has ascended to a higher plane. Now he can see how humans come from apes, how life originates on Earth. Then He sees how stars blaze up and die out, how planets are born and perish. For all that, He has to climb yet higher.
And now He has reached such a height from where individual objects of Nature could hardly be discerned. They gather into something single. Only Nature’s Body, Soul, and Mind could yet be distinguished.
At some point, Nature disappears completely. Or rather It transforms into something unusual and even beautiful. Previous traits are being erased. And the higher you climb, the more distinctly new features come out. But, to discern them, you have to climb still higher.
At last, another valley appears before the Mountain Climber’s eyes. It is much different from that He once abandoned. It is kind of an unfamiliar, new world. Here, individual objects of Nature can still be found on His way. But they are not quite the objects of Nature. At least, it is not exactly cognition that they seem to actually need.
There are two types of those objects. The first type represents man-made, artificial objects, which look or sound like as if they were living, and which evoke a special response in one’s soul. They are accomplished works of art. The second type represents material used to create such: these objects want to be to put in good order, to be animated or even humanized.
For example, the Mountain Climber sees a lump of marble. But it is not just a lump of marble. It is a material for creating a statue. Or he sees a heap of stones. But it is not just a heap of stones. It is a material for building a temple. Similarly, music is born from a variety of sounds, words transform into poetry. Drama arises from relationships between people. From primitive folk dances there emerges ballet. And all this can be seen going in any combination.
Of course, a statue is not a living thing. On the other hand, it is not a “dead” thing, either. It “breathes”, as it were. One may say, it is a “conditionally living thing”. A temple, too, cannot be called “living”. Nevertheless, it is beautiful, it is proportionate. A drawing is not just a copy of the objects of Nature. It implies and conveys a certain impression, a certain mood or thought. Poetry is not just an everyday speech. It is something better. And music is not just “sounds”, neither is it a “set of sounds”. It is melody, it is harmony. These things are not readily available. They cannot be found in Nature proper, and someone has to exert effort to make them such.
In these “remnants of Nature” there is something harmonious showing through. It looks as though some image is impressed in them, the image resembling a human. To be more precise, it is an orderly, ennobled, beautiful Nature. It is the Cosmos.
Man appears as Artist here. His purpose is to improve Nature, to transform It into Cosmos or make the latter more visible, more palpable. His purpose is to “cut off the superfluous parts” and “erase the accidental traits”. From one end comes a yearning to create the Cosmos, and a yearning to understand It comes from the other. This is how works of art are made, or “born”, which seems to be a more appropriate word.
At the same time, Artist finds Himself “on the other side”. Out of available natural material He creates His Cosmos, staying “beyond”. Anyway, it is an artistic Image. And this Image is created and perceived by means of the objects of Nature. The Mountain Climber desobjectivates these remnants of Nature, thereby speeding up Its disappearance.
Humans proper, too, can still be found here. But they are not common humans. On the one hand, there are creators, those who create works of art. On the other hand, there are “perceivers”, those who understand works of art. As a matter of fact, the Mountain Climber appears here both as the One Who Creates, and the One Who Understands. The third type is Human as a material for creating works of art, and as a work of art itself.
The Mountain Climber simple-heartedly keeps on considering Himself a human, an object of Nature. Indeed, He remains the One Who Cognizes to some extent. But His attitude towards Nature is essentially changing. The Origin of Nature is, at last, being taken out and placed beyond It. Divine forces, again, are getting involved here. But this time these are not fabulous Gods of the past. It is a single God the Creator by now. Surely, Nature can only be created.
The mystery of creation has revealed itself to Him. The Mountain Climber can now realize that Nature, of Which He Himself is an integral part, was created. His own creativity, the creation of works of art, is nothing but a manifestation of this truth. For if Nature was really created, this cannot but show. And His capacity to create works of art, as well as His capacity to understand those, points to His extra-Natural Origin.
Here, Human appears not as Scientist, but rather Artist, Who is both the One Who Creates and the One Who understands. Respectively, it shows both in creating and perceiving works of art. Moreover, He is already not quite Human, not Human Proper. To some extent, He is already “not of this world”.
And yet, art remains such. It evolves. But it evolves not only in itself. Ultimately, it is not just creating works of art that it is all about. Its ultimate purpose is to make the Cosmos manifest. But then art will have to cease being art, and Artist will have to cease being Artist.
The Mountain Climber has ascended yet higher. A wonderful valley spread out before His eyes. The objects of Nature proper seem to be absent here altogether. As for works of art, they are sure to be found, but they do not seem to have their own significance by now. Nature Itself is so proportionate and picturesque here that it looks like It needs no improving.
It is, as it appears, exactly what the Mountain Climber was trying to create, when He was Artist. And this is what He was trying to find in works of art, while perceiving such. So, the Cosmos exists in reality. It is just something that has to be reached. And the path to It runs through art.
It is never cold here; it is a country of eternal summer. It may be rather hot in the day, though, but the heat is never harassing: a pleasant light breeze is continuously fanning. Besides, you can always find shelter from the sun in the shadow of the trees. The Mountain Climber thought He had ascended so high that there could be no sea around. But, amazingly, here it is, lapping softly right at His feet. By the way, the sea here is always warm and tender, violent storms being a rare occurrence.
It is calm. In the daytime, only cicada singing and a sound of the surf can be heard. Nights are also quiet here, only broken by cricket trills. The night sky is absolutely transparent and dotted with bright stars that seem to be near at hand.
Mountains are high enough here. But they do not suppress you with their grandeur. Forming fanciful contours, they now smoothly, now abruptly run down to the sea.
Forests are not thick here. They rather resemble parks. The land is almost all covered with flowers. The air is suffused with their fragrance, which, being coupled with the scent of cypresses and the sea, form an inimitable combination. Rains are fairly frequent. But these are warm and unincessant.
People here are interesting, friendly, and well-wishing. They hardly can be called “beautiful” or “handsome,” but there is some inner beauty in them, which cannot but show. They would greet you like an old acquaintance, and your requests seem to always be heeded. Their speech is melodious and wise, while the motions are elegant and smooth. They live in small, but cosy, houses where the doors are never locked. Children here are not divided into “own” and “alien”. Playing and learning goes hand in hand with them.
The food here is always fresh and varied, and one never has any deficiency in it.
Everything one does turns out well. Besides, one never is bound here to work to the point of exhaustion.
The Mountain Climber marvels at what he sees. At the same time He feels that’s not all, and He is going to encounter something important, which would, to the most extent, personify the beauty of the Cosmos, which would be the very heart of this wonderful landscape, of these warm-hearted people. So, He has to move farther and climb higher.
He attentively looks into the faces of the people He comes across. He feels like an artist who outlines the semantic centre of his composition or a perceiver of a work of art, who seeks in the latter some core, sacramental point. All of a sudden, the Mountain Climber feels of a sort of thrill creeping over Him. His catches someone’s inquisitive eye. As if it were something long-forgotten, but still extremely close and even native. Who is it?
– “It is Friend” – was an answer to Him.
– What does it mean, “Friend”? An acquaintance? Relative? Class-mate? Co-worker? Ally? Artist the way I am? Or Art Admirer?
– No, it is the other you.
– Why there needs to be the other I? Isn’t it enough for me to have me alone?
– Not enough. The point is that, truly, you are not only you yourself. You are the Other One just as well. Moreover, you are nobody without the Other. From now on, your life will be going under the sign of the Other. This spectre will be accompanying you secretly or evidently.
Perhaps, this is where the genuine meaning of Culture becomes clear. It means a life not only under the sign of Nature, not only under the sign of Art, but, first and foremost, it is a life under the sign of the Other One. It is a life not only for self’s sake, but it is a life in the hope of a response from the Other One. Ultimately, it is a life for the Other One’s sake.
Here, the mystery of creation discloses itself in full measure and is given a new, even more palpable, expression. The point is that what is truly being created is not Nature, but the One Who Cognizes. Now, this truth manifests itself not in the works of art, but, first and foremost, in the sacrament of friendship. The Mountain Climber appears here not as the one who creates works of art, but as the One Who creates and understands the Other One, and also as the One being created and understood by the Other One. Because what is “understanding”, if not the awareness of one’s having been created.
The Mountain Climber wants to make the acquaintance of Friend. But this proves to be not so easy. Friend really behaves like a phantom – He appears now here, now there, but every time the Mountain Climber tries to reach Him, Friend slips away. Or The Mountain Climber sees from a distance someone who looks like Friend, but as He draws nearer, the would-be Friend turns out to be an ordinary human.
But one day, Mountain Climber saw yet again from a distance a stranger who looked like Friend. Yet again, He tried to draw nearer. This time, it was not necessary, since the stranger himself was approaching Him. As They were drawing nearer to Each Other, the stranger were not at all turning out to be an ordinary human this time. On the contrary, He still stayed looking like Friend. Moreover, His traits were becoming more and more distinct, so it was no doubt left – it was exactly this One. After all, the time comes when a stranger turns out to be a friend, and a would-be Friend proves to be a real One. So, Friend, just as well as the Cosmos, truly exists!
And now He is already quite near, at the distance of a stretched arm. Both almost touch Each Other. But at the last moment, They, for some reason, pass Each Other, without saying a word, and Each One keeps on going His own way. Only the joy of recognition that crept over the Mountain Climber was indicative of the first meeting of Friends to have happened.
Really, it is not so easy to establish contact with the “Other I”. When entering into closer relations with Him, there appears to be as much repulsion as attraction. And this resistance is sometimes impossible to overcome. Because Both “Is” are self-sufficient. Pride and bashfulness vigilantly stand guard over Their independence and protect Them from any encroachments from outside. This very “wall” puts obstacles in Their way towards Each Other. They would never come into a closer contact for “just for fun”. Here, an occasion should be given, which is so reluctant to arise. And if it does, it often appears not enough for making acquaintance or for further acquaintance.
However, not without reason is it said that “chance is rare, but generous”. Sooner or later, Their acquaintance does happen. It happens quite unexpectedly, at an unlikely time, and in unlikely place. And even when both “Is” run into Each Other face to face, Each tries His best not to give away His joy and attach to the meeting as much officiality as possible. Besides, Both immediately fall prey to doubts about Each Other – Friend needs yet to be tried.
Nevertheless, the question of a decisive test of friendship is being put off indefinitely. So far, Both are content with imperceptible for the others, but so intelligible and important for Them, signs of mutual devotion. Time is spent in endless talks. And there are so many things to talk about! Diverse knowledge about Nature, Its origin, the meaning of life, the significance of art, its history and modern trends, etc. – all this proved to be an inexhaustible subject of heart-to-heart conversations.
In the process, Each perfected Itself, as He could, replenishing His knowledge of Nature, practicing in various arts, and achieving further success in bodily and moral improvement. Besides, Each followed attentively the advancement of the Other and would be upset, if the Other would turn out not up to the mark. But the main thing was that now the Mountain Climber was not alone. This length of the road He was meant to traverse together with Friend.
In the meantime, the Mountain Climber ascends higher and higher. And now He has climbed such a height which He had better not have climbed. Another valley stretches out before Him. But what is it? Nature that used to be so friendly, all of a sudden, transfigures, and not at all for the better.
The weather here is almost always foul. If it rains, you are sure to be soaked to the skin. If it is cold, you will never find any place to get warm. If there is water, you cannot drink it, if there is the air, you can hardly breathe it. Nature here is of two types. It is either absolute wilderness, or it has already been disfigured by man. Instead of woodland parks, there are fallen trees, bogs, or a desert. Birds and animals you come across are largely dangerous. Snakes are always poisonous, and insects, hideous.
You can find a sea here, too. But it is cold and stormy. If there are mountains, they are suppressing. Or you can have a boundless and monotonous plain instead.
The people the Mountain Climber comes across are rude and unfriendly. They will leave droppings where they eat. Squalor is everywhere. There are no houses proper here. All that would have gladdened the eye or been fit for living is either already destroyed or not yet built. So you can only encounter multi-storey blocks or lopsided huts.
The Mountain Climber turned around to share His disheartening impressions with Friend. But the Latter was not there. The Mountain Climber sought and called Him for nothing. Apparently, Friend stayed in the country of eternal summer. What a pity! They had yet so many things to say to Each Other. However, on mature reflection, there was nothing in the “Other I” that could not be found in the Mountain Climber Himself. So, why there need to be this “doubling of entities”? The fact is that the Mountain Climber comes out of the Cosmos enriched by this encounter, by the communication with the “Other I”. And, apparently, there must have been a certain necessity for it to happen.
So, the valley now stretching out before the Mountain Climber is openly hostile to Him. Reigning here are evil, injustice, and illnesses. Lawlessness and violence are the rulers of this place. The people He meets have ugly, spiteful, or mock-affable faces.
Nothing is going right here. The Mountain Climber is haunted by failures in whatever He undertakes. Each new acquaintance He makes will end in disappointment or betrayal.
He tries to improve Nature. He drains marshes, irrigates deserts. He enlightens people. But marshes turn back into deserts, and deserts, into marshes. As for the people, they do not get better. On the contrary, they tend to put the acquired knowledge to evil ends.
Then He makes a desperate attempt not just to “improve”, but radically “change” the world. For this end, He explores a huge array of knowledge, He gets masses of peopled involved and persuades them to take part in the endeavour. He uses every opportunity or even whips up the course of events to secure His object. But the more changes He manages to bring about, the worse proves to be the result. The fight for justice ends in even more injustice. While trying to “free” the people, He thereby enslaves them even more.
Alas! The laws of Nature prove inapplicable to “above-Natural” phenomena. Certainly, it is possible and necessary to improve the World, to make It a better place to live in. But it is useless to remake It. Actually, in this particular valley the Mountain Climber appears as no other than Sufferer, with nothing good lying ahead for Him. But He cannon go back. And higher is only Heaven.
Hardened as the Mountain Climber is, His strength starts to fail Him. Various diseases catch on Him. He stops more and more often, and even falls. But there is no one around to give Him a helping hand. On the contrary, He would be pushed and not allowed to get up.
It is getting harder and harder to walk. Each new step presents a problem for the Mountain Climber. It feels like hefty weights are tied to His feet. His body is bleeding, and there isn’t a clean spot to be seen on it. But He stubbornly keeps on climbing.
In the meantime, the path is getting narrower and steeper. The climb is now not only difficult: it is extremely dangerous. Desperation creeps over the Mountain Climber. Has it all really been in vain? Suddenly He notices that the path runs abruptly into an abyss. But he noticed it, when it was too late. The Mountain Climber loses footing and falls right off the top of the mountain.
But now a miracle has happened. Some mysterious force picks Him up and returns Him to the old path. It seems impossible. And yet, at such a height abysses appear to be not deadly. That is to say, they are certainly deadly, but they are “ressurectlful” just as well: the Mountain Climber experiences here not only the dread of death, but also the rapture of resurrection. From now on, those falls and flights become an indispensable condition of His advancement. Now, His way runs from summit to summit.
The Mountain Climber now appears not as the One Who Knows or the One Who Cognizes, but, first and foremost, as the One Who Believes. Certainly, one can cognize Nature, create or perceive works of art, one can be a faithful friend, and one can also improve the world. But, ultimately, one grows to realize the conditionality and relativity of all that is going on. And, in the end, faith comes as the only thing that is real.
And now, there is already no boundary between the abyss and the summit. The Mountain Climber has reached the climax of His long and winding ascent. It feels like He is soaring here. So, God’s men were right when they argued that truly there was no death. But, oh God, how infinitely long it takes to make sure of it! And how high one has to climb!
All right, life goes on. But no. Rather, it is just beginning. Farewell, mortal life. Hail, eternal life.