Man is “marked” with being conscious of His being. He marvels at the diversity of Nature that is revealed to Him. However, He is not content with pure astonishment. He starts to cognize Nature, He is becoming the One Who Cognizes. In His cognition Man goes deep down, in breadth, and high into the air. Nature’s tiniest particles and It’s largest accumulations are made available to Man.
Nature… What kind of Formation is It? What is over there, beyond the horizon? What is over there beyond the clouds? New scopes, new summits, new depths are opened up to Man. Nature is disclosed to Man with Its infinite facets. Man feels charmed and even crushed a little. Still, despite Nature’s apparent infinity, He notices some recurrence in It. That means you do not need to explore all Nature. Having accumulated a necessary volume of knowledge, one can judge upon Nature on the whole.
Then, higher-order questions emerge. What does Nature consist of? What is of the utmost importance in It? Does It come into existence whenever (if yes, out of What?) or does It exist eternally? Nature appears to Man as an enigma waiting to be solved. He tries to embrace Nature with His mind’s eyes; He tries to explore It corporeally.
Now Man, or the One Who Cognizes, starts to generalize His knowledge of Nature. He tries to conceive It as a Whole. What sort of thing does Nature appears to be at this point?
It turns out that Nature consists of three major parts, elemental, animal, and rational. In Nature’s foundation there lies the Elemental Part. Above it there is the Animal Part. And, on the top, crowning the whole Edifice, there is the Rational Part.
Also, one can suppose that Nature develops. The above-mentioned Parts of Nature can be presented as stages of Its development. Its elemental part represents, as it were, the initial, basic stage of development. From it, given certain conditions, the animal part emerges. In the same way, rationality emerges from animality. Hence, the One Who Cognizes starts to consider Himself to be a representative of the highest, rational stage of Nature’s development.
Thus, Nature appears as a certain corporeal, living, and rational Being, or, to be more precise, Super-Being, because nothing and no one exists except It.
This is where the One Who Cognizes makes a presupposition that Nature is exactly What “really exists”. To put it in other words, He takes It for God. Man has already had the idea of God before. But now this idea acquires a perfectly tangible embodiment. This “God”, however, turns out not at all the way Man used to imagine Him to be.
This new God does not at all look like Man, at least, in His outward appearance. And, in general, He is not at all like a Person. For example, He has not got the willpower. He does not interfere in people’s lives or affairs, or any course of events. One does not need to pray to Him. One can only “cognize” Him and “use” Him. Strictly speaking, it is not God at all. It is Nature.
Still, being unlike Man in Its outward appearance, Nature resembles Man in essence. For Man, too, is the unity of body, soul, and reason, which corresponds to elemental, animal, and rational parts of Nature.
And yet, compared to Man, Nature represents a loose, scattered, blurred, fuzzy, and faceless Creature. Besides, It develops somehow “not in a human way”. It is rather a distorted reflection of Man. It is the same Man, but in a disassembled form, as it were. And yet, Nature is apparently an immortal Creature. This is an advantage that outweighs Its “looseness“, as well as other drawbacks.
Some time has passed. The One Who Cognizes starts to have doubts. Whether Nature is What Truly Exists? And whether Man is a stage in Its development?
What if it is not Nature that truly exists and develops, but some Other Entity? What if Man, together with Nature, is truly a stage in the development of a broader Formation. Possibly, Reality appears to Man as Nature only at this, “human” stage of the Other Entity’s development?
Strictly speaking, Nature appears only with the awareness of one’s being. And only thanks to such awareness, everything around turns into the diversity of things, plants, and animals, into the subject of knowledge and cognition. Maybe, what truly exists is not Nature, but the One Who becomes aware of His being?
The One Who Cognizes is puzzled. He cannot decide upon the awareness of being. Whether it is the result of the development of Nature or, on the contrary, Nature may be appearing as a result of the awareness of being by some other developing Entity? Who is then the One Who Cognizes in reality? Is He an object, a stage in the development of Nature or a stage in the development of some other Entity?
In Nature, consciousness arises from animality. On the other hand, to observe anything in Nature, one has to have Nature available. And for Nature to be available, the awareness of being should occur. Only when the awareness of being occurs, only then becomes it possible to perceive anything as “Nature”. Only then can one delve deeply into Nature and study It in whatever minutest details. Only then, in particular, can one observe how consciousness arises from animality.
But why does Animal start, all of a sudden, to become aware of its being? Why cannot It keep on staying to be Animal and just live, without consciousness? Of course, Man, being a “rational animal”, can better, compared to other animals, adapt to the environment and can even change it. But is it what the significance of becoming aware of one’s being lies in? Is it what the significance of the cognition of Nature lies in? Is it what the significance of the emergence and existence of Man lies in?
And what for did Animal come into being at all? Why could not Nature have done without life and remained just Element? Moreover, what is Element needed for? Why cannot it be in such a way that “nothing exists, and nothing develops”?
But, for all that, there is Something that exists, and there is Something that develops! And the task is to clarify what this Something is like. If it is Nature, It should be taken the way It is. Originally, It is, after all, Element, not just Nothing. From this primordial Element, Life originates, and, from Life, Mind springs up. And Nature will never rest content until It reaches rationality. No one can prevent this process from happening, nor can one specify the reason why it happens.
When It is “completed”, Nature appears as a corporeal, living, and rational Super-Entity that really resembles Man. And yet, despite Its covert likeness to Man and explicit superiority over Him, Nature, compared to Man is, for all that, a Freak. Despite Its grandeur, Nature is, in a sense, nothing more than a pale imitation of Man. Far more perfect is human body, human mind, and human soul.
But it is not only this overall imperfection of Nature that gives rise to doubt in the One Who Cognizes. Not giving a moment’s peace to Him are some strange phenomena in human existence that do not fit into the view of the world based on Nature, that do not conform with the idea of Man as a ”rational animal”.
For example, the One Who Cognizes notices that some people take monastic vows. Besides, a considerable proportion of people feel some confusion about conjugal relationship. Many may even get married, but they do so rather obeying to a tradition than owing to their intrinsic need. Such a covert or public disapproval of conjugal relations does not fit into the “natural” world view in which reproduction ranks high.
From the viewpoint of Nature, monkhood, or the above-mentioned “confusion”, may be considered a deviation from the right track. On the other hand, this very “deviation” may exactly lead to the right track. The point is that, strictly speaking, consciousness, or conscious being, is incompatible with conjugal relations. Possibly, the emergence of consciousness does not mean just the awareness by Animal of Its existence. Also possibly, conjugal relations and reproduction is not just what Human is all about.
And yet, what if, after all, it is not Nature that truly exists and develops, but something Different? Then Man’s propensity to monkhood receives quite a natural explanation. And if Man originates not from Nature, but represents a stage in the development of something Other, His Predecessor will be not Animal, but some other Entity.
But, if not Animal, then Who? Who, from the viewpoint of Other, had Man been before He became Human? It must have been some unreasonable Creature, but not Animal. One may suggest that such a Human Predecessor should be Child.
Besides, it should be a special Child, since a general Child results in Man. The Latter correlates not with Nature, but with Woman with Whom He develops not rational, but the very conjugal relationships. Therefore, there should exist a Child, Who would result not in Man, but exactly in Human, the One Who turns out not to be able of reproducing Himself, but to perceive Nature.
Therefore, there should be something in this special Child that would prevent Him from becoming Man, that would incite Him to become aware of His existence and would lead Him out to the path of humanity. Such a factor may be shame. In other words, it should be a sort of ashamed Child, or Youth. The Latter, while growing up, does not maturate, but turns into Human and becomes correlated not with Woman, but with Nature. Thus, Youth comes up as the genuine Father of Human.
It means that so called “pubescence” is given to Human exactly for shame, not at all for reproduction. In this respect, Human should always have something to avoid, be ashamed of, or something to conceal.
Therefore, from the viewpoint of Other, adolescence represents the time of the formation of not Man, but Human. Respectively, consciousness is given to Human not in the least to be “Rational Animal”, but precisely to perceive and cognize Nature. For only when looked at through the prism of Nature, Human appears as “Rational Animal”. From the viewpoint of Other, however, He is not Such.
Woman, too, appears in the conscious existence, but not as Woman proper, but as an object of Nature. So, Human fails to develop conjugal relations with Her. He develops certain relations with Nature instead. However, those relations are akin to conjugal ones. Nature both suppresses Human and lures Him. It calls on Him to cognize. This is a love of sorts, namely, this is the love of knowledge. And one cannot say that this love is unreciprocated. Nature trusts those most stubborn and devoted with Her secrets.
At the same time, this love of knowledge implies a certain growing up. It means that childhood continues, but at a higher level by now. Human keeps on growing up, but not as Child, but as the One Who Cognizes. Child lives amidst wonders, good and evil magicians. Here, Nature breaks into this fairy-tale, with Her laws, objects, and phenomena. Having found Himself surrounded by Nature, a “new-born” Human embarks on the path of cognition. He starts to cognize Nature. The cognition of Nature – is it not what is specifically human?
So this is where human propensity to monkhood stems from. Nature, and only She, becomes from now on the object of Human’s desire and a guarantee for His growth to continue. Thus, monkhood proves not a deviation, but the most natural human condition. Here, the surroundings appear to Human exclusively in the form of Nature. Now it is not Woman, but Nature that guides human behaviour. Nature prevents Human from looking at Woman as the object of conjugal relations. Shame that lies in the foundation of humanity compels Him to perceive the surroundings as “Nature” and incites Him to cognize.
Strictly speaking, the path of cognition is exactly the path of monkhood. The One Who has become conscious of His being deals only with Nature. For Human, everything turns into the “object of cognition”, and there is no room left for Woman among those objects. More precisely, Woman is sure to be present there, but not as the object of conjugal relations, but, again, as the “object of cognition”. So, Human, being surrounded from all sides by Nature, is already “cloistered” by the very fact of His humanity.
Shame that underlies the awareness of one’s existence helps Human remain Such and prevents Him from returning to the previous stages of development. Someone has become Human so that He would move forward, not backward, so that He would only encounter Nature, the subject of human activity proper. Here, monkhood comes as a concomitant condition of the conscious existence, of Nature being cognized.
Certainly, monkhood is valuable as such. But it is especially valuable when coupled with a cognitive impulse. It is not without reason that many significant scientific discoveries have been made exactly by monks. Conducive for it is their concentration on Nature, on cognition. Strictly speaking, there is nothing but Nature that is given to Human, and He is doomed to eternal communing with Her. The cognition of Nature is Human’s supreme task, and it is important that He would work His way without extra distractions.
It is not only monkhood that provokes questions in the One Who Cognizes. He notices that Human stops being content with Nature. Meaning that the Latter stops being for Him just the subject of knowledge. Human starts creating His own, artificial Nature. That is to say, He starts creating so called “works of art”.
This new, man-made Nature, is absolutely useless from the viewpoint of everyday life. It does not help procure food, it does not slake thirst, it neither warms you up when you are cold nor brings you coolness in the heat, or helps fight the enemy, etc. In other words, it cannot be used as a kind of weapon that would help Human cognize Nature and adapt It to His everyday needs.
Besides, works of art are not just useless. Their creation requires significant effort and cost. For example, to sculpture a statue, one needs to obtain at a stone quarry a block of marble, to deliver it to the studio and, finally, a sculptor must exert much effort and spend a lot of time to turn the block into a statue.
Poet seems to be in a more advantageous position. His material is Word, and He does not need to go for it to a stone quarry. But it is only at first sight that His task is less complex. Of course, it is not a long way to go to fetch words, and they are not in the least heavy. Still, to create a poem, you have to pick up the needed words and put them in the needed order. And there are very few people capable of doing it properly.
Musician composes a melody from a sequence of various sounds. If taken simultaneously, the sounds give rise to harmony. Painter uses colours and lines as the material, out of which pictures come out. Dramatist takes living people as the basic material, making them characters in his stage productions.
For all that, the costs of creating works of art prove worth it in the end. Many people are ready to pay big money to have an opportunity to look at or listen to these man-made articles or to learn to create such. Works of art evoke a response, understanding, and even admiration. The greatest of them are called “masterpieces”.
So, Nature loses Her initial “cognitive” value and more and more becomes the material for creating works of art. In the process, Human is appearing already not as the One Who Cognizes, but as Artist. He finds Nature to be insufficiently ordered, insufficiently perfect. From the viewpoint of Artist, this primary, uncultivated Nature contains many things that are “superfluous” and “accidental”. Therefore He tries to change, to correct It, He tries to make It better.
But what is meant by “better”? Here, “better” means more “humanlike”. In other words, Artist seeks to bring Nature closer to Human, bring Her to conformity with Him, make Her more proportionate, that is, more “comprehensible” to Human.
Why does He do that? Apparently, not giving a moment’s peace to the One Who Cognizes there is a Human Who “hides” in Nature. The point is that cognition has resulted in a discovery that Nature, in essence, represents Human, but in a “loose”, or “scattered”, condition. Perhaps, that is why the One Who Cognizes, grasping this truth, becomes Artist. Now He tries to “piece together”, or “condense”, the hiding Human, to make of Nature something observable, in other words, express the “human” essence of Nature that has revealed itself to Him.
As soon as Human is “discerned” in Nature, one would want to bring Him nearer, make Him more visible, more perceptible. “Chipping off all unnecessary material” or “erasing the accidental features”, Artist tries to make His way to the Human Who hides in Nature, helps Him show. Thanks to Artist, this primeval Chaos transforms into a harmonious Cosmos, out of this “ugly duckling” a “beautiful swan” comes out, and “Bantling” turns into Human.
If one insists on the unicity of Nature, that It is the only Thing Which truly exists, then creativity, the creation of works of art is hard to explain. From the viewpoint of Nature, it is only “scientific cognition” that is recognized as “real”. As for art or whatever artistic creativity, it comes as something “defective” here. It is the same cognition, as it were, but “in the form of images”. It is, so to speak, “inaccurate” or “preliminary” cognition. Therefore, It is only Scientist, not Artist, Who cognizes Nature “in a proper way”.
But if there truly exists and develops not Nature, but something Other? Then the cognition of Nature turns out to be only a “leg” in a larger-scale itinerary. Here, the emergence of art may in a sense signify the completion of this process. This may be indicative of the necessary and sufficient knowledge having been achieved. Necessary and suffient for what? For discerning Human in Nature. Ultimately, Human discovers in Nature His Own Self. That is what cognition is all about.
That is why Human can no longer be content with cognition alone and turns to artistic creation. That is why He tries to change Nature. One may say that Artist attempts to bring Human Who hides in Nature to recognition. Therefore one can feel a kind of “feedback”, or “understanding” while perceiving works of art. Genuine work of art “responds”, as in were, to the one who perceives it. Perceiving such compositions looks very much like an encounter and communication with a human. And not just with a human, but with the one who understands you. Namely, it is like communicating with a friend. Thus, we have two opposite movements showing in art. On the one side, it is a want of creation, and a want of communication, on the other.
Nature transfigured by Artist turns out better, in a sense, than primary Nature. A human sculptured in marble turns out more beautiful than an ordinary human. Life featured in drama is more coherent, more consistent, and more logical than ordinary life. Music produced by a composer turns out more harmonious and euphonic than ordinary sounds that can be heard around. Such moments of perfection, though, can really occur in everyday life. Only Artist can timely notice them, and perpetuate and develop them in His art.
Works created by Artist become more and more sincere, heartfelt, and moving, that is, more and more “humane”. Art achieves new heights in expressing the width and depth of human emotional experience. Performing, hearing, or watching such pieces more and more resembles communicating with a real human being who empathizes with you.
At yet, art has its bounds in “approximating” Human. It never achieves the advantages of a living human being. Strange as it may seem, further evolution of art does not lead to its further “humanization”. Most commonly, it leads to the complication of its language and, correspondingly, to the problems in perception. The “artificiality” of art makes itself felt. One cannot make Human out of Nature. The latter yields to humanization only to a certain extent. Only partly can one “break” to Human through Nature.
In Its essence, Nature remains Human’s alienated reflection, the subject of His cognition. No work of art, despite all its perfection, cannot substitute a living human being. Art only reminds one of Human, outlines the way to Him: He is somewhere in the vicinity. Artist’s cherished dream is to create a living Human out of natural material. But it is only works of art that He manages to produce. Ultimately, He only has to content Himself with this “harmonization”, or “humanization” of Nature.
Alas, Nature transfigured by art still fails to become alive. It fails to become Human. This makes up a substantial drawback of art, and Artist’s pain and desperation. However beautiful and perfect His works may be, they still remain works of art and never achieve human qualities proper. They may only look like or sound like humans, but humans they are not. And yet, art is a step forward on the way to Human, it is a great endeavour to break to Him through Nature.
And yet, art helps make more precise the origin of Man, or Human, to put it more correctly. From the viewpoint of Other, His Predecessor will be not just Ashamed Child, or Youth, but Creator Proper. Therefore, Human appears not only as the One Who is aware of His existence and Who cognizes Nature, but also as the One Who was Created. That is why Human Himself displays creative faculties, and that is why He Himself starts to create and understand what is created. The One Who was Created Himself becomes Creator.
But it is not only the existence of art that arouses questions. The One Who Cognizes notices that apart from matrimonial ties and those of blood, allied relationships, etc. a very strange thing can be found with humans, “friendship”. As if absolutely groundless, inexplicable sympathy for another person, not to a relative or wife or ally, but to an absolutely alien person, sometimes, to an enemy. Furthermore, The One Who Cognizes is astonished to notice that some people are capable of unselfish and even selfless acts. All this cannot be explained from the viewpoint of Nature. But what if look at it from the viewpoint of something that is different, from the viewpoint of Other?
From the viewpoint of Other, however, the above-mentioned acts, including friendship, find quite a natural explanation. If Human was created, His being created cannot but manifest itself. First of all, it shows in Human’s ability to create and perceive works of art. But the creative nature of Human shows not only in that; it does not confine itself to the field of art.
For it is “being created” that is human proper in Human. This quality shows most significantly in the fact that Human Himself becomes Creator. But, when becoming Creator, Human appears unable to become Such; He just as well returns into the position of the One Who was Created. Strictly speaking, He cannot become Creator, since He has already been Such. And, as befits Creator, He once completely disappeared in His Creation. So, Human cannot become Creator, neither can He remain the way He is. As a result, He hangs up, as it were, in this transitional state.
The Creator and Created One strive for Each Other, and They are on the way towards Each Other. Both manifest Themselves in Human, and One cannot exist without the Other. At the same time, They are infinitely far away from Each Other, and there is an abyss between Them.
The relationship that is formed between Creator and Created One may be designated as a “restless unity”. Human is struggling to be Both, but fails to. Here, one cannot demarcate where there is Creator and where there is Created One. At this point, They appear as Equals, as just the “One” and the “Other”. It is exactly this kind of relationship that underlies true friendship.
Human is a place where Creator and Created One “meet”. This “meeting”, however, turns out to be restless and ambivalent. It is rather felt as a certain “absence”. More precisely, Human feels that He is not alone, He feels the presence of the Other One, but fails to find Him out. This basic dualism of human existence continuously urges Human to seek the evidence of the Other One’s existence, the evidence of Him being not alone. Therefore, friendship is precarious and unstable; it is a series of gains and losses. Strictly speaking, it is not just “friendship”, but rather a yearning for a friend.
And yet, such a state is beneficial. It does not allow Human to rest on His laurels and requires from Him a continuous effort. Certainly, this implies a quest for the Other One. At the same time, this implies a relentless self-cultivation, the urge to reach a certain degree of perfection, in order to gain recognition from the Other One, thereby making the Latter manifest Himself. Indeed, Created One has to be worthy of His Creator. And the Creator, too, has to be “up to the mark”, so that His Creation would turn out full-fledged.
Here, unselfish and even selfless acts, asceticism, and all that become explicable. Because, in the end, all this is done for Someone, or for Someone’s sake, that is, with regard to a certain feedback. That is why true friendship is basically sacrificial. For Creator does not spare Himself, but undividedly disappears in His Creation. Neither Created One leaves it unanswered. He, too, loses Himself, when becoming Creator.
The relationship of Creator of Created One is reciprocal. On the one side, it is generous, selfless, and sacrificial gift. On the other, it is a reverse movement, gratitude for this gift of conscious being. The movement of Human towards Creator may be called “understanding”, which basically is nothing other than the awareness of One’s being created. For only when becoming Creator, Human starts to comprehend the fact of His being created.
That is why the so called “spiritual affinity” is valued equally with and even higher than blood relationship. For friendship is akin to sonhood or paternity. To be more precise, it is the same relationship, but in the purely human dimension. Just as Son knows His Father, and Father knows His Son, Created One cannot but recognize His Creator, and Creator cannot but recognize the One He has created.
“Happiness” does not escape, either, from the searching eyes of the One Who Cognizes. It, too, is left out of a series of natural phenomena proper. At first sight, happiness is a condition when Human is healthy, with His clothes on, when He has a roof over His head, when He is employed, and contented with His family. But can it all be called “happiness”? Rather, it is some “natural” happiness” or, bluntly speaking, “well-being”. You can have all the above in full, but still not to be happy. Human is always missing something. He feels constrained within the limits of such an “ordered” happiness, from which He sometimes would just run and hide.
What on earth is Human short of? And where is He to run? In answering these questions, addressing Nature will hardly be appropriate. Here, one will not be able to do without What Is Different, without something Other.
The causes of Human’s yearning for happiness should be sought, again, in the fact that Human was created, or, more precisely, in the relationship of Created One and His Creator. It should be mentioned that it is not just a continuous anguish and self-sacrifice that this relationship implies. It also has its evolution. And this evolution consists in the fact that, after all, Creator and Created One do find Each Other. If friendship is a restless unity of Creator and Created One, happiness is Their regained, quiet unity.
To put it another way, the unity of Creator and Created One is not obvious right away. It can even be said that They are largely parted. More often than not, They exist separately, as it were, and One does not know of the Other. At the same time, Both really exist, and One cannot but guess of the Other’s existence. This guess, however, seeks itself confirmation. The One needs to receive evidence of the Other’s existence.
The creative nature of Human does not give Him a moment’s peace. It manifests itself in art and friendship. But it shows most of all in Human’s yearning for happiness. At first, it seems to Him that He is unhappy owing to the lack of wellbeing. But gradually He starts to realize that it is not only wellbeing that is the point here. And even not so much wellbeing, and sometimes not at all wellbeing. As Created One, Human needs, at last, to realize His being created and discern His Creator. As Creator, Human needs to discern His Creation and receive a response from Him.
Creator needs to see His Creation, while the Latter needs to see the Former. Creator needs to be understood, He needs to see the One He has created. He needs a sign that His effort has not been in vain. Created One just as well cannot find peace until He sees His Creator.
So, Human’s efforts towards overcoming His loneliness are not in vain. They are sure to be rewarded some day, and more often than not, in the most unexpected way, when every hope for it seems lost. A feedback does arise, and Human, at last, receives a return on His efforts.
It cannot happen in any other way, though. The point is that Creator and Created One are not only separated and inaccessible for Each Other. They are One just as well, and Their sameness cannot but manifest itself. In this sense, happiness is not only possible, but even inevitable.
Happiness is the found fullness of existence inherent in Human. Same is reached when a quiet, harmonious unity of Creator and Created One is reached, when Their “meeting” culminates in the mutual joy of the Parties. The source of genuine happiness is the joy of recognizing by Creator and Created One of Each Other. It is the joy of ascertaining Each Other’s existence. For Creator cannot but rejoice at the sight of His Creation, so Created One rejoices at the sight of His Creator. This joy is incomparable with anything whatsoever. And it alone can with good reason be called happiness proper.
However, people are far from being always happy. Perhaps, most of their lifetime many people spend pining and suffering. This fact does not escape the notice of the One Who Cognizes, either. He turns His attention to diseases, wars, natural disasters, the insufficient reliability of man-made facilities and means of conveyance, complex inter-human relations, property ownership and legal injustice, crime, etc.
From the viewpoint of Nature, human suffering is accounted for by ignorance, insufficient knowledge, or the mistakes of cognition. The labours of science have long been aimed at how to lessen suffering or even do away with it altogether. Here, a certain success can be noticed. New pain-killers are invented, many of earlier incurable diseases are now cured, social order seems to be improving, the safety of man-made facilities and means of transport seems to be heightened, and the fight against natural disasters becomes more efficient.
But, in spite of the above success, even most “traditional” forms of human suffering still fail to cease or even diminish. Not every pain is eased by pain-killers, not all diseases are cured, crime cannot be fully eliminated, means of transport still cannot be completely safe, inter-human relations are as “dramatic”, and natural disasters still claim many lives.
Even in the most rationally organized societies, with a high level of innovativeness, the widest possible choice of goods and services, and the needed set of rights and freedoms Human often finds himself in such situations when suffering is hard to avoid. They lie in wait for Him in most unlikely places and happen at the most inappropriate time. Besides, suffering is not always evident, so from an outsider’s viewpoint it might seem that the person in question feels perfectly alright. Everyone has got his or her own pains to endure, and man will always find something to suffer from, irrespective of whether there is a “natural” cause for it.
However, all these are “natural” sufferings, if one can put it that way. They can otherwise be determined as “bad luck” or “failure”, or “misfortune”, or, sometimes, as just “bad mood”. They may happen, and they may not, although their share in human life is quite substantial. These “natural” sufferings, despite their glaring evidence, as well as the efforts to eliminate them, represent but an outward, superficial side of things. The cause of suffering is more profound, and, if one is to clarify it, one will not manage without an extra-natural Principle being involved; one will not manage without “Other”.
The underlying cause of suffering should be sought, again, in the createdness of Human, more precisely, in the relationship between Creator and Created One. This relationship not only arises and develops; one day it reaches its completion. That is, the development of this relationship, ultimately, results in the loss of it. Apparently, suffering is linked to the emotional experience of this loss, signifying the cessation of the relationship between Creator and Created One.
An encounter with Creator and reaching mutual understanding with Him does not pass without leaving a trace for Human. It entails some consequences. Having got in touch, Creator and Created One part, and, strictly speaking, forever. Having received the evidence of Creator’s existence and having tasted the joy of communication, Human, now enriched with this experience, is supposed to be ready to embark on an independent voyage. In other words, friendship appears to be a prerogative of youth, and it is not to be found wherever or whenever else. So, Human is bound to work His way further all alone.
Thus, He is born again. As Child, It was born into Fairy-Tale, as Human, into Nature. Now, however, He is born into the World. A birth into the World and staying in It – this is where the cause of suffering is to be sought. Now, He appears as “single”, or “lonely”. And suffering is basically experienced as “loneliness”, as being left one on one with an alien and hostile World.
So, suffering commences, when another birth of Human comes about, when He is born into the World. In outward appearance, World resembles Nature – It seems to contain the same objects and phenomena. But in essence, It is different. Here, those objects and phenomena are not all about knowledge. Rather, they now represent obstacles and temptations; they are evil. At first, Human can hardly realize that He is already in the World. Through inertia, he tries to extend feelings and relations nurtured by Him in cognition and friendship onto the World. He comes into the World open-minded and open-hearted. In response, however, he gets, at best, indifference and misunderstanding, and, at worst, hostility and enmity.
Here, Human is again Child, as it were. Again, He grows, but His growth now consists in the fact that He is being pushed out of the World. “Suffering” is essentially the same “growth”, but, this time, with a negative sign. The World rejects Human, It pushes Him out of Itself, and it cannot be experienced otherwise than through suffering and, ultimately, through dying.
Human tries to get adapted to the new situation. In His outward appearance, He becomes more restrained and sometimes even tough. His subtle and lofty emotions are transferred into the sphere of art. But now it is not that primary art that would expose the beauty and humanity of Nature. Now His art is all about loneliness, yearning for the past, cheerlessness of the present, and the frightening uncertainty of the future. Thus, He is again Artist. But not a classical artist, not a happy singer of Nature, but rather a romantic artist, a sufferer, a prisoner of the World.
In the meantime, Human’s sufferings are on the rise, so that His own life, not art, becomes in jeopardy. It cannot go on like that, and something needs to be done here. The situation persistently demands some real action. Human desperately tries to detect the cause of suffering in order to eliminate it. At last, He seems to have found it. He comes to the conclusion that the cause of suffering is the World’s imperfection, Its “improper” order. So, the task now is to change, to rearrange the World.
So, Human alias Artist can no more content Himself with art alone. In former times, art showed Him perfection. Now He cannot believe that the perfection which once was revealed to Him is only limited to art. Truly, Nature can positively be improved or humanized, and art is the evidence of it. But can one improve and humanize the World?
Changing the World – the real changing, not in pretence – that’s what Human now yearns for, secretly or avowedly. To do so, as it seemed, one should throw off art and engage in “real” things. But Human continues to have His own way. He is reluctant to part with art, and still pins all His hopes exactly on it. Only how to manage it, so that Nature could be left as material, but out of this material there would emerge not a work of art, but a better World?
To transfigure the World, one should intensify the impact of art. First of all, one should not limit himself to one particular branch of art. One should bring together all possible forms of art. That should be some synthetic Performance, comprising music, lyrics, painting, and also dance, and even fragrance. Moreover, all the audience should take part in the Performance. And not only humans should take part in It, but also animals, birds, plants, and even stones! This is how this mountain of the World could be moved. Then the people could realize that they all came from a single Source, that they are all brothers.
Surely, art does ennoble Man, and its power is indisputable. And yet, one should not overestimate the impact of art, even if “synthetic”. Not all can perceive it to the full extent, and many will still treat it as just a “show”. Therefore, without depreciating the significance of art, one should seek other means of affecting the World. For example, one could engage in verbal, rational persuasion. To start with, one could try to set up secret brotherhoods, the nuclei of reason and enlightenment.
The new tactics do bring their fruits. Enlightened autocrats emerge, under whose patronage Human can, at last, enjoy the desired freedom. But there is another trouble: not all autocrats prove to be enlightened, and the majority of them would still revel in their power. Besides, the measure of freedom granted by enlightened autocrats largely depends on their mood or caprice. Even if the incumbent autocrat is really enlightened, you never know what his crowned successor is going to be.
So, a republic, democracy – that’s what is needed! One has to change the social order and bring about a revolution. One has to go to the people and try to explain them what needs to be done. But it would be even better to bring together like-minded persons and seize the power, and the rest of the people will “move up” thereafter. If successful, this experience could be extended to other countries. Thus the World shall change!
So said, so done. Now, every here and there, one can see the fires of Revolution flaring up. Sudden success turns the revolutionaries’ heads – they have not expected such a huge thing to have been moved so easily. There were some problems, though. Not always manages one to extend Revolution to other countries. Moreover, not so many people tend to “move up”. Therefore, one has to eliminate so many enemies of the “better world” that a question arises: for whose sake does the Revolution is being brought about? From the viewpoint of the One Who Cognizes, all this looks rather like pointless human sacrifices offered to some unknown God.
Now revolutions have died down. Has the World changed? Have the people started to live better? Rather not; or, at least, not all. Devastation caused by Revolution far outweighs the benefits It brings, which, again, are controversial. Except, perhaps, that people have started to live more cautiously, so that to prevent fresh attempts to “change the World”.
Hence the conclusion: one can and even must make the World better, but one cannot “change” It. In this light, “democratic” revolutions may only be acceptable, which are aimed not at radical reconstruction of the World, but at Its feasible improvement. In other words, you cannot force everyone to become your friends, but, you must learn to honour your opponent and not regard him as an enemy (if he is not an extremist). Actually, there is nothing new in these maxims: everyone knows that “love cannot be compelled”; and it was Christ who taught us to “love our enemies.”
Certainly, to master those maxims at a country’s scale, one has to acquire the needed historical experience, to reach (generally, through suffering) a certain standard of political culture, and find the optimal balance between government and opposition. However, even in the most rationally arranged society, Human cannot be secured against many troubles and trials.
A revolution, as an attempt to “change the World”, would make sense and be a success, if Nature were What Truly Exists. Failed attempts to bring about a revolution as well as more than controversial results of the successful attempts, again, suggest that What Truly Exists is not Nature, but something Other.
Anyway, interaction with the World is destructive for Human. It causes Him to suffer and, eventually, leads Him to His death. But it is only in the face of death, or, more exactly, at the moment of death, Human, at last, realizes that everything that has preceded it has essentially been nothing, but suffering.
So, the sojourn in the World is suffering, and death is deliverance from suffering. Those simple truths take possession of Human to such an extent that expectation of, or even yearning for death now appears to Him quite natural. And yet, on the way to this simple and natural dénouement there arises an unexpected impediment, dread. More precisely, it is the dread of death.
The approaching death puts everything into place. What truly was the life that preceded it? It was a continued pushing of Human out of the World; it was suffering being intensified; it was “being-toward-death”.
Really, the One Who Cognizes notices that people not only suffer; they die. However deplorable it is, suffering is crowned by death. And this cannot but cause horror and the feeling of supreme injustice. It is wrongful that everything one has reached and gained turns out to be dust. True, instead of those who have died, new people are born. They are humans, like those who have died. And yet, they are different from those who have died. So, they have to start everything from scratch.
However, from the viewpoint of Nature, death seems to be not so terrible. Certainly, individual people and other living things do die, but life goes on, and, as for humans, their population even grows in number. If some day, life on this planet becomes completely unbearable, science and technology may reach such a level by then, that moving to other planets will become a reality. And even if all living beings on this planet perish after all, there is still hope that life, like ours, may exist on some other planet, and that planet may be not the only one.
As for individual people, their achievements, commonly, do not vanish; they are added to the treasury of all the humankind and, ultimately, contribute to improving people’s lives, and also to strengthening their survival potential. The eminent dead’s names are not forgotten; they are immortalized in streets, cities, foundations, steamers, and planes. Thus, death does not seem so horrifying any more.
Moreover, scientists work hard on how to postpone death and even conquer it altogether, as if it were just a dangerous disease. Life expectancy is on the rise. There are attempts to freeze and then unfreeze and revive animals and humans. And, who knows, discovering the secret of immortality may be not a hundred miles away.
But can the above arguments serve as a reliable consolation for the One Who Is Dying? Despite all these scientific “breakthroughs”, death stays as imminent, as it used to be millions years ago; it accompanies humankind, just as well as all the rest of living things, as closely. So, maybe, what truly exists and develops is not Nature, but something Other, for Which death is not the absolute end, but only a certain, quite surmountable, moment in development, displaying some natural discreteness of existence?
But then, it will be not death any more, but, rather, dying. For, from the viewpoint of Other, death can never ensue. Or, more exactly, it does ensue, but, it is overcome somehow. It is only the discreteness of existence that we can observe in Nature. The point is to make its continuity manifest. And that’s what Other is for.
So, in relation to Other, one can already speak of resurrection. And, if there is resurrection, everything that has been gained and reached will not perish, but continue and resume, although through death. This, apparently, is what true immortality is all about. It’s just that true existence is discrete. But, to be able to comprehend this, one must have
The One Who Cognizes notices that “in Nature”, apart from ordinary people, a special kind of people can be found. They are often called “God’s people”. Those people would speak of faith and immortality. More specifically, they contend that, in truth, there is no death, and, in order to make sure of it, one needs to have “faith”.
These people will hardly be heard or listened to. They will rather be mocked and even persecuted. For their teachings differ too much from the habitual and well-established beliefs.
However, after their death, They will commonly be glorified and sometimes even proclaimed “Gods”. And yet, the honour They will be done to, have little to do with the spirit of Their teachings. As a matter of fact, They will be turned into the Idols of pre-scientific, pagan beliefs. Temples will be built as homage to Them. They will be eulogized and offered sacrifices to. In Their name, the “infidels” will be fought. But how so distant all this is from the quiet of the true faith!
Most likely, true faith is only inherent in those very “God’s people”. However, insuperable difficulties occur, when They try to communicate it to other people. Apparently, one has to rise to true faith, and one cannot make everyone happy with it right away. Everyone has to go his own way to achieve it. Here, as well as in other circumstances, no one can pass ahead of his time.
Surely, Nature is not a delusion, nor is it a “trick of vision”. Rather, It can be compared to a view opening out on the way of a certain Mountain Climber. In a certain section of the road, at a certain altitude, His Ambience assumes the contours of “Nature”. It is absent in the road’s lower-lying sections, nor is It present in its higher parts. But, for some reason, the Mountain Climber tends to imagine both what is left behind and what lies ahead in the form of Nature. In reality, however, Nature is only encountered by the Mountain Climber, but does not accompany Him permanently.
Thus, won’t it be better to pay due attention to the Mountain Climber, not to the View opening out on His way? Maybe, it not worthwhile to dig so excessively into Nature, seeking out for Its tinier and tinier particles or Its huger and huger accumulations? All the more so, it is hardly reasonable to regard Nature as existing independently, to tear It away from Human, and relegate the Latter to the position of one of the objects of Nature, even though the most “advanced”.
Won’t it be better to leave Nature alone and, at long last, turn to Human? But not as the “object of Nature”, but the One before Whom Nature opens. Won’t it be better to think about Who Human was before His encounter with Nature, and also about Who He is going to be thereafter?
Why then the consciousness of being occurs? Maybe, after all, one would try to proceed not from Nature, but from Other? Who would be Human’s Predecessor in this case? Who is this “Someone”, Who becomes conscious of His being?
The above observations give us some ground to believe that, apart from Nature, there exists and develops although less conspicuous, but far more large-scale Entity, something Other.