The Dream of the Ridiculous Man - Part Four
I don't know how it happen exactly. I was hardly aware, but suddenly I found myself on this other earth, in the bright sunlight, on a day as lovely as paradise.
My companion had gone.
I couldn't believe it! Everything, all around me was exactly like our earth, only somehow brighter, richer, and somehow more real. The sea lapped the shore, loving it, caressing it, so it seemed. The trees, in all their glory, waved to me with thousands of shimmering leaves. The birds, beating the air with their soft wings, settled on my shoulders and hands with out fear.
And then, I came to know the people of this other earth. Slowly they emerged from the forest. They came towards me, pressed around me, and embraced me. And, oh, how beautiful were these children of the sun - their own sun, that is! I'd never ever seen such beauty in human beings on our earth. Only, perhaps, in very young children would it be possible to find a remote suggestion of that beauty.
The eyes of these happy people were radiant and their faces were intelligent, expressing the serenity of those who have supremely fulfilled themselves. But there was also simple, childlike joy in their faces and voices. When I looked into their eyes I understood everything! This earth hadn't been desecrated by the Fall of Man; its inhabitants still lived in an earthly paradise. Only here paradise extended over the entire earth.
These people laughed happily, thronged round me, and lavished kindness upon me. They took me to their homes. Each one of them was anxious to make me happy. They didn't ask any questions, appearing to know everything already. They were in a hurry to remove the signs of suffering from my features.
I couldn't see how they could know so much, when there was no indication that they had any knowledge of the achievements of our modern science. I soon realised that their knowledge fed upon much different revelations than ours; and that their aspirations were quite different. They didn't want anything and were absolutely serene; they didn't strive to find the meaning of life, because their own lives were full of meaning. They enjoyed life, and their knowledge was far more profound and deeper than our science. It was mysterious, and I knew I would never be able to enter the depths of that wisdom.
For example, they pointed at their trees, and I couldn't comprehend the intensity of the love with which they saw them; it was as if they were communicating with beings like themselves. In fact, I don't think I'd be wrong in saying that they talked to them! Yes - they'd found the language of the plants, and I'm sure they could understand them. These people were like that with all nature. The animals lived in peace with them, loved them; they were subdued, as it were, by love. All of nature was in harmony with them. There was no need to attack anyone... Oh, how could the people from our earth ever understand this?
The people pointed out stars to me and spoke to me about them. I couldn't understand what they said, but I'm certain that they had some sort of communication with the stars, a live, direct knowledge of them rather than a rational, scientific understanding.
Those people never tried to make me understand them. They loved me anyway. And I knew they'd never understand me; that's why I hardly ever mentioned our earth to them.
They were as playful and gay as children. They strolled through their beautiful woods and meadows singing their sweet songs, gathering honey and the fragrant fruit of their forests, and sipping the milk of the friendly, loving animals. Obtaining food and clothing required little effort.
They knew love and begot children, but I never detected among them those outbursts of cruel sensuality that are so common on our earth, and which is almost the sole source of our sins.
They rejoiced in their new-born children as new sharers of their bliss. They never had any quarrels and were never jealous of one another; they didn't even understand what jealousy meant. Their children were the children of all, for they were all one family.
Illness was almost completely unknown among them, although death existed, but their old people died peacefully, as though falling asleep, surrounded by people taking leave of them, blessing those staying behind. Smiling at them and receiving their bright smiles in return. I never witnessed any sorrow or tears on these occasions, only love that reached the point of rapture, a sort of calm, contemplative rapture of fulfilment.
One might have thought they maintained contact with their people after death, that the earthly link wasn't severed by it. They seemed puzzled when I asked them about eternal life, for apparently it was beyond all possible doubt to them.
They didn't have any temples; instead they had a sort of tangible, live, and constant communication with the Universal Whole.
They had no faith, but had instead a firm knowledge that when their earthly happiness was filled to the limit, there would come for the living and the dead a day of even closer communion with the Universal Whole. They waited for that day with joy, but without impatience, without longing, as though they had a foreknowledge of it that they shared with one another, in their hearts.
In the evenings, before retiring, they formed magnificent, harmonious choirs, and in their songs they conveyed all the impressions that the departing day had given them, praising it and bidding it farewell. They praised nature, earth, sea, and forests.
They composed songs about one another and in them showered childlike praise upon their friends. Their songs were very simple, but they came straight from the heart and penetrated other hearts. And it wasn't only their songs - they really spent their whole lives admiring one another, as though they were in love with one another.
Some of their rapturous and solemn songs were completely beyond my understanding. Even when I understood the words, I couldn't grasp their entire meaning. It was beyond my brainpower. But my heart seemed to soak it in.
Yes, as they gazed at me with their eyes so full of love, I felt I was becoming as pure and as truthful as they were, and that it didn't matter whether I understood them or not. A feeling of the fullness of life seized me by the throat, and I adored them in silence.
And now, I'm going to tell you about that truth which, up to now, I've refused to reveal.
The truth is that... I ended up by corrupting them all!
Yes, in the end, I corrupted the lot of them!
How I managed to do it, I can't say; I don't remember too clearly. My dream flashed through aeons, leaving in me only a general impression of the whole.
All I know is that I caused their fall from grace. Like a sinister trichina, like a plague germ contaminating whole kingdoms, I contaminated with my person that entire happy, sinless planet.
I spread contamination into that world. They came to understand shame, and made a virtue of it. The people learned from me how to lie. They came to love lying, to appreciate the beauty of lies. Then came jealousy, and jealousy begot cruelty.
They began talking in different languages. As the bacteria spread they began talking of honour, fraternity, independence, and what's mine and what's yours, and the more depraved they became, the more they applauded these ideas.
Slavery made its first appearance, even the voluntary slavery in which the weak submitted to the strong of their own free will; if only in order to gain their support to oppress those who were even weaker than themselves.
Very soon, blood was shed for the very first time. The people were shocked, frightened; they began to separate. They formed alliances, movements, unions, parties.
Recriminations and accusations began. They became all violently opposed towards one another...
And, as they became criminals, they invented the idea of justice. They began drawing up huge codes of law; and to maintain their law they erected scaffolds; and the notion that they had once been so happy made them laugh; and they called it a dream.
Religions began to emerge, worshipping the nonbeing, and self annihilation, for the sake of eternal repose in nothingness.
Saints came to those people and preached to them about their pride, their loss of a sense of proportion. The saints were laughed at and stoned. Their blood splattered the doors of the temples.
Bitterly disillusioned, the people threw themselves into sensuality at any cost, resorting to violence to satisfy their appetites.
A strange thing was, that while they no longer believed in their lost bliss, dismissing it as a dream, and yet they longed so much to become happy and innocent once more. Like small children, they begun to worship their desires.
Countless temples were built, in which they defiled their own desires; and proceeded to worship them, and prayed to this idea. Even though that were so sure their wishes could never come true, they worshiped them with tears in their eyes.
And then, great leaders appeared - claiming to know how to bring everyone together again. How to build a world based on unity and freedom.
Freedom for everyone to love himself far more than everybody else!
Great wars were fought for this idea.
And so it went on, systems, creeds, speeches, declarations, on and on, books, orators and governments, on and on the illusion of peace went, intellect, reason, self preservation. Everything that would force mankind to unite; everyone would serve the great idea.
Meanwhile the wise exterminated the unwise, in case they should get in the way of the idea's final and absolute triumph.
At last, finally, they were worn out with their meaningless existence. Suffering lined their faces. They proclaimed suffering to be beautiful, so they praised suffering in their songs.
I wandered among them, crying, pleading, I held up my arms to them in despair, accusing, hating myself. I had done it I said. I was responsible. I had infected them with contamination, corruption, vice, and lies.
I begged them to crucify me. I taught them how to make a cross. I longed to be martyred at their hands. I wanted my blood to be drained, every drop. Oh! for the torments that they were suffering!
But they just laughed at me and called me a madman and a fool. Finally they warned me that I was becoming dangerous and that they would lock me up in a madhouse if I didn't shut up.
And that's when I came to my senses. . .