Sunday, October 21, 2007

Appearance of the Anti-Christ

A tale we shouldn't forget:

From "Three Conversations"

by Vladimir Soloviev

Pan-Mongolism! The name is wild,
Yet it pleases my ear greatly,
As if it were full of forebodings
Of the glorious providence of God.

Europe in the twenty-first century represented an alliance of more or less democratic nations—the United States of Europe. The progress of material culture, somewhat interrupted by the Mongolian yoke and the war of liberation, now burst forth with a greater force. The problems of inner consciousness, however, such as the questions of life and death, the ultimate destiny of the world and mankind, made more complicated and involved by the latest researches and discoveries in the fields of psychology and physiology—these as before remained unsolved.

Only one important, though negative, result made itself apparent: it was the final bankruptcy of the materialistic theory. The notion of the universe as a system of dancing atoms, and of life as the result of mechanical accumulation of the slightest changes in materia, no longer satisfied a single reasoning intellect. Mankind had outgrown that stage of philosophical infancy. On the other side, it became equally evident that it had also outgrown the infantile capacity for a naive, unconscious faith. Such ideas as God, creating the universe out of nothing, were no longer taught even at elementary schools. A certain high level of ideas concerning such subjects had been evolved, and no dogmatism could risk a descent below it. And though the majority of thinking people had remained faithless, the few believers had of necessity become thinking, thus fulfilling the commandment of the Apostle: “Be infants in your hearts, but not in your reason.”.......

At that time, there was among the few believing spiritualists a remarkable person - many called him a superman - who was equally far from both, intellect and childlike heart. He was still young, but owing to his great genius, by the age of thirty-three he had already become famous as a great thinker, writer, and public figure.

Conscious of the great power of spirit in himself, he was always a confirmed spiritualist, and his clear intellect always showed him the truth of what one should believe in: the good, God, and the Messiah.

In these he believed, but he loved only himself. He believed in God, but in the depths of his soul he involuntarily and unconsciously preferred himself. He believed in Good, but the All Seeing Eye of the Eternal knew that this man would bow down before the power of Evil as soon as it would offer him a bribe - not by deception of the senses and the lower passions, not even by the superior bait of power, but only by his own immeasurable self-love.

Thinking thus, the superman of the twenty-first century applied to himself everything that was said in the Gospels about the second coming, explaining the latter not as a return of the same Christ, but as a replacing of the preliminary Christ by the final one - that is, by himself.

At this stage, the coming man presented few original characteristics or features. His attitude toward Christ resembled, for instance, that of Mohammed, a truthful man, against whom no charge of harboring evil designs can be brought.

This man justified his selfish preference of himself before Christ in yet another way. 'Christ,' he said, 'who preached and practiced moral good in life, was a reformer of humanity, whereas I am called to be the benefactor of that same humanity, partly reformed and partly incapable of being reformed. I will give everyone what they require........

Thus this just but proud man waited for the sanction of the Most High to begin his saving of mankind, but he could see no signs of it. He had passed the age of thirty. Three more years passed. A thought suddenly flickers into his mind and a heated trembling pierces him to the core. “What,” thought he, “what if it is not I, but that other … the Galilean. If He is not my forerunner but the true one, the First and the Last? But then indeed He must be living….Where is He? What if He suddenly comes to me … here, now? What will I tell Him? I would have to kneel down before Him like the basest foolish Christian, like some Russian peasant who mutters without understanding, ‘Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ or grovel like a Polish countrywoman! I, the shining genius, the superman! Never!”

And then, instead of his former rational and cold reverence to God and Christ, a sudden terror was born and grew in his heart, followed by a burning envy consuming all his being, and by a burning, breath-taking hatred. “I, I, and not He! He is not among the living, and never will be! He did not rise, not rise, not rise! He rotted, rotted in the tomb, He rotted like the lowest….” And, his mouth foaming, he rushed in convulsive movements out of the house, through the garden, and ran along a rocky path covered by the dark gloomy night.

His rage calmed down and gave place to a despair, dry and heavy as the rocks, gloomy as the night. He stopped in front of a sharp precipice, from the bottom of which he could hear the faint sounds of a stream running over the stones far below. An unbearable anguish pressed upon his heart. Suddenly something stirred within him. “Shall I call Him? Ask Him what I am to do?” And in the midst of the darkness a pale and grief-stricken image appeared to him. “He pities me! No, never! He did not rise, not rise!” And he leapt from the precipice. But something firm like a column of water held him up in the air. He felt a shock as if of electricity, and some unknown force hurled him back. For a moment he lost consciousness and came to kneeling a few paces from the edge of the precipice. Before him was a being outlined with a misty phosphorescent light, and its two eyes pierced his soul with their unbearably sharp brightness.

He saw these two piercing eyes and heard some unfamiliar voice coming from inside or outside him—he could not tell which—a toneless, constrained voice, yet distinct, metallic and completely heartless as from a gramophone. And the voice said to him: “You are my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased! Why did you not seek me? Why did you revere that bad one, and his father? I am your god and father. But that other, the beggar, the crucified one—he is a stranger both to me and to you. I have no other son but you. You are the only one, the only begotten, the equal of myself. I love you, and ask nothing from you. You are already beautiful, great, and mighty. Do your work in your own name, not mine. I harbour no envy of you. I love you. I require nothing of you. He whom you regarded as God demanded from His son the ultimate obedience—even to death on a cross—and He did not help Him there. I demand from you nothing, and I will help you. I will help you for your own sake, for the sake of your own dignity and excellency, and for the sake of my own disinterested love of you! Receive my spirit! Just as my spirit gave birth to you in beauty, so now it gives birth to you in power.”

With these words of the stranger, the mouth of the superman involuntarily opened, the two piercing eyes came very close to his face, and he felt a sharp, icy stream enter into him and fill the whole of his being. At the same time he felt in himself unprecedented strength, vigour, lightness, and joy. At the same instant the luminous image and the two eyes suddenly disappeared, something lifted him up in the air, and brought him down in his own garden, before the doors of his own house.

The next day not only the visitors of the great man but even his servants were startled by his strange, inspired appearance. They would have been even more startled could they have seen with what supernatural speed and ease he was writing, locked up in his study, his famous work entitled, The Open Way to Universal Peace and Prosperity.

The previous books and the public activity of the superman had always met with severe criticisms, though these came chiefly from men of exceptionally deep religious convictions, who for that very reason possessed no authority, and were hardly listened to when they tried to point out in everything that the Coming Man wrote or said the signs of quite an exceptional and excessive pride and conceit, and a complete absence of true simplicity, frankness, and sincerity.

But now with his new book he brought over to his side even some of his former critics and adversaries. This book, composed after the incident at the precipice, evinced a greater power of genius than he had ever shown before. It was a work that embraced everything and solved every problem. Here were combined a noble respect of the ancient traditions and symbols with a bold and thorough radicalism in the sphere of social and political problems, an unlimited freedom of thought with the most profound appreciation of everything mystical, an absolute individualism with an ardent fidelity to the common good, the most lofty idealism of guiding principles with a perfect definiteness in practical necessities of life. And all this was blended and cemented with such artistic genius that every thinker and every man of action, however one-sided he may have been, could easily view and accept the whole from his particular individual standpoint without sacrificing anything to the truth itself, without actually rising above his ego, without in reality renouncing his one-sidedness, without correcting the inadequacy of his views and wishes, and without making up their deficiencies. 

This wonderful book was immediately translated into the languages of all the civilised nations, and many of the uncivilised ones as well. During the whole year thousands of papers in all parts of the world were filled with the publishers’ advertisements and the delight of the critics. Inexpensive editions with portraits of the author were sold in the millions of copies, and all the civilized world—which by now meant nearly all the globe—resounded with the glory of the incomparable, the great, the only one! Not only did nobody raise his voice against the book, but on every side it was accepted as the revelation of the entirely complete truth. In it all the past was given its full and due justice, all the present was appraised so impartially and thoroughly, and the happiest future was brought near in such a convincing and practical manner that everybody could not help saying: ” Here at last we have what we need. Here is the ideal which is not an Utopia. Here is a scheme which is not a chimera.” And the wonderful author not only impressed all, but he was agreeable to everybody, so that the word of Christ was fulfilled: “I have come in the name of the Father, and you accept me not. Another will come in his own name—him you will accept.” For it is necessary to be agreeable to be accepted.

True, some pious men, warmly praising the book, had been asking why the name of Christ was never mentioned in it. But other Christians had rejoined: “Glory to God! In the past ages everything sacred has already been tainted enough by uncalled zealots so as now to make a deeply religious author extremely careful in these matters. Since the book is imbued with the true Christian spirit of active love and all-embracing goodwill, what more do you want?” And everybody agreed with this.

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