Ways of solving the paschal questions, or the course of a natural task
‘Go and teach all nations, baptising...’
The proposal to replace the problem of poverty and wealth by that of death and life (the problem of luxury by that of essentials) is addressed to both believers and unbelievers. The believers must give up their resistance to God's will, which is manifested in our continuing worship of other gods and our constantly breaking all commandments, particularly the first five which form together but one – the supreme commandment. What is required from the believers is to replace our present enslavement to the blind force by its regulation and control. Incidentally, the demand to control and subjugate the irrational blind force to reason is directed not only to the unbelievers but also to believers, as a Divine command for all to unite in one task, even though in thought initially they disagreed. Such control of the blind force and its subjugation to the rational will of all the sons of man would be tantamount to the subordination of all the sons of man to the will of the God of the fathers, and would render them of one mind; in other words, the participating in one common task would bring both believers and unbelievers to unanimity.
Unification must begin with the intelligentsia becoming a united educational force; the intelligentsia will unite all nations in the task of governing blind, irrational nature. It will transmute all nations into a single scientific force and thus, through the educational power of the intelligentsia, everyone will become a naturalist-experimenter. The people's practical reason will unite with the theoretical reason, the reason of the intelligentsia, the learned. In other words, the ideal of the latter will become a duty for practical reason, a duty demanding implementation, and man will become an instrument of the Divine will in carrying out this duty. Thus will be solved the problem of the two reasons, their antinomy; then will be solved, too, the problem of the two feelings, two wills and two moralities, and the cult of woman will be replaced by that of the ancestors, in conformity with the will of the God of the fathers, the God of the living and not of the dead. The transformation of all peoples, with the help of the intelligentsia, into a scientific force entails the union of all the abilities and energies of all humans in the Common Task of transforming a procreating and death-bearing force into a re-creating and vivifying one, and this will be achieved through science and art united in religion, which is identified with Easter, the great and holy deed.
The union of all the abilities and energies of all nations can be achieved through the school: the school-church (in the name of the Trinity and the Resurrection uniting for resuscitation), the school-museum
(the shrine of the ancestors) and the school-camp (serving the transition from nomadic to settled life, from urban to rural – to life alongside the dust of the fathers, near their graves). And all these schools will come together in kremlins, that is to say, citadels protecting the ashes of the fathers. As the nations come together in a peace conference, the representatives of all the peoples of the Earth will not institute an arbitration court but will accept universal compulsory military service and universal compulsory education – that is, the study of the force that promotes hostility among people, causes wars and makes it necessary to defend even the dust of the fathers; then the instruments of annihilation will be transformed into instruments controlling the enmity-bearing force. Governing the procreating and destroying force will not only eliminate the causes of war but will return life to the victims of war. The Autocrat, as godfather to all who are horn, takes upon himself the duty to provide universal education with the help of all scholars and intellectuals, and he can then introduce, via this education, the Common Task, which he directs as the executor of all the deceased. Thus the Autocrat carries into effect the commandment of the First risen from the dead – the commandment to teach – and acts as his successor in the task of resuscitation.
The Russian Autocrat who at his coronation, receives the akakia (the dust destined to be revived) will transform the temporary paschal movement from the city to the countryside, as happens in the West and also in Russia in initiation of the West, into a permanent resettlement. At the same time, because military service and study have become universal and obligatory the celestial energy arising from thunderstorms will become available to any village or hamlet, enabling crafts and cottage industries to supersede and displace urban manufacturing industry.
When external regulation has been achieved, the inner psychophysiological force will tilt the balance away from sexual drive and lust towards love for the parents, and will even replace them, thus transforming the force of procreation into one of re-creation, the lethal into a vivifying force; in other words, childbirth will be replaced by patrification, in fulfilment of the will of the God of the fathers. The antinomy of the two reasons will obviously be solved; the unbelievers joining with the believers in one task will become of one mind, unified in one faith; the problem of wealth and poverty will become irrelevant, because there has been poverty only so long as there has been death, whereas when – through toil – life immortal is achieved, there can no longer be any question of poverty.
Summarising the above, it should be said that the proposal to replace the problem of wealth and poverty by that of life and death, of the universal return of life, as stated in the first paschal question, points to the object
demanding action – the force that begets and kills – that is, nature, which procreates and kills, creates and destroys; so the object for action is the entire Universe, which submits now to blind force – what a tremendous object!! The last paschal question speaks of the Autocrat, the pacifier, the gatherer of all the forces of all humans for the understanding and control of the object indicated in the first question. The Xth question refers to minority and to schools, that is, institutions designed to make all minors into adults – in other words, into people who understand and who are, therefore, capable of controlling the object designated in the first question. The Xth question makes sacred the knowledge of how to control and to return life –sacred to the supreme degree: it makes it into Easter, an act and a feast – which is to say, the victory of that act. Questions IX and VIII involve science and art in the task of studying and regulating with a view to the return of life, thereby deflecting science and art from serving industrialism and militarism. Question VII brings all those who have become alienated from their fathers back to their fathers' graves, to their dust; and this is the first step in the task of returning life. Questions VI and V counsel against the worship of women, an urban cult, and replace it with ancestor worship. For this it is necessary that all intellectuals, both believers and unbelievers, should unite for the education of the people, as explained in questions II and III, thus transforming the people into a nature-studying force, and thus solving the contradiction of the two reasons, the theoretical and the practical (question IV). This will unite the intelligentsia and the people, under the leadership of the Autocrat, into one subject acting on the object indicated in the first paschal question.
Thus the subject of the natural task, of the problem posed by nature itself, which through the human race comes to consciousness and feeling aroused by death, will be the totality of all those living and acting upon the lethal force in order to return life to all those who have died, under the leadership of the executor of all the dead. It will be the totality of the living, the sons and daughters of deceased parents or of parents destined to die, united by him who stands in the place of all the fathers, that is to say, all rational beings united in the study of the irrational force and in its control by the Autocrat, the godfather present at the baptismal fonts of all those being born. Thus the tools of destruction will be transformed into instruments of salvation. The object of this action will be the procreating and death-bearing force, the ashes of the fathers or the molecules and atoms from the decomposition of their bodies, for these are blind and irrational forces which must be understood and controlled.
Only supramoralism, involving a common natural task, that of the universal return of life, can eliminate
the external (wealth and poverty) and the internal (learned and unlearned) discords and unite both internally (in feeling and in thought) and externally (in a common task of transforming the life- and death-bearing force into a re-creating one). Supramoralism is a natural problem for all the living, a problem posed by nature itself reaching a state of consciousness and feeling; and this problem is posed not so much by love of life – that life that we know only as poisoned by the constant prospect of death – as by revulsion for death and the natural sorrow for the dead and the dying.
Supramoralism is a natural and sacred problem for all sons, and especially for those who believe in the God of their fathers. Lastly, supramoralism is the most natural problem for rational beings, since death is caused by an irrational force. Therefore all the living, all sons and daughters, all rational beings, must take part in the solution of the problem, or the task of returning life. It is indeed a natural moral duty to transform the abstract ‘Why does the existing exist?’ into living knowledge and living art, not into dead reproductions but into living reality and a knowledge of the life of all the past, all that has existed.
The project of a common action by the subject, in its totality, on the object in its totality (that is, on the entire planet Earth and not just part of it, on the entire solar system and eventually the Universe) is as follows:
1. The transformation of the procreating force into a re-creating one and of the lethal into a vivifying one.
2. The gathering of the scattered dust and its reconstitution into bodies, using radiation or outlines left by the waves caused by the vibration of molecules.
3. The regulation of the Earth, that is, the management of the Earth as a cemetery, a management comprising the consecutive resuscitation or re-creation of numerous generations, and the extension through them of the regulation of all the uninhabited worlds. Such a project is the full expression of supramoralism, or the answer to the question, ‘What has Man been created for?’; it indicates that the human race, all the sons of man, through the regulation of the celestial worlds, will themselves become heavenly forces governing the worlds of the Universe.
So how should the supramoral commandment of unification, ‘Go out and teach all nations, baptising them...’– that is to say, cleansing them from sin, the cause of death – be expressed? In what way should this commandment differ outwardly (for in substance it is unalterable and eternal), in this era when means of transport and communication make walking unnecessary, while the press removes the need for preaching?
Without quite penetrating the profound yet simple meaning of this commandment, one has the impression that it does not adequately indicate the purpose of unification. It says, ‘teach...’,
but it does not say what is to be taught. However, bearing in mind that the commandment was given immediately after His Resurrection by the First risen from the dead – and whose Resurrection was to be followed by a succession of resurrections – we come to understand that the command to teach implies universal compulsory education in the sense of coming to an understanding of that original sin which has made us mortal, of being aware that such knowledge entails the task of cleansing ourselves of original sin as the cause of death. Then we will come to understand that in our day education can be carried out only in a school-church adjoining a school-museum in winter, and a school-camp in summer, the supreme expression of all of which is the Kremlin, that is, a cemetery-fortress where the instruments used to defend the dust of the fathers are transformed into instruments for the return of life. Then the sacrament of baptism, that cleansing from original sin which, as already stated, made the human race mortal, will become the universal task of all the people in control of all the natural forces, and it is for this task that they are chrismated. From being invisible, this cleansing will become visible, no longer a mystery but a reality, and there will no longer be any need to repeat baptism, now replaced by confession and penance. Then will become clear and evident the mystery of the bread and wine, obtained from the dust of the fathers and transfigured into their flesh and blood. And all this will be done in the name of the Triune God, and those partaking will attain a likeness to the Trinity, which exists in boundless love of the Son and the Holy Spirit for the Father, a love that excludes death.
How to transform an instrument of destruction into one of salvation 1
1.First published in Novoe vremya, St Petersburg, 14 October 1898, pp. 2-3, unsigned; reprinted in FOD, vol. I, pp. 656-68. Its publication was connected with the peace initiative of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia. On his instructions Count M.N. Murav'ev (Mouravieff). his Minister of Foreign Affairs, handed out a circular letter to the diplomatic representatives accredited to Russia on 12 August 1898 (see Appendix IV). This peace initiative was warmly welcomed by the general public, especially the pacifist movements in Western Europe, but it was less welcome to their governments. Kaiser Wilhelm II wrote back, 'Can we picture a monarch, a Supreme Commander-in-Chief, disbanding his illustrious historic regiments, consigning their glorious flags to arsenals and museums, and thus delivering his cities over to anarchists and democrats?' (Quoted by Emil Ludwig, Kaiser Wilhelm If, London, 1927; Ludwig uses the expression 'War-Lord', not 'Commander-in-Chief, which is probably a mistranslation of Kriegsherr.) The second circular letter contained
more precise proposals. The Conference met in May 1899, but the proposals on arms limitation were opposed by Germany and France, while those on obligatory arbitration were reduced to the setting up of a Permanent Court of Arbitration. Moreover, on the insistence of Germany the submission of disputes was voluntary and the Court findings not binding. Fedorov's high hopes were disappointed – for him any court of justice was merely the institutionalising of discord.
Our simple folk explained the lack of rainfall and snow in 1897 as a punishment for our sins. Our intelligentsia saw in this popular view mere prejudice and superstition. Was it mere superstition, or is there a causal link between wars – these international sins – and meteorological disasters like our drought of 1891 and the rainstorms of 1897, which prevented the Turks from pursuing the retreating Greeks at a time when up to four hundred artillery guns were firing simultaneously? Could there be any connection between the heavy downpours over the war zone and our drought? Did the Graeco-Turkish war of 1897, which was fought in a country with a long coastline and peculiar vertical and horizontal landlines, trigger off the floods which spread further north into Turkey and Austria, and did these floods cause a lack of precipitation in Russia?
While in 1891 Russia went short of bread, in 1897 she went short even of water. ‘The Volga is a huge waterless sandbank’, said newspaper reports. Water transport came to a standstill. The Ministry of Transport was unable to maintain communications. Indifferently, scientists recorded increases in precipitation in some regions and decreases in others, without even asking whether there was any link between these phenomena and the cannonade on the battlefields. Yet this was not a new question. It had been raised in 1891 in Russia in connection with the famine caused by drought, and in connection with the rain-making experiments in America. Even earlier, Powers had listed in his book2 a number of battles accompanied by storms and rain since the introduction of firearms.
2. Edward Powers, War and the Weather, Chicago, 1871, 2nd rev. edn 1890. See also note 18 to the Introduction, p. 27.
In 1891 this problem was debated by several learned societies; it was written about and then, unsolved, it was shelved and consigned to oblivion. Yet in 1891, at a meeting of the Odessa Technological Society, one of its members had spoken of the ‘experiments in artificial rain-making in America’. This was followed by a pessimistic debate about the likelihood of such attempts being successful in combating drought. By their attitude to the possibility of deliverance from famine, the learned technologists showed that there was no way of overcoming their indifference and lack of understanding of the people's needs, even when bare, parched, unsown fields reached practically to the very outskirts of their town.
The technologists simply rejected the American method of rain-making. Experimental data were dismissed by meaningless verbiage, although the failure of the experiment merely showed the inadequacy of one method and the need to seek others, to constantly try out new ones, because of the very predicament we were in then and still are today.
A society of technologists which in that terrible year of 1891 could fail to form a commission for the investigation of methods of preventing drought and storm, proved its alienation from the land, the people and agriculture in other countries too. Meanwhile, there are signs that a natural worldwide crisis is disrupting the meteorological process so much that efforts will need to be made in order to right what was formerly harmless and could be left to right itself. Therefore, a new technology becomes necessary. The meeting of the Odessa Technological Society that rejected rain-making may prove fatal to the old technology, the daughter of leisure and not of necessity, of artificial, not vital, needs... The new technology should not be town-based, for only town dwellers can call artificial a rainfall produced by conscious action and see in it a breach of order. The experiments effected in America should have become the starting point for the introduction of regulation, that is, the introduction of order into disorder, of harmony into blind chaos – provided, naturally, that these experiments were not regarded as a private affair of individual farmers but as the common task of mankind, a task both morally and physically natural, because there can be nothing more unnatural for a rational being than to submit to a blind force. The regulation of atmospheric phenomena is an attempt at the natural action, the common action, of replacing a blind process by a conscious one.
Even today science remains indifferent to the regulation of atmospheric phenomena, despite the depletion of rivers, their transformation into waterless beds as happened in 1897, when regulation should have become not merely a national but a universal issue. Scientists have not bothered to gather information, either, about the number of shells fired by both sides in the Graeco-Turkish war (something that could be done even today) or about the weather conditions during that war (something that can no longer be done), because meteorological observations are not carried out on battlefields nor even during manoeuvres and artillery practice in peacetime.
...It would be too superficial to lay the blame for the natural disasters of 1897-8 on international politics such as the Graeco-Turkish war, or on the present state of the Eastern Question. The responsibility rests on our entire culture and civilisation, where the aim of existence is for each individual to live for himself, where obligations and service to the community are accepted only as unavoidable evils, while the common cause of fathers and sons is entirely and deliberately overlooked,
because people fear the loss of freedom and of seductive variety. Yet true freedom lies not in disunity (the right to ignore the existence of others); it lies in the true fullness of life attained through the common task of generations. The drought would not have reached such proportions had it not been for deforestation and soil exhaustion – the very consequences of civilisation and, in general, of that climate in which each individual lives for himself alone.
At the present time steam power is being replaced by electrical energy obtained from waterfalls. Even in Russia there is a project to supply electricity to St Petersburg from Lake Saimen, which is fed partly by waters from Finland and partly from the Narva waterfall, which drains the Pskov-Chud basin. Soon the waterfalls of the Alps will become sources of energy for Western Europe; those of the Caucasus will serve the same purpose for Eastern Europe; the Pamir and Tibet for Asia, and Abyssinia for Africa. Then not only agriculture but industry and transport too will cry out for the regulation of the meteorological process, because the power generated will depend on the volume of precipitation. The latter can be kept constant if regulation is achieved; but otherwise, sudden cloudbursts may prove destructive, while drought may result in factories and railways coming to a standstill. Then Western Europe will also have to turn its attention to the control of atmospheric phenomena. But must Russia, once again, await instructions from the West? Weather control has always been desperately needed in agricultural Russia, but our intelligentsia, incapable of independent thought since the 1840s and even more so since the 1860s, has been busy saving Russia from a proletarianisation that did not even exist then, and it was distressed not to find the pauperisation that it wished to see in its beloved homeland.
Yet weather control is not a daydream or fantasy but a task which, had our intelligentsia turned its attention to it, could have prevented the emergence of a proletariat in Russia and shown other countries, where a proletariat did exist in the 1840s, how to eliminate it without violence or bloodshed. As proof that rain control is not just a wish but a feasible task, here is a quotation from the well known scientist Mendeleev3, according to whom, 'it is certainly not impossible to produce rain by means of explosions carried out at a certain altitude in the atmosphere." However, he adds: ‘This subject, like all phenomena associated with rain formation, requires much further research directed towards the control of the forces involved, for the benefit of mankind.’
3.Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev (1834-1907), Russian scientist, best remembered for his Tabic of Elements. In his appendix to the article on Explosives in Entsiklopedichesky slovar', Brockhaus & Efron, St Petersburg, vol. 11, pp. 206-7, Mendeleev argues that the destructiveness of modern firearms will in
itself be a deterrent against future wars.
Another, less famous, scientist who is evidently concerned with the problem of inducing rainfall by means of explosions, A. Starkov, the editor of The Transactions of the Odessa Branch of the Imperial Russian Technological Society and a member of many other Russian and foreign learned associations, whose testimony is therefore reliable, published two papers in Odessa in 1892 under the titles ‘Can rain be artificially induced?’ and ‘Experiments in artificial rain-making in America’. He comes to the conclusion that: The problem regarding the possibility of artificially producing rain presents nothing that is impossible or supernatural, or that exceeds the limits of human powers... it is a most urgent problem of modern science and technology. It is so bold and grandiose that it appears at first as unattainable and beyond human capacity. Many reject it because they are stunned by the boldness and magnitude of the endeavour. But this is contrary to the spirit of science and technology. For the more difficult the problem, the more effort should be directed to its solution.
It is difficult to imagine even approximately, says Starkov in his other work, what tremendous consequences would result from the discovery of how to distribute (according to a general plan) the moisture stored in the atmosphere, because once in the possession of such a method we could regulate our agriculture and thus avoid crop failures.‘Atmospheric moisture is sufficient, but often its distribution does not favour the tiller and can even do harm. When he needs rain, it does not come. Then, when the tiller needs fine weather, it pours’. Discussing the reasons why the American experiments allegedly produced no results, Starkov asks: But did these experiments prove the opposite, that is, the impossibility of causing rainfall artificially? Not at all! On the contrary, eyewitnesses and others, both scientists and laymen, in their various papers agree on one point only, namely that these experiments did not prove the sterility of the endeavour; on the contrary, they offered hope that rain could be artificially induced... The American experiments in rain-making have given a real fillip to this task. Let us hope it will give rise to a new and sustained research effort into this exciting and tremendously important problem. Its successful solution would, on the one hand, be a momentous achievement of modern science and technology and, on the other, it would bring about an extremely significant and beneficial revolution in the economic life of the tiller, and consequently in society as a whole.
Starkov adds that, apparently, public opinion in America got so enthusiastic about this experiment that the timid approaches to Congress for a few tens of thousands of dollars have now grown into demands for millions to promote further research... However, Mr Starkov's hopes have so far not materialised, for no millions
of dollars, and not even more modest sums, have yet been allocated to research in rain-making. Yet we would like to point out that if the problem is adequately posed, this research would not require millions – which might even prove an impediment (large sums are inseparable from misappropriation) – provided the problem of rain-making is understood as the overall regulation of the meteorological process and the management of natural forces.
Experiments in producing rain artificially – or, rather, by rational human intervention – deal only with one aspect of the problem. For regulation, here used in its full meaning of the prevention of drought in some areas and of destructive rainstorms in others, cannot be confined within one region, however large: it is needed everywhere and always; and it is not artificial, but as natural as reason itself. What is unnatural is the continuation of the Wind process in the face of reason, because it shows the inactivity of that reason.
It is the force acting in the meteorological process that is blind – if one does not confuse it with God, who created both the blind force and Reason to control it. However, mankind, the bearer of Reason, instead of controlling this blind force in accordance with the divine commandment given at Creation and enjoining common, shared human labour, has replaced toil by prayer, whereas prayer in common should initiate and accompany work in common. Praying for our daily bread does not abolish the need to sow and till the earth, nor can it eliminate the need to manage (regulate) meteorological phenomena, including rainfall. Praying to God for daily bread together with working to control nature's blind force – such is the task entrusted by God to man. To carry it out is to fulfil the prayers, ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’, ‘Thy kingdom come’ and ‘Hallowed be Thy name’.
Methods of rain-making can be tested with the help of armies, without vast expenditure or any special allocations for the experiments. The government has but to order all artillery and other units carrying firearms to record meteorological observations, both in wartime and during manoeuvres, before, during and after firing their weapons; in other words, to transform artillery into instruments of research and soldiers into researchers recording the effects of explosions on atmospheric phenomena. These activities would not reduce the army's military power, if it came to the worst; and it would be unnecessary to continue with them if the results of the research proved successful, that is, if explosions did turn out to be a means of controlling atmospheric phenomena. Only thus, with the help of armies, can one discover the effects of gunfire and explosions in general on atmospheric phenomena. Do they disperse clouds, as some argue, or do they condense them into rain? Possibly – even undoubtedly – results will vary, and these variations will probably be explicable in terms of shells fired,
the state of the atmosphere, the lie of the land, and so on. If different results could be traced to specific conditions, firing could be carried out in precise experiments capable of being quantified (by number, volume and weight), replacing the present passive and rather meaningless meteorological observations.
Moreover, of overriding importance will be the transformation of military activity into the study of nature; a new purpose will be given to armies – that of scientific research. Thus will begin the transition from an unnatural, unbrotherly activity – the struggle against one's own kin – to the natural, rational action upon the blind, irrational forces of nature, which inflict upon us droughts, floods, earthquakes and other catastrophes, and reduce us, rational beings that we are, to an unnatural dependence on them. Should gunfire prove inadequate to produce the rarefaction of the air, that is, a reduction in atmospheric pressure sufficient to alter air currents (winds),* one could resort to the method proposed by V.N. Karazin (well known for his role in the foundation of the University of Kharkov and the setting up of the Ministry of Education). This consisted in raising lightning conductors into the upper layers of the atmosphere by means of fixed balloons so as to provoke an electrical discharge which would affect the motion of the clouds and might offer a way of directing their movement in the sky. The possibility of this has been corroborated by Baudouin and Lodge 4, and the latter considered it not impossible that the electrical tension of the atmosphere, and consequently weather conditions, might be controlled.
* Even the simplest of explosives, gunpowder, can have an effect on meteorological processes, as shown by the explosion in the Moscow Kremlin ordered in 1812 by Napoleon. The Kremlin suffered little damage because only some of the mines went off, but the atmospheric phenomena were extraordinary. It began to rain so hard that the fire started by the explosion was extinguished ; then the temperature fell to - 29°C, a real January frost, though it happened in the first half of October, the beginning of autumn. When experiments in rain-making have been discussed in various learned societies and meetings, no one has mentioned the 1812 Kremlin explosion.
4. Sir Oliver Lodge (1851-1940), Lightning Conductors and Lightning Guards, London, 1892, chap. 1.
Experiments with such devices would not require special expenditure if they were made mandatory for armies, since balloons, though not yet used as weaponry, are moving in that direction...
The transformation of military activity into a study of atmospheric phenomena would solve, incidentally, the question of the need for and the usefulness of manoeuvres. Short-sighted pacifists and detractors of the armed forces – those Pharisees who do not even bother to ask whether it is better to down arms or to use them to save mankind from
natural disasters – would protest against what they call 'war games'. Yet manoeuvres combined with meteorological observations – later to develop into experiments – would help solve the question of the effects of explosions on the meteorological process. Therefore it would be desirable for numerous manoeuvres to be carried out, as far as possible simultaneously and in as many places as possible, by mutual agreement, in all countries...
Since the cost of maintaining armed forces is so great, governments should maximise the usefulness of this expensive form of defence. According to a contributor to the journal Russky Invalid (Russian Invalid) for 1896, the expenditure incurred by our armies is already justified at the present time, not only by their defence of king and country but also by their self-sacrificing help in times of natural disaster...
Pettiness and philistinism are the hallmark of our positivistic industrial era. But no Gogol has yet arisen to denounce the philistinism of the European, and particularly the American, nineteenth century. This philistinism and cupidity, this absence of true greatness, were displayed also in the American attempt at rain-making. It merely proved that the Americans are not worthy of the great cause of saving mankind from starvation – a possibility they apparently did not even consider, being merely bent on profit. Indeed, it is even desirable that such small-scale private American experiments should fail because of the evil that American individualism could do if rainfall could be produced just by a few shots and explosions.
The distribution of rainfall should not be the responsibility of a few farmers, but of armies operating over vast territories or, better still, over the entire Earth. To patent the artificial production of rain, as attempted by the Americans, is worse than perverse: it is a profanation, a manifestation of ultimate moral and religious degeneration. They wished to emulate gods while remaining in a disunity inspired by Satan and failing to seek total unity in the likeness of the Triune God; nor did they wish to become perfect like God the Father in accordance with the words of the Saviour, the Victor over the spirit of discord and pride. The task of transforming the blind force which directs both dry and moist currents into a consciously regulated one can be given only to a commonwealth of all peoples and nations.
To justify its existence, the diabolical armaments technology asserts that the very destructiveness of its weapons is a deterrent to war, forgetting or concealing the fact that armaments and the expectation of war are hardly better than war itself. This justification is satanic sophistry. The Spanish-American war5 is a case in point. 'No sooner has it come to an end, than a new war is looming on the horizon', writes a correspondent from Buenos-Aires. The war season is ending in our hemisphere, only to begin in the other. Two of the largest and wealthiest
republics of Latin America 'are arming with febrile haste'. Although neither of these blood-related states has the overwhelming superiority in weapons that the USA had over Spain, nevertheless both ignore Mendeleev's law according to which the inclination to wage war is in inverse ratio to the might of a nation raised to the second, third and even higher power, the might of armaments being measured by their range and speed of firing. Much dynamite has been used for the peaceful purpose of building strategic roads, which are no worse than the commercial ones and have themselves been built in order to expand and protect commercial interests. The Chileans have mined their mountain passes. ‘The armaments of both contending parties are up to the latest standards of military science.’ Despite logic, common sense and such glaring facts as the struggle of the terrifyingly armed USA against one so poorly armed as Spain, Mendeleev continues to assert that wars will cease because of the destructiveness of weapons – so nothing needs to be done. True wisdom demands that we should not lull ourselves with such sophistry, but call a worldwide scientific congress to discuss the possibility of transforming armies – bearing in mind present-day compulsory military service, this means whole nations under arms – to combat famine. This would render unnecessary the various military draft exemptions and deferments.
5. The Spanish-American war of 1898 for the possession of the Philippines, which had been colonised by the Spanish since the sixteenth century.
A successful solution to the problems of drought and rainfall, the control of weather conditions and, more generally, of all the forces of nature, will radically change the economic conditions of our social order. This will affect fundamentally our views on society, on nature, on intelligence itself and its limits, and these changes will have beneficial consequences. They will be fatal only to those who take out patents and who sign contracts for the supply of rain, who are ready to expand financial speculation right up into heaven and make atmospheric phenomena into a source of profit.
When war has been transformed into research, and military service accepted by all nations, coordinated experiments will become universal and acquire a unity which will make induction equal to deduction.
Once armies go over from observation to action – a worldwide, telluric action – and harvests are made dependent on a system of regulation that embraces the entire Earth, then both international wars and internal ones, whether open or covert, will become impossible, for both tyranny and rebellion will become unthinkable. The critique of pure, theoretical reason, that of practical reason and all other critiques, will lose their present importance. Kant, the king of philosophers, as well as Comte, will be discredited, and Russia will free herself from these alien influences. Without such
an intellectual and moral victory, Russia cannot hope to succeed even in a material struggle against Germany or France or Japan – or perhaps all of them together – unless the struggle is forestalled by the transformation of military action into scientific research and the regulation of natural forces.
Regulation and its consequences will not merely free Russia from foreign influences, but will mean the coming of age of all mankind, united in the common cause of transforming a blind, death-bearing force into one directed by reason. Humanity will come to see its ideal organisation not in an animal organism 6 – which justifies the existence of upper and lower classes, as now – but in the Trinity, indivisible and unmerged, which is the true model of a society where union is not a constraint and the autonomy of the individual is not discord, a society free of the extremes of both oriental fatalism and Western individualism. The adoption of regulation will solve the social problem, put an end to proletarianisation without recourse to violence and do away with the miseries of our time.
6. Implicit reference to Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), who in his Principles of Sociology, part 2, had likened societies to animal organisms, comparing nutrition to industry, the nervous regulatory system to government, arteries and veins to roads and telegraph lines, and so on.
The change in the use of arms would be of greater consequence than one in the digestive systems of animals, which determine their predatory or peaceful character. War would become an impossibility because harvests, humanity's food supply, would depend on the implementation by the armies of a coordinated plan. Of course, the proposed method of deliverance from war would not be immediate. To use armies for a new purpose straightaway is not possible, though an immediate start could be made by enjoining them to carry out meteorological observations or by using the Karazin method of lightning conductors described above... Count Tolstoy would, of course, like to change mankind straightaway just by the power of words, and turn it from a war-loving into a peace-loving humanity. His words have been heard as far away as Japan, and even China, but have not prevented them from fighting each other. 7 His eloquence failed to impress even the Americans – those mainstays of the promoters of peace–and they even started a war. So it is more than permissible to doubt the effectiveness of his 'here and now' method of peace-making by words alone, however powerful and eloquent.
7. The Sino-Japanese war of 1894-5, for domination over Korea.
Wishful thinking is of no avail, because far deeper and more powerful causes impel people to adopt hostile attitudes towards one another. So long as these causes that make people quarrel and fight are not eliminated, not even understood, war cannot be abolished. Even pacifists carry on such fierce
debates with the advocates of war that their exchanges could become real warfare, had the contenders more power (duels have indeed occurred). So even the preaching of peace engenders militancy, and pacifists display aggressiveness and preach peace with hostility in their hearts. Such bitterness is quite comprehensible, when means as ineffective as words are used.
Standing as we do between the defenders of peace and the lovers of war, we suggest a method of reconciliation which would retain armies as a great force yet make war impossible. We, too, are filled with bitterness and resentment against both sides. The peace-lovers who demand the disbanding of armies and cry, 'Down with arms' forget that an army is a force and that this force, which spends itself in war, needs an outlet in some adequate activity. Industry cannot offer such an outlet. Jt can clothe, feed and provide for people – that is to say, it can prepare them for action – but it cannot satisfy them completely. Science and art in their present state are equally incapable of absorbing all the abilities of man.
The blindness of both lovers of peace and defenders of war is astounding, for they do not see the enemy against which they should both unite and turn their arms. Possibly, they do not notice this enemy, which is the blind force of nature, because it is present everywhere and always, within ourselves and without, and also because the defenders of both peace and war wish to have for their enemy not an unfeeling force but a being who can be made to feel their hate and anger, who can feel pain, and whose sufferings can be enjoyed by the lovers of peace. How can one otherwise explain such a passionate desire to see enemies only in one another, and in this enmity, despite constant bereavements, to forget the death-bearing force; or, although they suffer from famines and are fully aware of their causes, such as droughts and rainstorms, how can one explain such a passionate desire to accuse other people just as helpless as they themselves are, of being responsible? Neither can one blame nature for causing evil, because it is blind and because the rational force remains inactive. It is an inaction for which we all, not anyone in particular, are guilty, because we do not carry out the divine commandment laid down at the time of man's creation. And it is for this that we suffer punishment.
Foreword to a letter from F.M. Dostoevsky 1
Letter to the Editor
1.First published with Dostoevsky's letter (see Appendix I) in the Voronezh journal Don, n° 80, 1897. In 1876 N.P. Peterson had written to Dostoevsky asking him to publish in the Diary of a Writer an article apparently inspired by Fedorov, Dostoevsky did publish a long extract from it in the March issue of 1876 (chap. 2). The passage deals with associations, including trade
unions, which the author regards as unbrotherly, since they cater for their own members to the exclusion of others. From Dostoevsky's answer it would appear that Peterson's letter contained an exposition of Fedorov's ideas which the latter expanded in his foreword.
Dear Vsevoiod Grigor'evich,
Having come by chance across a letter of F.M. Dostoevsky's, which is important as an indicator of his religious convictions, we are anxious to have it published in your paper, with a few minor omissions that have no bearing on the particular idea of Dostoevsky's that impressed us.
The letter refers to an unknown thinker – but they are so numerous in Russia today, and of little concern to us. It is the thought of Fedor Mikhailovich that is of importance to us, an idea of amazing greatness and one that gives a meaning and an aim to human life at a time when such things are so desperately needed because, with the loss of purpose and sense, life too has lost all value. Dostoevsky says in his letter, ‘Most essential is the duty to resurrect the ancestors who lived before us’, that is to say, our duty, our task, consists in bringing back to life all who have died, all those whom, as sons and descendants, we lost – our fathers and ancestors. Of course, this duty is also a Divine commandment, which enjoins all humans as rational beings not merely to reproduce and populate the world but also to govern it. In other words, God's commandment demands from the human race that it transform the overpowering, blind, soulless force of the universe into one informed by the spirit, reason and will of all the resurrected generations. It is in this sense that we understand Dostoevsky's idea of the duty of all humans. However much we pondered on his thought, we could come to no other conclusion. Nor can it be understood otherwise since, according to Dostoevsky, the fulfilment of this duty would halt; the procreation of children and would mean that nothing would happen unconsciously. Everything would be the result of reason, will and conscious work; nothing would be gratis; everything would be earned. Dostoevsky's idea deserves particular attention and a speedy implementation, because the ever-increasing human race is reaching the point of overpopulating the Earth. Within a century or two we shall have to pray to Jupiter or Allah (no such prayer can be addressed to the Christian God) that he permit destructive wars, plagues and other catastrophes capable of reducing the population. The alternative is to follow the Christian path and restore life to the decomposed dust of the deceased, and become capable of living beyond the confines of the Earth, in the Universe at large.
How puny by comparison are the aims proposed to man hitherto, such as comfort (even for all) and luxury (inessentials); or greater freedom of men from one another – that is, 1 not union in labour to achieve a definite purpose, but freedom as something negative
and devoid of positive content; or, I finally, progress, which adds to freedom and disunity the exaltation of the younger over the older, of sons over fathers, of the living over the dead those 'loathsome ancestors', in the words of Ritschl.2 To put it briefly, progress, being a sense of major superiority over the fathers and ancestors and of a relatively minor superiority over animals, is at the same time an admission of one's insignificance before a blind, insensate force together with a servile submission to this force, thus excluding any sense or aim from human existence, as well as any notion of duty.
2.Probably Albrecht Ritschl (1822-89). German theologian, follower of Kant, who regarded metaphysics as distinct from theology and knowledge as distinct from faith. His name recurs in Fedorov's writings directed against Kant.
To advocate the resuscitation of ancestors as a most important duty follows obviously from an idea entirely different from that of freedom and progress, because what is necessary to implement this duty, as indicated by Dostoevsky, is not the worship of a blind, irrational force, nor the freedom of one man from another, but the union of rational beings in order to study this blind force which brings hunger, disease and death and to transform it from one bringing death to one bringing life. This entails that all become research workers and everything an object of knowledge – not sterile knowledge, but knowledge translated into action.
At a time when so much is written about universal compulsory education, the idea of making everyone a learner will not seem too bold, and one should note that the demand for such education is possible only in the name of a common duty, the duty mentioned by Dostoevsky, which demands that one should not live for oneself nor for others, but with all and for all. It requires the union of all the living for the resurrection of all the dead, the union of the sons to restore life to all the fathers. What could be more sublime than this? It is neither egoism nor altruism, but something loftier than both. To demand universal education merely in the hope of driving out superstition, in the hope that it will put an end, for instance, to the sect of skoptsy (eunuchs), as is assumed by Mr.Vakhterov,* is to forget that Origen was no illiterate and that table-rapping (spiritualism) and other superstitions proliferate not among the illiterate but among the literate, even the very literate. 3
* Russkaya mysl' (Russian Thought), 1897, n° I.
3. Vasilii Porfirovich Vakhterov (1853-1924), a progressive Russian educationist, very active in the promotion of universal primary education in Russia in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, author of widely used elementary textbooks. The Greek theologian and biblical scholar Origen (AD 185-254) is said to have castrated himself, taking literally v. 12, chap. 19
of the Gospel according to St Matthew.
The idea of involving everybody in the study of nature and making everything an object of knowledge is not new. We met it in the epigraph to the article 'Concerning a memorial to V.N. Karazin',* which says, ‘Modern science is based on conclusions drawn from observations made by some, somewhere and sometimes, whereas it should be based on conclusions of observations carried out always, everywhere and by everybody.’ Observations are only knowledge, and not action, whereas science will become action when experimentation is carried out by all, all over the world, according to a single plan.
In the foreword to ‘A legend about the building of a church in Vologda in a single day’**, a whole plan is outlined for building similar churches-schools, dedicated to the Holy Trinity as a model of unanimity and concord.4 The author of the article assumes that it would be possible to introduce into these sacred churches-schools types of education that include research. It would therefore be possible to implement the idea of Karazin, who suggested combining instruction with meteorological observations and other observations of nature.
* Nauka i zhizn’ (Science and Life), 1894, № 15 and 16.
** Chteniya v obshchestve istorii i drevnostei rossiiskikh Proceedings of the Society of Russian History and Antiquities), 1893, vol. 166, n 3.
4. Both the article on Karazin and the foreword to the legend are by Fedorov; reprinted respectively in FOD I, pp. 644-50 and 650-5.
Together with Dostoevsky's letter we came across a small notebook – unfortunately incomplete – entitled ‘What should a people's school be like?’. This is probably a copy or a rough draft of an article referred to approvingly by Dostoevsky. It starts with the question, 'What must our primaty school be like?' Must it teach permanent submission to the laws of blind nature, according to which the new absorbs the old, only to be in turn absorbed, in perennial submission to a blind force that cannot create without destroying, or give birth without killing? Or should primary schools teach obedience to the Divine law. the Divine commandment, according to which whatever comes later should restore life to what came before, thus achieving its own immortality and fulfilling the duty of resuscitation mentioned by Dostoevsky? Of course, the problem is solved in accordance with God's will, and not with the law of nature, which prescribes constant struggle – and on the basis of this General Dragomirov 5 recently defended the absolute necessity of perennial wars.
5. Mikhail (vanovich Dragomtrov (1830-1905), a senior general in the Russian army, took part in (he Rus so-Turkish war of 1877-8 A former Head of the Academy of the General Staff, and writer on military strategy, tactics and training, he stressed that soldiers should he educated to understand their duties, not merely drilled.
It was actually the ‘Military note’ in the Novoe vremya which quoted the opinion of General Dragomirov on the inevitability and absolute necessity of wars, that prompted us to hasten the publication of Dostoevskys letter, since, according to this letter, the duty set before mankind, while making wars unnecessary, yet makes armed forces extremely necessary, if these are understood as involving obligatory lifelong service for all. What is most important is that General Dragomirov himself can contribute to the establishment of peace, so longed-for by mankind, as well as raise the status of the armed forces and prepare them for a great future.
General Dragomirov will probably be astonished that in defending the absolute and perennial necessity of wars he deprives the army of a truly great future. By denying, with Dostoevsky, the need for the eternal persistence of warfare, one can – or, better, one must – inevitably admit the continued existence of and need for armed forces, until such time as they vanquish that force that can be called a temporary foe yet an eternal friend (nature). When this force has been conquered, the armed forces will embrace all humanity, which will become both consciousness and will – the Reason of nature – and will thus abolish the law which is in fact the blindness of nature to which all, even rational beings, bow down.
General Dragomirov's admission of the necessity of war leads to the denial of a great future for the armed forces, and results probably from the fact that, however strange it may sound, Dragomirov does not accept our definition of an army, a definition that would embrace every purpose for which an army can be used. Its purpose, it is usually said, is to defend the fatherland against external and internal foes. But what can we make of the following incident? A fire started in a large provincial city. The flames spread towards a big ammunition dump, and people fled the town in terror. Only those who have to remain where they are, even when others flee, covered the roof of the dump with their bodies, on their own initiative. The soldiers knew that their sacrifice would neither earn them the St George Cross nor be regarded as an act of heroism, nor even a noteworthy one. This case is not unique. Another heroic act of self-immolation by Russian soldiers happened during the floods on the Sui-Fun, showing that acts of heroism are performed by the army even in peacetime. Here Koreans as well as Russians were rescued at the cost of kin. Indeed, for the Russian army, confronted by a common natural disaster, there can be no aliens, no foreigners. There have been instances of the army taking part in the fight against locusts and other dangers.
Evidently, in accordance with military law, armed forces are in fact obliged to fight not only individuals of their own species but also the blind forces of nature, to which the advocates of armies kowtow and wish to serve, in defiance of
the second divine commandment. They may not accept the latter, yet they cannot, have no right to, reject what is an expression of human consciousness, of rational nature.
In an article signed S.U.T.-va in Russkii Invalid* (1896, n° 90) the expenditure on the army is justified on the grounds not only that it defends king and country against external and internal enemies, but also that it performs deeds of valour in the event of natural disasters; and a plea is made for this type of army activity to be taken into consideration. However, it is not in these actions, however numerous yet fortuitous, that lies the army's great future. It lies in victory over those very laws in whose immutability those who accept eternal warfare believe, recognising solely blind nature and disregarding rational nature. ‘Isn't man a creation of that same nature?’ asks General Dragomirov. Yet even if man is recognised to be a creation of nature, one must admit that this creation has begun to understand its imperfection, which consists in the elimination, the absorption, of the old by the new, the latter to be eliminated and absorbed in its turn. This imperfection arises from the disunion of worlds owing to which life on Earth manifests itself only as a succession of generations; this imperfection is perceived as a law according to which nature destroys while creating, and war is regarded as subsumed under this law.
Yet man has always felt and recognised the imperfection of nature, and has never accepted it as law. He broke this law when he took his first step, because his vertical posture challenged gravity, the most universal law of nature. This upright position is not natural to man – it is supranatural – and he has achieved it artificially, through effort (by swaddling and other methods of adaptation). One cannot say of man that he is the creation of nature. On the contrary, he is the result of under-creation, of deprivation, of a natural pauperism which is shared by rich and poor alike; he is a proletarian, a pariah among living creatures. Yet in this lay the origin of his future greatness; deprived of natural cover and means of defence, he had to create all this himself by his own labour. Therefore man values only that which has been created by working, or which expands the area of application of work; it is not difficult to guess that the culmination of this forward movement must be that everything on which human life depends will ultimately be achieved through work, so that humans will depend solely on their labour. Consequently the entire world, the meteorological, telluric and cosmic processes, will be the responsibility of man, and nature will be his work. Man is driven towards this goal by hunger, disease and every other calamity, so that whenever he delays in expanding the area of work, the scope for disasters expands. Thus nature punishes man by death for his ignorance and sloth, and drives him to ever-expanding labour.
year 1891 and the present year 1897, which evidently is going to be no better, have failed to lead to an expansion of the realm of work, although there were reasons for doing so. The Russkie vedomosti wrote about the experiment in rain-making by means of explosives, that is, by using substances predominantly designed for mutual annihilation. This experiment had been carried out in America, though one would expect such experiments to take place in Russia, a country often afflicted by crop failures caused by drought and, occasionally, by excessive rainfall; a country which urgently needs to control the meteorological processes and which possesses a considerable army, whose destiny might become the defence against cataclysmic weather. And the Russkii arkhiv very appropriately reminded its readers that nearly eighty years ago the famous Karazin had suggested experiments in rain-making by means of lightning-conductors raised on aerostats. The latter are now included in the army's arsenal. Furthermore, in its concern for Russia as well as for the whole planet, the journal mentioned not merely rain-making but also the general regulation of the entire meteorological process, 6
6. A reference to Fcdorov's own unsigned article, 'V.N. Karazin i gospodstvo nad prirodoi' ('V.N. Karazin and domination over nature). Russkii arkhiv, 1892. n. 5, pp. 75-90.
However, the present generation is too frightened by the magnitude of time and space revealed by geology and astronomy, and has been so conditioned by four centuries of nature worship that it feels only its insignificance, and fears even to contemplate such an endeavour as weather control. Nevertheless, with a view to weather control and to the conversion of the army into a force for the study of nature (which would in no way impede its military might), it was suggested in Russkii arkhiv that the study of meteorological processes during peacetime training (particularly during firing practice) might be introduced, thereby being able to estimate the effectiveness of the American, the Karazin or any other method of affecting nature; for such methods are bound to be discovered as soon as attention is focused on them.* Incidentally, Karazin submitted his idea of rain-making experiments to Arakcheev 7, who was then in Paris with Emperor Alexander I. Arakcheev ridiculed Karazin as a sorcerer
* ‘Karazin and domination over nature’, Russkii arkhiv, 1892, n° 5, p. 75, and the article, ‘On managing the forces of nature’ (“Penzenskie gubernskie vedomosti”), 1892. n05 130, 132.
7. Count Aleksei Andreevich Arakcheev (1769-1834), War Minister and favourite of Alexander I. His name has become a byword for despotism and cruelty.
Yet even Metternich would not have dismissed the Holy Alliance as mere verbiage, had the monarchs who signed it included among the obligations of their armies the duty to carry out experiments of the kind suggested
by Karazin, and thus initiated the transformation of instruments of destruction into means of salvation from famine, disease, pestilence and their fundamental causes. Not only in the years following the Napoleonic wars, but even in our time, when weapons of destruction have reached amazing perfection, our present pseudo-Christians forget that humanity constantly suffers from hunger; they do not want to hear that the point of a sword, lance or pike raised on an aerostat (according to Karazin), as well as many other arms used in war, may become means of affecting atmospheric conditions and, consequently, save everybody from famine and disease.* In any case, the transformation of instruments of destruction into instruments of salvation from calamities that harm everyone is worthy of investigation, worthy of becoming an object of thought and action. Yet our prophets preach non-thinking and non-doing 8 .
* ‘Concerning a memorial to Karazin’, Russkii arkhiv, 1892. n° 5 and Nauka i zhizn’, 1894, n. 15 and 16; also, the appendix by Mendeleev to his article on Explosives in the Brockhaus & Efron encyclopedia, vol. 11, p. 177 .
8. An allusion to L.N. Tolstoy, who preached non-participation in the armed forces and the civil government and, in general, non-resistance to evil by force.
To transform instruments of destruction into instruments of salvation from hunger and pestilence is the universal and obligatory task of all the sons of man. The human race can unite not merely to make its existence independent of the blind force of nature, but also to make that soulless and death-bearing force into an instrument of its will, a will obedient to that of the God of the fathers. Herein lies the great future of the armed forces, or rather, the nations of the world transformed into an army, that is to say, the masses acting according to a single plan, because only such masses (as explained in the Russkii arkhiv article mentioned above), acting according to a unified plan, completely satisfy the basic conditions for the great Common Task – universality and communion.
The transition from a civilian to a military state, combining obligatory service with obligatory education and knowledge, will introduce superior moral principles into the world, principles based on the recognition of the imperfection (mortality) of the sons of man ; the sons of deceased fathers will demand resuscitation and immortality, ousting the present concern of protecting one's individual pseudo-dignity against others, in conformity with the present-day pharisaic morality.
With respect, I have the honour, dear Sir, to remain always at your service.
11 June, 1897, Voronezh.
Faith, deed and prayer 1
1.From FOD, vol. II, section I, pp. 3-5.
Faithfulness to the God of the fathers, the God of Adam and of all the ancestors,
is true religion; all others are a betrayal of God and of one's forebears.
Living faith, according to St James the apostle, finds its expression in deeds; according to St Paul it is the implementation (by action, of course!) of the hoped-for; and, finally, faith is a promise, a pledge to fulfil the will of the God of the fathers, and is completely identical with that of the common people, the orthodox.
Only among the learned does faith become divorced from action and come to be mere representation. Faithfulness to the God of the fathers and to each other is the expression of a faith inseparable from love, that is, from action, from service to God the Father, the God of the fathers.
Faith without deeds is a dead faith, it is unproductive, it does not create the Kingdom of God. Faith without prayer is cold, soulless; it is not athirst for the Kingdom of God.
Faith is necessary; action is necessary; prayer, too, is necessary.
The faith of the unlearned, the faith of the people, is expressed (1) in prayer, (2) in commandments and (3) in the Common Task or the service of God. The prayer implied here is one that does not wish to make God into an implement of our will, but is ready to make us an instrument of God's will.
The collective prayer of all the living (sons and daughters), the prayer of the whole community to the God of the fathers for the return of life, comprises the fullness of prayer. This fullness of prayer would coincide with the fullness of faith if it were accompanied by the action of all the living.
Faith includes the prayer for the Kingdom of God, the full or Lord's prayer, and the short prayer, that of the Thief, together with the Beatitudes. Similarly, in the service of God, in Divine deeds and Divine services, prayer is combined with the commandments, whereas in the catechism they are distinct.
The prayer of the Thief to be remembered in the coming Kingdom of God, and the prayer for the coming of that Kingdom and for participating in it (‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’), is a prayer for union in prayer and deed, for daily bread – that is, for the realisation of the Kingdom of God and deliverance from the kingdom of the Evil One.
Prayer and faith are inseparable from the commandments. The commandments of the Old Testament are rules of what one should not do, and contain a creed, or dogmas of faith: namely, (1) the recognition of the God of the fathers and the rejection of other gods and (2) the honouring of the fathers by the sons, which is also faithfulness to the brothers and to unity.
On the other hand, the New Testament creed also comprises commandments. By transforming the Old Testament commandments of not doing into positive rules of doing, we get the Christian commandments.
What is called the Beatitudes is the praise of different states of our thoughts, feelings and desires.
These commandments are addressed to listeners in the plural, not in the singular as in the Old Testament – a profoundly significant feature, indicating the need for collective salvation, not merely for personal, individual salvation. Furthermore, they are not orders, nor even advice, but praise of the states that lead to the Kingdom of God – which indicates the superiority of the voluntarily chosen way over the enforced. The first Beatitude, regarding the poor in spirit who are promised the Kingdom of God, encompasses all the others, for those who mourn cannot be proud and convinced of their superiority, nor can the meek, nor those thirsting for truth and righteousness, nor the merciful, be proud. To put it briefly, the way to bliss, to the Kingdom of God, leads away from the vain, commercial, industrial urban life, from upper-class pride to rural simplicity and humility, and hence to unification. The blessedness of unity is essential for the blessedness of resurrection. These two forms of blessedness bring together the first seven Beatitudes, while the two last are temporary and will be discarded when there are no longer any tormentors or tormented.
On the other hand, the ways to the kingdom of this world, the ways of sorrow, go in the opposite direction, from the countryside to the towns, from the outlying regions to the centres, forgetful of the cautionary threats: woe to towns, woe to ancient cities (Capernaum, Khorasin and, earlier, Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrha, Nineveh and Babylon), woe even to Jerusalem, and a hundredfold more bitter woe to our modern cities for their growing sinfulness, catastrophes and impenitence.
Impenitence is contrary to the prayer of contrition which leads to unification and salvation. The prayer of the Thief, which united him with Christ and opened up to him the gates of His kingdom, was a prayer of repentance, agony and crucifixion. The cross has thus become the symbol of repentance, of suffering, of the supreme act of salvation and, at the same time, the banner of unification and victory. The translation of prayer into action transfigures the worshipper himself into a sign of the cross; lifting his head towards heaven and spreading his arms, the praying figure seems to be calling upon his neighbours for help against an alien force which, because of its hostility, has forced him to stand up and take on a watchful (defensive) yet praying posture. Then the praying person makes the sign of the cross over himself. The external representation of the cross is a church, a place of reunion for all those risen from the dust of the earth, the dust of the fathers gathered together in an alien, hostile world. Taking on himself the shape of a cross, the worshipper represents it externally, and when it is enlarged in the form of a church he endows it with his image. The ultimate point in the development of prayer, embodied in the sign of the cross, will be the transfiguration of the entire world into a cross,
that is, the translation of the image of the Son of Man into irrational nature. Both the daily and the annual divine services within the church, which educates and teaches the Common Task, will find their culmination in a service beyond the confines of the church, conducted by all the forces of the world in a liturgy beyond the confines of church buildings, in a universal Easter throughout the world.