Then he motioned to me and we started out. In the street the lift carried us up again to the top of the houses, then, by moving pavement, we went to the fast line stop and from there into the train. We shot over the town.
Now I kept a closer watch but could discover no variety nowhere a tower, a colonnade, an outstanding building; I did not even see a cemetery either.
Once we passed over factories; at least the special arrangement of the buildings, the skylights, and the railways winding about the yard showed them to be so. But the buildings had no chimneys or fences.
I came to know later that everything was worked by electricity. Electricity operated the machines, cooked the dinners, baked the bread, heated the rooms, cleaned, washed and aired. Only in laboratories were open flames known.
Then we passed through fields where the track ran along a raised embankment. We were among mountains and forests.
Suddenly a big block of houses emerged before us. Here the train went underground and, braking vigorously, came to a stop.
We got out. Beside us shone the metal cars of a different kind of train. Many people got out of them, some with bandaged hands, faces, others being carried on stretchers. From this I deduced we were at a hospital.
We stepped into a lift which carried us straight into the hall of one of the buildings.
Now my guide led me along corridors, until, entering one of the rooms, I found myself among strange machines.
Two people were walking about among the apparatuses. On our arrival one of them came up to me. My guide, pointing at me, exchanged a few words with him and he in turn bade me sit down on a chair.
My guide now turned without a word and left. Doubts preyed on my mind as I did not know if he would finally leave me to myself or would return, but he did not take leave of me and so I became calmer, thinking that I would not be alone in the company of a man who knew even less about me than my guide.
My new custodian, who-as became clear later — was indeed a physician, sat down opposite me, observed my pupils, tapped my knees to test my reflexes, and then, having made me remove my shoes, stood me in front of some sort of machine.
On a snow-white enamelled column stood a large flat disc on which several scaled glass windows were situated all around. From the column projected several dozen jointed metal arms, one of which ended in a metal plate, another in a needle, a third in a suction head, each in a different strange instrument. The machine was like a hundred-armed Hindu statue of a god. On the top there were some sharply pointed glittering metal spires.
The physician shoved a chair in front of me and, with mixed feelings, I sat down. I looked with particular suspicion at one of the arms which ended in a needle.
The doctor took this very arm. He pulled open my clothes at my shoulder and without emotion pricked the needle into my shoulder blade.
I was just about to protest against this unnecessary torture as nothing was wrong with me, but surprise deprived me of speech. I felt nothing of the injection, though the physician had not previously anaesthetized me.
I looked at the queer device with amazement. Behind its windows streaks of light lit up which then oscillated up and down changing colour several times.
The doctor now struck at me with other arms-at my forehead, chest, temple and back. The lights again oscillated vigorously behind the glass windows; from the metal peaks on the top of the machine electric discharge crackled and then the streaks of light slowly settled. At this moment there was a ringing sound and winding out from the machine came a wide paper band covered with writing. The physician tore this off and examined it through a magnifying lens.
The room suddenly turned dark and on the glass wall opposite me a vernal meadow appeared. The earth was covered with a marvellous carpet of flowers, the shrubs were laden with blossom, and all the blooms were without exception white. The meadow was stirred by a soft breeze, and when this whispered past my face I could enjoy the refreshing spring scent filling my lungs. And from the shrubs came the song of birds.
However, this great whiteness slowly faded. The meadow became now yellow, now blue, then changed into an utterly improbable ultramarine and finally turned red.
At the same time men and women dressed in white stepped out of the shrubbery and with slow steps walked across the scene. Their bodies swayed, their arms swung rhythmically and the throbbing song of the birds, too, was in harmony with this rhythm. It was something like a dance, but much more simple and natural.
After my considerably depressed feelings it was at any rate a refreshing and interesting sight. I marvelled at the perfect plasticity of the figures and at the scent, which could not have been produced by any technical equipment in our cinemas. Besides, to begin with, the spectacle afforded a definite artistic pleasure.
Unfortunately, however, the beautiful creation was spoilt by some blunders that considerably lessened its artistic value and gave the impression of bold dilettantism. The flowery field divided into parts. Blue, yellow and red squares drew close to one another and then merged into each other, one colour overcoming the other and the pulse of the birds' songs gradually became so artificial that it disturbed my pleasant mood. To make matters worse unnatural sounds such as car-siren hooting and the crackling and whistling of instruments broke in upon the song of the birds. The clothes of the performers changed, too; the light and loose white spring gowns became heavy ones trimmed with fur. Yellow brass belts appeared on them from which shining blue stones hung and finally into the vernal scent other unlikely odours mixed. I could smell mint, ether and even sulphur.
Now — to be frank — I began not to understand the matter. But I had little time to ponder, as the room became bright, the picture disappeared, the whizzing suction fans extracted the smell, the machine buzzed, and a new paperband emerged which the doctor tore off and scrutinized.
It became dark again.
On the wall the picture of an orange appeared, then another beside it, a third one, a fourth one and so on. At the same time such a pleasant orange aroma wafted towards me that it made my mouth water and I felt a great desire to eat one.
When, however, quite a heap had already risen, the oranges began to arrange themselves into rows until I was finally faced by one single wall of oranges.
Now the oranges slowly dissolved into each other, the outlines blurred, only their colour remained as if the wall of the room had been painted orange. At the same time the scent evaporated.
The colour then turned into more and more vivid tones, gained a lacquered shine and finally glittered so brilliantly that none of the paints known to us could possibly compare with it.
With this, however, the room became suddenly bright, the machine buzzed, and ejected a new paper band for the doctor to examine. I sat dazed as I had no idea as to the meaning of this, why they had done it, and what connection there had been between the events shown on the wall.
It became dark again.
On the wall, in the left corner, a man appeared. In exhaustion he collapsed into a chair and wiped his forehead. This was repeated in the right corner: a man appeared and sat down. Now a table set itself in front of each and on the tables appeared food-boxes such as I had seen in the dining hall.
The first man opened his box hastily and voraciously attacked the food but before he could even sink his spoon into it the other stepped up to him, took it from him and threw it away.
This unexpected turn of events astonished me but before I could regain my equilibrium the aggressor was back at his seat and on the table in its turn appeared another box. The hungry man again fell to, but the aggressor stepped up to him anew and threw away the food.
This outraged me and, indeed, I could only admire the hungry man's patience that the attacker was again able to commit his perfidious deed without reprisal, but this was not yet enough. The scene repeated itself action by action for the third time ! This unbelievable impudence so infuriated me that I was almost about to leap over and take revenge on behalf of the poor helpless chap. Although, to tell the truth, I would have most gladly given a piece of my mind to him as well.
Now the fourth appeared on the table. The hungry man opened it, whereupon the aggressor stood up yet again.
This was already more than enough. I felt that if he did not slap his face this time, I should burst.
However, the hungry man stood up too. With my nerves stretched to breaking point I was looking forward to the hard, relieving cuff but this was not what happened.
Instead the hungry man shouted.
"Elo! Elo! "
At this several people ran to the scene, surrounded the attacker and forced him to sit down in his place. And now such a thing ensued which could have been termed anything except the solution of such dramatic conflict.
The hungry man opened the aggressor's box, dug his spoon into it, and — made him eat, while the others kept him down! In the meantime he continuously explained to him but without any emotion in his voice. When they had compelled him to eat the whole portion, he was helped to his feet, three men led him away, and the hungry man set at last about his own portion and ate it.
With this the room became bright again, and I was filled with the greatest feeling of want. This story not only lacked dramatic justice but deeply unsettled even my day-to-day sense of justice. I do not say that the food of the aggressor should have been thrown away as well, for after all food is not to be wasted, but at least some lesson should have been taught him to remove any similar inclination to high-handed actions in the future! Or, if they considered such a timid public would be horrified by this, they should have turned him over to the police, so that behind prison bars he might have had the opportunity to ponder over the rules of proper conduct. But to feed him!
From this story, fair play and reassuring justice were entirely absent. It was not balanced, it was unjust, it was incomplete. Why? And why had I, above all, to see all this? I took the whole business to be some sort of psychotechnological examination. But why should the victim be treated to an episode which lay beyond all. logic? What diagnosis could possibly be established on such a basis?
The doctor, however, pulled the needle from my shoulder blade, tore a new band off the machine, examined it and rang a bell.
Two more of his companions entered, beckoned me to go with them and then, again through corridors, we came to an enormous park and, crossing that, entered a one-storey building.
They led me into a low-ceilinged room where I had to sit down stripped naked on a chair. Having sat down I was horrified to discover that on its arms were copper sheets, similar to those of an electric chair, and suddenly the suspicion flashed through my mind that I had fallen into the hands of one of. my country's enemies. I saw a formidable metal hood hanging at the end of a cable from the ceiling and a strange hissing could be heard from inside it. My presentiments were confirmed when I realized they wanted to crown me with this.
Screaming I started from the chair and wanted to run out, but two of them jumped on me, held me down, forced me back onto the chair, strapped me to it, fitted the hood onto my head, and fastened it securely.
Beads of sweat appeared on my face; shouting in all kinds of languages I protested, and kicked out, but was unable to battle with such numerical superiority, and, my strength waning, I closed my eyes, committed my soul to God and gave up the struggle.
Now a third man flicked a switch on the wall and I felt my hair standing on end. At that time I ascribed it to fear but later it turned out to be the result of static electricity. A low buzz could be heard from the hood, they then removed it from my head and I eventually realized with relief that I was still alive.
They untied my hands and as I touched my head, everything became clear : my hair was cut. I had the same plain cropped hair-style as they themselves. The whole haircut had taken scarcely five seconds. Now I was looking forward with much greater tranquillity to the things to come.
After this my chair began to move; in the next room they fitted another cap on my head. Soon lukewarm water flooded over my. head, a rotating brush washed it, and then, in a few minutes when they took the cap off, my hair was already dry and combed
From. here the chair carried me through a pool; then warm air was blown onto me. Finally I passed through a big tube, in which a strange lilac light flickered.
Afterwards they dressed me in brand new clothes, just like those I had received in the town, and finally they led me into a comfortable, clean little room, explained to me that this would be my home, and left me alone. The furniture of the room, by the way, was exactly the same as I had seen in my guide's home. This reassured me as I was already afraid that on account of the former regrettable misunderstandings they took me for a madman.
But what was to come?
I had little time to ponder. A few minutes later a man entered, took hold of my arm and said : "ba". Then he pointed to my foot: "bola," he said and motioned to me to repeat it.
So, they wanted to teach me their language, which made me very glad. At last I might hope that the many hitherto unsolved questions would be cleared up. Next he pointed to himself.
"Zatamon," he said.
I understood. That was his name.
I shall not bore the Reader with more details. Suffice to say that I spent the following period studying the language and in a month I could speak to them perfectly.
Their language is of the utmost simplicity. Their alphabet consists of thirty letters : fifteen vowels and fifteen consonants. From among the consonants the "r", "q", "x" and "c" are missing, whereas they have more vowels than our language.
Speaking their language is on the whole very comfortable. The more difficult sounds and double letters they do not have; in their words vowels and consonants follow each other alternately. The characters, too, are completely plain: horizontal, oblique and vertical lines, upright and horizontal ellipses, our letter "v" in four different positions, the circle and deltoid, etc. In short, each was a geometrical figure, which so characteristically fitted the local pattern.
For numbering, too, they used letters. Each number had two names: a vowel and a consonant, from which the Reader can already see that they did not use the decimal but the quindenary numerical system. The names of number one, for instance, are "e" and "l", number twelve "i" and "m", number fourteen "u" and "z". (I make mention only of such characters as also occur in our own alphabet.) This abbreviates the numbers in both writing and speech alike, as the numbers, too, are expressed by placing vowels and consonants alternately one after the other. The number 3331, for example is written in the quindenary system with three figures only: 14-12-1, and they write and call it "zil".
For time divisions they did not use hours and minutes; the day was divided into 50,625 parts (which is the fourth power of fifteen); one such part is somewhat longer than our second. And what we express by "6 hours 32 minutes 11 seconds in the afternoon", they simply denoted by saying "kalaz", which is the number of time units which have passed since midnight. Later I learned how easy it was to memorize telephone numbers this way.
Their words are extremely brief, and I had the impression that their language had been compiled artificially as the words used most often were the shortest. The character of each word can be established by considering its first letter. For example all nouns begin with "b", such as "ba" and "bola" which have already been mentioned. Personal names commence with "Z", and the attributes with "k", while with initial vowels they indicate verbs. That the indicator of the character of the word stands in front makes speech more easily comprehensible as the listener's attention is better distributed within the word.
With intonation, too, they express much more than our language. Different intonations are used by one who advises, addresses, approves or refutes. Similarly the word order is also very varied, and the meaning of the sentence can be altered by changing the place of one single word. And all this was very easy to acquire as their language has the strange feature that it has no exceptions.
To give an example, in our parliaments lengthy debates can evolve over questions such as who is to the right in political discussions and who is to the left, who is a nationalist and who is an internationalist, who supports dictatorships and who supports liberalism, and so on. In their language the dozens of variations in intonation, word order and affixes do not convey such concepts as dictatorship, liberalism, or nationalism, but the intention, the goal. This is why they do not have expressions for such things, but all the more often I heard the words kazo and kazi.
As the Reader will come across these two words many times, I must discuss them in more detail.
None of them can be translated into any European language.. If they said of an action "it is kazo," this would mean, if we said it, that it was "legal, rightful". But this is only an approximation. Let us see what they applied this word to. Kazo is somewhere between chivalry, impartiality, patience, self-respect and justice. It means some general rightful intention but cannot be translated by any of these words, as with us a one-shilling tip to the waiter is considered chivalrous, which is not kazo with them, being the overpayment of something. Nor does impartiality suffice, because with this is mixed the idea of compliance, while the heart has nothing to do with kazo. It is a strict mathematical conception for the equality of service and counterservice, something similar to the principle of action and reaction in physics. If someone who does more heavy work also eats more, it is kazo for them. If somebody eats more because his stomach requires it, then that is also kazo. And if the invalid who does no work wishes to have finer food, then this, too, is kazo.
It is likewise kazo if somebody finds himself in trouble and the others, putting their work aside, help him, but only as long as is necessary.
I may say it took a lot of my time before I understood this idea. In order somehow to familiarize my Readers with it, I will endeavour to approach it by this definition: Kazo is pure reason which perceives in a mathematical straight line and clarity when and how it must act so that the individual, through society, reaches the greatest possible well-being and comfort.
That is, to organize work, rest, sleep, sport, food, and our attitude towards our fellow-men so that we can produce the maximum possible, but without damaging our health with unnecessary strain. If somebody works less than this, it is not kazo, because what he has omitted to do, somebody else has to do as extra work, which he can do only wearily, to his own detriment. We must not forget, kazo is not individualistic but communal in sense: what is not kazo for someone else is not kazo for me either.
In kazo is, of course, included the personal faculty, too. The more talented, the stronger, produces more. To us this appears to be an injustice, but to them it is as natural as to expect a bigger output with less fuel consumption in the case of a more efficient machine. It also includes the help given to companions in trouble, as it is not an individual but a general principle. In case of necessity the work of a whole town would stop to rescue one single man. And the most wonderful thing is that, as we shall see later, kazo had no kind of emotional character. In several cases it was even applied to matters that had no connection with the human society. If, for example hares gnawed round the young trees, this, too, they considered, kazo, but if the mother hare devoured her own leverets it was not kazo. One would be a remarkable man were one to understand them!
The opposite of this is kazi. For example, somebody takes new clothes from the store when he could continue to use the old ones. Or if without pressing necessity, one disturbs the actions of one's fellow-men, for instance, unnecessarily talking to them of things that are of no consequence to either, or, let us say, if one were to announce that in the garden nobody else might sit on a certain deck-chair even though one is not oneself sitting on it.
If someone, for instance, is lying on a couch in the garden, and there is no other place, and another man comes up to him and asks him to yield his place and he is not willing to do so, then it is kazo if the resting person is more tired, otherwise it is kazi.
When, in the course of my studies, I got to this point, I felt as if the whole was somewhat insecure. I asked Zatamon how they avoided the occurrence of kazi things.
"A kazo man does only kazo things," he answered.
"I think," I said, "you do not understand what I have asked. How does someone who wants to sit down on a bench know that he is the more tired?"
He looked at me in surprise.
"Well, if he asks for the place of another man, it can only be that he is more tired!"
"But how does he know?"
"Because it is kazo."
I saw we did not understand each other.
"But how can he see into the other?"
"I have already told you," he replied. "Because the kazo is like that. There is a species of ants, for instance. If one of them finds honey, it will take its fill of it. Now if it meets a companion that has not found honey and is hungry, it will stick its mouth to the other ant's mouth and thus the full ant will transfer honey from itself until each of them is equally satisfied. How does the full ant know that the other is more hungry, and how do both know when each of them is as satisfied as the other?"
"Well, how do they know?" I asked with eager curiosity as I thought that through their more developed knowledge a secret of nature still unsolved with us would be revealed to me.
"They know because the fuller one gives honey to the hungrier one, and they will be equally satisfied when they part."
The stupid answer astonished me. It was not at all what I had expected of him. But however often I asked him, I could not lead him out of this circular chain of thought. And he always ended with — the kazo is like that. For this reason I stopped inquiring; I thought I would come to know by myself.
They call themselves Hins, which may perhaps be the equivalent of the word "man" but, as with every word, this, too, is connected with the intention and the aim, as the Reader will presently see.
For if the behaviour of someone does not follow the kazo laws, such a person will not be called Hin. For this designation, however, they have more than one word, according to whether the person concerned commits kazi things through a lack of knowledge or a lack of goodwill. The ignorant are called Belohins and the recalcitrants Behins.
The concept of Belohin may perhaps be the equivalent of what we indicate by the word "unschooled". Here, accordingly, belong children and those who are beginning some new profession. These are sent to school, but compulsion is scarcely employed — at most, in the first stages of childhood. It is their conviction that with a sound mind nobody commits kazi things.
It follows from this that their education is radically different from ours. Whereas with us the main aim of schooling is to bring children up to be virtuous and decent citizens and to make their souls susceptible to fine and noble things, all this is to them an unknown concept, and schooling is no more than a source of physical, chemical, hygienic and technical acquirements.
I asked Zatamon how they could achieve, by teaching purely technical material of knowledge, the avoidance of kazi acts.
To this he replied, "In the possession of technical knowledge and a sound mind it cannot be imagined that somebody would still want to eat an electric lamp."
I retorted, of course, that I had not meant this, but how one's morals could be directed without moral precepts.
To this he replied, "What would be the sense in teaching what we are permitted and what we are forbidden to eat? It would have several disadvantages. On the one hand it would complicate education as, besides glass, we should have to mention stone, iron, nickel and thousands of other things. On the other hand it would not be expedient either, as if one hears only the rules, and does not know the essence of the things themselves, one will miss the automatic direction and will never be able to act independently, quite apart from the fact that intellect is a property everyone is born with from which directive education would remove something, while the aim of teaching is not to subtract but to add. Finally, it is also unnecessary because, as I have said, if a man of sound mind has acquainted himself with reality, he will not eat glass even without prohibition. Prohibitions are to be explained to a fool only, and to a fool you in any case explain in vain."
I saw he had misunderstood me again, and remarked that I had not spoken of eating glass but of the avoidance of the kazi way of life and acts, but in answer he only kept on repeating:
"This is precisely what I have explained."
I can confirm at any rate that kazo has nothing to do with morals, because kazo itself is not taught either; but it indicates a certain state of knowledge which if once acquired by a man of sound mind will be observed by him anyway. They did not mention it too often among themselves, as we ourselves do not speak of the alphabet; but as a foreigner I heard it all the more — uninitiated as I was I came up against it at every turn.
The kazo they did not even consider a concept but said that it was the reality of the existing world itself. On the other hand kazi did not mean immoral, sinful or improper, but something like the word "absurdity" with us, that is, something in contradiction with the physical facts. I may say, it was quite strange on the whole, especially when I became acquainted with the other rules of the kazo, because, as the Reader will see, the kazo extended beyond the just way of life, to several other matters, too, which I had already deemed unjust and offensive.
After all this, the opinion they formed of the third group, the Behins, namely those who do kazi things though possessing full knowledge of the facts of natural science, becomes understandable. They consider Behin not only anyone who eats glass, but also anyone who has a tired man stand up, or himself stands up though he is tired to yield his place to somebody who is less tired; further anyone who works more or less than he is able to without strain, anyone who takes someone else's food or gives his own to someone else while he himself is hungrier, etc.
The Reader will certainly have noticed from this that the word Behin comprises two notions. For someone who takes the food of anyone else is to us an evil-doer and anyone who gives his own unwisely to someone else is a fool. They, however, expressed both with one word, Behin, without taking into account whether the person concerned has caused harm to himself or to somebody else.
Thus we can see that people were named according to quality in three different ways. These separate words, however, did not signify that they regarded the Behins as a different kind of man. They did not consider them human beings at all; it was as if they were speaking of a different species of man or animal.
The Behins, by the way, were confined within a separate place, which I know not how to name: possibly a reservation rather like a lunatic asylum. From there they were not permitted to come into contact with social life.
Fortunately they took me for neither a madman nor a criminal but for a Belohin to be taught.
The Reader is now able to understand also the name of their country: Kazohinia means the country of those who know the pure reality of human existence.