I took it for granted that a very democratic, parliamentary government ruled the island. At least thus far whenever I enquired about any procedure I was told that it was my own concern, and it was up to me to decide upon what steps to take. Here a strange mixture of freedom and discipline ruled between which the relationship was, for the time being, an enigma to me.
It was for this reason that I enquired first of all concerning their form of government. But when I enquired, I had first to narrate what we meant by constitutional form, democracy, dictatorship and parliamentarianism, and what elections, appointment, etc. were.
With enthusiastic eloquence I spoke highly of my country's ancient parliamentary and democratic government which always ensured the right of the people to have a say in the running of their own lives.
When I got to this point Zatamon asked me why it was necessary to have a say in the running of life, when life existed so that it should run and not so that people should interfere with it.
"In order," I replied, "that we should be able to ensure freedom."
This I could express only in a roundabout way; I spoke to him about general human rights and equilibrium, but he replied that freedom could not be as I had described it because as soon as there was intervention in it, it was no longer freedom. And no country could have much to do with reality where equilibrium is expressed with such an emotional, that is non-existent, word like freedom.
To cast some light on the concept of equilibrium as we understood it, I mentioned, as its most brilliant example, the administration of justice which, through the rightful punishment of crimes, restored the disturbed equilibrium and ensured a a peaceful, quiet life.
And this was where I was to have a veritable surprise.
In no way could he understand the difference between crime and punishment. Even after my lengthy explanations he seemed able to appreciate a difference between them only in sequence, and could not see why we had made two different words for two identical concepts which differed only in their order in time in so far as crime came first and punishment followed; but it could also be the other way round: the judges might first commit kazi things, and then the criminals would gain the right to "restore the equilibrium" by perpetrating other kazi things.
"As I see it," he continued, "you believe that the kazo comes about by committing not one but two kazi things at the same time, whereas the doubling of the kazi will — according to any sober thinking — only aggravate its kazi character."
It was no use my telling him that the judge punished only through necessity and with a kazo intention, in the interests of public law and order, so as to diminish the number of criminal cases. He replied that criminals were people just as much as the judges that is they, too, were part of us.
"Or what would you say," he asked, "if it turned out that sparrows had a habit of mutually ravaging each other's nests? Would you accept the plea that all this is not done by sparrows because whichever ravages later does it after the first? And finally how would you accept that mutual ravaging is the means of ensuring peace, quiet and equilibrium?"
In the end he summed up his opinion as follows:
"It is not enough that you commit crimes, you even punish as well."
This was how I came to know that they had no kind of government. It was not only rule they did not know; they did not know parliament either.
"Only sick brains," he said, "need to debate their own affairs. Anyone in his right senses knows what he needs; he goes to the storehouse and takes it; if the stocks are running out the factories come to know it and replenish them. What is there to be debated in this?"
So they had no legislature, nor consequently any laws, and as to the administration of justice, they had no idea of it. Everything went its own way. I could not imagine how it was possible to live without governing bodies, and he in turn wondered how we could live in such uncertainty when a lot of people who-as he said — had nothing to do with production, continuously interfered and disturbed the work.
Now I proceeded to the second part of the problem, the great mystery, the question of discipline without law. I asked him: "Tell me, doesn't any difficulty arise as a result of the ,absence of all forms of control?"
"What kind of difficulty do you mean?"
"If, for example, a resourceful, smart and bright man realizes that if he works less and eats more it will be of greater use to him."
He replied almost angrily. (That is if they had any familiarity with anger at all.)
"How could it be of greater use? If we thought in this way production would not increase but decrease, and so, on the contrary, we would be able to eat less, which is not in the least useful. But why do you label smart and brainy precisely those feeble-minded people who don't know such simple form of mathematics?"
I felt a deep respect for the country where integrity and unselfishness were such innate properties of the citizens. I wanted to tell him, but there was no word for this either. I wondered how a state could be so honest when they did not even have a word for it. I could only say, in English, that it seemed that here everybody was honest and good-hearted towards others.
Of course, I had to explain the words and when, with great difficulty, he understood, he voiced the opinion that in my country probably the opposite of such people occurred if we created a separate word for someone who was able to interpret mathematics properly.
I gazed at him in astonishment.
Integrity was ensured not only by a complete lack of laws they did not even know what it was. The cog-wheels fitted into each other perfectly, there was no hitch, there was not a single squeaky bearing in the social machinery, and all this was kept in equilibrium solely by the strength of the common soul!
I should have liked to ask him about psychological motives, but remembering my failure in the library, I was forced suddenly to realize that they had no idea of the soul either, of the very thing which seemed to shine more brilliantly in this very place than anywhere in the world. But where had all this come from, and what was it that maintained it in them?
Falteringly, in a voice choking with emotion, I confessed my admiration to him. I frankly admitted that all this was beyond me.
I related to him what a comprehensive and circumspect establishment ensured the smooth running of society in my country; that law, money and jurisdiction controlled the turnover of goods, and in addition, the long years that children were schooled in morality, goodness and honesty — while so far as they were concerned here, it was purely and simply the soul, the common spirit that held together the whole, and what was more, even more perfectly.
I was carried away by a veritable rhetorical passion while I explained that I was still unable to see the common source of all this: in what way and from whom did the soul come, and what imbued them with this miracle?
He asked me to explain the concept of soul in more detail.
I answered that it was the soul that enabled one to do good. I mentioned as an example that we also had hospitals and homes for the aged.
"And," I asked, "what do you think it is that makes us build them? Well, that's the soul."
"The hospitals are built by the mason, with machines and concrete," he answered. "What has the soul to do with that?"
My first reaction was to be annoyed at his lack of comprehension, but then a clinical case of mine came into my mind: we had removed a cataract from the eyes of a six-year-old little boy, blind from birth, but even weeks later he was not able to identify figures. He saw his mother, but came to know where she stood only by hearing her voice. In the brain of the child the connection was missing between the concept and the image itself. He had to learn to see for some months before he had by practice established the connections.
Then I thought I understood everything. These people were brought up among cold realities so they did not perceive the soul in the same way as we did, I might say, with other senses, and not with their brain, as this comprehended tangible things only. So my task was the same as in the case of the little boy who had been given back his sight: I had to put him on the right track which would enable him to make the connection between the facts and the soul. He was bound to have some notion of it already as the kazo was the consummate soul, only he did not recognize it.
I evolved a really strong line of attack, and asked him: "And why do you build hospitals?"
"Because there are sick and aged persons. Why else would we build them? Why do your sick people go to hospital?"
I did not understand the point of this question.
"Because they want to regain their health."
"Then how can you ask why we build hospitals? In order that the sick may regain their health."
This cheap aphorism, of course, did not throw me off balance and I was determined not to let him slip out of my hands. "This itself is the pure aim," I replied, "but not the reason. It is the soul that enables us to help our fellow-men, the connection that fills the gap between the fact of illness and the actual building. To give an example, it is like the mortar between bricks without which the wall would fall apart. So this is what induces us to help. Now do you understand what I am looking for?"
"I understand even less. Why should there be any gap here? If between illness and building there is no direct connection and instead an alien concept is wedged in, this does not connect but disconnects them, just as mortar, too, is a heterogeneous insulating layer between the bricks; and the fact that something needs an adhesive only goes to prove its being in a state of disintegration. Concrete needs no adhesive as it is in itself one material; that is why it is superior."
"Oh, soul is not an alien matter; it is the content of our whole life ! Why would the sick man want to recover if his life had no spiritual aim? And it is not in the cold concrete of the hospital that the essence of helping lies but in this. Forceps, medicines and bandages are not enough; most important is the spirit of helping, which has greater healing power than that. Why should we live without substance? What would be the sense in recovering and getting back into life if we were not tied to our fellow-men by the thousand threads of friendship, love, interest and faith, if our life was not warmed by all these emanations of the soul, thus making it desirable for the sick man to recover?"
Of course, I had to circumscribe everything. The interconnecting spiritual ties, for example, I compared to a magnet's lines of force. After my lengthy explanation he finally replied.
"Our body consists of atoms, they determine our desires, because they are the natural world. And nothing else can be imagined as nothing else exists. Of the concepts that you compared to a magnet's lines of force, my more exact questions made it quite clear step by step that they are neither magnetic, nor atomic, nor even vibrations, and consequently they are non-existent. And what does not exist, is not."
How horrifying was this cold way of thinking, the chilling atmosphere of which numbed me. He asked me, however, to continue my narration because — as he said — he believed that nevertheless there was something real behind my words, and I was merely unable to express it.
Thus, instead of carrying on a fruitless debate with him concerning principles, I began to speak about my country. I told him how much a true friend was worth, one on whom we could rely in trouble and when we needed protection from the wrath of our enemies. How our life was sweetened by friendship, a loving wife or a warm domestic circle. What happiness it was to sit around the fire with our loved ones on winter evenings; to buy gifts for them at Christmas or when celebrating our birthday to invite our friends, in the circle of whom a witty conversation may start about the theatre, art, less significant events, and how beautiful life may be made by a supper taken happily among such friends.
One by one friend, hatred, wife, happiness, theatre, art and party had, of course, to be explained. I was pleased to see that Zatamon listened very attentively to my words, and made notes while I was talking. I was already on the verge of hope, but in the end he said he seemed to have discovered some contradiction in my words.
"I thought," he said, "I might learn from you since you spoke of some act of help in unison which seemed to show proper mathematical comprehension, but I was disappointed. In your country the kazo is considered to apply to certain groups only, which however, already means that it is not kazo as you do not observe it where others are concerned. Because if you imagine some persons closer to yourselves and favour them, this can only be done if at the same time you offer less or nothing to others. That is, both the things you give your friends and those you do not give others bear all the marks of the kazi concept. These friends do not receive out of need, or on the basis of a general state of equilibrium — at least this is what I gather from your words — but purely because you have invented the kazi idea of 'friendship'.
"And as for the word 'love' it seems to me you wish to indicate with this that people outside an exclusive circle are to be treated beneath the merit of their existence. But why do you call the same thing hatred on other occasions?"
I was astounded at his incomprehension and began to explain the difference, but he insisted that anything beyond equilibrium and reciprocality was kazi and there was no sense in dividing it into two separate words. And if we also assigned different meanings to them, it only proved that our vision was confused.
"Or," he said, "why should a wife or a lover be valued above the merit of her existence when every woman has the same organs; and as far as I can see, you also make a distinction among children, according to whether or not they originate from yourselves; whereas those children who came from the seed of others also exist. You, however, call the former your own-although every person belongs solely to himself, as his life was born to him and not to the father. And for those children you buy gifts at Christmas, but for the others, nothing. You make it appear to the child as if you were giving it beyond the limits of equality and reciprocality, and on top of all this, you hold this activity of yours up to the child as something especially right, which is doubly kazi. For the child's own part of all goods is due to him as is the case with anyone else, and it is wrong to have it seem as if he received it from us, and without reciprocality."
Christmas he considered especially improper, drawing the conclusion that on the other days we were to hate our fellowmen more. My explaining that Christmas had been created not for hatred but for love was all in vain; he clung firmly to his opinion that love supposed hatred, as light shadow, and a word could be created for this only where its opposite also existed, and the fact that we loved somebody implied that we had to behave more harmfully towards others, so love itself was kazi, entailing contrast, contention, trouble, starvation, decay, an overwhelming accumulation of kazi things, thus producing a decrease in production and welfare.
He thought there must be a great many Behins with us, who, though aware of the impropriety of it still endeavour to eat more, work less and get others to do the work, because they were imbued with the poison of love.
One special thing he did not understand was why we described as more useful precisely that particular situation in which we could have more food and less work, while it is a general balance that our organs needed, and overburdening was equally hramful whether the strain was on the stomach or the muscles.
I saw he would never understand the essence of love in this way, so I mentioned that we Europeans all followed the tenets of a great common prophet who had announced two thousand years ago that we had to love all our fellow-men equally, that is that love did not encompass only small groups but the whole of mankind.
I related to him how beautiful and enjoyable our life was made by following this; the faith that beautified our soul and filled it with pleasure brought comfort to us, and sheltered us against trials and tribulations, and how elevating it was to be aware of the infinite mercy which provided the soul with a point of support.
"Would it not have been simpler to make life secure in advance?" he asked.
"I don't see what that question has to do with it."
"To make it secure, calculable."
"So that one should not be compelled to flee from uncertainty to uncertainty. Confused and inexpedient causes can only lead to confused and inexpedient effects."
For this, of course, I was none the wiser. I retorted that his reply was much more confused than our life, which had been provided with a firm basis by the law of love applying to everybody and connecting the whole of mankind.
At this he observed that what I was saying now was in complete contradiction to what I had said before concerning love. He, however, was convinced that of the two statements it was the former which tallied with the facts, because if love did indeed encompass the whole of mankind it could no longer be called love, in the same way as if the whole surface of the earth were to rise to the level of its highest peak, nobody would say of the earth that all its points were peaks — we would call it a plain and would not even have a word for peak.
He supposed, however, that this prophet might still have been a Hin in whom the state of the kazo was present, and it was merely that we had not understood the mathematical facts he had spoken about, probably because we had a soul to hinder understanding; so, instead of learning from his words and being reborn into the kazo condition, we had been looking for "solace", "beauty", "pleasure" in his words. Obviously we would never possess life in this way.
I protested vigorously against this. I told him that the essence of a man was not, after all, his hands, feet or stomach but his "self". And the soul was nurtured by beauty and variety, which it required no less than the stomach requires food.
This he declared to be completely beyond comprehension, and asked me to explain what this beauty was by which the soul was nurtured, and what the soul actually was, which needed only things which were of no necessity to man himself, and yet I was saying that the soul was man himself. Because-as he said — I had hitherto only mentioned it as the connecting material between actions but now he saw that it was not only a partition wedged in between the facts of the natural world — somehow it also existed independently, and it must be something very confused. It behaved like a living organism, I claimed that it took nourishment, and still I could not describe its form.
I could not help smiling at his words. An old patient of mine came into my mind. He had gone into the Navy as an uneducated docker. The poor devil was a complete blockhead, and his training gave his superiors a lot of trouble. I myself attended him when he was under treatment; I spoke to him a lot of the glorious calling of the British Navy, the past of the United Kingdom and the sweet nourishment our souls could draw from our traditions.
When finally I asked him if he was aware of what tradition was, he answered: "Perhaps it's some sort of pudding."
Now I was faced with a similar task with Zatamon.
To illuminate soul and beauty better I mentioned the most distinguished works from our literature: "Hamlet" by Shakespeare, "Anna Karenina" and "The Kreutzer Sonata" by Tolstoy, "The Ironmaster" by Ohnet, "La Dame aux camélias" by Pumas, "Peer Gynt" by Ibsen, and in general the classic works which explored the depths of the human mind, bringing to the surface and revealing the secret motives of the passions and emotions broiling below, uncovering the enigmas of the mysterious ego in precise analysis; the maladjustments and subconscious inhibition which sometimes separated even the purest souls from each other or which drove one to discord and catastrophe, even — as in the case of Raskolnikov — to murder and martyrdom, but which at the same time also made one resigned to the enemy, and even to death. I stressed how profound and perfect the analysis of the character of an Anna Karenina was in its thousands of variations and what an experience it was to see and recognize one's own soul in the struggle where Dr. Faustus or Peer Gynt fought with themselves.
Attentively he heard me out and when I had finished he answered that we appeared to perish in tangles created by ourselves because instead of seeing things in their clear reality and living simply, we preferred to wander intoxicated in a maze of illusory problems which were all entangled with each other. He gave expression to the opinion that the soul must be some terrible disease confusing everything and preventing the kazo equilibrium from developing. He did not understand why it was necessary to keep on analysing the soul in thick tomes instead of recognizing the uselessness of this confused and troublesome thing, and discarding it as valueless and looking for something else which it was possible to use.
"Here, too," he said, "it sometimes happens that the production of methylated spirit, sulphuric acid or cellulose does not come off. All this can be done badly in hundreds and hundreds of ways; but we would consider anyone mad who devoted his life to describing what bad cellulose is like, by how many methods we can obtain bad cellulose, in how many ways the cellulose may become spoiled, and for how many purposes it is unsuitable. Our books describe the characteristics only of good cellulose and contain information concerning the manufacture of that alone, of which, however, not a word is written in your literature. But first of all I don't understand why you call it creative work when somebody — withdrawing his labour from creative work — wastes his life on the fruitless analysis of bad and useless things."
I protested in vain against his calling our works of art bad and useless. I realized that for them only pudding is nourishment. So I decided to reply only to the question of why books are written at all.
I told him they were written for entertainment, which was a pleasure and was consequently necessary for people. As to the question of what entertainment was I mentioned reading, games and chatting. Of course he also classified these as kazi.
"Is even conversation kazi with you?" I asked in surprise.
"Not necessary conversation. But as far as I can see, you speak of conversation carried on for its own sake, that is unnecessary conversation, which for this very reason cannot be so agreeable as creative work."
"But during the hours after creative work!"
"At such times, rest is necessary. Or what would you think of the man who had already reached his destination, sat down in exhaustion and continued to move his legs at the normal pace of walking? The life of anyone who enjoys this is already off balance, because he can certainly find as much satisfaction in unnecessary as in necessary conversation, perhaps even more, and will look for the opportunity to shift his time from the necessary to the unnecessary. Attributing value to the unnecessary is the bud from which the kazi things blossom — what you call beauty, entertainment, literature and other nonsense."
Of all this I gathered no more than that he did not really understand what I had said and remarked that there was a great difference between time stolen from work and refreshing entertainment after a decent day's work, which even improved the ability of the mind and the body to work. He, however, stubbornly reiterated: "Nothing but damage can result from cultivating non-existing things because we ourselves live in the existing world."
I searched my mind for an example of entertainment to which he could not object even from the point of view of the kazo. Finally I mentioned chess as a harmless pastime of the soul from which nobody could suffer any harm.
I drew a chessboard, and sketched chess pieces on small slips of paper and then I expounded the rules of the game, which, I may say, was an onerous task. I had never had such a thickheaded pupil. When I had explained for the fifth time, he repeated his question for the sixth time: "But what is the aim?"
"To remove the king of the enemy," I said and began to explain again.
Shrugging his shoulders he eventually agreed to a game. I made a move with a pawn and beckoned to him to move, at which he took my king, placed it beside the chessboard, and looked questioningly at me.
"And now what is the sense in that?" he asked inanely.
I put the figure back with considerable annoyance.
"It's not that simple!"
"You can see it is!"
"But you must observe the rules! If you play like that then of course there is no sense in it. If you play according to the rules, you will see that there is sense in it."
With great difficulty we played a game right through to the end. Of course, I beat him.
"And now what?" he asked.
"Now I am the winner."
"What does that mean?"
"I have taken the game."
He thought for a long time. Clearly he still did not under stand.
"And what does that actually mean?" He eventually came out with it.
"That I have won."
"You explain one word with another, which for you seems to be necessary because none of them has anything to do with reality. You have coined both of them without either of them having any content."
He was unable to understand — as he put it — why we were doing nothing so lengthily and painstakingly, to which there would have been no point even if I had removed his king at the very start, and he drew the conclusion that the whole of our life and public life probably consisted of making complications out of nothing, and that our actions were directed by imaginary idols. And if we took nothing as actuality, this could only produce poverty, discord, and the accumulation of kazi things, which all seemed to be the aftermath of the disease I had called soul and emotions which drew us away from creative work.
I felt hurt by this belittling tone and contradicted him by saying that it was precisely the soul which gave rise to great works, which soared, which elevated one from prosaic everyday things and induced one to create.
As proof I suggested painting, referring to the fascinating perfection of a "Mona Lisa", the churches, statues, monuments, decorated marble fronts of public buildings — that is, I drew a lesson from what had happened already and mentioned only tangible, real things which even he could not say did not exist, but he stubbornly responded: "All this proves precisely that the soul takes your energy away from creative work, unbalances it, and diverts it to side-tracks. The particular thing that I do not understand is how you can describe as a wing that very millstone which prevents you from living an easy life, wastes your energies in false pursuits, and leads you into a maze of problems and into senseless conflicts. This burden, far from elevating you, hinders your progress and weighs you down but not to the earth which is the only real place for life: it takes you beneath the earth, where you stagger in darkness and are unable to get out to simple, sunny reality. From this result the many tribulations, hatred, poverty, public buildings, literature, insecurity, gifts, oppression, love, lies, paintings and all the heavy burdens of life you have spoken about."
And all this he interpreted as further evidence that the only way to live was the kazo, cooperative aid, where everybody, working for a common aim, devoted his life to the community.
"This, of course, you express by love, willingness to make sacrifices, and other words which have no connection with reality, although these words designate non-existing concepts on the one hand and lead you on the other hand to deeds which are in contradiction with the pure kazo which is the sole way of true usefulness, only you don't know it."
This was one charge I really could not stomach. I asserted that in my country every citizen subjected his life to a common aim, as he knew that if the country were lost, everything would be lost. As the most magnificent repository of the common spirit I mentioned the army, enumerating the struggles of our forefathers, by which the present world power of my country had been established.
Zatamon listened attentively to me for a while, but on his forehead a strange, anxious frown showed more and more strongly. Then suddenly he stood up and remarked that the day's learning seemed to have been too much for me as I could not even understand his words, and what I had just said not only failed to have any connection with reality but also failed to have any connection with itself so the whole was improbable.
Again I started explaining to him the lofty tasks of national defence. He questioned me three times and I had to repeat the answer three times, but even so in the end I could only make him see that there were situations when the ordinary citizen had to sacrifice his life so that the country should survive.
At this he asked what the country was.
I told him that it was all the citizens collectively, at which he again did not understand the beginning and asked how we could live collectively in order to die one by one.
I gave a dispirited wave of my hand and he concluded I must be very tired.
With this he wanted to leave. It was in vain that I protested that all I had said was actually so, it was in vain that I asserted that I myself dealt with healing the wounds inflicted by others — he merely said my words were becoming more and more contradictory and that I had certainly misunderstood something.
But I would not let him go away. I told him I would explain everything and that he would understand.
Zatamon sat down again.
"But why do you do all this?" he asked.
"Because we have the capacity to feel."
"We have the same senses as you, and yet we don't do it."
"Because you sense heat, light and sound but not happiness."
"What, then, is it that you call happiness?" "The satisfaction of the soul."
"That is when the soul has had its fill."
"Something like that."
"Did your soul have its fill when we played chess?"
"Yes, because I won the game. You see, you have no such pleasures."
"And how do you manage to arrange that both parties win the game?"
In spite of my low spirits a smile flitted across my face.
"How can you imagine that? It is a game for us to play against each other and not for each other. One of the parties must lose."
"And is the losing party happy too?"
"No. He is unhappy. But he, in turn, may be the winner on another occasion."
"Then why do you make one of the parties unhappy?"
To tell the truth his question somewhat surprised me and I had to gather my wits together to make him understand the situation.
"The thing is," I commenced, "that happiness means obtaining a certain energy for the soul, and like every energy, this, too, comes from a difference in levels, from the results which I have achieved and not others."
"Explain this more comprehensibly."
By way of explanation I enumerated for him the decorations customary in the Navy; I spoke about the power of the pharaohs, the treasures of the maharajahs, then as an example, I also mentioned stamp-collecting.
"But what would be the point in being decorated," I said finally, "if the same medals hung on everybody's chest? What would make the Indian maharajah happy if everybody had as many diamonds as himself or the philatelist if everybody had a 'Mauritius'?"
He shook his head."As far as I can see, to become happy the unhappiness of not only one person but of very many people is necessary."
"Happiness, as energy, is in proportion to the level attained, which can only be measured by our position in relation to others. The more people one stands out from among, the more happy one is; and it cannot possibly be imagined otherwise. On the other hand, it is precisely this desire for happiness that prompts us to create and work. Without this we would be clambering about in the trees to this very day."
This, too, he classified as absolutely incomprehensible, and then came to the conclusion that happiness was an empty and unattainable castle in the air.
"Because," as he said, "it stems from the nature of things that at most only one man can rise above everyone else; that is, all the others are obviously unhappy."
It was his opinion that happiness could not even exist, because if it once existed it would cease to be.
"What do you mean by that?"
"Each of your obsessions ceases to be at the moment of realization, and your imaginary aims, which in general you call cultural endeavours, differ in this very point from real targets. A hungry man suffers as long as he is hungry, but he is pleased when having eaten his fill, and it doesn't diminish his pleasure if others, too, eat their fill, as the stomach is satisfied not by the hunger of others, that is by the concept of a difference in level, but by the physical fact of repletion. Your soul, however, feeds only on the hunger of others. The admiral would be unhappy if everybody were to become an admiral, and the stamp-collector would commit his album to flames if a generous government in its efforts to further common happiness provided a 'Mauritius' for everybody. Just as love's becoming universal would mean its ceasing and turning into the kazo, in the same manner happiness would not exist any more if everybody was able to achieve it. This is also why your philosophers rack their brain to discover a happy state. Well, is it possible to imagine a thing that exists only as long as it does not exist?"
I was about to interrupt but he stopped me with a gesture and continued: "But let's speak of whether these cultural requirements can be satisfied materially at all. That is, your soul's endeavour is never to help, but to rob others as this provides the difference of level. But the stomach of your soul is a bottomless sack, the filling of which knows no boundaries. The cubic capacity of our actual stomach is defined. It cannot hold more than a certain quantity of food, and to overburden the stomach is just as painful as hunger. We feel equally uncomfortable at a temperature of less than 65º F and more than 75 Fº, but cultural requirements have no upper limit. Though your kings travel by coaches of gold and wear robes of state heavy with a hundred kinds of jewels (which, of course, is in itself unnecessary) they still don't permit the people to use their remaining energy for the benefit of their own physical well-being, but force them to build a pyramid for themselves, or wage war against other peoples to reduce these to destitution as well for the sake of the difference of level. The soul drives you only to trample upon each other and never to help each other, and completely aimlessly into the bargain, as the aim is unattainable."
"You say that happiness is something like repletion. But it is only the appetite of your body that can be satisfied-this, however, can be fully satisfied. Were this your goal, then judge, policeman, soldier would all become unnecessary and all goods could lie unguarded in the warehouses since for a kazo man there is no sense in using the labour of his fellow-men to make unnecessary things for himself or shifting manpower from making what is necessary."
"You once mentioned," he continued, "that money ensures the equitable distribution of goods. On the contrary : it is only an unjust distribution that needs to be ensured by distributing the purchasing power in advance. The real aims can easily be reached without controlling distribution by force; why, our bo ily needs are so small — it is only the fantasy of the soul's happiness that pushes you into squabbles. The soul is the primary cause of the laws of continuous robbery and struggle."
I had no wish to permit such a false interpretation of the soul and contradicted him by saying that the happiness of the soul could be found not only in rising above others, but in selfhumiliation and self-denial as well. As an example I spoke about Buddhism, which endeavoured fully to conquer all desires. I mentioned the yogis, who did not wear woollen clothes and were able to do without nourishment for weeks, while they soared high on the wings of the soul away from the earth which is weighed down by desires.
"I'm not at all surprised," he answered, "that the soul is such a confused thing and is in contradiction with itself; all the less so because in the happiness of the maharajahs and the yogis it is only you who see a contrast, and you who believe that love and hatred are opposites."
"It would be much better," he continued, "if the yogi did not soar but remained on the earth and peacefully consumed the meat of the holy cow because no soaring could change our physical existence and from the point of view of the kazo it was equally harmful if we tormented our own body or that of someone else, for all bodies were alike and part of reality."
"The fact," he went on, "that the soul drives you either above or below each other likewise proves that it does not make for balance and harmony but jolts you away from them."
He found it characteristic that the maharajahs haunted the very places where the fakirs' souls soared high, while their bodies starved and were bitten by lice.
"Our bodies consist of atoms," he repeated, "and cannot be changed by any kind of soaring of the soul. With kazi intentions, however, it is possible to imagine that we do not need air and food but starvation and diamonds, we can even manage to make our pleasures unnatural, which you very aptly call happiness as distinguished from natural pleasure, but our lungs and digestive organs cannot be altered in any way. Nor is it necessary. Indeed, it is so easy to satisfy the will of nature, whereas to produce diamonds or pyramids or gold coaches is so troublesome and can be done only to the detriment of our stomach and lungs."
In general he was incapable of finding any difference between the life of the maharajahs and that of the fakirs. He termed both equally sick.
"What, then, is your actual opinion of the soul?" I asked as the debate had grown a little long and I wanted to hear the results briefly summarized.
"The soul is a disease because it is in disharmony with the body. As long as you are not able to transform the body biologically and become attuned to it, it will continue to cause your ruination."
For a few minutes I struggled with myself. I wanted to respond sharply although I knew that in that way I should achieve nothing. My ability to curb myself was mainly due to the recognition that in the course of our debate we had completely digressed from the point and my most important question was still unanswered.
He was already at the door when I shouted after him that I wanted an answer to one single question only.
Zatamon turned and I asked him: "Tell me what keeps the kazo spirit in you? If you have no laws, no judicature, and no education, what is it that still maintains what you call kazo and equilibrium?"
"What maintains the equilibrium? Of course, the equilibrium itself! Only different weights sway the scales."
So once more he wanted to elude me with a cheap aphorism ! This obstinacy began to awake the suspicion in me that he was possibly not so uncomprehending as he appeared to be, but was concealing deeply hidden secrets from me. But now I had already decided not to let him beat about the bush. He had either to answer my question or tell me that he could not reveal the secret.
"Are you willing in the end to answer my question?" I asked him straight out.
"What actually is it that you do not understand?"
"I do not understand this total cooperation! That here nobody has deviating, individual aims of his own. How can one imagine law without law and morals without morals? Where is the force that ensures the observation of these courses?"
"I don't know," he replied, "how you can ask such a question. What forces the planets to keep to their elliptic orbits if not the planets themselves, the force of gravity of which works out in this way?"
Then he explained that it was not the force of gravity that was a separate thing but the planet itself — that is, everything that happened happened as it did because everything that is exists. Then he continued: "Force would be needed only if you wanted to shift them to another orbit as force is necessary only for knocking something out of its equilibrium. You take the kazo for the steel-firm law of cooperation and look for a legislator, whereas it simply exists. Complete order can result only from things as they are, as everything will surely be in accord with this. In physics it is called the line of least resistance, which for a freely falling body, for example, is the vertical. All legislature is only a harmful intervention which is a source of imbalance, errors and insecurity. In one word: kazi."
"Perhaps we should not speak in parables of doubtful origin drawn from the universe," I answered impatiently. "It might again lead our debate into side-tracks. I want to become enlightened with regard to your social system."
"You speak as if Man did not belong to the universe. For you the comparison is reality, so it is small wonder indeed if you consider your non-existent problems to be real."
"What do you mean?" I asked. "Don't you mean that gravity and the kazo ... "
"But yes. Man lives within the universe-that is, the kazo is neither a law nor a custom but the reality of the universe itself, with which it is also essentially identical. Everything that exists in the world exists in accordance with the kazo as the kazo is reality. Anything in addition to this does not exist, as it is kazi which is non-existence itself."
I pondered over his words for a long time. As became a correct gentleman I wanted to understand his words and not discard them. Again and again I thought over every sentence conscientiously but the more I racked my brain the more confused it all seemed to me.
Finally I was forced to conclude that their principles were nothing other than half-baked balderdash, completely beyond comprehension to the sober British attitude, and I may claim with a clear conscience that any educated citizen of my country would have come to the same conclusion in my place.
Thus from the whole conversation I came to know only what they lacked and what they were incapable of. Somewhat meagre information for understanding the secret of the Hin life.
I decided to give up my research for the time being, relying upon time and my own experiences for the solution to my problems.