Text‎ > ‎

Ch 1

The Arousing of Thought    
3
 Among other convictions formed in my common presence during

my responsible, peculiarly composed life, there is one such
also—an indubitable conviction—that always and everywhere
on the earth, among people of every degree of development of
understanding and of every form of manifestation of the factors
which engender in their individuality all kinds of ideals, there is
acquired the tendency, when beginning anything new, unfailingly
to pronounce aloud or, if not aloud, at least mentally, that definite
utterance understandable to every even quite illiterate person,
which in different epochs has been formulated variously and
in our day is formulated in the following words: “In the name of
the Father and of the Son and in the name of the Holy Ghost.
Amen.”
That is why I now, also, setting forth on this venture quite new
for me, namely, authorship, begin by pronouncing this utterance
and moreover pronounce it not only aloud, but even very distinctly
and with a full, as the ancient Toulousites defined it, “wholly manifested
intonation”—of course with that fullness which can
arise in my entirety only from data already formed and thoroughly
rooted in me for such a manifestation; data which are in
general formed in the nature of man, by the way, during his preparatory
age, and later, during his responsible life engender in
him the ability for the manifestation of the nature and
vivifyingness of such an intonation.
Having thus begun, I can now be quite at ease, and should even,
according to the notions of religious morality existing among
contemporary people, be beyond all doubt assured that everything
further in this new venture of mine will now proceed, as is
said, “like a pianola.”
4
In any case I have begun just thus, and as to how the rest will go
I can only say meanwhile, as the blind man once expressed it,
“we shall see.”
First and foremost, I shall place my own hand, moreover the
right one, which—although at the moment it is slightly injured
owing to the misfortune which recently befell me—is nevertheless
really my own, and has never once failed me in all my life, on
my heart, of course also my own—but on the inconstancy or
constancy of this part of all my whole I do not find it necessary
here to expatiate—and frankly confess that I myself have personally
not the slightest wish to write, but attendant circumstances,
quite independent of me, constrain me to do so—and
whether these circumstances arose accidentally or were created
intentionally by extraneous forces, I myself do not yet know. I
know only that these circumstances bid me write not just anything
“so-so,” as, for instance, something of the kind for reading
oneself to sleep, but weighty and bulky tomes.
However that may be, I begin . . .
But begin with what?
Oh, the devil! Will there indeed be repeated that same exceedingly
unpleasant and highly strange sensation which it befell me
to experience when about three weeks ago I was composing in
my thoughts the scheme and sequence of the ideas destined by
me for publication and did not know then how to begin either?
This sensation then experienced I might now formulate in words
only thus: “the-fear-of-drowning-in-the-overflow-of-my-own-thoughts.”
To stop this undesirable sensation I might then still have had
recourse to the aid of that maleficent property existing also in
me, as in contemporary man, which has become inherent in all
of us, and which enables us, without
5
experiencing any remorse of conscience whatever, to put off
anything
we wish to do “till tomorrow.”

I could then have done this very easily because before beginning
the actual writing, it was assumed that there was still lots of
time; but this can now no longer be done, and I must, without
fail, as is said, “even though I burst,” begin.
But with what indeed begin . . . ?
Hurrah! . . . Eureka!
Almost all the books I have happened to read in my life have
begun with a preface.
So in this case I also must begin with something of the kind.
I say “of the kind,” because in general in the process of my life,
from the moment I began to distinguish a boy from a girl, I have
always done everything, absolutely everything, not as it is done
by other, like myself, biped destroyers of Nature’s good. Therefore,
in writing now I ought, and perhaps am even on principle
already obliged, to begin not as any other writer would.
In any case, instead of the conventional preface I shall begin quite
simply with a Warning.
Beginning with a Warning will be very judicious of me, if only
because it will not contradict any of my principles, either organic,
psychic, or even “willful,” and will at the same time be quite honest—
of course, honest in the objective sense, because both I
myself and all others who know me well, expect with indubitable
certainty that owing to my writings there will entirely disappear
in the majority of readers, immediately and not gradually,
as must sooner or later, with time, occur to all people, all the
“wealth” they have, which was either handed down to them by
inheritance or obtained by their own labor, in the form of quieting
notions evoking only naive dreams,
6
and also beautiful representations of their lives at present as
well
as of their prospects in the future.

Professional writers usually begin such introductions with an
address to the reader, full of all kinds of bombastically magniloquent
and so to say “honeyed” and “inflated” phrases.
Just in this alone I shall follow their example and also begin with
such an address, but I shall try not to make it very “sugary” as
they usually do, owing particularly to their evil wiseacring by
which they titillate the sensibilities of the more or less normal
reader.
Thus ...
My dear, highly honored, strong-willed and of course very patient
Sirs, and my much-esteemed, charming, and impartial Ladies—
forgive me, I have omitted the most important—and my
in no wise hysterical Ladies!
I have the honor to inform you that although owing to circumstances
that have arisen at one of the last stages of the process
of my life, I am now about to write books, yet during the whole of
my life I have never written not only not books or various what are

called “instructive-articles,” but also not even a letter in which

it has been unfailingly necessary to observe what is called
“grammaticality,” and in consequence, although I am now about
to become a professional writer, yet having had no practice at all
either in respect of all the established professional rules and procedures
or in respect of what is called the “bon ton literary language,”
I am constrained to write not at all as ordinary “patented writers”
do, to the form of whose writing you have in all probability
become as much accustomed as to your own smell.
In my opinion the trouble with you, in the present instance, is
perhaps chiefly due to the fact that while still in childhood, there
was implanted in you and has now become ideally well harmonized
with your general psyche, an excellently working automatism
for perceiving all kinds
7
of new impressions, thanks to which “blessing” you have now,
during your
responsible life, no need of making any individual
effort whatsoever.
Speaking frankly, I inwardly personally discern the center of my
confession not in my lack of knowledge of all the rules and procedures
of writers, but in my nonpossession of what I have called
the “bon ton literary language,” infallibly required in contemporary
life not only from writers but also from every ordinary mortal.
As regards the former, that is to say, my lack of knowledge of
the different rules and procedures of writers, I am not greatly disturbed.
And I am not greatly disturbed on this account, because such
“ignorance” has already now become in the life of people also in
the order of things. Such a blessing arose and now flourishes
everywhere on Earth thanks to that extraordinary new disease
of which for the last twenty to thirty years, for some reason or
other, especially the majority of those persons from among all
the three sexes fall ill, who sleep with half-open eyes and whose
faces are in every respect fertile soil for the growth of every kind
of pimple.
This strange disease is manifested by this, that if the invalid is
somewhat literate and his rent is paid for three months in advance,
he (she or it) unfailingly begins to write either some “instructive
article” or a whole book.
Well knowing about this new human disease and its epidemical
spread on Earth, I, as you should understand, have the right
to assume that you have acquired, as the learned “medicos”
would say, “immunity” to it, and that you will therefore not be
palpably indignant at my ignorance of the rules and procedures
of writers.
This understanding of mine bids me inwardly to make the center
of gravity of my warning my ignorance of the literary language.
In self-justification, and also perhaps to diminish the
8
degree of the censure in your waking consciousness of my ignorance
of this language indispensable for contemporary life, I
consider it necessary to say, with a humble heart and cheeks
flushed with shame, that although I too was taught this language
in my childhood, and even though certain of my elders who prepared
me for responsible life, constantly forced me “without sparing
or economizing” any intimidatory means to “learn by rote”
the host of various “nuances” which in their totality compose this
contemporary “delight,” yet, unfortunately of course for you, of
all that I then learned by rote, nothing stuck and nothing whatsoever
has survived for my present activities as a writer.
And nothing stuck, as it was quite recently made clear to me,
not through any fault of mine, nor through the fault of my former
respected and nonrespected teachers, but this human labor was
spent in vain owing to one unexpected and quite exceptional
event which occurred at the moment of my appearance on God’s
Earth, and which was—as a certain occultist well known in Europe
explained to me after a very minute what is called
“psychophysico-astrological” investigation—that at that moment,
through the hole made in the windowpane by our crazy
lame goat, there poured the vibrations of sound which arose in
the neighbor’s house from an Edison phonograph, and the midwife
had in her mouth a lozenge saturated with cocaine of German
make, and moreover not “Ersatz,” and was sucking this lozenge
to these sounds without the proper enjoyment.
Besides from this event, rare in the everyday life of people, my
present position also arose because later on in my preparatory
and adult life—as, I must confess, I myself guessed after long reflections
according to the method of the German professor, Herr
Stumpsinschmausen—I always avoided instinctively as well as automatically
9
and at times even consciously, that is, on principle,
employing
this language for intercourse with others. And from such a trifle,
and perhaps not a trifle, I manifested thus again thanks to three
data which were formed in my entirety during my preparatory
age, about which data I intend to inform you a little later in this
same first chapter of my writings.
However that may have been, yet the real fact, illuminated from
every side like an American advertisement, and which fact cannot
now be changed by any forces even with the knowledge of
the experts in “monkey business,” is that although I, who have
lately been considered by very many people as a rather good
teacher of temple dances, have now become today a professional
writer and will of course write a great deal—as it has been proper
to me since childhood whenever “I do anything to do a great
deal of it”—nevertheless, not having, as you see, the automatically
acquired and automatically manifested practice necessary
for this, I shall be constrained to write all I have thought out in
ordinary simple everyday language established by life, without
any literary manipulations and without any “grammarian
wiseacrings.”
But the pot is not yet full! . . . For I have not yet decided the most
important question of all—in which language to write.
Although I have begun to write in Russian, nevertheless, as the
wisest of the wise, Mullah Nassr Eddin, would say, in that language
you cannot go far.
(Mullah Nassr Eddin, or as he is also called, Hodja Nassr Eddin,
is, it seems, little known in Europe and America, but he is very
well known in all countries of the continent of Asia; this legendary
personage corresponds to the American Uncle Sam or the
German Till Eulenspiegel. Numerous tales popular in the East, akin
to the wise sayings, some of long standing and others newly
10
arisen, were ascribed and are still ascribed to this Nassr Eddin.)
The Russian language, it cannot be denied, is very good. I even
like it, but . . . only for swapping anecdotes and for use in referring
to someone’s parentage.
The Russian language is like the English, which language is also
very good, but only for discussing in “smoking rooms,” while sitting
on an easy chair with legs outstretched on another, the topic
of Australian frozen meat or, sometimes, the Indian question.
Both these languages are like the dish which is called in Moscow
“Solianka,” and into which everything goes except you and
me, in fact everything you wish, and even the “after-dinner
Cheshma”* of Sheherazade.
It must also be said that owing to all kinds of accidentally and
perhaps not accidentally formed conditions of my youth, I have
had to learn, and moreover very seriously and of course always
with self-compulsion, to speak, read, and write a great many languages,
and to such a degree of fluency, that if, in following this
profession unexpectedly forced on me by Fate, I decided not to
take advantage of the “automatism” which is acquired by practice,
then I could perhaps write in any one of them.
But if I set out to use judiciously this automatically acquired
automatism which has become easy from long practice, then I
should have to write either in Russian or in Armenian, because
the circumstances of my life during the last two or three decades
have been such that I have had for intercourse with others to
use, and consequently to have more practice in, just these two
languages and to acquire an automatism in respect to them.
O the dickens! . . . Even in such a case, one of the aspects of my
peculiar psyche, unusual for the normal
11
man, has now already begun to torment the whole of me.
And the chief reason for this unhappiness of mine in my almost
already mellow age, results from the fact that since childhood
there was implanted in my peculiar psyche, together with numerous
other rubbish also unnecessary for contemporary life,
such an inherency as always and in everything automatically
enjoins the whole of me to act only according to popular wisdom.
In the present case, as always in similar as yet indefinite life cases,
there immediately comes to my brain—which is for me, constructed
unsuccessfully to the point of mockery—and is now as
is said, “running through” it that saying of popular wisdom which
existed in the life of people of very ancient times, and which has
been handed down to our day formulated in the following words:
“every stick always has two ends.”
In trying first to understand the basic thought and real significance
hidden in this strange verbal formulation, there must, in
my opinion, first of all arise in the consciousness of every more or
less sane-thinking man the supposition that, in the totality of
ideas on which is based and from which must flow a sensible
notion of this saying, lies the truth, cognized by people for centuries,
which affirms that every cause occurring in the life of man,
from whatever phenomenon it arises, as one of two opposite
effects of other causes, is in its turn obligatorily molded also into
two quite opposite effects, as for instance: if “something” obtained
from two different causes engenders light, then it must inevitably
engender a phenomenon opposite to it, that is to say, darkness;
or a factor engendering in the organism of a living creature
an impulse of palpable satisfaction also engenders without fail
nonsatisfaction, of course also palpable, and so on and so forth,
always and in everything.
Adopting in the same given instance this popular wisdom
12
formed by centuries and expressed by a stick, which, as was
said, indeed has two ends, one end of which is considered good
and the other bad, then if I use the aforesaid automatism which
was acquired in me thanks only to long practice, it will be for me
personally of course very good, but according to this saying, there
must result for the reader just the opposite; and what the opposite
of good is, even every nonpossessor of hemorrhoids must
very easily understand.
Briefly, if I exercise my privilege and take the good end of the
stick, then the bad end must inevitably fall “on the reader’s head.”
This may indeed happen, because in Russian the so to say “niceties”
of philosophical questions cannot be expressed, which questions
I intend to touch upon in my writings also rather fully,
whereas in Armenian, although this is possible, yet to the misfortune
of all contemporary Armenians, the employment of this language
for contemporary notions has now already become quite
impracticable.
In order to alleviate the bitterness of my inner hurt owing to
this, I must say that in my early youth, when I became interested
in and was greatly taken up with philological questions, I preferred
the Armenian language to all others I then spoke, even to
my native language.
This language was then my favorite chiefly because it was original
and had nothing in common with the neighboring or kindred
languages.
As the learned “philologists” say, all of its tonalities were peculiar
to it alone, and according to my understanding even then, it
corresponded perfectly to the psyche of the people composing
that nation.
But the change I have witnessed in that language during the
last thirty or forty years has been such, that instead of an original
independent language coming to us from the remote past, there
has resulted and now exists one,
13
which though also original and independent,
yet represents, as
might be said, a “kind of clownish potpourri of languages,”
the
totality of the consonances of which, falling on the ear of a more or
less conscious and understanding listener, sounds just like the

“tones” of Turkish, Persian, French, Kurd, and Russian words and
still other “indigestible” and inarticulate noises.
Almost the same might be said about my native language,
Greek, which I spoke in childhood and, as might be said, the “taste
of the automatic associative power of which” I still retain. I could
now, I dare say, express anything I wish in it, but to employ it for
writing is for me impossible, for the simple and rather comical
reason that someone must transcribe my writings and translate
them into the other languages. And who can do this?
It could assuredly be said that even the best expert of modern
Greek would understand simply nothing of what I should write
in the native language I assimilated in childhood, because, my
dear “compatriots,” as they might be called, being also inflamed
with the wish at all costs to be like the representatives of contemporary
civilization also in their conversation, have during these
thirty or forty years treated my dear native language just as the
Armenians, anxious to become Russian intelligentsia, have treated
theirs.
That Greek language, the spirit and essence of which were transmitted
to me by heredity, and the language now spoken by contemporary
Greeks, are as much alike as, according to the expression
of Mullah Nassr Eddin, “a nail is like a requiem.”
What is now to be done?
Ah . . . me! Never mind, esteemed buyer of my wiseacrings. If
only there be plenty of French armagnac and “Khaizarian
bastourma,” I shall find a way out of even this difficult situation.
14
I am an old hand at this.

In life, I have so often got into difficult situations and out of them,
that this has become almost a matter of habit for me.
Meanwhile in the present case, I shall write partly in Russian
and partly in Armenian, the more readily because among those
people always “hanging around” me there are several who “cerebrate”
more or less easily in both these languages, and I meanwhile
entertain the hope that they will be able to transcribe and
translate from these languages fairly well for me.
In any case I again repeat—in order that you should well remember
it, but not as you are in the habit of remembering other
things and on the basis of which are accustomed to keeping your
word of honor to others or to yourself—that no matter what language
I shall use, always and in everything, I shall avoid what I
have called the “bon ton literary language.”
In this respect, the extraordinarily curious fact and one even in
the highest degree worthy of your love of knowledge, perhaps
even higher than your usual conception, is that from my earliest
childhood, that is to say, since the birth in me of the need to destroy
birds’ nests, and to tease my friends’ sisters, there arose in
my, as the ancient theosophists called it, “planetary body,” and
moreover, why I don’t know, chiefly in the “right half,” an instinctively
involuntary sensation, which right up to that period of my
life when I became a teacher of dancing, was gradually formed
into a definite feeling, and then, when thanks to this profession
of mine I came in contact with many people of different “types,”
there began to arise in me also the conviction with what is called
my “mind,” that these languages are compiled by people, or rather
“grammarians,” who are in respect of knowledge of the given
language exactly similar to those biped animals whom
15
the esteemed Mullah Nassr Eddin characterizes by the words:
“All they can do is to wrangle with pigs about the quality of oranges.”
This kind of people among us who have been turned into, so to
say, “moths” destroying the good prepared and left for us by our
ancestors and by time, have not the slightest notion and have
probably never even heard of the screamingly obvious fact that,
during the preparatory age, there is acquired in the brain functioning
of every creature, and of man also, a particular and definite
property, the automatic actualization and manifestation of
which the ancient Korkolans called the “law of association,” and
that the process of the mentation of every creature, especially
man, flows exclusively in accordance with this law.
In view of the fact that I have happened here accidentally to
touch upon a question which has lately become one of my so to
speak “hobbies,” namely, the process of human mentation, I consider
it possible, without waiting for the corresponding place predetermined
by me for the elucidation of this question, to state
already now in this first chapter at least something concerning
that axiom which has accidentally become known to me, that
on Earth in the past it has been usual in every century that every
man, in whom there arises the boldness to attain the right to be
considered by others and to consider himself a “conscious
thinker,” should be informed while still in the early years of his
responsible existence that man has in general two kinds of mentation:
one kind, mentation by thought, in which words, always
possessing a relative sense, are employed; and the other kind,
which is proper to all animals as well as to man, which I would
call “mentation by form.”
The second kind of mentation, that is, “mentation by form,” by
which, strictly speaking, the exact sense of all
16
writing must be also perceived, and after conscious confrontation
with information already possessed, be assimilated, is
formed in people in dependence upon the conditions of geographical
locality, climate, time, and, in general, upon the whole
environment in which the arising of the given man has proceeded
and in which his existence has flowed up to manhood.
Accordingly, in the brains of people of different races and conditions
dwelling in different geographical localities, there are
formed about one and the same thing or even idea, a number of
quite independent forms, which during functioning, that is to say,
association, evoke in their being some sensation or other which
subjectively conditions a definite picturing, and which picturing
is expressed by this, that, or the other word, that serves only for
its outer subjective expression.
That is why each word, for the same thing or idea, almost always
acquires for people of different geographical locality and
race a very definite and entirely different so to say “inner content.”
In other words, if in the entirety of any man who has arisen and
been formed in any locality, from the results of the specific local
influences and impressions a certain “form” has been composed,
and this form evokes in him by association the sensation of a
definite “inner content,” and consequently of a definite picturing
or notion for the expression of which he employs one or another
word which has eventually become habitual, and as I have said,
subjective to him, then the hearer of that word, in whose being,
owing to different conditions of his arising and growth, there has
been formed concerning the given word a form of a different “inner
content,” will always perceive and of course infallibly understand
that same word in quite another sense.
This fact, by the way, can with attentive and impartial
17

observation be very clearly established when one is present at
an exchange of opinions between persons belonging to two different
races or who arose and were formed in different geographical
localities.
And so, cheerful and swaggering candidate for a buyer of my
wiseacrings, having warned you that I am going to write not as
“professional writers” usually write but quite otherwise, I advise
you, before embarking on the reading of my further expositions,
to reflect seriously and only then to undertake it. If not, I am afraid
for your hearing and other perceptive and also digestive organs
which may be already so thoroughly automatized to the “literary
language of the intelligentsia” existing in the present period
of time on Earth, that the reading of these writings of mine might
affect you very, very cacophonously, and from this you might lose
your . . . you know what? . . . your appetite for your favorite dish
and for your psychic specificness which particularly titillates your
“inside” and which proceeds in you on seeing your neighbor, the
brunette.
For such a possibility, ensuing from my language, or rather,
strictly speaking, from the form of my mentation, I am, thanks to
oft-repeated past experiences, already quite as convinced with
my whole being as a “thoroughbred donkey” is convinced of the
right and justice of his obstinacy.
Now that I have warned you of what is most important, I am
already tranquil about everything further. Even if any misunderstanding
should arise on account of my writings, you alone will
be entirely to blame, and my conscience will be as clear as for
instance . . . the ex-Kaiser Wilhelm’s.
In all probability you are now thinking that I am, of course, a
young man with an auspicious exterior and, as some express it,
a “suspicious interior,” and that, as a
18
novice in writing, I am evidently intentionally being eccentric in
the
hope of becoming famous and thereby rich.

 If you indeed think so, then you are very, very mistaken.
 First of all, I am not young; I have already lived so much that I
have been in my life, as it is said, “not only through the mill but
through all the grindstones”; and secondly, I am in general not
writing so as to make a career for myself, or so as to plant myself,
as is said, “firm-footedly,” thanks to this profession, which, I must
add, in my opinion provides many openings to become a candidate
d-i-r-e-c-t for “Hell”—assuming of course that such people
can in general by their Being, perfect themselves even to that
extent, for the reason that knowing nothing whatsoever themselves,
they write all kinds of “claptrap” and thereby automatically
acquiring authority, they become almost one of the chief
factors, the totality of which steadily continues year by year, still
further to diminish the, without this, already extremely diminished
psyche of people.
And as regards my personal career, then thanks to all forces
high and low and, if you like, even right and left, I have actualized
it long ago, and have already long been standing on “firm feet”
and even maybe on very good feet, and I moreover am certain
that their strength is sufficient for many more years, in spite of all
my past, present, and future enemies.
Yes, I think you might as well be told also about an idea which
has only just arisen in my madcap brain, and namely, specially
to request the printer, to whom I shall give my first book, to print
this first chapter of my writings in such a way that anybody may
read it before cutting the pages of the book itself, whereupon, on
learning that it is not written in the usual manner, that is to say,
for helping to produce in one’s mentation, very smoothly and
easily, exciting images and lulling reveries, he may, if he wishes,
19
without wasting words with the bookseller, return it and get
his money back, money perhaps earned by the sweat of his own
brow.
I shall do this without fail, moreover, because I just now again
remember the story of what happened to a Transcaucasian Kurd,
which story I heard in my quite early youth and which in subsequent
years, whenever I recalled it in corresponding cases, engendered
in me an enduring and inextinguishable impulse of tenderness.
I think it will be very useful for me, and also for you, if

I relate this story to you somewhat in detail.
It will be useful chiefly because I have decided already to make
the “salt,” or as contemporary pure-blooded Jewish businessmen
would say, the “Tzimus” of this story, one of the basic principles
of that new literary form which I intend to employ for the attainment
of the aim I am now pursuing by means of this new profession
of mine.
This Transcaucasian Kurd once set out from his village on some
business or other to town, and there in the market he saw in a
fruiterer’s shop a handsomely arranged display of all kinds of
fruit.
In this display, he noticed one “fruit,” very beautiful in both color
and form, and its appearance so took his fancy and he so longed
to try it, that in spite of his having scarcely any money, he decided
to buy without fail at least one of these gifts of Great Nature,
and taste it.
Then, with intense eagerness, and with a courage not customary
to him, he entered the shop and pointing with his horny finger
to the “fruit” which had taken his fancy he asked the shopkeeper
its price. The shopkeeper replied that a pound of the “fruit”
would cost two cents.
Finding that the price was not at all high for what in his opinion
was such a beautiful fruit, our Kurd decided to buy a whole
pound.
20
Having finished his business in town, he set off again on foot for
home the same day.
Walking at sunset over the hills and dales, and willy-nilly perceiving
the exterior visibility of those enchanting parts of the
bosom of Great Nature, the Common Mother, and involuntarily
inhaling a pure air uncontaminated by the usual exhalations of
industrial towns, our Kurd quite naturally suddenly felt a wish to
gratify himself with some ordinary food also; so sitting down by
the side of the road, he took from his provision bag some bread
and the “fruit” he had bought which had looked so good to him,
and leisurely began to eat.
But . . . horror of horrors! . . . very soon everything inside him
began to burn. But in spite of this he kept on eating.
And this hapless biped creature of our planet kept on eating,
thanks only to that particular human inherency which I mentioned
at first, the principle of which I intended, when I decided
to use it as the foundation of the new literary form I have created,
to make, as it were, a “guiding beacon” leading me to one of my
aims in view, and the sense and meaning of which moreover you
will, I am sure, soon grasp—of course according to the degree of
your comprehension—during the reading of any subsequent
chapter of my writings, if, of course, you take the risk and read
further, or, it may perhaps be that even at the end of this first
chapter you will already “smell” something.
And so, just at the moment when our Kurd was overwhelmed
by all the unusual sensations proceeding within him from this
strange repast on the bosom of Nature, there came along the
same road a fellow villager of his, one reputed by those who knew
him to be very clever and experienced; and, seeing that the whole
face of the Kurd was aflame, that his eyes were streaming with
tears, and
21
that in spite of this, as if intent upon the fulfillment
of his most
important duty, he was eating real “red pepper pods,” he said to
him:
“What are you doing, you Jericho jackass? You’ll be burnt alive!
Stop eating that extraordinary product, so unaccustomed for
your nature.”
But our Kurd replied: “No, for nothing on Earth will I stop. Didn’t
I pay my last two cents for them? Even if my soul departs from
my body I shall still go on eating.”
Whereupon our resolute Kurd—it must of course be assumed
that he was such—did not stop, but continued eating the “red
pepper pods.”
After what you have just perceived, I hope there may already
be arising in your mentation a corresponding mental association
which should, as a result, effectuate in you, as it sometimes
happens to contemporary people, that which you call, in general,
understanding, and that in the present case you will understand
just why I, well knowing and having many a time commiserated
with this human inherency, the inevitable manifestation
of which is that if anybody pays money for something, he is
bound to use it to the end, was animated in the whole of my
entirety with the idea, arisen in my mentation, to take every possible
measure in order that you, as is said “my brother in appetite
and in spirit”—in the event of your proving to be already
accustomed to reading books, though of all kinds, yet nevertheless
only those written exclusively in the aforesaid “language of
the intelligentsia”—having already paid money for my writings
and learning only afterwards that they are not written in the usual
convenient and easily read language, should not be compelled
as a consequence of the said human inherency, to read my writings
through to the end at all costs, as our poor Transcaucasian
Kurd was compelled to go on with his eating of what he had
22
fancied for its appearance alone—that “not to be joked with”

noble red pepper.
And so, for the purpose of avoiding any misunderstanding
through this inherency, the data for which are formed in the entirety
of contemporary man, thanks evidently to his frequenting
of the cinema and thanks also to his never missing an opportunity
of looking into the left eye of the other sex, I wish that this
commencing chapter of mine should be printed in the said manner,
so that everyone can read it through without cutting the
pages of the book itself.
Otherwise the bookseller will, as is said, “cavil,” and will without
fail again turn out to act in accordance with the basic principle of
booksellers in general, formulated by them in the words: “You’ll
be more of a simpleton than a fisherman if you let go of the fish
which has swallowed the bait,” and will decline to take back a
book whose pages you have cut. I have no doubt of this possibility;
indeed, I fully expect such lack of conscience on the part of
the booksellers.
And the data for the engendering of my certainty as to this lack
of conscience on the part of these booksellers were completely
formed in me, when, while I was a professional “Indian Fakir,” I
needed, for the complete elucidation of a certain
“ultraphilosophical” question also to become familiar, among
other things, with the associative process for the manifestation
of the automatically constructed psyche of contemporary booksellers
and of their salesmen when palming off books on their
buyers.
Knowing all this and having become, since the misfortune which
befell me, habitually just and fastidious in the extreme, I cannot
help repeating, or rather, I cannot help again warning you, and
even imploringly advising you, before beginning to cut the pages
of this first book of mine, to read through very attentively, and
even more than once, this first chapter of my writings.
23
But in the event that notwithstanding this warning of mine, you

should, nevertheless, wish to become acquainted with the further
contents of my expositions, then there is already nothing
else left for me to do but to wish you with all my “genuine soul” a
very, very good appetite, and that you may “digest” all that you
read, not only for your own health but for the health of all those
near you.
I said “with my genuine soul” because recently living in Europe
and coming in frequent contact with people who on every appropriate
and inappropriate occasion are fond of taking in vain
every sacred name which should belong only to man’s inner life,
that is to say, with people who swear to no purpose, I being, as I
have already confessed, a follower in general not only of the theoretical—
as contemporary people have become—but also of the
practical sayings of popular wisdom which have become fixed
by the centuries, and therefore of the saying which in the present
case corresponds to what is expressed by the words: “When you
are in Rome do as Rome does,” decided, in order not to be out of
harmony with the custom established here in Europe of swearing
in ordinary conversation, and at the same time to act according
to the commandment which was enunciated by the holy lips
of Saint Moses “not to take the holy names in vain,” to make use
of one of those examples of the “newly baked” fashionable languages
of the present time, namely English, and so from then on,
I began on necessary occasions to swear by my “English soul.”
The point is that in this fashionable language, the words “soul”
and the bottom of your foot, also called “sole,” are pronounced
and even written almost alike.
I do not know how it is with you, who are already partly candidate
for a buyer of my writings, but my peculiar nature cannot,
even with a great mental desire, avoid being indignant at the
fact manifested by people
24
of contemporary civilization, that the very
highest in man, particularly
beloved by our COMMON FATHER CREATOR,
can really be named, and indeed very
often before even having made clear
to oneself what it is, can be understood
to be that which is lowest
and dirtiest in man.
Well, enough of “philologizing.” Let us return to the main task of
this initial chapter, destined, among other things, on the one hand
to stir up the drowsy thoughts in me as well as in the reader, and,
on the other, to warn the reader about something.
And so, I have already composed in my head the plan and sequence
of the intended expositions, but what form they will take
on paper, I, speaking frankly, myself do not as yet know with my
consciousness, but with my subconsciousness I already definitely
feel that on the whole it will take the form of something which
will be, so to say, “hot,” and will have an effect on the entirety of
every reader such as the red pepper pods had on the poor
Transcaucasian Kurd.
Now that you have become familiar with the story of our common
countryman, the Transcaucasian Kurd, I already consider it
my duty to make a confession and hence before continuing this
first chapter, which is by way of an introduction to all my further
predetermined writings, I wish to bring to the knowledge of what
is called your “pure waking consciousness” the fact that in the
writings following this chapter of warning I shall expound my
thoughts intentionally in such sequence and with such “logical
confrontation,” that the essence of certain real notions may of
themselves automatically, so to say, go from this “waking consciousness”—
which most people in their ignorance mistake for
the real consciousness, but which I affirm and experimentally
prove is the fictitious one—into what you call the subconscious,
which ought to be in my opinion the real human consciousness,
25
and there by themselves mechanically bring about that transformation
which should in general proceed in the entirety of a
man and give him, from his own conscious mentation, the results
he ought to have, which are proper to man and not merely
to single- or double-brained animals.
I decided to do this without fail so that this initial chapter of
mine, predetermined as I have already said to awaken your consciousness,
should fully justify its purpose, and reaching not only
your, in my opinion, as yet only fictitious “consciousness,” but also
your real consciousness, that is to say, what you call your subconscious,
might, for the first time, compel you to reflect actively.
In the entirety of every man, irrespective of his heredity and
education, there are formed two independent consciousnesses
which in their functioning as well as in their manifestations have
almost nothing in common. One consciousness is formed from
the perception of all kinds of accidental, or on the part of others
intentionally produced, mechanical impressions, among which
must also be counted the “consonances” of various words which
are indeed as is said empty; and the other consciousness is
formed from the so to say, “already previously formed material
results” transmitted to him by heredity, which have become
blended with the corresponding parts of the entirety of a man,
as well as from the data arising from his intentional evoking of
the associative confrontations of these “materialized data” already
in him.
The whole totality of the formation as well as the manifestation
of this second human consciousness, which is none other than
what is called the “subconscious,” and which is formed from the
“materialized results” of heredity and the confrontations actualized
by one’s own intentions, should in my opinion, formed by many years
of my experimental elucidations during exceptionally
favorably
26
arranged
conditions, predominate in the common presence of a man.

As a result of this conviction of mine which as yet doubtlessly
seems to you the fruit of the fantasies of an afflicted mind, I cannot
now, as you yourself see, disregard this second consciousness
and, compelled by my essence, am obliged to construct the
general exposition even of this first chapter of my writings,
namely, the chapter which should be the preface for everything
further, calculating that it should reach and, in the manner required
for my aim, “ruffle” the perceptions accumulated in both
these consciousnesses of yours.
Continuing my expositions with this calculation, I must first of
all inform your fictitious consciousness that, thanks to three definite
peculiar data which were crystallized in my entirety during
various periods of my preparatory age, I am really unique in respect
of the so to say “muddling and befuddling” of all the notions
and convictions supposedly firmly fixed in the entirety of
people with whom I come in contact.
Tut! Tut! Tut! ... I already feel that in your “false”— but according
to you “real”—consciousness, there are beginning to be agitated,
like “blinded flies,” all the chief data transmitted to you by heredity
from your uncle and mother, the totality of which data, always
and in everything, at least engenders in you the impulse—nevertheless
extremely good—of curiosity, as in the given case, to
find out as quickly as possible why I, that is to say, a novice at
writing, whose name has not even once been mentioned in the
newspapers, have suddenly become so unique.
Never mind! I personally am very pleased with the arising of
this curiosity even though only in your “false” consciousness, as I
already know from experience that this impulse unworthy of man
can sometimes even pass from this consciousness into one’s
nature and become a
27
worthy impulse—the impulse of the desire for knowledge,

which, in its turn, assists the better perception and even the closer
understanding of the essence of any object on which, as it sometimes
happens, the attention of a contemporary man might be
concentrated, and therefore I am even willing, with pleasure, to
satisfy this curiosity which has arisen in you at the present moment.
Now listen and try to justify, and not to disappoint, my expectations.
This original personality of mine, already “smelled out”
by certain definite individuals from both choirs of the Judgment
Seat Above, whence Objective justice proceeds, and also here
on Earth, by as yet a very limited number of people, is based, as
I already said, on three secondary specific data formed in me at
different times during my preparatory age. The first of these data,
from the very beginning of its arising, became as it were the chief
directing lever of my entire wholeness, and the other two, the
“vivifying-sources,” as it were, for the feeding and perfecting of
this first datum.
The arising of this first datum proceeded when I was still only,
as is said, a “chubby mite.” My dear now deceased grandmother
was then still living and was a hundred and some years old.
When my grandmother—may she attain the kingdom of
Heaven—was dying, my mother, as was then the custom, took
me to her bedside, and as I kissed her right hand, my dear now
deceased grandmother placed her dying left hand on my head
and in a whisper, yet very distinctly, said:
“Eldest of my grandsons! Listen and always remember my strict
injunction to you: In life never do as others do.”
Having said this, she gazed at the bridge of my nose and evidently
noticing my perplexity and my obscure understanding
of what she had said, added somewhat angrily and imposingly:
28
“Either do nothing—just go to school—or do something nobody

else does.”
Whereupon she immediately, without hesitation, and with a
perceptible impulse of disdain for all around her, and with commendable
self-cognizance, gave up her soul directly into the
hands of His Truthfulness, the Archangel Gabriel.
I think it will be interesting and even instructive to you to know
that all this made so powerful an impression on me at that time
that I suddenly became unable to endure anyone around me,
and therefore, as soon as we left the room where the mortal “planetary
body” of the cause of the cause of my arising lay, I very
quietly, trying not to attract attention, stole away to the pit where
during Lent the bran and potato skins for our “sanitarians,” that
is to say, our pigs, were stored, and lay there, without food or
drink, in a tempest of whirling and confused thoughts—of which,
fortunately for me, I had then in my childish brain still only a very
limited number—right until the return from the cemetery of my
mother, whose weeping on finding me gone and after searching
for me in vain, as it were “overwhelmed” me. I then immediately
emerged from the pit and standing first of all on the edge, for
some reason or other with outstretched hand, ran to her and
clinging fast to her skirts, involuntarily began to stamp my feet
and why, I don’t know, to imitate the braying of the donkey belonging
to our neighbor, a bailiff.
Why this produced such a strong impression on me just then,
and why I almost automatically manifested so strangely, I cannot
until now make out; though during recent years, particularly
on the days called “Shrovetide,” I pondered a good deal, trying
chiefly to discover the reason for it.
I then had only the logical supposition that it was perhaps only
because the room in which this sacred scene
29
occurred, which was to have tremendous significance for the
whole of my further life, was permeated through and through
with the scent of a special incense brought from the monastery
of “Old Athos” and very popular among followers of every shade
of belief of the Christian religion. Whatever it may have been, this
fact still now remains a bare fact.
During the days following this event, nothing particular happened
in my general state, unless there might be connected with
it the fact that during these days, I walked more often than usual
with my feet in the air, that is to say, on my hands.
My first act, obviously in discordance with the manifestations
of others, though truly without the participation not only of my
consciousness but also of my subconsciousness, occurred on
exactly the fortieth day after the death of my grandmother, when
all our family, our relatives and all those by whom my dear grandmother,
who was loved by everybody, had been held in esteem,
gathered in the cemetery according to custom, to perform over
her mortal remains, reposing in the grave, what is called the “requiem
service,” when suddenly without any rhyme or reason,
instead of observing what was conventional among people of
all degrees of tangible and intangible morality and of all material
positions, that is to say, instead of standing quietly as if overwhelmed,
with an expression of grief on one’s face and even if
possible with tears in one’s eyes, I started skipping round the
grave as if dancing, and sang:
“Let her with the saints repose, Now that she’s turned up her
toes, Oi! oi! oi!
Let her with the saints repose, Now that she’s turned up her
toes.”
30
. . . and so on and so forth.

And just from this it began, that in my entirety a “something”

arose which in respect of any kind of so to say “aping,” that is to
say, imitating the ordinary automatized manifestations of those
around me, always and in everything engendered what I should
now call an “irresistible urge” to do things not as others do them.
At that age I committed acts such as the following.
If for example when learning to catch a ball with the right hand,
my brother, sisters and the neighbors’ children who came to play
with us, threw the ball in the air, I, with the same aim in view,
would first bounce the ball hard on the ground, and only when it
rebounded would I, first doing a somersault, catch it, and then
only with the thumb and middle finger of the left hand; or if all
the other children slid down the hill head first, I tried to do it, and
moreover each time better and better, as the children then called
it, “backside-first”; or if we children were given various kinds of
what are called “Abaranian pastries,” then all the other children,
before putting them in their mouths, would first of all lick them,
evidently to try their taste and to protract the pleasure, but ... I
would first sniff one on all sides and perhaps even put it to my
ear and listen intently, and then though only almost unconsciously,
yet nevertheless seriously, muttering to myself “so and
so and so you must, do not eat until you bust,” and rhythmically
humming correspondingly, I would only take one bite and without
savoring it, would swallow it—and so on and so forth.
The first event during which there arose in me one of the two
mentioned data which became the “vivifying sources” for the
feeding and perfecting of the injunction of my deceased grandmother,
occurred just at that age when I changed from a chubby
mite into what is called a “young rascal” and had already begun
to be, as is sometimes
31
said, a “candidate for a young man of pleasing
appearance and
dubious content.”
And this event occurred under the following circumstances
which were perhaps even specially combined by Fate itself.
With a number of young rascals like myself, I was once laying
snares for pigeons on the roof of a neighbor’s house, when suddenly,
one of the boys who was standing over me and watching
me closely, said:
“I think the noose of the horsehair ought to be so arranged that
the pigeon’s big toe never gets caught in it, because, as our zoology
teacher recently explained to us, during movement it is just
in that toe that the pigeon’s reserve strength is concentrated, and
therefore if this big toe gets caught in the noose, the pigeon might
of course easily break it.”
Another boy, leaning just opposite me, from whose mouth, by
the way, whenever he spoke saliva always splashed abundantly
in all directions, snapped at this remark of the first boy and delivered
himself, with a copious quantity of saliva, of the following
words:
“Shut your trap, you hopeless mongrel offshoot of the
Hottentots! What an abortion you are, just like your teacher! Suppose
it is true that the greatest physical force of the pigeon is
concentrated in that big toe, then all the more, what we’ve got to
do is to see that just that toe will be caught in the noose. Only
then will there be any sense to our aim—that is to say, for catching
these unfortunate pigeon creatures—in that brain-particularity
proper to all possessors of that soft and slippery ‘something’
which consists in this, that when, thanks to other actions,
from which its insignificant manifestability depends, there arises
a periodic requisite law-conformable what is called ‘change of
presence,’ then this small so to say ‘law-conformable confusion’
which should proceed for the animation of
32
other acts in its general functioning, immediately enables the
center
of gravity of the whole functioning, in which this slippery
‘something’
plays a very small part, to pass temporarily from its
usual place to another
place, owing to which there often obtains
in the whole of this general
functioning, unexpected results ridiculous
to the point of absurdity.”
He discharged the last words with such a shower of saliva that
it was as if my face were exposed to the action of an “atomizer”—
not of “Ersatz” production—invented by the Germans for dyeing
material with aniline dyes.
This was more than I could endure, and without changing my
squatting position, I flung myself at him, and my head, hitting
him with full force in the pit of his stomach, immediately laid him
out and made him as is said “lose consciousness.”
I do not know and do not wish to know in what spirit the result
will be formed in your mentation of the information about the
extraordinary coincidence, in my opinion, of life circumstances,
which I now intend to describe here, though for my mentation,
this coincidence was excellent material for the assurance of the
possibility of the fact that this event described by me, which occurred
in my youth, proceeded not simply accidentally but was
intentionally created by certain extraneous forces.
The point is that this dexterity was thoroughly taught me only
a few days before this event by a Greek priest from Turkey, who,
persecuted by Turks for his political convictions, had been compelled
to flee from there, and having arrived in our town had been
hired by my parents as a teacher for me of the modern Greek
language.
I do not know on which data he based his political convictions
and ideas, but I very well remember that in all the conversations
of this Greek priest, even while explaining to me the difference
between the words of exclamation
33
in ancient and in modern Greek, there were indeed always very
clearly
discernible his dreams of getting as soon as possible to
the island
of Crete and there manifesting himself as befits a true
patriot.
Well, then, on beholding the effect of my skill, I was, I must confess,
extremely frightened, because, knowing nothing of any such
reaction from a blow in that place, I quite thought I had killed
him.
At the moment I was experiencing this fear, another boy, the
cousin of him who had become the first victim of my so to say
“skill in self-defense,” seeing this, without a moment’s pause, and
obviously overcome with a feeling called “consanguinity,” immediately
leaped at me and with a full swing struck me in the face
with his fist.
From this blow, I, as is said, “saw stars,” and at the same time
my mouth became as full as if it had been stuffed with the food
necessary for the artificial fattening of a thousand chickens.
After a little time when both these strange sensations had
calmed down within me, I then actually discovered that some
foreign substance was in my mouth, and when I pulled it out
with my fingers, it turned out to be nothing less than a tooth of
large dimensions and strange form.
Seeing me staring at this extraordinary tooth, all the boys
swarmed around me and also began to stare at it with great curiosity
and in a strange silence.
By this time the boy who had been laid out flat recovered and,
picking himself up, also began to stare at my tooth with the other
boys, as if nothing had happened to him.
This strange tooth had seven shoots and at the end of each of
them there stood out in relief a drop of blood, and through each
separate drop there shone clearly and definitely one of the seven
aspects of the manifestation of the white ray.
34
After this silence, unusual for us “young rascals,” the usual hubbub

broke out again, and in this hubbub it was decided to go
immediately to the barber, a specialist in extracting teeth, and to
ask him just why this tooth was like that.
So we all climbed down from the roof and went off to the
barber’s. And I, as the “hero of the day,” stalked at the head of
them all.
The barber, after a casual glance, said it was simply a “wisdom
tooth” and that all those of the male sex have one like it, who
until they first exclaim “papa” and “mamma” are fed on milk exclusively
from their own mother, and who on first sight are able
to distinguish among many other faces the face of their own father.
As a result of the whole totality of the effects of this happening,
at which time my poor “wisdom tooth” became a complete sacrifice,
not only did my consciousness begin, from that time on,
constantly absorbing, in connection with everything, the very
essence of the essence of my deceased grandmother’s behest—
God bless her soul—but also in me at that time, because I did
not go to a “qualified dentist” to have the cavity of this tooth of
mine treated, which as a matter of fact I could not do because
our home was too far from any contemporary center of culture,
there began to ooze chronically from this cavity a “something”
which—as it was only recently explained to me by a very famous
meteorologist with whom I chanced to become, as is said, “bosom
friends” owing to frequent meetings in the Parisian night
restaurants of Montmartre—had the property of arousing an
interest in, and a tendency to seek out the causes of the arising
of every suspicious “actual fact”; and this property, not transmitted
to my entirety by heredity, gradually and automatically led
to my ultimately becoming a specialist
35
in the investigation of every
suspicious phenomenon which,
as it so often happened, came my way.
This property newly formed in me after this event— when I, of
course with the co-operation of our ALL-COMMON MASTER THE
MERCILESS HEROPASS, that is the “flow of time,” was transformed
into the young man already depicted by me—became for me a
real inextinguishable hearth, always burning, of consciousness.
The second of the mentioned vivifying factors, this time for the
complete fusion of my dear grandmother’s injunction with all
the data constituting my general individuality, was the totality of
impressions received from information I chanced to acquire concerning
the event which took place here among us on Earth,
showing the origin of that “principle” which, as it turned out according
to the elucidations of Mr. Alan Kardec during an “absolutely
secret” spiritualistic seance, subsequently became everywhere
among beings similar to ourselves, arising and existing
on all the other planets of our Great Universe, one of the chief “life
principles.”
The formulation in words of this new “all-universal principle of
living” is as follows:
“If you go on a spree then go the whole hog including the postage.”
As this “principle,” now already universal, arose on that same
planet on which you too arose and on which, moreover, you exist
almost always on a bed of roses and frequently dance the fox
trot, I consider I have no right to withhold from you the information
known to me, elucidating certain details of the arising of just
that universal principle.
Soon after the definite inculcation into my nature of the said
new inherency, that is, the unaccountable striving to elucidate
the real reasons for the arising of all sorts of “actual facts,” on my
first arrival in the heart of Russia,
36
the city of Moscow,
where, finding nothing else for the satisfaction
of my psychic needs, I occupied myself with the investigation
of Russian legends and sayings, I once happened—whether
accidentally or as a result of some objective sequence according
to a law I do not know—to learn by the way the following:
Once upon a time a certain Russian, who in external appearance
was to those around him a simple merchant, had to go from
his provincial town on some business or other to this second
capital of Russia, the city of Moscow, and his son, his favorite one—
because he resembled only his mother—asked him to bring back
a certain book.
When this great unconscious author of the “all-universal principle
of living” arrived in Moscow, he together with a friend of his
became—as was and still is usual there— “blind drunk” on genuine
“Russian vodka.”
And when these two inhabitants of this most great contemporary
grouping of biped breathing creatures had drunk the proper
number of glasses of this “Russian blessing” and were discussing
what is called “public education,” with which question it has
long been customary always to begin one’s conversation, then
our merchant suddenly remembered by association his dear
son’s request, and decided to set off at once to a bookshop with
his friend to buy the book.
In the shop, the merchant, looking through the book he had
asked for and which the salesman handed him, asked its price.
The salesman replied that the book was sixty kopecks.
Noticing that the price marked on the cover of the book was
only forty-five kopecks, our merchant first began pondering in a
strange manner, in general unusual for Russians, and afterwards,
making a certain movement with his shoulders, straightening
himself up almost like a pillar and throwing out his chest like an
officer of the
37
guards, said after a little pause, very quietly but
with an intonation
in his voice expressing great authority:
“But it is marked here forty-five kopecks. Why do you ask sixty?”
Thereupon the salesman, making as is said the “oleaginous” face
proper to all salesmen, replied that the book indeed cost only
forty-five kopecks, but had to be sold at sixty because fifteen
kopecks were added for postage.
After this reply to our Russian merchant who was perplexed by
these two quite contradictory but obviously clearly reconcilable
facts, it was visible that something began to proceed in him, and
gazing up at the ceiling, he again pondered, this time like an English
professor who has invented a capsule for castor oil, and
then suddenly turned to his friend and delivered himself for the
first time on Earth of the verbal formulation which, expressing in
its essence an indubitable objective truth, has since assumed
the character of a saying.
And he then put it to his friend as follows:
“Never mind, old fellow, we’ll take the book. Anyway we’re on a
spree today, and ‘if you go on a spree then go the whole hog
including the postage.’”
As for me, unfortunately doomed, while still living, to experience
the delights of “Hell,” as soon as I had cognized all this, something
very strange, that I have never experienced before or since,
immediately began, and for a rather long time continued to proceed
in me; it was as if all kinds of, as contemporary “Hivintzes”
say, “competitive races” began to proceed in me between all the
various-sourced associations and experiences usually occurring
in me.
At the same time, in the whole region of my spine there began
a strong almost unbearable itch, and a colic in the very center of
my solar plexus, also unbearable, and all this, that is these dual,
mutually stimulating sensations,
38
after the lapse of some time
suddenly were replaced by such a
peaceful inner condition
as I experienced in later life once only,
when the ceremony of the great initiation into the Brotherhood
of the “Originators of making butter from air” was performed over
me; and later when “I,” that is, this “something-unknown” of mine,
which in ancient times one crank—called by those around him,
as we now also call such persons, a “learned man”—defined as a
“relatively transferable arising, depending on the quality of the
functioning of thought, feeling, and organic automatism,” and
according to the definition of another also ancient and renowned
learned man, the Arabian Mal-el-Lel, which definition by the way
was in the course of time borrowed and repeated in a different
way by a no less renowned and learned Greek, Xenophon, “the
compound result of consciousness, subconsciousness, and instinct”;
so when this same “I” in this condition turned my dazed
attention inside myself, then firstly it very clearly constated that
everything, even to each single word, elucidating this quotation
that has become an “all-universal life principle” became transformed
in me into some special cosmic substance, and merging
with the data already crystallized in me long before from the
behest of my deceased grandmother, changed these data into a
“something” and this “something” flowing everywhere through
my entirety settled forever in each atom composing this entirety
of mine, and secondly, this my ill-fated “I” there and then definitely
felt and, with an impulse of submission, became conscious
of this, for me, sad fact, that already from that moment I should
willy-nilly have to manifest myself always and in everything without
exception, according to this inherency formed in me, not in
accordance with the laws of heredity, nor even by the influence
of surrounding circumstances, but arising in my entirety under
39
the influence of three external accidental causes, having nothing
in common, namely: thanks in the first place to the behest of
a person who had become, without the slightest desire on my
part, a passive cause of the cause of my arising; secondly, on account
of a tooth of mine knocked out by some ragamuffin of a
boy, mainly on account of somebody else’s “slobberiness”; and
thirdly, thanks to the verbal formulation delivered in a drunken
state by a person quite alien to me—some merchant of
“Moscovite brand.”
If before my acquaintance with this “all-universal principle of
living” I had actualized all manifestations differently from other
biped animals similar to me, arising and vegetating with me on
one and the same planet, then I did so automatically, and sometimes
only half consciously, but after this event I began to do so
consciously and moreover with an instinctive sensation of the
two blended impulses of self-satisfaction and self-cognizance in
correctly and honorably fulfilling my duty to Great Nature.
It must even be emphasized that although even before this
event I already did everything not as others did, yet my manifestations
were hardly thrust before the eyes of my fellow countrymen
around me, but from the moment when the essence of this
principle of living was assimilated in my nature, then on the one
hand all my manifestations, those intentional for any aim and
also those simply, as is said, “occurring out of sheer idleness,” acquired
vivify-ingness and began to assist in the formation of
“corns” on the organs of perception of every creature similar to
me without exception who directed his attention directly or indirectly
toward my actions, and on the other hand, I myself began
to carry out all these actions of mine in accordance with the
injunctions of my deceased grandmother to the utmost possible
limits; and the practice was automatically acquired in me on beginning
anything new
40
and also at any change, of course on a large scale, always to

utter silently or aloud:
“If you go on a spree then go the whole hog including the postage.”
And now, for instance, in the present case also, since, owing to
causes not dependent on me, but flowing from the strange and
accidental circumstances of my life, I happen to be writing books,
I am compelled to do this also in accordance with that same principle
which has gradually become definite through various extraordinary
combinations created by life itself, and which has
blended with each atom of my entirety.
This psycho-organic principle of mine I shall this time begin to
actualize not by following the practice of all writers, established
from the remote past down to the present, of taking as the theme
of their various writings the events which have supposedly taken
place, or are taking place, on Earth, but shall take instead as the
scale of events for my _writings—the whole Universe. Thus in
the present case also, “If you take then take!”—that is to say, “If
you go on a spree then go the whole hog including the postage.”
Any writer can write within the scale of the Earth, but I am not
any writer.
Can I confine myself merely to this, in the objective sense, “paltry
Earth” of ours? To do this, that is to say, to take for my writings
the same themes as in general other writers do, I must not, even
if only because what our learned spirits affirm might suddenly
indeed prove true; and my grandmother might learn of this; and
do you understand what might happen to her, to my dear beloved
grandmother? Would she not turn in her grave, not once,
as is usually said, but—as I understand her, especially now when
I can already quite “skillfully” enter into the position of another—
she would turn so many
41
times that she would almost be transformed into an “Irish

weathercock.”
Please, reader, do not worry ... I shall of course also write of the
Earth, but with such an impartial attitude that this comparatively
small planet itself and also everything on it shall correspond to
that place which in fact it occupies and which, even according to
your own sane logic, arrived at thanks of course to my guidance,
it must occupy in our Great Universe.
I must, of course, also make the various what are called “heroes”
of these writings of mine not such types as those which in general
the writers of all ranks and epochs on Earth have drawn and
exalted, that is to say, types such as any Tom, Dick, or Harry, who
arise through a misunderstanding, and who fail to acquire during
the process of their formation up to what is called “responsible
life,” anything at all which it is proper for an arising in the
image of God, that is to say a man, to have, and who progressively
develop in themselves to their last breath only such various
charms as for instance: “lasciviousness,” “slobberiness,” “amorousness,”
“maliciousness,” “chicken-heartedness,” “enviousness,”
and similar vices unworthy of man.
I intend to introduce in my writings heroes of such type as everybody
must, as is said, “willy-nilly” sense with his whole being
as real, and about whom in every reader data must inevitably be
crystallized for the notion that they are indeed “somebody” and
not merely “just anybody.”
During the last weeks, while lying in bed, my body quite sick, I
mentally drafted a summary of my future writings and thought
out the form and sequence of their exposition, and I decided to
make the chief hero of the first series of my writings ... do you
know whom? . . . the Great Beelzebub Himself—even in spite of
the fact
42
that this choice of mine might from the very beginning evoke

in the mentation of most of my readers such mental associations
as must engender in them all kinds of automatic contradictory
impulses from the action of that totality of data infallibly
formed in the psyche of people owing to all the established abnormal
conditions of our external life, which data are in general
crystallized in people owing to the famous what is called “religious
morality” existing and rooted in their life, and in them, consequently,
there must inevitably be formed data for an inexplicable
hostility towards me personally.
But do you know what, reader?
In case you decide, despite this Warning, to risk continuing to
familiarize yourself with my further writings, and you try to absorb
them always with an impulse of impartiality and to understand
the very essence of the questions I have decided to elucidate,
and in view also of the particularity inherent in the human
psyche, that there can be no opposition to the perception of good
only exclusively when so to say a “contact of mutual frankness
and confidence” is established, I now still wish to make a sincere
confession to you about the associations arisen within me which
as a result have precipitated in the corresponding sphere of my
consciousness the data which have prompted the whole of my
individuality to select as the chief hero for my writings just such
an individual as is presented before your inner eyes by this same
Mr. Beelzebub.
This I did, not without cunning. My cunning lies simply in the
logical supposition that if I show him this attention he infallibly—
as I already cannot doubt any more—has to show himself grateful
and help me by all means in his command in my intended
writings.
Although Mr. Beelzebub is made, as is said, “of a different grain,”
yet, since He also can think, and, what
43
is most important, has—as I long

ago learned, thanks to the treatise of the famous Catholic monk, Brother
Foolon—a curly
tail, then I, being thoroughly convinced from experience that curls
are never natural but can be obtained only from various intentional
manipulations, conclude, according to the “sane-logic” of
hieromancy formed in my consciousness from reading books,
that Mr. Beelzebub also must possess a good share of vanity, and
will therefore find it extremely inconvenient not to help one who
is going to advertise His name.
It is not for nothing that our renowned and incomparable
teacher, Mullah Nassr Eddin, frequently says:
“Without greasing the palm not only is it impossible to live anywhere
tolerably but even to breathe.”
And another also terrestrial sage, who has become such, thanks
to the crass stupidity of people, named Till Eulenspiegel, has
expressed the same in the following words:
“If you don’t grease the wheels the cart won’t go.”
Knowing these and many other sayings of popular wisdom
formed by centuries in the collective life of people, I have decided
to “grease the palm” precisely of Mr. Beelzebub, who, as everyone
understands, has possibilities and knowledge enough and to
spare for everything.
Enough, old fellow! All joking even philosophical joking aside,
you, it seems, thanks to all these deviations, have transgressed
one of the chief principles elaborated in you and put in the basis
of a system planned previously for introducing your dreams into
life by means of such a new profession, which principle consists
in this, always to remember and take into account the fact of the
weakening of the functioning of the mentation of the contemporary
reader and not to fatigue him with the perception of numerous
ideas over a short time.
Moreover, when I asked one of the people always around me
who are “eager to enter Paradise without fail
44
with their boots on,” to read aloud straight through all that I
have written in this introductory chapter, what is called my “I”—
of course, with the participation of all the definite data formed in
my original psyche during my past years, which data gave me
among other things understanding of the psyche of creatures of
different type but similar to me—constated and cognized with
certainty that in the entirety of every reader without exception
there must inevitably, thanks to this first chapter alone, arise a
“something” automatically engendering definite unfriendliness
towards me personally.
To tell the truth, it is not this which is now chiefly worrying me,
but the fact that at the end of this reading I also constated that in
the sum total of everything expounded in this chapter, the whole
of my entirety in which the aforesaid “I” plays a very small part,
manifested itself quite contrary to one of the fundamental commandments
of that All-Common Teacher whom I particularly
esteem, Mullah Nassr Eddin, and which he formulated in the
words: “Never poke your stick into a hornets’ nest.”
The agitation which pervaded the whole system affecting my
feelings, and which resulted from cognizing that in the reader
there must necessarily arise an unfriendly feeling towards me, at
once quieted down as soon as I remembered the ancient Russian
proverb which states: “There is no offence which with time
will not blow over.”
But the agitation which arose in my system from realizing my
negligence in obeying the commandment of Mullah Nassr Eddin,
not only now seriously troubles me, but a very strange process,
which began in both of my recently discovered “souls” and which
assumed the form of an unusual itching immediately I understood
this, began progressively to increase until it now evokes and
produces an almost intolerable pain in the region a little
below the
45
right half of my already, without this, over exercised “solar
plexus.”
Wait! Wait! . . . This process, it seems, is also ceasing, and in all the
depths of my consciousness, and let us meanwhile say “even
beneath my subconsciousness,” there already begins to arise
everything requisite for the complete assurance that it will entirely
cease, because I have remembered another fragment of
life wisdom, the thought of which led my mentation to the reflection
that if I indeed acted against the advice of the highly esteemed
Mullah Nassr Eddin, I nevertheless acted without premeditation
according to the principle of that extremely sympathetic—
not so well known everywhere on earth, but never forgotten
by all who have once met him—that precious jewel,
Karapet of Tiflis.
It can’t be helped. . . . Now that this introductory chapter of mine
has turned out to be so long, it will not matter if I lengthen it a
little more to tell you also about this extremely sympathetic
Karapet of Tiflis.
First of all I must state that twenty or twenty-five years ago, the
Tiflis railway station had a “steam whistle.”
It was blown every morning to wake the railway workers and
station hands, and as the Tiflis station stood on a hill, this whistle
was heard almost all over the town and woke up not only the
railway workers, but the inhabitants of the town of Tiflis itself.
The Tiflis local government, as I recall it, even entered into a correspondence
with the railway authorities about the disturbance
of the morning sleep of the peaceful citizens.
To release the steam into the whistle every morning was the
job of this same Karapet who was employed in the station.
So when he would come in the morning to the rope with which
he released the steam for the whistle, he
46
would, before taking hold of the rope and pulling it, wave his
hand in all directions and solemnly, like a Mohammedan mullah
from a minaret, loudly cry:
“Your mother is a — —, your father is a — —, your grandfather
is more than a — —; may your eyes, ears, nose, spleen, liver, corns
...” and so on; in short, he pronounced in various keys all the curses
he knew, and not until he had done so would he pull the rope.
When I heard about this Karapet and of this practice of his, I
visited him one evening after the day’s work, with a small
boordook of Kahketeenian wine, and after performing this indispensable
local solemn “toasting ritual,” I asked him, of course in
a suitable form and also according to the local complex of “amenities”
established for mutual relationship, why he did this.
Having emptied his glass at a draught and having once sung
the famous Georgian song, “Little did we tipple,” inevitably sung
when drinking, he leisurely began to answer as follows:
“As you drink wine not as people do today, that is to say, not
merely for appearances but in fact honestly, then this already
shows me that you do not wish to know about this practice of
mine out of curiosity, like our engineers and technicians, but really
owing to your desire for knowledge, and therefore I wish, and
even consider it my duty, sincerely to confess to you the exact
reason of these inner, so to say, ‘scrupulous considerations’ of
mine, which led me to this, and which little by little instilled in me
such a habit.”
He then related the following:
“Formerly I used to work in this station at night cleaning the
steam boilers, but when this steam whistle was brought here,
the stationmaster, evidently considering my age and incapacity
for the heavy work I was doing, ordered me to occupy myself
only with releasing the steam into
47
the whistle, for which I had to
arrive punctually every morning and evening.
“The first week of this new service, I once noticed that after performing
this duty of mine, I felt for an hour or two vaguely ill at
ease. But when this strange feeling, increasing day by day, ultimately
became a definite instinctive uneasiness from which even
my appetite for ‘Makhokh’ disappeared, I began from then on
always to think and think in order to find out the cause of this. I
thought about it all particularly intensely for some reason or other
while going to and coming from my work, but however hard I
tried I could make nothing whatsoever, even approximately, clear
to myself.
“It thus continued for almost two years and, finally, when the
calluses on my palms had become quite hard from the rope of
the steam whistle, I quite accidentally and suddenly understood
why I experienced this uneasiness.
“The shock for my correct understanding, as a result of which
there was formed in me concerning this an unshakable conviction,
was a certain exclamation I accidentally heard under the
following, rather peculiar, circumstances.
“One morning when I had not had enough sleep, having spent
the first half of the night at the christening of my neighbor’s ninth
daughter and the other half in reading a very interesting and rare
book I had by chance obtained and which was entitled Dreams
and Witchcraft, as I was hurrying on my way to release the steam,
I suddenly saw at the corner a barber-surgeon I knew, belonging
to the local government service, who beckoned me to stop.
“The duty of this barber-surgeon friend of mine consisted in
going at a certain time through the town accompanied by an
assistant with a specially constructed carriage and seizing all the
stray dogs whose collars were without
48
the metal plates distributed by the local authorities on payment
of the tax and taking these dogs to the municipal slaughterhouse
where they were kept for two weeks at municipal expense, feeding
on the slaughterhouse offal; if, on the expiration of this period,
the owners of the dogs had not claimed them and paid the
established tax, then these dogs were, with a certain solemnity,
driven
down a certain passageway which led directly to a specially
built oven.
“After a short time, from the other end of this famous salutary
oven, there flowed, with a delightful gurgling sound, a definite
quantity of pellucid and ideally clean fat to the profit of the fathers
of our town for the manufacture of soap and also perhaps
of something else, and, with a purling sound, no less delightful to
the ear, there poured out also a fair quantity of very useful substance
for fertilizing.
“This barber-surgeon friend of mine proceeded in the following
simple and admirably skillful manner to catch the dogs.
“He somewhere obtained a large, old, and ordinary fishing net,
which, during these peculiar excursions of his for the general
human welfare through the slums of our town, he carried, arranged
in a suitable manner on his strong shoulders, and when
a dog without its ‘passport’ came within the sphere of his all seeing
and, for all the canine species, terrible eye, he without haste
and with the softness of a panther, would steal up closely to it
and seizing a favorable moment when the dog was interested
and attracted by something it noticed, cast his net on it and
quickly entangled it, and later, rolling up the carriage, he disentangled
the dog in such a way that it found itself in the cage attached
to the carriage.
“Just when my friend the barber-surgeon beckoned me to stop,
he was aiming to throw his net, at the opportune
49
moment, at his next
victim, which at that moment was standing wagging his tail and looking
at a bitch. My friend was just about to throw his net, when suddenly the
bells of a neighboring church rang out, calling the people to early morning prayers.
At such an unexpected ringing in the morning quiet, the dog took
fright and springing aside flew off like a shot down the empty
street at his full canine velocity.
“Then the barber-surgeon so infuriated by this that his hair, even
beneath his armpits, stood on end, flung his net on the pavement
and spitting over his left shoulder, loudly exclaimed:
“‘Oh, Hell! What a time to ring!’
“As soon as the exclamation of the barber-surgeon reached my
reflecting apparatus, there began to swarm in it various thoughts
which ultimately led, in my view, to the correct understanding of
just why there proceeded in me the aforesaid instinctive uneasiness.
“The first moment after I had understood this there even arose
a feeling of being offended at myself that such a simple and clear
thought had not entered my head before.
“I sensed with the whole of my being that my effect on the general
life could produce no other result than that process which
had all along proceeded in me.
“And indeed, everyone awakened by the noise I make with the
steam whistle, which disturbs his sweet morning slumbers, must
without doubt curse me ‘by everything under the sun,’ just me,
the cause of this hellish row, and thanks to this, there must of
course certainly flow towards my person from all directions, vibrations
of all kinds of malice.
“On that significant morning, when, after performing my duties,
I, in my customary mood of depression, was sitting in a neighboring
‘Dukhan’ and eating ‘Hachi’ with garlic,
50
I, continuing to ponder, came
to the conclusion that if I should curse beforehand all those to whom my
service for the benefit of certain among them might seem disturbing, then,
according to the explanation of the book I had read the night before, however
much all those, as they might be called, ‘who lie in the sphere of
idiocy,’ that is, between sleep and drowsiness, might curse me, it
would have—as explained in that same book—no effect on me
at all.
“And in fact, since I began to do so, I no longer feel the said instinctive
uneasiness.”
Well, now, patient reader, I must really conclude this opening
chapter. It has now only to be signed.
He who . ..
Stop! Misunderstanding formation! With a signature there must
be no joking, otherwise the same will be done to you as once
before in one of the empires of Central Europe, when you were
made to pay ten years’ rent for a house you occupied only for
three months, merely because you had set your hand to a paper
undertaking to renew the contract for the house each year.
Of course after this and still other instances from life experience,
I must in any case in respect of my own signature, be very,very careful.
Very well then.
He who in childhood was called “Tatakh”; in early youth “Darky”;
later the “Black Greek”; in middle age, the “Tiger of Turkestan”;
and now, not just anybody, but the genuine “Monsieur” or “Mister”
Gurdjieff, or the nephew of “Prince Mukransky,” or finally, simply
a “Teacher of Dancing.”


* Cheshma means veil.
Subpages (2): Ch 2 Text
Comments