title:Socrates ver.1.0e
by Taro Kimura


"Wintermute won't be the first to have made the
same mistake. Underestimating me." He crossed the
tiled pool border to a white enamel table and splashed
mineral water into a heavy crystal highball glass. "He
talked with me, Molly. I suppose he talked to all of us.
You, and Case, whatever there is of Armitage to talk
to. He can't really understand us, you know. He has
his profiles, but those are only statistics. You may be
the statistical animal, darling, and Case is nothing but,
but I possess a quality unquantifiable by its very
nature." He drank.
"And what exactly is that, Peter?" Molly asked, her
voice flat.
Riviera beamed. "Perversity." He walked back to the
two women, swirling the water that remained in the
dense, deeply carved cylinder of rock crystal, as though
he enjoyed the weight of the thing. "An enjoyment of
the gratuitous act. And I have made a decision, Molly,
a wholly gratuitous decision."


I am not made for novels or plays. Their great scenes, rages,
passions, tragic moments, far from exciting me, strike me as
shabby outbursts, rudimentary states in which every sort of
nonsense is let loose, in which the human being is simplified
to the point of stupidity, and drowns instead of swimming in
the surrounding water.


If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people
somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary
only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them.
But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of
every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his
own heart?
During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place;
sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes
it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. One
and the same human being is at various ages under various circumstances,
a totally different human being. At times he is close
to being a devil, at times to sainthood. But his name doesn't
change, and to that name we ascribe the whole lot, good and evil.
Socrates taught us : Know thyself!


And shall we not, Adimantus, said I, in the same
manner, say that souls naturally the best, when they meet with
bad education, become remarkably depraved ? Or do you
think tha great iniquity, and the extremest wickedness, arise
from a weak genius, and not from a vigorous one ruined in its
education; and that weak nature will ever be the cause either
of mighty good or evil ?


Oblonsky listened to Levin with an affectionate and
subtle smile.
"Well, of course ! So now you have come round to
my notion. Do you remember how you used to fly at
me for seeking enjoyment in life ? Do not be so severe,
O moralist !..."
"But of course the good in life is..." Levin became
confused. "Oh, I don't know. All I know is, that we
shall all die soon."
"Why soon ?"
"And do you know, life has less charm when one thinks
of death, but it is more peaceful."
"On the contrary, it is even brighter toward the end !
However, I must be going." returned Oblonsky, rising
for the tenth time.

Thinking about it led him into doubts and prevented
him from seeing what he should and should not do.
But when he did not think, but just lived, he unceasingly
felt in his soul the presence of an infallible judge deciding
which of two possible actions was the better and which
the worse; and as soon as he did what he should not
have done, he immediately felt this.
In this way he lived, not knowing or seeing any possi-
bility of knowing what he was or why he lived in the
world, and he suffered so much from that ignorance that
he was afraid he might commit suicide, while at the same
time he was firmly cutting his own particular definite
path through life.


"To be good is to be in harmony with one's self,"
he replied, touching the thin stem of his glass with his
pale, fine-pointed fingers. "Discord is to forced to
be in harmony with others. One's own life-that is the
important thing. As for the lives of one's neighbours, if
one wishes to be a prig or a Puritan, one can flaunt one's
moral views about them, but they are not one's concern.
Besides, Individualism has really the higher aim. Modern
morality consists in accepting the standard of one's age.
I consider that for any man of culture to accept the
standard of his age is a form of the grossest immorality."


God is a too palably clumsy solution of things;a solution which
shows a lack of delicacy towards us thinkers.

Religions are matters for mobs.

When the gregarious animal stands in the glorious rays of the
puerest virtue, the exceptional man must be degraded to the
rank of the evil.


He who will really fight for the right, if he would live
even for a little while, must have a private station
and not a public one.


It was the "inner harmony" of the "whole man," he told me,
that mattered. The real revolution must be in the soul and spirit
of the individual, and collective materialistic enthusiasms only
distracted one from the disorder of his own soul.


ART, science-you seem to have paid a fairly high
price for you happiness," said the Savage, when
they were alone. "Anything else?"
"Well, religion, of course," replied the Controller.
"There used to be something called God-before the
Nine Years' War. But I suppose."
"Well..." The Savage hesitated. He would have
liked to say something about solitude, about night,
about the mesa lying pale under the moon, about
the precipice, the plunge into shadowy darkness,
about death. He would have liked to speak; but
there were no words. Not even in Shakespeare.
The Controller, meanwhile, had crossed to the
other side of the room and was unlocking a large
safe let into the wall between the bookshelves. The
heavy door swung open. Rummaging in the dark-
ness within, "It's a subject," he said, "that has
always had a great interest for me." He pulled out a
thick black volume. "You've never read this, for
The Savage took it. "The Holy Bible, containing the
Old and New Testaments," he read aloud from the
"Nor this." It was a small book and had lost its
"The Imitation of Christ."
"Nor this." He handed out another volume.
"The Varieties of Religious Experience. By William
"And I've got plenty more," Mustapha Mond
continued, resuming his seat. "A whole collection
of pornographic old books. God in the safe and Ford
on the shelves." He pointed with a laugh to his
avowed library-to the shelves of books, the racks full
of reading-machine bobbins and sound-track rolls.
"But if you know about God, why don't you tell
them?" asked the Savage indignantly. "Why don't
you give them these books about God?"
"For the same reason as we don't give them
Othello: they're old; they're about God hundreds of
years ago. Not about God now."


It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's minds
atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds
about to religion.


That night the men of Teloth lodged the stranger in a stable, and
in the morning an archon came to him and told him to go to the
shop of Athok the cobbler, and be apprenticed to him.
"But I am Iranon, a singer of songs," he said, "and have no heart
for the cobbler's trade."
"All in Teloth must toil," replied the archon, "for that is the
law." Then said Iranon,
"Wherefore do ye toil; is it not that ye may live and be happy?
And if ye toil only that ye may toil more, when shall happiness find
you? Ye toil to live, but is not life made of beauty and song? And if
ye suffer no singers among you, where shall be the fruits of your


"What is it restrains people from suicide, do you think ?"
I asked.
He looked at me absent-mindedly, as though trying to remember
what we were talking about.
"I...I don't know much yet....Two prejudices restrain
them, two things; only two, one very little, the other very big."
"What is the little thing ?"
"Pain ? Can that be of importance at such a moment ?"
"Of the greatest. There are two sorts: those who kill them-
selves either from great sorrow or from spite, or being mad, or
no matter what...they do it suddenly. They think little
about the pain, but kill themselves suddenly. But some do it
from reason-they think a great deal."
"Why, are there people who do it from reason ?"
"Very many. If it were not for superstition there would be
more, very many, all."
"What, all ?"
He did not answer.
"But aren't there means of dying without pain ?"
"Imagine"-he stopped before me-"imagine a stone as big
as a great house; it hangs and you are under it; if it falls on
you, on your head, will it hurt you ?"
"A stone as big as a house ? Of course it would be fearful."
"I speak not of the fear. Will it hurt ?"
"A stone as big as a mountain, weighing millions of tons ? Of
course it wouldn't hurt."
"But really stand there and while it hangs you will fear very
much that it will hurt. The most learned man, the greatest
doctor, all, all will be very much frightened. Every one will know
that it won't hurt, and every one will be afraid that it will hurt."
"Well, and the second cause, the big one ?"
"The other world !"
"You mean punishment ?"
"That's no matter. The other world; only the other world."
"Are there no atheists, such as don't believe in the other
world at all ?"
Again he did not answer.
"You judge from yourself, perhaps."
"Every one cannot judge except from himself," he said,
reddening. "There will be full freedom when it will be just
the same to live or not to live. That's the goal for all."
"The goal ? But perhaps no one will care to live then ?"
"No one," he pronounced with decision.
"Man fears death because he loves life. That's how I under-
stand it," I observed, "and that's determined by nature."
"That's abject; and that's where the deception comes in ."
His eyes flashed. "Life is pain, life is terror, and man is un-
happy. Now all is pain and terror. Now man loves life, because
he loves pain and terror, and so they have done according. Life is
given now for pain and terror, and that's the deception. Now man
is not yet what he will be. There will be a new man, happy and
proud. For whom it will be the same to live or not to live, he will
be the new man. He who will conquer pain and terror will him-
self be a god. And this God will not be."
"Then this God does exist according to you ?"
"He does not exist, but He is. In the stone there is no pain,
but in the fear of the stone is the pain. God is the pain of the fear
of death. He who will conquer pain and terror will become him-
self a god. Then there will be a new life, a new man; everything
will be new... then they will divide history into two parts:
from the gorilla to the annihilation of God, and from the
annihilation of God to..."
"To the gorilla ?"
"...To the transformation of the earth, and of man
physically. Man will be God, and will be transformed physically,
and the world will be transformed and things will be transformed
and thoughts and all feelings. What do you think: will man
be changed physically then ?"
"If it will be just the same living or not living, all will kill
themselves, and perhaps that's what the change will be ?"
"That's no matter. They will kill deception. Every one who
wants the supreme freedom must dare to kill himself. He who
dares to kill himself has found out the secret of the deception.
There is no freedom beyond; that is all, and there is nothing
beyond. He who dares kill himself is God. Now every one
can do so that there shall be no God and shall be nothing. But
no one has once done it yet."
"There have been millions of suicides."
"But always not for that; always with terror and not for
that object. Not to kill fear. He who kills himself only to kill
fear will become a god at once."

"Are you fond of children ?"
"I am," answered Kirillov, though rather indifferently.
"Then you're fond of life ?"
"Yes, I'm fond of life ! What of it ?"
"Though you've made up your mind to shoot yourself."
"What of it ? Why connect it ? Life's one thing and that's
another. Life exists, but death doesn't at all."
"You've begun to believe in a future eternal life ?"
"No, not in a future eternal life, but in eternal life here.
There are moments, you reach moments, and time suddenly
stands still, and it will become eternal."