From Book 5. TWO CIVILIZATIONS
We are always rushing toward some place or some thing. Each of us wants to live a happy life, meet our true love, create a family. But how many of us ever achieve our wish?
What does our satisfaction or dissatisfaction with life depend on, our success or failure? Wherein lies the meaning of life for each person and for all mankind as a whole? What awaits us in the future?
These questions have persisted for a long time, but no one has answered them distinctly. Nevertheless, one would like to know the kind of country we and our children will be living in in five or in ten years . But we do not know, and are probably not all that capable of imagining our future because we are always rushing toward some place — but where?
It's incredible, but it's a fact. I received a precise notion of our country's future for the first time not from scholarly analysts or politicians but from the taiga hermit Anastasia. She did not simply show me a picture of a beautiful future but also proved through arguments the possibility of its fulfillment as soon as in our generation. She basically presented her plan for the country's development.
As I walked through the taiga from the glade where Anastasia lives, toward the river, for some reason I was visited by a firm confidence that her plan would change a great deal in the world. If one bears in mind that everything she has modeled in her thoughts has always later come to pass in real life, then we basically already live in a country whose future can be only beautiful. As I walked, I pondered the taiga hermit's words about the country's future, where even our generation might be able to live — a country without regional conflicts, crime, poverty, or illness. And although I did not understand all her thoughts, this time I did not feel like doubting anything she had said. On the contrary, I felt like proving to everyone she was right.
I firmly decided to do everything I could to implement her plan. Outwardly, it seemed quite simple. Each family needs to be given a hectare of land for lifetime use and build its own homestead on it, its own piece of the homeland. But the details of this plan had taken a firm grip on my thoughts. They were extremely simple and at the same time incredible.
Astounding! A taiga hermit rather than soil experts proved that with the correct arrangement of plantings within a plot, in just a few years the land would not only need no fertilization, but that not even very fertile soil would improve!
As her main example, Anastasia cited the taiga. The taiga has existed for millennia, everything grows in it, and no one fertilizes the taiga earth. Anastasia says that everything that grows is the incarnate thought of God, and He set everything up so that man does not need to burden himself with the problems of obtaining food. He merely has to try to understand the Creator's thought and create what is beautiful along with Him.
I can even cite a clear personal example. On the island of Cyprus, where I have had occasion to travel, the soil is rocky, but it wasn't always like that. Many centuries ago, beautiful cedar trees and fruit trees grew on the island, the purest fresh water flowed in many rivers, and the island resembled an earthly paradise. Roman legions seized the island and began chopping down cedars to build their ships. They wiped out the cedar groves on the island. Now a large part of the island is covered with very stunted scrub and grass that burns up by spring. The summer rains have become rare, and there is not enough fresh water. Cypriots have to bring fertile soil to the island over the sea in barges. Man has not made creation better, but through his barbarous interference has made it worse.
Detailing her plan, Anastasia said that a family tree must be planted without fail. Furthermore, someone who has died should be buried not in a cemetery, but in the beautiful plot of the native land he has cultivated himself. No tombstones should be placed on a grave. The person's memory should be living, not dead. The memory for relatives will be the person's living creations, and then his soul can again be embodied in matter, in his paradisiacal earthly garden.
Those buried in a cemetery cannot end up in heaven. Their souls cannot be embodied in matter as long as relatives' and friends' thoughts of their death exist. A tombstone is a monument to death. The burial ritual was thought up by the forces of darkness, and its goal is to confine the human soul at least for a while. Our Father did create suffering or even sorrow for His beloved children. All Divine creations are eternal and self-sufficient and reproduce themselves. Everything alive on earth, from the outwardly simple blade of grass to the human being, represents the harmonious single and eternal whole.
I think she's right. Look what comes of this. Now scholars claim that human thought is material. But if this is so, then it follows that the relatives of the deceased, by thinking of him as dead, thereby maintain him in his deadened state and torment his soul. Anastasia says that the human being, or rather, the human soul, can live eternally. It can be constantly embodied in a new body, but only under certain conditions. The homestead set up according to Anastasia's plan would create those conditions. I simply chose to believe this and will leave it to erudite scholars probably more qualified than I to prove or refute Anastasia's assertions about life and death.
"Oh, you will have many opponents," I told Anastasia.
She just laughed in response: "Now everything is going to come about so simply now, Vladimir. Human thought is capable of materializing and altering objects, of predetermining events, of building the future, and so it will be that the opponents who are going to try to prove the perishability of the human substance will destroy themselves, for they will produce their own demise with their own thoughts.
"Those who are able to understand their destiny and the essence of infinity will begin to live happily, reembodied eternally, for with their thoughts they themselves will create their own happy infinity."
I also liked her plan very much when I began calculating its economic logic and was convinced that anyone with the help of the homestead he founded according to Anastasia's plan could provide a comfortable existence for his children and grandchildren. It is not merely a matter of providing children with high-quality nourishment and housing. Anastasia said that the fence must be made out of living trees and woods should occupy one fourth of the hectare. Twenty-five hundred square meters of woods is approximately three hundred trees. In eighty or a hundred years, they could be chopped down. These trees would yield about four hundred cubic meters of edged board. At today's price of at least one hundred dollars per cubic meter, the total yield of well-dried finished lumber would fetch forty thousand dollars. Of course, the entire woods should not be felled, one could take the necessary part of the mature trees and immediately replace them by planting new ones. The total value of a homestead set up according to Anastasia's plan could be a million dollars or more, and any family of even average means could build it. For starters, the house can be more than modest; the main wealth would comprise the correctly and handsomely arranged plot of land. Wealthy people now already pay large sums of money to landscape design firms. There are about forty such businesses in Moscow, and they are not lacking work. The proper and handsome arrangement of the entire hundred square meters attached to a house costs, by their estimates, fifteen hundred dollars and up.
Planting a single coniferous tree six meters high costs five hundred dollars, and those who want to live in a place handsomely arranged pay those large sums. They pay because it did not occur to their parents to set up a homestead for their children. After all, this does not require being rich, all it requires is setting one's priorities correctly. How can we raise our children if we ourselves do not understand such simple things? Anastasia is right when she says that one has to begin with raising oneself.
I developed a very strong desire to have my own homestead, to take a hectare of land, to build a house, and most importantly, to plant all kinds of things around it. I wanted to set up my own piece of homeland in the way Anastasia described and so that the handsome plots of others surrounded it as well. Anastasia and our son could settle there or visit, and then the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Perhaps my great-grandchildren would want to work in the city, but then they could come to the homestead to relax. And once a year, on 23 July, on Whole Earth Day, all relatives would gather in their own home. Of course, I would no longer be around by then, but the homestead I had planted would remain, as would the trees and garden growing on it. I would dig a small pond and stock it with fry, so there would be fish. I would plant the trees according to a special arrangement, as Anastasia said. My descendants would like some of it and want to redo some of it, but in both cases they would remember me.
I would be buried on my own homestead and ask that my grave not be marked in any way. I don't want anyone playing the hypocrite over it with a sorrowful look. I don't want there to be any sorrow at all. I don't want there to be a grave with a tombstone. I just want fresh grass and bushes to grow from my body and soar over the earth, and maybe even some kind of healthy berries for my descendants. What is the point of tombstones? None, nothing but sorrow. I want people to remember me with joy, not sorrow, when they come to the homestead I create. How I will create it all for them! How I will plant!
My thoughts joyously foreshadowed something grand. I have to start soon, I have to act somehow, get to town faster, but I still have ten kilometers or so to go through this forest alone. I wish it would end quickly, this forest. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, information surfaced in my mind about Russia's forests. I didn't remember all the figures, so I'll cite the data I once read in a statistical report.
"Forest is Russia's principal type of vegetation. It occupies forty-five percent of its territory. Russia possesses the greatest forest reserves in the world. As of 1993, the area of forest comprised 886.5 million hectares, and the total timber reserve 80.7 billion, which is 21.7 and 25.9 percent of the world's reserves, respectively. The fact that the second figure is greater than the first speaks to the fact that Russia possesses more mature and more productive forests than the rest of the planet as a whole.
"Forests play a tremendous role in the atmosphere's balance of gasses and the regulation of the Earth's planetary climate. The total balance for Russia's forests, calculated by B.N. Moiseyev, came to 1,789,064,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide and 1,299,019,900 metric tons of oxygen. Annually, 600 million metric tons of carbon dioxide is deposited in Russia's forests. These gigantic volumes of gas migration substantially stabilize the planet's gas makeup and climate."
There you have it! Some people say that Russia has a special mission, but that mission is not up ahead, it's already being carried out by the forest.
My goodness! People all over the planet, some to a lesser degree, some to a greater—it doesn't matter. What does matter is everyone on earth breathes Russia's air, taking in the oxygen this forest produces, and right now I'm just walking through it. I wonder whether it is just oxygen this forest supplies to all people on earth or perhaps something else important.
Now the taiga I was walking through alone did not give rise to alarm in me, as before. I felt the way you do walking through a safe park. Of course, there are no park paths in the taiga, and the way is sometimes blocked by a boulder, or thick bushes, but they didn't annoy me this time.
I picked berries I encountered along the way as I passed— raspberries, currants—for the first time I was curious to examine how different even trees of the same type are in their outward appearance, how variously the vegetation is distributed, so there is not a single identical scene.
For the first time I looked closely at the taiga, and it seemed nobler. This feeling probably arose as well from the awareness that in this taiga my little son and Anastasia, the woman who changed my entire life when I met her, were born and lived.
In this boundless taiga, there is Anastasia's small glade, which she does not like to leave for long and would not exchange for any apartment, even the most elegant. This glade is seemingly the usual blank spot: no building, no cabin, none of the accommodations necessary for daily life, whereas she immediately rejoices as soon as she approaches it. For some reason, on my third visit to Anastasia's glade, I too felt the way you do when you come home after a difficult trip.
Strange things are happening in our world in general. For millennia, human society apparently fought for the happiness and well-being of each person, but if you look closely, this very person living at the center of society, at the center of the modern civilized city, has become increasingly defenseless. Either he lands in a car wreck, or he's robbed. All kinds of pains are constantly besieging him. He can no longer live without pharmacies, or he commits suicide over some dissatisfaction. The number of suicides specifically in civilized countries with a high standard of living is mounting. Mothers from various regions appear on television and say they have nothing to feed their children and their families are starving.
Anastasia lives with her small child in the taiga, as if in a different civilization. She asks nothing from our society and needs no police or interior troops for her protection. One gets the impression that nothing bad could ever happen to her or her child in this glade.
Of course we have different civilizations, and she proposes taking the best of these two different worlds. Then the way of life will change for many people on Earth, and a happy new human community will be born. It will be an interesting community, new and unusual. For instance. . . .
Книга: Book V: Who Are We?