An Aging Cossack
[The Disease of Tomorrow – The Tales, p362]
This is perhaps one of the most poignant parts of the Tales – especially for readers who are no longer young.
“Before continuing to tell you more about the activities of the Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash for the welfare of your favorites, I must, I think, elucidate to you, a little more in detail, that inner impulse which is called there by your favorites Hope, and concerning which the Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash constated that the case is worse than with the other two.
“And the personal observations and investigations I later specially made, regarding this said strange impulse present in them, clearly showed me that in truth the factors for engendering this abnormal impulse in their presences are most maleficent for them themselves.
“Thanks to this abnormal hope of theirs a very singular and most strange disease, with a property of evolving, arose and exists among them there even until now—a disease called there ‘tomorrow.’
“This strange disease ‘tomorrow’ brought with it terrifying consequences, and particularly for those unfortunate three-brained beings there who chance to learn and to become categorically convinced with the whole of their presence that they possess some very undesirable consequences for the deliverance from which they must make certain efforts, and which efforts moreover they even know just how to make, but owing to this maleficent disease ‘tomorrow’ they never succeed in making these required efforts.
“And this is just the maleficent part of all that great terrifying evil, which, owing to various causes great and small, is concentrated in the process of the ordinary being-existence of these pitiable three-brained beings; and by putting off from ‘tomorrow’ till ‘tomorrow,’ those unfortunate beings there who do by chance learn all about what I have mentioned are also deprived of the possibility of ever attaining anything real.
“This strange and for your favorites maleficent disease ‘tomorrow’ has already become a hindrance for the beings of contemporary times, not only because they have been totally deprived of all possibilities of removing from their presences the crystallized consequences of the properties of the organ Kundabuffer, but it had also become a hindrance to most of them in honestly discharging at least those being-obligations of theirs which have become
quite indispensable in the already established conditions of ordinary being-existence.
“Thanks to the disease ‘tomorrow,’ the three-brained beings there, particularly the contemporary ones, almost always put off till ‘later’ everything that needs to be done at the moment, being convinced that ‘later’ they will do better and more.
“Owing to the said maleficent disease ‘tomorrow’ most of those unfortunate beings there who accidentally or owing to a conscious influence from without, become aware through their Reason in them of their complete nullity and begin to sense it with all their separate spiritualized parts, and who also chance to learn which and in what way, being-efforts must be made in order to become such as it is proper for three-brained beings to be, also, by putting off from ‘tomorrow’ till ‘tomorrow,’ almost all arrive at the point that on one sorrowful day for themselves, there arise in them and begin to be manifest those forerunners of old age called ‘feebleness’ and ‘infirmity,’ which are the inevitable lot of all cosmic formations great and small toward the end of their completed existence.
“Here I must without fail tell you also about that strange phenomenon which I constated there during my observations and studies of the almost entirely degenerated presences of those favorites of yours; namely, I definitely constated that in many of them, toward the end of their planetary existence, most of the consequences of the properties of that same organ which had become crystallized in their common presences begin to atrophy of their own accord and some of them even entirely disappear, in consequence of which these beings begin to see and sense reality a little better.
“In such cases a strong desire appears in the common presences of such favorites of yours, to work upon themselves, to work as they say, for the ‘salvation-of-their-soul.’
“But needless to say, nothing can result from such desires of theirs just because it is already too late for them, the time given them for this purpose by Great Nature having already passed; and although they see and feel the necessity of actualizing the required being-efforts, yet for the fulfillment of such desires of theirs, they have now only ineffectual yearnings and the ‘lawful-infirmities-of-old-age.’