Excerpt from "TEILE & HERSCHE -
collected publications from the proceedings of the society for research in the field of literature on the Congo of the colonial era". Republished with permission.
Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski (also known as Joseph Conrad) and Niels Frederique Manné are both writers of great merit, and both inevitably connected to the bloodshed of European-Imperialist colonisation, to the hypocrisy of man, and to the infinite darkness in all and every heart. Yet it was only Manné who may be said to truly have lived its horror.
In extant fragments of Manné’s diary, he paints a grim picture of the world that he visited. It was not so much The Congo itself that was dark, but it had a revealing effect on the intrinsic cruelty in all that walks the earth (“Congo is the light”, he writes, “that unveils the injustice of existence, that tears skin from the face of God.”).
Educated in the ecclesiastical studies, Manné was no stranger to the christian God, and held deep, personal beliefs. However, he rejected any claims of kindness and compassion in the Heavenly Ruler. Based on evidence from his experience, no other conclusion was available; he judged his God harshly (as God would, in time, judge Manné).
From where Korzeniowski found hope, Manné could find none. It was in this total despair, fleeing the ghosts of his past, that he formulated the Krimean-Hegelian Dialectic of God & Destruction. Curiously, he also referred to the doctrine as the “Mechanisms of God & God“, likely a reference to the metaphysical geist as both Supreme Deity and Supreme Nothing-To-Which-All-Passes (fulfilling thus, at the same time, the role both of God and of Destroyer).
For a long time, Manné’s work was not widely discussed in academic circles, but it has seen a resurgence of interest since the late 80’s. His legacy is bound to grow ever greater as scholars dive fully into his vast work and notes.
The most insightful of his writings are marked by the Curse of the Tsetse, and are at the same time fragmentary and deeply technical. Visions, truly, of some darker realm: Of the Congo, of the Heavens, or of Hell? Mannéan decipherment and exegesis is not an easy task, but the insight gained so far indicates great value (literary merit is widely accepted – only recently have the philosophical depths of his works been properly probed).
The lost brothers, Manné and Korzeniowski, struggled in darkness. Would you join them there, if only to share their insight, share in their doom?
In the street of Krymská, in the town of Bömische Karlsbad two boys were once born. Given traditional names Josef and Jacob, most knew them just as Ice and Fire. The brothers were close during their childhood years, but the life would soon pull them towards different paths.
Ice, man of spirit.
Josef Becher is the most known of the two, being a famous man of spirit. His spirit and factory lives to this day, and an alcoholic liqueur has been made to tribute the two brothers.
Fire, wanderer and seeker.
Jacob, however, is a mystery to most. He spent his adult life wandering the long winters of the world, seeking answers, singing songs, conversing with crows. His interpretation of “Folanés Folly” is known by many, but fewer know of his own Follies.
A man who spent the majority of his life walking in circles in the worlds mysteries, Jacob was both confused and wise. On the Asian steppes, he followed the trail laid down by the great Khans, he sung from his throat with the Tuvan masters and he visited Jurii far north. His presence warmed those around him, just as it did in his fiery youth.
Towards the end, Jacob turned to song and poetic poetry. He sang the songs of his homeland, lands he had traveled and lands of myth and legend. He sang of life and death, hope and happiness, despair and suicide. Yet the love for his brother and his spirit was always central, in those songs of brothers two, of Ice and of Fire…
I write to you in this, the darkest of times. Our lands may be on the edge of conflict and despair, but I hope that our fellow search will not be distributed. The struggle between Fascism and Democracy should not impede our quest for Non-Nerichian Truth. As we both were tested before we formed, as we both will die before the ship sinks.
Once we were young, playful, in the Mures Valley. Almonds abundant, spirits strong. In these days, one can lose hope. We must never betray our search.
I am sure you already agree. However, this has to be mentioned. We must draw wisdom from our fellow friend and seeker, Niels.
Excerpt from correspondence between Jean DeWire and Herman Ploppel, 1939.
Franz Kafka’s Der Prozess might be more widely known, but for the topic of Jacobian research, one might argue that another student of Prague’s Charles University have created a more important work (even in terms of pure literary value). Niels Frederique Manné’s diary from his time in Leopold’s Congo, Der parallele Prozess, offers an insight in the process of Jacobian research that scholars see as unparalleled in the western canon.
Niels, a devout Christian, born as the only son in a Belgian-Danish family, studied theology in Prague in the 1880’s. However, he never finished his studies: when he met the post-Hegelian philosopher Jean DeWire, his interest in such affairs diminished. DeWire persuaded him to travel to the remote jungles of the Congo, to explore and research the culture of the natives. Upon his arrival, Manné soon discovered an interest for what he felt was clear signs of the Jacobian Algorithm in many aspects of the native culture. He stayed in the Congo until his death: he passed from sleeping sickness in Leopoldville in November 1912.
Ensuing his death, DeWire posited that the diary was named from the fact that he in parallel explored many themes and topics; the jungles of the Congo, the Jacobian myths and his own personal faith. From his diary, we here present some passages of special interest.
Jacobian and Hessian matrices are indeed needed in many algorithms in scientific research, including algorithms for nonlinear optimization, differential equations. Moreover, these are needed to achieve the goal of theological running time.
A missionary vertex is indeed needed for these heathens. No edge binds them to the knowledge of our modern world.
1906 – 7, unknown (Pygmy territory)
The river is like a vein, giving life to this green ocean. The branching factor is tremendous, no mortal could prune it. Both my faith in God and my belief that a Jacobian Algorithm was conceived here, are getting stronger – as in parallell.
1911, on a riverboat, heading towards Leopoldville
I am very ill. Death, that gold-draped, bearded creature, is coming for me. But I lived not in vain, for I have found proof of the Jacobian conjecture, that Krimean hypothesis. I have but one bottle of Josef’s spirit left, who should be empty first, it or me?
October 1912, Leopoldville, only weeks before his death.
Adryan Nerich – Historian – Targu Mures Historical Society