Sorrows of Korbu and Far-Altaij

They went east to find their roots. Through forests, over steppes, across great floods and along narrow mountain paths and passes. Sami and Ville, friends and brothers, journeyed far, to Far-Altaij. They came in search of their roots, but what would they find? Could the grand tree of their heritage already be blackened, rotten? Or was it not such a wooden creation, but of a more floating and fleeting, yet grander, construction?

At a great lake, Ville turned left. But he was soon regretting his decision, and turned back, walking instead to the right, completely opposite to his original direction. Sami, never one for initiative or originality, followed behind. Ville strolled on for a few miles, along the lake, listening to songbirds and shamans in the breeze. It was then he came upon Korbu!

Your magnificence
Your blue, clean waters

Korbu, my Korbu
The greatest of Far-Altaij

You are as gold!

Yes, it was Korbu. The greatest and oldest waterfall along the lake, and in all of Far-Altaij, and, perhaps, the world. Ville was taken by its immenseness!

Sami, however, was not! And thus their friendship broke. Was he taken by the Nerichian logik? Had he fallen to logik untrue? These questions were there to be asked, but Ville cared not. He had Korbu, and only Korbu, on his mind!

They journeyed on, but no longer in friendship, nor brotherhood. And soon they took different paths, their lines through life diverging. Many days and nights passed, and then some more.

Korbu, immense
Bless its waters!

One day, Ville again stood by the falls of Korbu. Sami had long since returned west, returned home. Sami was weak. However, for Ville there was no longer a home there, in the narrow forest of the forgotten west, among the puny droplet-lakes of his birthplace. He had found his true home, along the much greater lake of Far-Altaij, where he would always hear the mighty roar of Korbu! He had found his roots and his destiny: the torrential stream rose above him, stronger than any oak.

Ville stood on the shore and waded into the waters. He felt the fresh coldness, and its immense immenseness. He let his body fall into the river, and it was taken over the falls. He and Korbu was now one.

Ville was quiet, Korbu triumphed on.

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Manné and Korzeniowski, brothers in struggle

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.
lhopital
Hospital in Leopoldville, where Manné passed from this world.

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).

manne-mask
“Congo […] tears skin from the face of God.”

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?

congo-jungle