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.Everyone wanted to talk to him.Jean caught his wife.Sometimes he managed it.Then he was happy.But often he was sad.Then his friend would come into the room and say: 'But Jean, she's in the net, don't you see her?' He was always right.His friend opened his mouth and look, his wife was there.'You squint, you do,' she said to Jean.He laughed and laughed and threatened her: Til show you who's master! As sure as my name's Jean!'This blacksmith who had lived nine years in the Institute was by no means incurable.The inquiries of the director for his wife were fruitless.Even if she could have been found — who could have forced her to come back to her husband? George pictured to himself how the scene in which the blacksmith took all his pleasure would end in reality.He would set up the bed and the net in his own house; at last the wife would turn up.Jean would come softly in and gather up the net.The two would say the old familiar words to each other.Jean would become more and more excited.The net and nine years would fall aside together.'Oh! if only I could get hold of that woman!' sighed George.Every day he helped Jean to find her.He wanted her presence so much, that he could hand her over to him as if he carried her about with him.His assistants, the apes, supposed there was some kind of secret experiment behind it all.Perhaps he was going to cure him with these words.If one of them was alone in the room, he never missed making use of the magic formula.'But Jean, she's in the net, don't you see her?' Whether Jean was happy or sad, whether he was listening or had stopped his ears, they flung their master's cordial words at him.If he was asleep, they waked him up, if he seemed stupid they shouted at him.They shook him and pushed him, reproached him with stupidity and despised his recollections of his wife.The one sentence was transformed to a thousand tones of voice, according to their characters and their moods, and when nothing came of it — the blacksmith was totally indifferent to them — they had yet another reason for laughing at the director.For years that ass had been repeating his simple experiment and still believed that he could cure an incurable with a single sentence!George would gladly have sacked the lot; but contracts made by his predecessor bound them to him.He knew they meant the patients no good and feared for their fate, in case he should die suddenly.Their petty sabotaging of his work, which he believed to be selfless and which even in their limited view seemed useful, he could not understand.Little by little he would surround himself with people who were artists enough to help him.After all these assistants whom he had taken over from his predecessor were fighting for their lives.They guessed that he would be able to do nothing with them and swallowed his hints simply so that as soon as their contracts were concluded they might at least get jobs somewhere as his pupils.He had a fine sensitivity for the reactions even of men who were too simple, heavy and well-balanced from their very birth to be able to go out of their minds.When he was tired and wanted a rest from the high tension with which his distracted friends filled him, he would submerge himself in the soul of one of his assistants.Everything that George did, he did in the character of someone else.Even his rest; but here he found it with difficulty.Strange discoveries provoked him to laughter.What for instance did these blinkered hearts think of him? Doubtless they sought for some explanation of his success and for the clear-sighted devotion which he showed to his patients.Learning had rooted into them the belief in causes.Conventionally minded, they held fast to the customs and beliefs of the majority in their period.They loved pleasure, and explained each and all in terms of the search for pleasure; it was the fashionable mania of the time, which filled every nead and explained little.By pleasure they meant, of course, all the traditional naughtiness, which, since animals were animals, have been practised by the individual with contemptible repetition.Of that far deeper and most special motive force of history, the desire of men to rise into a higher type of animal, in to the mass, and to lose themselves in it so completely as to forget that one man ever existed, they had no idea.For they were educated men, and education is in itself a cordon sanitaire for the individual against the mass in his own soul.We wage the so-called war of existence for the destruction of the mass-soul in ourselves, no less than for hunger and love.In certain circumstances it can become so strong as to force the individual to selfless acts or even acts contrary to their own interests.'Mankind' has existed as a mass for long before it was conceived of and watered down into an idea.It foams, a huge, wild, full-blooded, warm animal in all of us, very deep, far deeper than the maternal.In spite of its age it is the youngest of the beasts, the essential creation of the earth, its goal and its future.We know nothing of it; we live still, supposedly as individuals.Sometimes the masses pour over us, one single flood, one ocean, in which each drop is alive, and each drop wants the same thing.But it soon scatters again, and leaves us once more to be ourselves, poor solitary devils.In memory we can hardly conceive that we were ever so great, so many and so much one.'Disease,' says one overburdened by intelligence; 'the beast in man' soothes the lamb of humility, and does not guess how near to the truth is its mistake.In the meantime the mass within ourselves is arming for a new attack.There will come a time when it will not be scattered again, possibly in a single country at first, eating its way out from there, until no one can doubt any more, for there will be no I, you, he, but only it, the mass.For one discovery alone Georges flattered himself, and it was precisely this: the effects of the mass on history in general and on the life of individuals; its influence on certain changes in the human mind [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]