“I DESCENDED to that planet Earth for the first time,” Beelzebub began, “on account of a young being of
our tribe who had the misfortune to become seriously involved with a three-brained being there, and in consequence got himself mixed up in a very stupid affair.
“One day several beings of our tribe, who were also dwelling on the planet Mars, came to my house with a request.
“They told me that one of their young kinsmen had emigrated to the planet Earth some 350 Martian years earlier, and that recently he had been the cause of an incident with very disagreeable consequences for all of them.
“They went on to say:
‘We, his kinsmen, those of us existing on the planet Earth and here on Mars,
at first intended to deal with this unpleasant situation by ourselves, with our
own resources. But in spite of all our efforts and the measures we have taken,
we have so far been unable to accomplish anything. ‘And now, being finally
convinced that we are unable to settle this unpleasant affair alone, we venture
to trouble you, Your Right Reverence, and beseech you to be kind enough not
to withhold your wise advice as to how to find a way out of our unhappy situation.’ “They then described in detail the misfortune that had befallen them.
“From all they told me I saw that this incident was disagreeable not only for the kinsmen of this young being but
also quite possibly for all the beings of our tribe. So I could not do otherwise than undertake at once to help them settle this difficulty of theirs.
“At first I tried to help them without leaving the planet Mars, but when I became certain that it would be impossible to do anything effective from so far away, I decided to descend to the planet Earth and there, on the spot, to find some way out The very next day, taking with me everything that might be necessary, I flew there on the ship Occasion.
“I may remind you that the Occasion was the ship on which all the beings of our tribe were transported to that solar system and that it had been left for our use in interplanetary communication.
“This ship was based on the planet Mars, and its supreme command had been entrusted to me from Above.
“And so it was on this ship Occasion that I made my first descent to the planet Earth.
“On this first visit of mine, our ship landed on the shores of that very continent which later, during the second misfortune to this planet, disappeared entirely from its surface This continent was called ‘Atlantis,’ and was then the principal place of existence for the three-brained beings of that planet, and likewise for most of our tribe.
“Having disembarked, I went straight from the ship Occasion to the city named ‘Samlios,’ where that unfortunate young being of our tribe who was the cause of this descent of mine had the place of his existence.
“Samlios was at that time a very big city and the capital of the largest community on the planet Earth.
“This city was the dwelling place of the head of this large community, who was called King Appolis It was with King Appolis that our young, inexperienced countryman had become involved.
“And it was in Samlios that I learned all the details of the affair.
“It seems that before this incident our unfortunate countryman, being on
friendly terms with the king, was often at his palace.
“And one day, while visiting the king, in the course of conversation our
young countryman made a ‘wager’ that was the starting point of all that
“You must remember that the community over which King Appolis
reigned, and the city of Samlios where he existed, were at that period the
greatest and richest on the Earth.
“For the upkeep of all this wealth and grandeur, King Appolis naturally
needed a great deal of what is called ‘money,’ and for this exacted a great deal
of labor from the ordinary beings of that community.
“Here I must remark that at the time of my first descent in person to this
planet, the organ kundabuffer no longer existed in the three-brained beings
who interest you. But in some of them various consequences of the properties
of that organ, so maleficent for them, had already begun to be crystallized.
“In the period to which my tale refers, there had been thoroughly
crystallized in a number of beings on that planet the consequence of one
property which, while the organ kundabuffer itself was still functioning in
them, had enabled them, without ‘remorse of conscience,’ to neglect all their
obligations, whether taken upon themselves voluntarily or imposed by a
superior. Whenever they did carry out an obligation, it was done only from
apprehension and fear of threats from outside.
“And it was just this consequence, already crystallized in certain beings of
that period, that was the cause of this whole affair.
“And so, my boy, King Appolis, who was extremely conscientious himself about the obligations he had assumed to maintain the greatness of the community entrusted to him, did not spare either his own labor or wealth, while demanding the same from all his subjects.
“And since the mentioned consequence of the properties of the organ kundabuffer had by then, as I have just said, been thoroughly crystallized in certain of his subjects, he had to employ every possible kind of ‘intimidation’ and ‘threat’ to extract from everyone all that was needed to maintain the greatness of the community.
“His methods were so varied, and at the same time so reasonable, that even those of his subjects in whom these consequences had already been crystallized could not help respecting him, although they nicknamed him, of course behind his back, the ‘Arch-Cunning.’
“Well, my boy, the methods used by King Appolis to extract from his subjects what was necessary for maintaining the greatness of his community seemed to our young countryman, for some reason or other, unjust, and he grew restive and indignant whenever he heard of some new device of the king’s for getting what was required.
“And so one day, while talking with King Appolis, our naive young countryman could no longer contain his indignation and told the king to his face what he thought of his ‘unconscionable’ conduct toward his subjects.
“The king did not fly into a temper, as usually happens on the planet Earth when somebody pokes his nose into what is none of his business, nor did he have him thrown out by the scruff of his neck Instead he even discussed the whole question with him and explained the reasons for his severity.
“They talked for a long time, and the outcome of their
conversation was a ‘wager,’ that is, they made an agreement, and set it down on paper, and each one signed it with his blood.
“Among other things, it was agreed that, from then on, the king would
employ only the measures and means indicated by our countryman to obtain
what was needed from his subjects.
“And in the event that his subjects failed to contribute all that was required of them according to custom, our countryman would be responsible; and he pledged himself to procure for King Appolis’s treasury whatever was necessary for the maintenance and further expansion of the capital and the whole community.
“And so, my boy, from the very next day the king did indeed fulfill most
honorably the obligation he had assumed in the agreement, and he conducted
the government exactly as our young countryman indicated. The results of
this sort of government, however, very soon proved to be quite the opposite
of those anticipated by our simpleton.
“The subjects of that community—chiefly, of course, those in whom the consequences of the properties of the organ kundabuffer had already been crystallized—not only stopped paying into the treasury what was required, but even began pilfering what had already been put in.
“As our countryman had undertaken to furnish whatever was needed,
even signing the agreement with his blood— and you know what the
voluntary undertaking of an obligation means to one of our tribe, especially
when signed with his blood—he soon had to begin making up to the treasury
all that was lacking.
“First he put in everything he had himself, then everything he could get from his kinsmen on the planet Earth. And when they had been drained dry, he turned to his kinsmen dwelling on the planet Mars.
“But soon on the planet Mars also his sources ran dry, and still the treasury of the city of Samlios demanded more and yet more, and there was no end in sight.
“It was just then that all the kinsmen of this countryman of ours became alarmed, and decided to appeal to me to help them out of their plight.
“So, my boy, when we arrived in the city of Samlios I was met by all the beings of our tribe who had remained on that planet, both old and young.
“That same evening we called a general meeting to take counsel together in order to find some way out of the situation.
“To this first meeting we also invited King Appolis, with whom our elder countrymen had already had many talks with the same aim in view.
“And that evening the king, addressing himself to all, began as follows:
” ‘Impartial friends! Personally, I am deeply sorry for what has happened and for all the trouble it has brought to those assembled here; and I am distressed in all my being that it is beyond my power to extricate you from the difficulties ahead.
‘You must know,’ the king continued, ‘that the machinery of government of my community, set in motion and established for centuries, is now radically changed. To revert to the old order is already impossible without provoking the wrath of most of my subjects. Things have reached a point where by myself I am not able to undo what has been done without bringing on serious consequences, and therefore I beg you all, in the name of justice, to give me your help.
‘I bitterly reproach myself,’ he added, ‘in the presence of all of you, because I am also greatly to blame for all these misfortunes.
‘And I am to blame because I ought to have foreseen what would happen, for I have existed longer in these conditions than my young adversary, your kinsman, with whom I made the agreement known to you all.
‘To tell the truth, it was unpardonable of me to take such a risk with a being who, though perhaps of much higher Reason than myself, is certainly less practiced than I am in affairs of this kind.
” ‘Once more I beg all of you, and Your Right Reverence in particular, to forgive me and help me find a way out of this sad predicament.
” ‘As things are now, I can only do what you will indicate.’
“After King Appolis had left, we decided to choose from among ourselves
several elderly experienced beings who, that very night, would weigh all the
data and draw up a plan of action.
“The rest of us then left, with the understanding that we would reassemble the next evening at the same place; but to this second meeting the king was not invited.
“At this next meeting, one of the elders who had been selected the night before reported as follows:
‘We pondered this lamentable affair the whole night through, and discussed it in all its details, and we have come to the unanimous conclusion that there is no way out but to revert to the former conditions of government.
‘Further, we are all in agreement that a return to the former order would unquestionably set off a revolt among the citizens of the community, and that this revolt would certainly be followed by all those consequences that have become inevitable on Earth in such circumstances.
‘And of course many of the “power-possessing beings” of this community would suffer terribly, and could even be completely destroyed; and above all it seems impossible that King Appolis could escape such a fate.
” ‘We then deliberated further to find some means of diverting these
unhappy consequences, if only from the king himself.
” ‘And we wished at all costs to succeed in this because at our general
meeting yesterday evening King Appolis was very frank and friendly with us,
and we should all be extremely sorry if he should have to suffer.
” ‘After much deliberation, we finally concluded that the king could be
saved only if, during the expected revolt, the fury of his rebellious subjects
could be diverted from his own person to those around him, that is, the
members of his “government.”
” ‘But then the question arose would those near the king be willing to take
upon themselves the consequences of all this? And we came to the
categorical conclusion that they would not consent to this, for they would
surely be convinced that the king alone had been to blame, and that therefore
he should be the one to pay for it.
” ‘After all this, and again unanimously, we came to the following decision
” ‘To save at least King Appolis from such a disaster, we must, with his
consent, replace all the beings now holding responsible posts with beings of
our own tribe, and while this “mass psychosis” is at its climax, each of them
will have to take upon himself his share of the anticipated consequences.’
“When our representative had finished his report, after a brief exchange of
views we decided unanimously to do just as the elder beings of our tribe had
“We then sent one of our elders to put the plan before King Appolis, who
agreed to it and renewed his promise to do everything according to our
“Whereupon we resolved to delay no longer, but to begin the very next day replacing all the officials with members of our tribe.
“But after two days it turned out that there were not enough beings of our tribe dwelling on the planet Earth to replace all the officials of that community, so we at once sent the ship Occasion to bring some more of our beings from the planet Mars.
“Meanwhile King Appolis, guided by two of our elder beings, began under various pretexts to replace numbers of officials with our beings, at first in the city of Samlios.
“And when, several days later, our ship Occasion returned from the planet
Mars, similar replacements were made in the provinces, and soon everywhere
in that community all the responsible posts were filled by beings of our tribe.
“When all these changes had been made, King Appolis, still under the
guidance of our elders, began to restore the former code of laws for the
administration of the community.
“Almost from the first days, the restoration of the old order, as had been foreseen, began to have its effect upon the general psyche of the beings in whom the mentioned consequences of the properties of the maleficent organ kundabuffer had been thoroughly crystallized.
“Discontent steadily increased until, not long after, that impulse arose among them which has become proper to the presence of the three-brained beings of that planet, and which from time to time inevitably moves them to start the process they now call ‘revolution.’
“During this ‘revolution’ they destroyed—as has also become proper to those three-brained phenomena of our Great Universe—a great deal of the wealth they had accumulated over the centuries, as well as much hard-won ‘knowledge,’ which was lost forever. And they likewise destroyed the existence of many of their fellow beings who had already
chanced upon the means of freeing themselves from the consequences of the properties of the organ kundabuffer.
“Here it is interesting to note one most astonishing and incomprehensible
fact, namely, that during their subsequent revolutions almost all the three-
brained beings there who fall into that ‘psychosis,’ or at least the overwhelming
majority, always destroy the existence particularly of those beings similar
to themselves who happen to be more or less on the track of freeing
themselves from the crystallized consequences of the properties of that
maleficent organ kundabuffer which, unfortunately, their ancestors had
“So, my boy, while the process of their revolution was running its course, King Appolis retired to one of his summer palaces outside the city of Samlios.
“Nobody laid a finger on him, because our beings had prepared their propaganda so that the whole blame should be placed not upon the king but upon those around him, that is, the members of his government.
“Moreover, the beings who had fallen into this psychosis even ‘grieved’ for their king and pitied him, saying that this miserable revolution had broken out because their ‘poor king’ had been surrounded by such disloyal and ungrateful subordinates.
“When the revolutionary psychosis had completely died down, King Appolis returned to Samlios and, again with the help of our elder beings, began replacing our countrymen with those of his former officials who were still alive, or with new ones appointed from among his subjects.
“And when the king had reestablished his former policy, his subjects again began filling the treasury with money and obeying their king’s commands, and the affairs of the realm once more settled down into the old established tempo
“As for our naive, unfortunate countryman who had been the cause of it
all, it was so painful for him that he could no longer bear to remain on the
planet that had proved so disastrous for him, and he returned with us to the
“And later he even became an excellent governor there for all the beings of our tribe.”
G.I.Gurdjieeff An Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man
“I DESCENDED to that planet Earth for the first time,” Beelzebub began, “on account of a young being of