Book 4. Co-creation (1999)
Hope for the world
Translator’s and Editor’s Afterword
Wow! Four books translated and counting. Not a bad record, when one considers that just a year ago (as of this writing) not a single page of this series had yet come off the Ringing Cedars presses in America.
The series was launched with the publication of Book i, Anastasia, in February 2005, followed by Book 2, The Ringing Cedars of Russia, and Book 3, The Space of Love, later in the year. And now Co-creation makes four, with at least five volumes still to come. And for this swift progression we havtyou to thank, dear readers, for your ongoing support and encouragement, without which the publication of the new volumes would not have been possible. And needless to say, our gratitude goes out to our original source of support, the One whose inspiration inevitably underlies any legitimate act of‘co-creation’.
Equally noteworthy is the co-creation evident in the evolution of the original series itself, particularly the remarkable transformation of a hard-nosed Siberian commercial trader into one of Russia’s bestselling authors. All the more amazing when one remembers that because of Vladimir Megre’s initially ‘choppy’ writing style, the original Russian manuscript of Anastasia was rejected by publisher after publisher, leaving him no choice but to bring out the first edition on his own.1 However, after several print-runs of the self-published Anastasia sold out simply by word of mouth, with no advertising campaign or bookstore exposure, professional publishers were only too eager to reconsider, and it was not long before the vol-umes in the Ringing Cedars Series were selling in the millions.
And now in America, as elsewhere in the English-speaking world, Anastasia and its sequels are once again running counter to the book-industry’s long-held axioms. Even though corporate wholesalers declined to distribute the Ringing Cedars Series to major retailers on the grounds that “no book sells by word of mouth alone, without a budget sufficient for a large advertising campaign”, you the readers have proved otherwise, and the books have already spread around the globe without so much as a single advertisement or paid-for review in the press. Many of you have taken it upon yourself to purchase additional copies to give to the family and friends. Some have even gone farther and become independent distributors, devoting considerable time and effort to making the books available in your local regions. Thus, as with their original editions, the success of the books in translation is once again the result of the resourcefulness of their readers — readers who have let a new splendid image live in their hearts — and the ideas these books set forth are already leaving their mark on the world.
Indeed, there are signs that the world is beginning to grasp the message that there is a better path to freedom, enlightenment and happiness than the one along which it has been hurtling forward at breakneck speed, and that the ‘new millennium’ on the Earth which Vladimir Megre welcomes on the final pages of Co-creation is already dawning with a most glorious radiance. Both in Russia and abroad, Anastasia and the Ringing Cedars Movement are already the subject of many day-to-day conversations and frequent reports in the press (some pertinent examples are detailed below).
Many might find these developments surprising. However, there have been numerous thinkers in both the distant and the recent past who have attempted to send a similar message to humanity: that it is on the wrong path. A few of these are worth noting here.
In the late 19th century the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy took special note of how “millions of people — men, women and children — working ten, twelve or fifteen hours a day, are being transformed into machines and perishing in factories that manufacture unnecessary and harmful gadgets... while more and more villages become deserted”. He farther observed that “in our time the human heart has been crying out more strongly, more strongly than ever before, against this false life, and calling people to the life demanded by revelation, reason and conscience”.
At the same time, on the other side of the Atlantic, religious thinker and Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy was calling for a new approach to spiritual freedom from ‘mental slavery’ to long-held beliefs. She summed up this approach in her major work, Science and health (originally published in 1875) as follows: “The despotic tendencies, inherent in mortal mind and always germinating in new forms of tyranny, must be rooted out through the action of the divine Mind”.
In 1931 the American prophet Edgar Саусе established his Association for Research and Enlightenment to promote al-ternative solutions to humanity’s problems based on, among other things, personal spirituality and holistic health. Interestingly enough, in one of his many ‘readings’ he received an intimation that “on Russia’s religious development will come the greater hope of the worldC
Three years later the world-renowned humanitarian, Dr Albert Schweitzer, re-published the English translation of his book, On the edge of the primeval forest. While decrying the injustices inflicted on the indigenous peoples by European settlers, he intimates that the only path to successful colonialism is to turn the indigenous people into more productive workers by removing them from their native villages, families and plots of land. Surprisingly, in the same piece Schweitzer even holds labour compulsion (forcing the African native peoples to provide labour in return for material ‘benefits’ bestowed on them) to be justifiable.
Separating people from their own (or their family’s) land is a social trend that goes back centuries. Thomas More described it in Book i of his Utopia (published in 1516), accusing greedy landowners of talcing land from their peasant farmers for their own enrichment. Stalin’s forced collectivisation of agriculture in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, the loss of family farms in the United States in the years following World War II and the establishing of huge ‘factory farms’ in present-day Canada (nearly always achieved by buying up small, family operations at an ‘irresistible’ price) are further examples of concerted efforts on the part of the ‘dark forces’ of this world to break Man’s ties to the land. This in turn has the effect of subduing his free will and destroying his independence.
All of which gives added weight to Anastasia’s proposal, so el-oquently set forth by Vladimir Megre in Co-creation, of bringing Man (more specifically, a Man’s family) and his land back together again in the form of what is called in Russian rodovoe pomestie — translated in this book as ‘family domain’ or ‘kin’s domain’.7 This phrase is in turn linked, in terms of both meaning and etymology, to the Russian concept of Rodina, which has been rendered ‘Motherland’ in the Ringing Cedars Series, though it is equally translatable as ‘native land’.8
A brief word on the translation is in order here: inasmuch as both Rodina and rodovoe pomestie convey concepts that have deep roots in the Russian historical context, unparalleled in Western cultures, a good deal of thought — not to mention countless paragraphs of text and e-mail correspondence — has gone into selecting the most appropriate English equivalents.9
We were aided in this decision in part by two of our readers who were asked to voice their thoughts on the selection of an equivalent for Rodina. Here is a brief excerpt from each of their responses:
To me Motherland seems to invoke the most profound con-nection one can have to the land. It is the land in which
you have bonded through work, toil, sweat and blood, laughter, joy and sustenance.
I like motherland. It brings the “life giving” nature of the earth to my heart, “my mother”, evoking feelings of tenderness and responsibility There is much meaning to women in the idea of being a mother and a common thread which relates to my personal life’s experience and has a place in the emotional file cabinet of the brain for most people. The relationship between “life” and the earth is shattered in this country [America], as people are so removed from the idea the earth gives us our life.
The linkage made by the latter reader between one’s ‘personal life’ and ‘the Earth’ is significant. Early in Chapter 24 (appropriately entitled “Take back your Motherland, people!”) Anastasia acknowledges that “the whole Earth could be a Motherland [Rodina] for each one of its inhabitants”, and she designates a family’s personal plot of land (subsequently identified as one’s kin’s domain) as a “piece of the Motherland” — thus linking the feelings associated with one’s personal family to the broader concept of the family of humanity as a whole. Indeed, perspectives on the concept of the family as revealed in Co-creation are by no means confined to the world of the early twenty-first century we call home, but reach out in both time and distance to look at family not only through the lenses of the past, the present and the future but from beyond our usual sense of planetary space as well.
On this basis, then, it may be seen that the concepts of both Motherland and family domain reach far beyond the borders of Russia alone. In fact, as indicated above, there are signs that Anastasia’s appeal to “take back your Motherland” is already resonating in the hearts of many people in many parts of the world.
In May 2005, for example, a massive power outage in Moscow reminded many of Anastasia’s words concerning the inevitable collapse of artificial life-support systems.11 This one accident paralysed Russia’s capital city for several days in a row and, among other things, resulted in the sewage from millions of dwellings being flushed into the Moskva River untreated. In a radio programme devoted to possible solutions to this problem, one of Russia’s most prominent ecologists — and President of the Centre for Russia’s Environmental Policy — Academician Alexey Yablokov, made pointed reference not only to E.F. Schumacher’s book Small is Beautiful12 but also to the “hugely popular ‘Anastasia’ movement of people building their family domains” A
In neighbouring Latvia, journalist Liudmila Stoma was curious about what was behind a movement of hundreds of people in Latgal Province — “all well-educated specialists in high demand in the labour market” — relocating to a newly formed eco-village in a remote rural area. Upon investigation, she was amazed by what she could only describe as a “new revolution”:
Over the last few years Russia, Belarus and Ukraine have been experiencing a real eco-village boom: thousands of families are building ‘family domains’ on one hectare of land each, attaining remarkable self-sufficiency with only sparing use of all the technological achievements of the technocratic world. They are all united by the same goal: to build a Paradise on the Earth.
She ended her article by wondering if “the settlers following Anastasia’s advice” in building their own family domains might actually succeed where government subsidies had so miserably failed.
In fact, thousands of new kin’s domains are being established each year — not only in Russia and Latvia, but in many other countries as well. And Dachnik Day — an annual celebration of our connectedness to Mother Earth on 23 July, the idea of which was proposed in Book 2 (The Ringing Cedars of Russia) only eight years ago — has now become an international holiday, and in 2005 it was celebrated for the first time by readers of the series in both America and Canada.
These are but a few examples of a growing, world-wide phenomenon rounded out by international readers’ conferences, bards’ festivals and multitudes of new poems, songs, paintings and other forms of artistic expression. And already the reaction of readers of the English translation of the series in America, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere is indicating a real ‘globalisation’ of interest not only in reading the Ringing Cedars books, but in acting on the ideas they present as well, revealing new manifestations of a Motherland that completely transcends national boundaries.
And to think it all started from a single simple idea, which, multiplied through its first faltering attempts at implementation, still keeps on blossoming and helping people all over the world hake back’ their own Motherland — even as Vladimir Megre’s blossoming series of publications started from a single simple proposal to write a book implanted in the thought of an inveterate ‘non-writer’. And this former non-writer’s initial ‘choppy’ attempts have now evolved into a flourishing trademark style of poetic prose which characterises Books 3 and 4 of the series. (How well we have succeeded on conveying this evolution of style in the English version, particularly the melodious effect his resulting poetic mode of expression can have on the one who reads it with a heart attuned to textual harmonies, will be up to you the readers to judge.)
As translator and editor we have only to wish you as fascinating an experience in discovering this book on your own as we ourselves had in reading and ‘со-translating’ it (not to mention ‘co-editing’ the translation). For now we shall leave you with Anastasia’s appeal from Chapter 26 (“Even today everyone can build a home”): “You must feel everything that I outline, and mentally complete yourself the whole design, and let everyone else draw it along with me. O, God! People, at least give it a try, I beg of you!”.
We look forward to meeting you again on the pages of the next book — entitled Who are we? — which, like Co-creation, will offer ever greater hope for the world.
Ottawa, Canada John Woodsworth
Ozark Mountains, USA Leonid Sharashkin
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