“Haven’t you ever asked yourselves why some people want to die,” Anatoly turned himself to an elderly couple sitting nearby, “is it not because they have deviated from their project, is it not because they have parted ways with their true themselves!? Is it not because their ‘I’ has died and only their Ego is alive!? … But how…” The voice of Anatoly trembled suddenly and trailed away: “… But how could one not separate from oneself, when, in some cases, if one is human, one must go against one’s human nature; if one is sane, one needs to lose one’s saneness!… Haven’t you felt as if your souls are held with pliers, yet not with the usual kind of pliers that are used to press things together, but the expanding ones… pliers that expand your souls so much that you can feel the pain of it, that you want to become once again plain of soul, once again inconsiderably small, yes, once again, like at the time back then when you used to be happy, yet you can’t… yet you can’t!…”
Adoriel locked his eyebrows, yet his face didn’t express pure coldness or harshness, as Anatoly would logically expect it to, but a peculiar blend of unyielding firmness and empathy.
“I mean that these pliers are hot! They aggravate the inner conflicts of anyone whom they happen to catch in their hold. They aren’t made of jaws, they are made of electrodes: the one goes into your heart, the other one goes into your brain, and then the current goes on until you faint!… The one is red and hot — like the breath of blood, like the feverish talk of passion, like the longing of wrath; the other is black and cold — like the dress of the night, like the water of a well, like the embrace of the soil… and the voltaic arc!… the voltaic arc between the two makes you believe things a sane man wouldn’t believe, and makes you doubt things a sane man wouldn’t doubt… Can you imagine…” Often, when it happened to Anatoly to feel embarrassed by something — including a topic he had brought up out of carelessness or mistake — in his panic he would try to shift the focus from this topic to the first thing that would occur to his panicked brain, as inadequate as the child of panic could possibly be. “… Can you imagine that there is a place high up in the mountains where a kin of old men live, with white hairs, with white beards, with red flames burning in their cunning eyes… who keep playing a game of chess that never ends — hidden there, in a place that no human eye can penetrate, a marble castle among the rocks — and keep ruining the lives of all those beneath… Yes, maybe this is the reason why the yogi masters live in the Himalayas — in order to be out of the reach of their magical powers!…” Anatoly’s eyes were sparkling with the naive devilish candour of a child.
(from “The Unsettling Love-Hate Story of Bewildered Anatoly”)