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Chapter 18 - How usury takes on form in the hereafter
18,1. Before we will go to the other valley, I still want to give you a short answer to a question you asked Me. You wanted to know whether what you previously have seen, is the hell. I can answer you with neither yes nor no, but only say that what you have seen is hellish of nature, but not the actual hell. For what is to be seen, is nothing but an independent depiction of the evil, especially regarding human desires. Where you have seen the most emaciated beings, there the evil is in equal measure. Where the beings were still enveloped in some more flesh and were seen to be more active, there the desire and urge for doing evil is in equal measure, the most active. On earth, it gets clearly expressed, for you must have met people whose multiple sins have destroyed their sensual nature to such an extent that they are not even able to keep up their artificially physical lust with artificial stimulating means anymore. Look, such people appear here in the foreground because they now and then indeed entertain a thought of insight about the invalidity and transience of such pleasures. But in the background, you have seen those with whom the power of their lust still equaled the power of the deed. Just look at these people upon earth; how they live loosely and scandalously entreats their bodies, as long as they have these meager power in them.
18,2. By this you can gather that what you have seen have the hell, yet does not have it, but is only the hellish character of the evil one made visible. Knowing this now, we will go to with this knowledge to the next, already mentioned valley.
18,3. Look, this is only separated from the already known valley, by a rather filthy mountain range. We only have to cross this mountain range, and we will immediately see the character of the other valley. You want it, and we are already on the high plain of the mountain range. See, down there is the new town; how does it suit you? You see: from afar it looks better than the previous; only because it is more to the evening, we cannot expect much good from it. Yes, you are right; such it will be.
18,4. You ask me why the buildings here are so much bigger and looks much more respectable than that of the previous town. I tell you: Let us immediately go down to the town, then you will soon find the answer to your question. Well, we are already standing in front of the first house. It has a dirty white lime-washed wall in front; yet, it does not have any frame or entrance in the front.You ask: why is it so? Because this side is to the morning and is an abomination to the inhabitants of this town. To be able to consider such a house, we should be at the backside of the building, situated a bit higher up the mountain. There is a big frame; look inside and tell me what you see there.
18,5. Oh, you are already shrinking back. How then will it go with you at the next house? You say dumbfounded: by God, this is unheard-of, inhumane, unthinkable! In the background is sitting a human monster on a broad bench. He is inhumanly fat and has a repugnant hanging stomach which takes up more than half of the room. Under his chin hangs one filthy, fleshy mass of fat upon the other. Before him stand several emaciated skeletal people, jostling in front of this repugnant fat-gut, pleading him to eat them! The monster has indeed already put various already cut up human skeletons on a sturdy table before him. But a few in the background is cursing the monster and angrily wants to charge him. They are being kept back by those whom the monster promised to also eat their flesh and convert it to his fat.
18,6. Now you indeed ask: What does this enigmatic, abominable depiction mean? Who can, may grasp it, but we do not grasp anything of it! But I tell you, best brothers and friends, if you do not immediately understand and clearly see it, you must be wandering upon earth completely blind!
18,7. Is this not an excellent depiction of the usurer, and especially of a selfish industry magnate, has made it his life's purpose to grab everything in his reach which can produce interest? Indicate the limits of satisfaction of such a usurer; does it not go into infinity? Would he have the slightest disturbance of conscience to direct all the treasures and wealth of the whole world to himself? Would he shed a tear if he would be able to attract the life of all widows and orphans on earth to him and digest it?
18,8. I tell you: the poor are still coming in droves to him, offering him hide and hearth; they are exhausting all their powers, toiling for him for the most meager reward. Others bring to him the little they have and praise himself fortunate if it is accepted at the most miserable rent. Yes, many of the deceived even go so far that they find it inevitable to be deceived by him, for this is just how it works, them having no guilt in it.
18,9. Some equally covetous, but worldly inexperienced poor wretches, discerning the cunning wiles of this wealthy one, threatens to destroy and kill him. Only those having vested interest in our usurer, understanding that they would much rather die when he would die, then with his complete satisfaction, deter such an onslaught as much as possible.
18,10. Well, what do you now say of this image? Is it not magnificent, and does it not show the evil exactly as it is? This indeed was but a benign beginning. Let us, therefore, go to the next, slightly bigger house and have a look inside.
18,11. Look, we are standing at the good [door]frame. You must look keenly to the inside, for because the house is bigger and, as you can see, have at the back side only two relatively small, dirty doors, it is rather dark inside. Have you seen what can be found inside? You are jumping back in fright, shuddering; this tells me that you did indeed have a good look to what is inside. But you are not capable of speaking. This I can also readily believe, for spectacles of the likes of these lets even us strong spirits be heavily upset, especially because this is currently becoming more and more common and pronounced. I do see here that it will be necessary for me to narrate what you have seen, for you cannot easily find words to describe such an image.
18,12. Once again do you see in the background, a repugnantly fattened being? This being has a terribly swollen abdomen; its head has the looks of a hyena; its arms look like a pair of powerful, gigantic snakes; its feet look like that of a bear. On its enormously big abdomen is erected some kind of altar. In the middle of the altar is put a double-sided spear. You see a multitude of emaciated human beings pierced by and strung on this spear. One of the snake arms was continuously busy taking these human beings off the spear one by one, shoving it into the jaws of this glutton. The other snake arm grabs to all sides to snatch up the poor, miserable people who were banned to this horrible room and then throws him onto the spear of his abdominal altar. The terrible sorrowing of these unhappy ones only invigorates his arm. Look, this is the image you have seen.
18,13. How do you like it? You say: Terrible! And more: This is way too crass! Things are bad on earth, but now it seems to us as if, according to the image, quite a bit exaggerated!
18,14. Yet I tell you, here is depicted not too much, neither too little, but always the pure truth. Have a look at the great industrial heroes upon your earth. Take a measure and measure the greedy mouth of these magnates. Investigate how it is with his arms and you will determine that it looks just like the snake arms. One is continuously busy shoving in, the other is busy, by many cunning means, devices, and violence, collecting booty. Whenever he caught something, it is immediately pinned as a sacrifice to his greed, on the already known altar.
18,15. You ask: Why does the altar then stand on the abdomen of this monster? Because the abdomen is the symbol of all the worst kinds of greed, selfishness, and self-love. The big stomach depicts the excessiveness of this love and the altar on the abdomen shows the so-called worldly honorable and exalted and thus to the proud and haughty character of such impressive industrial barons.
18,16. What then does the fixed, two-edged spear or sword upon the altar mean? This you could surely immediately guess. Have you never heard about merchant or exchange rights? Look, there it is right upon the altar! Therefore, if one or the other poor being should be caught, he will be grabbed, without mercy or excuse pierced by this right and immediately killed.
18,17. You still ask: Who then are those many poor beings who are so diligently caught and why is the spear double-sided? The many poor beings are many different people. Some, who are caught first, consists of detail merchants; another part is those who out of necessity must provide their products to such big speculant; a third part are various poor foreign peoples having trade relationships with such a house; a fourth part is other greedy merchants; a fifth part is trading corporations stationed elsewhere; a sixth part are those who are dependent upon these houses in various ways. The double-sided spear stands ready for these categories. But we almost forgot about the meaning of the double-sided spear.
18,18. This is also rather obvious. One side represents trade politics of the merchants. What then does the second side represents? The assumed right she gave herself to organize her trading as such that it would produce maximum trade interest for her. Do you understand this? If you would not properly understand this, research this and tell me, where is trade interest lawfully prescribed for merchandise life. As such the spear cuts to two sides; to the one side, the to you well-known merchant politics and to the other side, the limitless interest hunt. Both cutting edges are so closely linked to merchandise law as the two cutting edges with a sword. Is not this image appropriate, and does it not, as I say, show nothing more and nothing less than the pure truth?
18,19. You say now: This image is true, but it leaves no doubt that it belongs to the deepest hell! In the foundation of the matter, you are not completely wrong, but the previous declaration stays true, for it all only means the evil on him, without referring to the people acting in the industry. Therefore, it is hellish of nature, but not hell itself. For if you would really see something like that in hell itself, you would have fared far different than you did with the first glance that it did, so close to the image of that evil.
18,20. Look, there are still many such houses in this filthy ravine. But because the malice of greed in it is depicted increasingly more inward and thereby inexpressibly more atrociously and you would not be able to bear even the following depiction, we will end this case with the viewing of these two houses. For when this atrocity would transform into the sphere of burning, greedy jealousy, then it becomes truly hellish and is therefore not fit for your weak eyes. Next time, therefore, we will go to a third valley. There we will again see many new appearances and we leave it at that for today.
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