There is much that I am grateful to Kosta for. He introduced me to the philosophy of Nikolai Berdyaev and helped me to understand Nietzsche better. It is rare when you meet a human being who enables you to see the world differently, through a different lens, a different culture. While there was nobody who was more materially poor, he helped me to appreciate so much sophisticated poetry and thought. While his experience was interpreted as mentally ill by others, a designation he never really accepted, he helped me to understand mental health better than anyone else. He once told me that there is only one truth, I am a child of God, and he is a child of God, any other label beyond that dehumanizes us. A lot of his poetry was dark and reminiscent of the Russian existentialists but there was a spark and a glimmer of light. We shared an appreciation of the German mystic Meister Eckhart and he was fascinated with Eckhart's concept of the ground (the grunt). The grunt is the ground of God and the ground of the soul which is one ground; the same ground. He also famously spoke of the spark of the soul.
Kosta once told me that the best way to understand him was to read Notes from the Underground. However, one poem of his, from his book, I think, expresses best how I knew him.
I am Tired
I am tired of this thorny Road
That I tread alone, unseen,
I am tired of this monotonous
Song I sing; that re-echoes-
The sound of sagacity...
I am tired of daily sleeping,
Daily walking, feeding and
Search truth forever more.
I am tired of hearing my fellowmen
Work out his future plan:
I am tired of many things, and
Still yet my soul sings!
Berdyaev once wrote that “every single human soul has more meaning and value than the whole of history.” As I reflect on the impact his life had on me and the meaning that I need to take away from it, I will let him speak of how best to move forward in his own words through another of his poems.
A toast to your frittered ghost:
Let us go, go forth out into
the vastest field. Let us go by
the edge of rounded rock, in
the midstream of an onward flowing
brook: We shall sow and reap and weep
and leap straight under our
leap beyond our wildest dreams.