EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772), AUGUST STRINDBERG (1849-1912) Страница 7 of 12

– a concept he elaborates on in a text that bears the same title in the first volume of his huge Blue Book (1907-1912), which Martin Lamm considers a sequel to Occult Diary. Drawing upon Swedenborg’s inferno, the concept denotes, and I quote, “a dressing room where the deceased are introduced right after their death. There they take off those garments that they were obliged to wear in a social environment and with their families, so that the angels could immediately see what kind of individuals are coming along.” 3

    Like Swedenborg, Strindberg opens his diary in the condition of psychological strain, or in the depths of neuro-pathological depression. This lapse into depression follows, with many mystics, the original ecstasy of enlightenment, of “spiritual insatiability”. It serves as a preparation, a peculiar form of training, for the next higher stage of evolving predestination in the conditions of an existence that finds its extension in the beyond, an existence subject to different laws, without being transformed into a mere “life beyond the grave”. Strindberg conveys this complex message in a number of his works. The quality of transcendental existence is exclusively dependent on our previous existence; actually it is our earthly existence that informs the pace of further self-improvement as one follows the ascending curves of the metaphysical spiral. The word mystic is rather vague or rather complex, but we could safely state that it presupposes the combination between a certain attitude and a certain predisposition on the one hand, and phenomena and actions which bind man in a peculiar manner with the immaterial; they bind the human spirit with the absolute, regardless of the particularities of space, time, and physical causality. This is a view supported, for instance, by Russian religious philosopher, poet and metaphysician Vladimir Solovyov (1853-1900). He argues that mysticism is a peculiar philosophical and cognitive activity, which constitutes itself beyond the usual methods of pursuing the truth (experience, pure argumentative thinking, the legend, the authority of the precedent). Mysticism has always assumed a direct link between the knowing subject and the absolute object of knowledge, which could be defined as the essence of everything or divinity. The inner communication of the human spirit with the absolute is considered as an indispensable foundation for authentic knowledge by the mystics of the 19th century. This is the time that saw the rise of doctrines, which, depending on the prevalence of religion or philosophy, are referred to as mystical theology, mystical philosophy or theosophy. 

Occult Diary provides firsthand evidence of the Swede writer’s quest in this direction. We could actually describe Strindberg as a mystic par excellence, and we could attach the same label to an important part of his work, including Inferno, Legends, Play Dream, vandringsdramerna, the chamber plays, the novels Gothic Rooms and Black Banners. This tendency in Strindberg’s oeuvre testifies to the fact that he was