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The book “Das Experiment – Erwachen im MenschSein” (The Experiment – Awakening to Be Human) by Kristina Hazler is a thrilling, intensive and demanding novel about self-cognition and searching for one’s consciousness. The story, composed from a myriad of exciting elements, illustrative descriptions and surprising twists and turns, offers readers an excellent guide and useful tool for exploring one’s nonconscious mind and getting to know one’s Self.
The author, a practicing therapist, who conducts consciousness trainings and healing-accompanying therapies, actually did not “write” this book, she only “read” through it. In doing so, she moved on various levels of her own consciousness and sketched an analytically clear, sharp and terrifyingly real picture of life in modern materialistic society.
Kristina Hazler deliberately withheld giving detailed descriptions of the setting or look of her characters in order to leave blank as much room as possible for the reader’s own imagination and nonconsciousness. She outlines a magnificent character study into the inner world of two completely different people who had lived in absolute different worlds for many years and started getting closer to each other at ever deeper inner levels. The author, with much love and dedication to detail, describes fascinating experiences bringing together and simultaneously separating the inner lives of Klara and Jan.
The book tells a fictitious yet realistic story which mostly takes place in a sheltered container protected from the outer world. “Real” life is right in its vicinity. The story is a metaphor for isolation, exclusion and confinement, which – in certain form – are present in everyone, and offers ways for various levels of self-examination.
Psychotherapist Klara and Jan, who has lived in the container all his life, are in the focus of the profound developing story. The container world opens new and completely different views and opportunities to Klara, who starts perceiving the world in a very different way from what she was used to. One day she has to ask herself who actually lives inside and who lives outside. The experiment is also being watched by researchers outside. What they want to specifically explore is behaviour in a confined space where people can learn about world only by watching it.
For some time before her trip into the container, Klara was experiencing tension, uncertainty and expectation of the unknown. Only Jan has lived there, in a world in which he was put by his parents. To him, this setting is a perfect world full of dreams and trust in God. He still takes for granted that he gets his daily ration of food from the outer world through a little window. One day there is a power and water outage in the container and Jan has to cope with these unusual events. He has to ask whether that was a work of God. And when a little later he finds the picture of his late mother and Klara in the food window, he inadvertently starts searching for his self. Who is he in reality?
Jan has been expressing his dreams through painting pictures, until one day he meets Klara in the container. It soon turns out that it is not Jan, but educated and real-life experienced Klara, who needs help. Klara, surprised with Jan’s innocent open heart, soon realizes more and more how unfulfilled her life has been and recognizes all problems surfacing from her nonconsciousness with a growing persistence.
One day Klara leaves the container with a feeling that the confined room is her own world, the one she had lived in until then. Soon she decides to go back to Jan who has been waiting for her impatiently and full of joy. Instantly clash of two completely different worlds follows: the one of content and happy Jan and the one of unsatisfied Klara – full of doubt about herself and other people. So why are people out there so unsatisfied and unhappy?
Having lived together for some time, they decide to jointly explore the outer world. They set out with great expectations and trust. A sudden dramatic event, however, shakes all their dreams and hope. With no advance warning broken dreams, tragedy and pain overwhelm them. They come back to the sheltered world of their container to start something very new for both of them, their joint world.
Klara, shaken and feeling guilty, leaves her job with the group of experts and decides to move for good back to Jan in the container. Engaging in conversations, Jan now gradually starts understanding the outer world and experiences a turn in his naivety and dreamy thinking. Also Klara processes her broken first marriage from her early young age which had been based just on reason and cogitates over the loss of her first child. They both start writing diaries.
It does not take long for Klara’s life in the container to turn to the better. Her perception of day-to-day things now is much nicer and stronger, and she is expecting a child with Jan. He still has his unshaken trust in the good of his world. Yet, Klara has growing doubt whether her child should be born in the container. From her many trips to the outer world she keeps bringing various things such as books and teaches him to read and understand what money means to people, explains innovations and other concepts to him. She tries to make him ready for his upcoming meeting with the outer world. She sells Jan’s pictures and from the proceeds Jan can order from catalogues various goods, such as plants which he grows with much joy in the garden between the container and a wall, vacuum cleaners or fitness machines. He goes on learning about the outer world in his easy, innocent way, with no bias or prejudice.
Klara feels an inner need to more intensively and deeply process her past, especially her relationship to her late mother, her use of alternative therapies and treatments and her choice to abort her first pregnancy. Experiencing great worry and fear, aware of her weak points, she loses her equilibrium shortly before their child is to be born.
She decides for herself to give birth under medical supervision in the outer world. Again she leaves Jan and the container and goes to a hospital to get a medical check. At that moment an unexpected twist occurs. Klara recognizes her big teenage love Max, her treating doctor. He is just as surprised and confused. After many years, they start communicating at all levels of their inner emotional world.
But Klara awakes one day. Was it all just a dream?
Book review: “Awakening in human existence – The Experiment” (from the german Original “Erwachen im MenschSein – Das Experiment”)
Autor of review: Horst Exler