Drug/experience unique to the novelization of the film "Metropolis", by Thea van Harbou (Mrs. Fritz Lang).

Spoken of as 'liquid empathy', it produces a trance-like state of telepathy focused through one single individual, if used in the ritual spoken of below. Somewhat related to the LSD-like 'mad corn' of the Elusinian mysteries (ergot grown on tares) and to MMDA, the effect is uncannily like what has been described as Snowflame's signature ability, however, in his case, cocaine, and not a hallucinogen, would seem to be the trigger, and no ritual appears necessary. Since the book is not readily available, I reprint the passage, which is not in any extant print of the movie, and has been spoken of by many as the book's most striking chapter...


 

Drugs, I expect, September?”

“My dear sir, the lion is also a cat. Maohee is a drug: but what is a cat beside a lion? Maohee is from the other side of the Earth. It is the divine — the only thing — because it is the only thing which makes us feel the intoxication of the others.”

“The intoxication — of the others?” repeated Slim, stopping still.

September smiled the smile of Hotei the god of Happiness, who likes little children. He laid the hand of the Borgia, with the suspiciously blue shimmering nails on Slim’s arm.

“The intoxication of the others — Sir, do you know what that means? Not of one other — no, of the multitude which rolls itself into a lump, the rolled up intoxication of the multitude gives Maohee its friends.”

“Has Maohee many friends, September?”

The proprietor of Yoshiwara grinned, apocalyptically.

“Sir, in this house there is a round room. You shall see it. It has not its like. It is built like a winding seashell, like a mammoth shell, in the windings of which thunders the surf of seven oceans; in these windings people crouch, so densely crowded that their faces appear as one face. No one knows the other, yet they are all friends. They all fever. They are all pale with expectation. They have all clasped hands. The trembling of those who sit right down at the bottom of the shell runs right through the windings of the mammoth shell, right up to those, who, from the gleaming top of the spiral, send out their own trembling towards it.”

September gulped for breath. Sweat stood like a fine chain of beads on his brow. An international smile of insanity parted his prating mouth.

“Go on, September!” said Slim.

“On? On? Suddenly the rim of the shell begins to turn… gently… ah, how gently, to music — such as would bring a tenfold murderer-bandit to sobs and his judges to pardon him on the scaffold — to music on hearing which deadly enemies kiss, beggars believe themselves to be kings, the hungry forget their hunger — to such music the shell revolves around its stationary heart, until it seems to free itself from the ground and, hovering, to revolve about itself. The people scream — not loudly, no, no! — they scream like the birds that bathe in the sea. The twisted hands are clenched to fists. The bodies rock in one rhythm. Then comes the first stammer of Maohee… The stammer swells, becomes waves of spray, becomes a spring tide. The revolving shell roars: Maohee… Maohee! It is as though a little flame must rest on everyone’s hair parting, like St. Elmo’s fire… Maohee… Maohee! They call on their god. They call on him whom the finger of the god touches today. No one knows from where he will come today. He is there. They know he is amongst them. He must break out from the rows of them. He must. He must, for they call him: Maohee… Maohee! And suddenly–!”

The hand of the Borgia flew up and hung in the air like a brown claw.

“And suddenly a man is standing in the middle of the shell, in the gleaming circle, on the milk-white disc. But it is no man. It is the embodied conception of the intoxication of them all. He is not conscious of himself. A slight froth stands on his mouth. His eyes are stark and bursting and are yet like rushing meteors which leave waving tracks of fire behind them on the route from heaven to earth. He stands and lives his intoxication. He is what his intoxication is. From the thousands of eyes which have cast anchor into his soul, the power of intoxication streams into him. There is no delight in God’s creation which does not reveal itself, surmounted by the medium of these intoxicated souls. What he says becomes visible, what he hears becomes audible to all. What he feels — power, desire, madness — is felt by them all. On the shimmering area, around which the shell revolves, to music beyond all description, one in ecstasy lives the thousandfold ecstasy which embodies itself in him, for thousands of others.”

September stopped and smiled at Slim. ”That, sir, is Maohee.” “It must indeed be a powerful drug,” said Slim with a feeling of dryness in his throat, “which inspires the proprietor of Yoshiwara to such a hymn. Do you think that that yelling individual down there would join in this song of praise?”

“Ask him yourself, sir,” said September.


There was a time when I thought of this as a great theater piece for Iggy Pop.What say you?

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