March 18, 2020
1. The week in which the pandemic was declared and Europe became its epicentre, we spent in Madrid. Meetings scheduled long ago included one that we could not cancel: with Federico Mayor, author of “Warning to Humanity” and the Earth Charter. And we witnessed an unprecedented Europe, which no one had ever seen before. Stopped at full speed.
You got the feeling you were walking along a sunny spring street and suddenly understood that, like in a submarine, airtight bulkheads —state borders, social ties, cafes, theatres, parks, schools, terraces, offices, airports —were slamming down behind you, closing tightly.
Civilisation closing down, winding to a halt, collapsing... Everything that made up the familiar, established life has ceased to exist. Temporarily? Stand by. Humanity on pause. As if someone pulled the emergency brake while at full speed.
2. When a squirrel that has almost driven itself to death running in a wheel is not able to stop, only one possibility remains to save it: to stop the wheel.
A STOPPED WORLD. A gift available to shamans and film heroes who destroy the matrix... Now you can slowly examine each detail. Look into the gaps between passing carriages. Walk between raindrops. Examine a flying bullet from all sides. Make everything that used to be blurred and hasty, precise and sharp. Honest and explicit.
Suddenly, time began to be directed at what it was not available for before. At one flick of a switch attention moved from what seemed to be of value to what was outside the daily to-do list.
Children previously handed over to the education system have remained at home with their parents. And suddenly it turned out that this is the real education system: not standards of a curriculum approved by someone, but parents communicating with their children.
Work distanced itself together with the office and became ghostly virtual, and it suddenly became clear that without it —without constant feverish strategic sessions, marketing strategies, corporate-minded colleagues — it is not only possible to exist, but also... at minimum useful.
And in the resulting “emptiness” it suddenly became clear that it is not just permissible, but also necessary —in the literal sense of the word, vitally necessary —to be attentive to what and how you breathe... To who is next to you. About what and who you care. What is really important in life...
3. A colossal reassessment of values.
Freedom from hasty blurring, veiled by the rush of “urgent affairs.” Liberation from both them and their surrogate meanings. A change of scale: life can depend more on the touch of fingers to a face than on an economic summit. Economies, industries, corporations, sectors: everything that is proudly listed in reporting presentations, was not capable of surviving the change in status. Medicine, bureaucratic commissions, stock exchange enthusiasm, entertaining tourism, culinary delights: all of this today has nothing to do with your “zones of proximal development.”
All further progress in these spheres was of such a dead-end nature that it did not make sense to continue to develop them in their previous form, even from the perspective of masters of business administration. Now it has become very convenient: everything can be attributed to force majeure circumstances. A systemic crisis: it is due to them, otherwise we would have managed... These days have blown the scum of propaganda from the achievements of society, exposing the vulnerability bordering on helplessness, of each of us and all together...
4. The challenges of the Anthropocene are a hot topic for high-profile statements and forums. What people have done to the planet has put it on the brink of survival; how else could it even catch its breath?
Enterprises are not working, planes are not flying... A holiday from humanity, which is still here, but doing almost no harm... Artificial intelligence, global warming – everything that seemed to be the main challenges of the era, suddenly paled and faded into the background. And it became clear that all this was and remains, not a challenge, but a consequence. A result, a reckoning for a single reason: for what we did to ourselves, limiting ourselves through our chosen way of life and worldview. For an anthropological disaster that occurred not in 2020, but during the decades of the pandemic of dehumanisation. And the only genuine challenge is overcoming this catastrophe, healing from this flattening.
Perhaps, when this passes, many will return to their usual way of life. But, honestly, not all. And certainly without the previous zeal... Without the previous confidence in landmarks, markers, “goals,” road signs...
What is happening is the ultimate warning. If we can become conscious of it, there will be a way out of the suggestions of our agreed reality. A few weeks outside of the daily bustle can create new synaptic connections. Those who awaken, having come to their senses, although perhaps experiencing withdrawal symptoms, may turn out to be impossible to hypnotise again.
5. In the past people came together during difficult times. Now the conditions are different: everyone is going through this story only with those closest to them or alone. This is an extreme anthropological singularity. It has finally become clear that a person who invites people into halls to share his great wisdom with them is literally dangerous for their health.
The most important test is to end up alone with yourself. People have forgotten how to do this. The skill has been lost. To avoid it, many will hide from themselves on social networks. And yet they will have to at least think... At least doubt ... At least for a moment TO REGAIN CONSCIOUSNESS.
In just a few days, we all learned how to greet each other differently. Before that, there were handshakes and hugs at meetings; now only eyes are left. And it turned out that when patting each other on the back, we could fail to notice each other, and suddenly now we see. This is an expensive acquisition. And it turned out that we are in fact, not in the highest spiritual sense, but simply on the mundane plane, inextricable. This Earth turned out to be a small ball and we all spin together. Nobody can get away. “Social distancing” makes you go out onto the balconies to sing together. We are one being divided by bulkheads. Was it really necessary to insert all of these bulkheads in order to bring us to our senses?
They say that sometimes, in order to finally make a person look at the Sky, God is forced to lay him on his back.
6. This state of emergency is not for a month. “Disease outbreak — urgent measures — triumphant victory — return to the same rails” — it will not be like this. It will be harder, because those rails have finished. There are no more. Different paths and means of movement are needed.
“Coronavirus.” A brilliant name for humanity in the era of consumption, which many have called a planetary virus. The self-proclaimed Crown of Creation... has received his crown. What will it be like, life after the virus? After the Crown...
Quarantine is translated as “forty days.” This year, it coincides with the forty days of Lent. And the meaning of these two, so different before, is one this year. For Lent, the penance of house arrest has been chosen. Purgatory? No, it's just “involuntarily freelancers...”
Consciousness is the ability to choose the future. While alive, starting a new life from Monday is easy. What is difficult is for it to really differ from the previous one.
This season, Madrid’s taxis have the inscription “free NOW.” This is not a philosophy, but an app for calling taxis. The future “on call” — in any direction of the given NOW.
Stay safe, we wish you strength and health.
DETERRENCE, part 2
April 1, 2020
1. Sometime ago we proposed to 150 leading thinkers, scientists and practitioners from different countries a thought experiment “NOW”:
“Imagine that humanity is invited to an intergalactic congress of civilisations.
The obligatory programme for each civilisation is a report on three questions:
- what is the leading form of its interaction with its planet as a whole?
- with other species on the planet?
- within its own species?
Each civilisation needs to present the reason justifying the continuation of its existence.”
Two to three months later, the thought experiment became a common reality.
It is the hour of identity: for the first time in history, the ultimate questions are simultaneously posed to all...
It is like the police on roads today: “You want to go outside? Explain why.” It is necessary to present an exit permit issued to yourself. If the reason indicated therein is valid, the exit is open.
2. Direct control has been introduced. Everyone stop and stand still. What is happening now, its reflection in the media and the measures being taken are three separate processes with no direct correlation. It may seem to people or their formal leaders that everything that is being done is the work of governments or behind-the-scenes structures, or an accidental coincidence of factors. But time is not made by a cuckoo in a clock.
We used to play a game without rules with the planet and ourselves, and so the rules were manifested not by us.
A straitjacket for active psychos: eight billion plans cancelled with a single click of DELETE.
Such is the hierarchy: instead of a multitude of plan B’s, a single plan A. The regime of emergency powers.
There is no longer any “remote” work: it is in the past that work used to be infinitely far from its authentic meanings; now it is up close and without intermediaries.
An externship is not possible, you cannot pass in absentia or play truant, all of the escape routes are blocked.
No one has special treatment; the same masks are required to be worn by all, as they erase external differences.
The first person singular as an external manifestation of uniqueness has been taken out of circulation due to the loss of any interest in the ego.
3. If there used to be the illusion of choice, it is no more: we have been screwed into ourselves and the only way out “is inside of us”.
We were told: “Attend to yourself and thousands will be saved.” But how can all of us, on the run, be brought to this?
Just like that. Dear humanoids, your “businesses" are abolished. Thank you, everyone. Move along one at a time, do not gather together.
This is not the huge war predicted a year ago by the Nobel symposium, about which none of the media wrote. Not a tsunami that blows away hundreds of cities. Not a single city, nor a single house has been harmed. The continents did not move, the meteorite did not strike, the aliens did not attack.
It is extremely soft, “ecological,” merciful: planes were not stopped in mid air, but pinned to the airfields by the decisions of our own authorities. Lock yourself up and sit up straight, your work now is to sit attentively...
“Behind closed doors” the Great Work is performed.
“To go into seclusion” is not to run away from the world, but to retreat in order to hear the universe, remaining one-on-one with it: you can’t pass into the eye of the needle in ranks.
Lent is a feat of selfless devotion: one’s precious self, occupying all of the space in one’s life, must be moved from the throne.
This is the hardest form of struggle: the internal kind.
For the first time, it is not employers who structure people’s days, but they themselves. We can watch TV shows, learn languages or babble incessantly on the Internet. All of this allows you to postpone the moment of internal dialogue. But the main thing that you will have to catch up on in any case is this.
Now our four walls are not a besieged fortress, but an egg, a shell.
This is an anthropological practice: the cultivation of a human.
The more intense it is, the greater the chance for life.
Metanoia is an extremely painful event, a personal collapse, the meaning of which is the shattering of all previous beliefs at the moment of recognition of their falsity.
The Present is unattainable without it.
4. Our familiar world has pupated. Turned into a chrysalis, a cocoon.
You must be quiet in it, in order for the sacrament to occur. Do not fuss, do not make any sudden movements: then in place of a caterpillar a butterfly can be weaved.
This is a method of immersion, into the Present. Consciousness is the ability to choose the authentic. Precisely NOW you can choose who and how to be in this moment.
External control limits external freedom, but true freedom is an internal quality; it cannot be bestowed or taken away from outside. But you can cultivate it inside.
Any interference is disastrous. Especially that dictated by previous experience. We learned to predict the future only by extrapolating the past, but it is no more.
All of our technologies for efficiency are footprints in the sand; they do not contain information about the future, only the past.
All our coaching, all the “trainings”, all the tamers were targeted at caterpillars; but suddenly we had nothing to crawl with and nowhere to do it.
Speculative guidelines on how to bounce up and down do exist, but they were also written by those who have never had wings...
If you do not control the process, this mucus inside the bankrupt pupae is able to concentrate itself — to build itself up — into a butterfly!
It is necessary to stop our jumping and grimacing, noisy marathons and insinuating facilitations, in order not to ruin the butterfly’s ability to mature and hatch.
If (and when) what is happening inside is sufficient, it will be completed.
It is considered that the minimum needed for this is six weeks. This is how long it takes for new grooves to be laid out — synaptic connections that did not exist previously. It is unlikely to take place sooner...
5. When all of the usual behavioural or contractual supports are knocked away, the fundamental laws of the universe remain.
The very ones we dismissed in the painful pride of our invented power, trusting only what we could touch.
But it is not for us to abolish the law of resonance: what is inside is outside. Instead of the insane discord of conflicting personal prejudices, goals, ambitions, superstitions, complexes — of a completely out of tune unified being — we, in order to live, must distinguish the fundamental tone, tuning fork, frequency, which builds a unified life within us instead of living death.
This cannot be achieved by political decrees or economic sanctions; it happens like a flash of sharp feeling or a dazzling thought to which every cell of the body responds with goosebumps in an instant.
Force majeure circumstances — of the force that begins to act through us, changing us.
When we go so far that we forget not only its name, but the very fact of its existence, it returns us to ourselves so that we can be born while we are alive.
6. It is a reverse perspective, like in icon painting, when the space from the contemplative “outside” does not narrow, but rather expands with distance: it is not you who peers into the depth, but the depth, which is immeasurably superior to you, that peers into you.
The scope and essence of what is occurring are unattainable from a different position.
It is not you that are focused on the future, but the future is concentrated on you.
And today's issues are resolved, based not on your notions of the benefits, but on the interests of the Future — Life as a whole.
Life ensures that we have the necessary clues.
And thus, above the megacities of the entire world the stars at night have become brighter than they have been for several decades.
It is as if the sky above us has been washed: wiped clean, to transparency.
DETERRENCE, part 3
April 12, 2020
1. DIES IRAE
Several years ago we compared the planetary situation with a large, joyful dog infested with fleas. At a certain point the number of fleas reached several billion, that were only able to feed on the dog and excrete onto it. But when it shakes itself seriously...
The audience became highly indignant upon hearing such a metaphor.
And now it is like the anecdote about the little dragon, who, when asked where his father and mother are, admits that he ate them.
“And who are you after this?”
(Sobbing) “A poor little orphan!”
Horror of horrors! The oil that we suck from the Earth to sell to each other has fallen in price, criminally reducing our income!
Picture H.G. Wells’ Martians, feeding on human blood (nothing else in humans is of interest to them), suddenly ceasing to be able to sell it to each other at exorbitant prices... This is a great tragedy for them! Although, for the human from whom they sucked out blood, it rather represents salvation...
They say that a few days ago, China excluded dogs from the list of animals that can be eaten.
Because they are no longer considered livestock.
2. PLANETARY ENTR’ACTE
Like at the theatre: you go to the buffet, there is a long queue and it is crowded and boring, but it allows you to stretch your legs after having sat still for so long.
However, the main thing is that you go back into the hall and the scenery is different. The action is different.
Together with friends, we once came up with and put on a play in France: an uninspired show, the entr’acte, and then the audience return, but through a different door and they all end up on stage.
Only now the hall and the stage are separated by impenetrable glass, and the hall is barely visible and almost empty.
Those on the crowded stage initially wait to see how they will be entertained now. Soon they become divided into those who cause a scene and those who laugh.
Those who sit cross-legged on the sidelines and watch, and those who make their way closer to the most visible and illuminated place.
At a certain point they all understand that it is them that are playing now. Without training and rehearsals, a script and allocation of roles. In one take. However they can.
This is their show. They show themselves.
At that moment the lights go out.
This merciful darkness is the real entr’acte.
After it comes new action.
When everything lights up again a minute later, the glass has lost its transparency and become a mirror.
You wanted spectacle that heals from boredom?
The immersive reality show “2020.” Everyone is on stage.
3. THE SIXTH PROOF
The power we are dealing with appears to be not only grandiose, but also grandiosely intelligent.
Not instinctive. Instinct is when you swat a mosquito with all your might, with sufficient strength to kill a million mosquitoes. But only a bruise is left and the mosquito flies away.
This is what we are doing now: leaving bruises and missing the mosquitoes. But the Power acting in relation to us does not make any unnecessary movements, no universal catastrophes, floods destroying innocent animals and beautiful cities...
This truly “Crowning Act” is extremely anthropocentric. Oriented precisely on us and only us. It lives exclusively within us, the living.
A precisely directed impulse, focused like a laser beam, on every human, including the “non-infected” ones.
Moreover: actually not at all on humankind itself, but on its system of values and lifestyle.
Above all, on what constitutes the centre of this mode of existence: the economy, which establishes all meanings, guidelines, and values.
Because we are all infected with this way of life, even those who are “asymptomatic.”
And there is no vaccine and no cure... The genius of this solution lies in the fact that within the lifestyle we know, there is no cure...
4. SURVIVORS OF DEATH
Presidents compare what is happening with war.
War is very convenient: both during and after there is no room for meanings. Everyone is fighting, destroying or saving, and afterwards they rebuild what they bombed.
But now everyone except for the police and medics has been relieved of duty, and the only thing that is destroyed every day is the former contractual meanings.
To attempt to repair them is like putting putty in the cracks on the hundredth floor of a building that is slipping under water because it was built on permafrost, but the climate has changed and the foundation has melted.
The difficulty of tomorrow lies precisely in the fact that the exterior of this “building” will remain and confuse: cities, airports, roads, city halls, conditional symbols, guilds of consultants, conference rooms, educational institutions... Everything will come to the surface. All of the trails laid out in the past, well-learned and alluring in their comprehensibility, preventing one from turning off the beaten track into the new.
This is the main temptation now: something important for the Universe is happening to you, but you have no time for it. You are busy with the task of “saving the business,” because you are so used to giving it almost one hundred percent of your attention and you think that there is no way to live differently.
Remember: “The Bourbons did not understand anything and did not learn anything...”
In this lies the greatest challenge: to finally begin to distinguish between gloom and the real.
5. FINAL EXAM
School is over, there will be no more retakes.
It turned out that there was no need to create a separate mystical space for purgatory; we easily convert stadiums into concert venues, hospitals or ghettos depending on the trend of the season.
Everyone sits this final exam wherever the final bell caught them.
Everyone has been seated alone, in order not to be distracted by worthless attempts to copy from a neighbour.
Each is with the one with whom it is necessary and separated from the one from whom it is necessary; because he/she chose such a measure, and such a measure was chosen for him/her as capable of providing an extremely powerful, honest and important experience of awareness.
If, in order for us to understand that we are indivisible, we need to be divided, then so be it.
The theory of incompleteness: the resolution of the problem of behaviour in isolation lies beyond isolation...
To understand and accomplish everything that is needed, you have everything you need. You don’t have to go anywhere for this.
For the first time, all governments are simultaneously powerless, all stock exchanges are in convulsions, and places of worship of all faiths are either closed or empty. The one to whom you pray is now accessible only within you.
This “Groundhog Day for Humanity” will put everything in its place.
It will be replaced by the new when we ourselves move out of this deadlock.
DETERRENCE, part 4. EDGE OF THE PRESENT
April 29, 2020
1. ONE-WAY ROAD
On the Atlantic island where we often lived when there were planes, there is a road to a lighthouse. It is impossible to turn around when you are on it, the rock face above the road has a negative gradient, and it is completely covered in potholes and stones from the eternal rock fall. But there is no other way to the lighthouse. At the beginning stands a warning: “Here all your insurance becomes invalid.” You can’t say that this is our favourite road. However, if one day you drive there out of a penchant for novelty and, having realised that reversing back up the steep mountain serpentine road will not work, there is nowhere for you to go: you will advance forward.
2. NOT REVENGE, BUT A TEST
This road is not an execution. We drove here ourselves.
Like spoiled infants we played games on the lap of the planet to nursery rhymes: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men. Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”
Were we warned that the future is not determined? Were we free to do what we did? Did we proclaim ourselves self-sufficient and powerful, and now we want someone to compensate us for the losses our tragically perishing market has suffered?
This point in time is not punishment or revenge, but a test. A strength test, a check for lice.
A litmus test, a photo developer or fixer. A sheaf of light directed from the other side onto the fabric of our society, so that it becomes clear where we are transparent and where impermeable.
According to the test results, the weakest link is exactly what it is customary to be proud of at summits and forums. The exam has been failed in all of the main disciplines of our social structure: medicine, science, education, media, economics, international cooperation, forecasting...
Our main pillars turned out to be helpless, useless and burdensome.
What is happening during these weeks is a colossal civilisational artefact that has sat the entire glossy exhibition of our achievements in a puddle.
The system has completely discredited itself. The king is naked. Not individual people, not humanity as a whole, but the accepted model of our cohabitation.
In fact, it was not even sent into well-deserved retirement, but simply dismissed due to unsuitability without severance pay.
However, a huge number of people hope to return to their former places and previous occupations, to the former business-like excitement around “profit growth” and “power.”
Dinosaurs, they say, carried on wandering around for some time after their heads had been bitten off, not realising that they no longer had anything to eat with...
3. PANIC ATTACK
When you find yourself in such a situation, it is difficult to avoid panic.
It is naturally present here; nobody sowed it. It was sown, the sensation of the scale of the threat increasing at every turn, bringing this sensation to extremes, because such striving beings as us can be made to slow down only under fear of death.
The system, oriented towards hype and false appearances more than reality, gave rise to such hysterical media that they rocked the very system that generated them.
It is a chain reaction: all of the exits blocked themselves. The reflexive form of the verb is appropriate here.
A closed system always ends in an explosion of entropy and can only respond to it with a model of order based on a barracks. When it feels cornered and panics, it resembles a non-commissioned officer who only knows the regulations for guard duty.
The system “flipped out” and became aroused by itself, like poorly-set-up microphones next to amplifiers. This is the very resonance that destroys bridges.
There is no need to look for saboteurs. The system activated its self-destruct protocol.
The means that prompted this manifested in a guise that ensures the inviolability of the entire surrounding space, but can be taken sufficiently seriously by us to make us respond to it in full measure.
This is not a bomb, but the simplest trigger. A weightless file that launches a set of programs preinstalled “in us” by nature and those we have installed in ourselves.
This is not the cause, but only a catalyst. An amplifier of what happened to us before. What was already our content.
Homeopathic miniature balls that we protect ourselves against through disinfection. An emulsifier, an enzyme that makes what is inside of us manifest, exacerbating it so that it can no longer be ignored.
What is not inside of us cannot be brought in or created; what is inside of us will unfold to its full height, making it clear who we are. It will unpack the worlds contained within us.
Disease, fear, stupidity, wisdom, cynicism, love... All of the ingredients of us.
What specific medicine, what antidote can be found for this? In which secret laboratories?
5. SELF-ISOLATION OF THE BRAIN
The exit of the brain from self-isolation is liberation from the impenetrability of consciousness, from capture by acquired blindness.
In the film “Edge of Tomorrow” evil aliens mow down ranks of heroic defenders of the sovereign Earth on a sandy beach.
The defenders are very passionate about the battle. It attracts all of their attention. To such an extent that they have none left with which to understand that the outcome of the battle is not decided on this beach, which exists only to distract all of their power. That the monsters actually feed on such attention. The more passionately you kill them, the faster they breed...
Here the least corporate of the defenders (Tom Cruise, of course) realises that in order to win you need to... exit the battle. To leave the beach. To not allow yourself to be drawn into the heroic struggle against the wooden soldiers of Urfin Jus.
Suppose we are able to stop noticing them. To tear off the corporal epaulettes, to drop the machine gun... This is difficult because our only education is beach battle school; we didn’t learn anything else. Only to run with creative slogans in a race against live targets on this beach.
It is difficult, but it is possible not to see them. To point blank not see them... But they see us. And shoot at us.
For a long time, we ran habitually with machine guns, but here, unlike the heroes of the film, we have been lucky: a lull arose without warning and the beach became empty.
In the silence, those who dream of returning to battle can be heard impatiently twitching the shutters...
While the beach is closed for disinfection, while it doesn’t stink of burnt meat and oil, it is possible to become aware that neither the planet nor humanity itself has an external enemy, separate from humanity as “the conqueror of nature.”
Then the concept of war as the main content and law of life will begin to release us.
The concept of eternal hostility, which we were convinced of through Darwin’s biology, Freud’s psychology, Marx’s economy. The concept that builds all of our practices based on total separation, taking away 90 percent of our energy, time and resources for the purposes of defence and attack in all areas of life.
This lull has a certain chance of growing into peace. With the planet, with other species of life on it, within our own species.
The future will become the present when we stop generating this endless struggle in the head and heart and feeding on it, when we stop filling it with our attention and our lives. Then something different will be set free within us: we will be able to not divide, but unite.
It is like a river lock at a change in elevation: in order to make the transition, accumulation and achievement of the appropriate level is required.
Then another civilisation will occur.
6. NEW VS OLD
You can stroke the world (and yourself as part of it) the wrong way to a certain limit.
If the main effort in the near future is devoted to attempts at restoration, the next wave of disasters and aliens will cover us with a different level of power. The longer you store something rotten, the more it will stink. The more a spring is compressed, the more powerfully it will crack you over the head.
You can’t ride a dead horse. To look backward is to become a pillar of salt.
Remember, as Jack London wrote: from the Valley of Lost Souls, where even infants already bear the seal of degeneration, there is only one way out. Not back, but through. Through the seemingly deadly whirlpool that carries you deeper in order to bring you to the surface beyond the ring of hopeless mountains.
At the species level the conditions necessary to complete the past have been created.
If advantage is taken of this, “a new man will be in place of the old.”
Hatching from this cocoon, as whom do we want to be born again?
DETERRENCE, part 5. WELCOME TO THE PRESENT
May 14, 2020
1. WELCOME COCKTAIL
Christmas stories feature a character with no reflection in the mirror.
Usually he is busy moaning, rattling his chains and languishing in despair at his Canterville. He has already completed his previous life journey, but did not move to the other side and became stuck between worlds.
Modern thinkers have come up with a politically correct term for him, Homo Confusus. One who refuses to understand where has he ended up and therefore feels extremely anxious, at times belligerent.
“Stepan Likhodeyev ran a trembling hand over his hip to determine whether he was wearing trousers or not, and couldn’t."(Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita)
Congratulations on your arrival. Welcome to the Present.
You can leave your chains in the hallway. Make your way to reception to introduce yourself. These are the rules of the house.
As they put it at the check-in desks of the past: who are you?
You cannot go inside without a coherent answer.
2. MIRROR TEST
Here is the main embarrassment: it seems that past credentials and “achievements” are not valid here. There are no devices to read them with.
You are not asked about the past, but the present.
To help visitors there is the Hero’s Mirror. The oldest tool for knowing yourself.
In science, the mirror test (the ability to recognise oneself in the mirror) is considered the main evidence of self-awareness.
Children pass it from one and a half years of age. Prior to this, they can do well enough without self-awareness: all responsibility for them and what they do does not yet lie with them.
And the scale of their activity is not yet capable of seriously threatening anything.
Mankind just reached the age of one and a half. The Anthropocene Era began, meaning that our species can henceforth take irreparable steps on a planetary scale.
It is time to pass the mirror test: without an answer to the question “who are we?” the continuation of our existence is mortally dangerous.
And, naturally, this test came about.
Although current science cannot explain how it has been organised so impeccably, uncompromisingly and gently.
Because planetary mirror tests are beyond the competence of current science, which itself, like our other achievements, is undergoing this testing.
- There was a time to take, there is a time to give. This is the attestation of maturity. It cannot be avoided (only children are freed from the necessity (see above); now is not their time to answer, this examiner does not question children)
- testing occurs in a form ensuring the universal, one-time participation of each “mature” carrier of consciousness of the given species
- a “freeze-frame” is taken during the test, like in the children's game “musical statues,” of who was “portraying” what, in the most bizarre poses and hilarious business plans. In order to carefully examine everything, without Photoshop
- you do not need to move anywhere to undergo testing. Everything is organised in the most comfortable situation, right in your own home. If you turned out at this moment not to be where and with whom you would like, who is to blame for this?
- the time allotted for the test is a buffer when you can adjust the reflection in the mirror, provided you understand that its original is not frozen, but fluid and plastic. It may seem that this “should have been done before,” but here the parable of the workers of the last hour is relevant
- testing lasts as long as necessary for clarity
So, you found yourself locked up in your own home, alone with the person living inside your skin, from whom you can’t escape even if you have a QR exit permit.
In this space of yours nobody is interested in who you are for the outside world: the only question is who is inside of you.
People run away from it online, inviting all kinds of strangers to endless virtual debates, in order not to be left alone with the eloquent mirror-mirror-on-the-wall...
We aren’t Narcissus, after all, to gaze into ourselves...
Carnival shares its root with "incarnation." It is a mystical celebration (that is, non-working days, not intended for external work) of the end of the old and the beginning of the new, when the rules prescribe wearing a mask as a symbol of the search for an authentic new face.
With the measure you use, it will be measured unto you: unto Caesar, a bunker; unto the tax collector, holidays; unto businessmen, meanings, in order to see clearly not who each seems to be, but who is who.
Our Doomed City is populated by confused people living through a cosmic experiment that lives through them.
What “self practices” can there be inside a masquerade?
Wooden Pinocchio, before becoming alive, realised that the fireplace in Geppetto’s hut was a painting, and that to continue to warm himself at its fire would be too... consistent.
Behind the fake fire is a door opened by a golden key.
A mask covering the face permits what one would not dare to do openly.
Ultimately there is either fear of what will open or interest: the very key that opens the door INSIDE and makes it possible to act from WITHIN.
When all doors leading outwards are closed in the literal sense, there is a higher probability that in a couple of months you will find the internal one.
Then through it something penetrates into you that does not belong to you, but constitutes your main content.
It becomes clear that the subject of what is happening to you is greater than you.
This is the end of the anthropological concept of the self-sufficiency of “self-made men.”
Awareness of this is the real “New Normality” that has not yet arrived, but which cannot be held back by any barriers.
It is revealed when Pinocchio becomes aware who he is and whom he embodies.
It is in the hope of this that everything is occurring.
6. TO BE CONTINUED
“Turbulence commences because the stewardess begins to serve coffee.”
In the conditions of our flight, this oxymoron reads as follows: since we have no more strength to stay at home, we intend to “return to our former life.”
We did not find ourselves beyond the looking glass, because we did not manage to recognise ourselves in the mirror.
It seems that we managed to confuse Theophany with circumstances caused by... a Chinese bat.
We solemnly stated that “the world will never be the same,” not understanding that never being the same is its immanent property. It is us, trying to hide from uncertainty in our greatness, that attempted to be unchanging.
Now it has been decided that in this new world we just need to “repackage” our skills and “reboot the software.” We will no longer hammer in nails with a microscope; going forward we intend to ecologically crack nuts with it.
We still have the same goal outlined in the charter of any limited partnership: “making profit.” It dictates our main occupation, which we are still ready to put our life into.
We can be worked with in banks...
During this time, we have grown spiritually beyond ourselves: we have learned a few foreign words and a couple of asanas.
And managed sort out our cupboards.
Further than this you need sort out yourself, and that is...
Stop. This is the terminal condition. Without it, there will be no “further.”
But everyone is tired of sitting at home and suffers conscientiously.
Rattling their chains and moaning.
A break is needed to have a run around.
A short one, evidently.
Don’t change channels. We’ll be back right after the adverts.
DETERRENCE, part 6. ANTHROPOLOGY AFTER THE APOCALYPSE
June 18, 2020
1. Restrictions are being removed.
There is one word in the search line: “Future.” And one answer: “Your search did not return any results...”
The most common humorous genre after eight billion plans were cancelled by a single gust is profound “expert forecasts.”
For this reason, the slogan of the day is not movement towards the future, but the euphemism “return to normal life.”
To last year’s plans, past images of the future, past ways of thinking...
A terrible prospect. “We are returning!”
2. During the performance of this trick, it became impossible to identify us: we have all been depersonalised. Masks became an indispensable element of one’s appearance, like ties for officials. “Facial Non-recognition” is a mental disorder, the prosopagnosia described by Oliver Sachs in the story of a man who mistook his wife for a hat.
A World Without a Face. You can’t understand its character and intentions. Mirror neurons react to facial expressions, but there are none... Something has changed in our basic reflexes during this time. We learned to shy away even from our loved ones.
The mask is the “new normality” of the return to abnormality: recognition that we are mortally dangerous even to each other.
The limit of meaninglessness is resolved by meaning. How does anthropology differ from zoology?
What is there more of in us?
Anonymous people always live like they are at war. They need constantly to kill each other and everything around them at least a little, otherwise they do not feel alive. Now, if they were to once again acquire names and faces...
3. “We are returning!” From where? Where have we been?
It was part of our life: an incredible one and perhaps the most important. It is precisely those moments of life when we are not rushing headlong after a departing train or away from a pursuing tank, but attentively remain alone with ourselves, that are the most important. They make it possible to understand what is worth chasing and what is worth running away from...
Something great put mankind on pause. You have to admit that this could only have been done by a power clearly superior to us.
But we are going to push the play button ourselves? OK, not us, but our rulers? And they’ll restart everything? Through imperatives and support for suffering businesses?
A lot of people are searching for keys under streetlamps. Did you lose them there? No, but it’s brighter beneath them.
What was lost during this time; what was acquired? Did everyone manage to learn three foreign languages and master graceful asanas?
What isn’t there will be taken from you; what is will be given. The stupid became more aggressive, the independent became calm, the enterprising became wealthy... The point of all of this was to more precisely MANIFEST what is.
Clarity is a tremendous resource.
4. Now comes the long-awaited new stage of anthropogenesis. The formation of humanity as a single, self-aware organism.
The topic of this stage, like in the nebular theory of the formation of stellar systems, is clusters forming intensively from “stardust.” A saturated solution in which crystals take shape. The creation of communities above any boundaries, as it became obvious that community in meaning and worldview matters more than territorial or any other formal kind.
It turns out that artificial intelligence, which caused feverish fear among humanitarians, “arrived just in time” to become the means of uniting the natural—living and genuine—global human intelligence.
Mankind has not “gone online,” but with a click has mastered the tool necessary for its synaptic non-local community that it invented itself.
This is a real removal of restrictions.
An augmented network communication tool for living, active humans who are no longer ready to spend life in traffic jams.
5. Civilisation tumbled from such a great height at full speed that “the soul left the body,” and the news is full of excited discussion of different versions of what occurred. However, all of the searching for who is responsible leads inside and requires change at the very foundations. Therefore, it appears that a decision was made to implement “Operation Ostrich”: to consider the catastrophe not to have happened, but rather heroically prevented and dissipated, and to stop looking for the “black box” with the flight recorder among the scattered debris. Nothing happened and there is nothing to decrypt. And to instigate public festivities with looting and fireworks. “We are returning!”
Metanoia, like repentance, is a catastrophe for past convictions and the logic of behaviour dictated by them. For those who are completely fixated on turning backwards, it is as if it never happened. But the fact is that this was the very Catastrophe, without which (without the recognition of which) we are finished.
For those who are not returning, it is necessary and irrevocable, and it is a catastrophe with a happy end.
6. This is an important moment: a crossroads. Some choose to return; some to enter the present. The present is not about correcting a defect in an exhausted structure; it is a different structure, on a different foundation. To save the princess from the tower, you need at some point to stop putting the ladder up against the wrong wall.
In difficult times, among social insects this choice of alternative is decided by so-called “quorum sensing.” After scouts find several suitable places, as a unified whole the population takes and implements a decision to relocate to one of them. At the same time, the quorum threshold changes depending on the severity of the situation. If there is a vital need for urgent relocation, it decreases sharply. Sometimes the correct decision does not require majority participation.
Caution, the doors are opening.
Places only available for those not returning.
DETERRENCE, part 7. Epilogue.
June 25, 2020
1. “The train stopped.” In the middle of the night, it crashed at full speed into an oncoming freight train. Like in the old film by Mindadze and Abdrashitov, where gloomy, ignorant people compensate for their helplessness with artificial agreements, “sympathetic understanding of each other.” The invention of simulacra, replacing the authenticity of life. At the end, in order not to change anything in their system, they proclaim the driver who crashed the train a hero.
2. A simulacrum is about only being able to move like a knight in chess: in an eternal L-shape, making it a real hassle to get into an adjacent square. And the space between the squares, where all the flowers grow, is completely unattainable and indistinguishable. In order to begin to distinguish, one has to experience the Great Revelation, the Apocalypse. The majority of humanity has simultaneously (this has not happened before) experienced such a “lifting of the veil” (the meaning of the word “Apocalypse”). Regarding its lifestyle, international structure, science, governments, economics, medicine, etc. At the same time, it mastered the online environment: a new tool for decentralised global interaction, a different type of communication making it possible to build communities and attain connectivity above any borders and regardless of any restrictions.
3. It will not be possible for these two factors to be undone: propaganda or an inquisition are incapable of this. At least a certain (rapidly growing, apparently) part of humanity is beginning to become aware of itself as a single being. A thinking creature has an organ of thought. In a planetary being, it is naturally organised and acts “everywhere.” This is a new task of a new stage of development. According to Bernstein, a task gives birth to an organ. This organ is not the UN or the WHO. Not a structure consisting of officials on a salary, professionally thinking for all of humanity on working days, minus lunchtime.
4. Thinking, as a process of the unfolding over time of a human who puts him or herself at the limit of living each moment (according to Mamardashvili), is not a simulacrum, not the horrible arrows of infographics drawn on whiteboards by talkative “speakers” with coloured pens. What we have is a “Timequake.” This was the title of the sadly ironic anthropologist Vonnegut’s last book, in which time makes a loop and the creatures caught in it that learn to live on automatic, freeze and fall into a stupor when autopilot is taken off. If they are able to begin to make extreme efforts, they will become humans: the creative force of nature, with the innate property of constant birth at every second.
5. This could not have happened before because it was too soon. Untimely good is evil and the future in the past is dangerous. Like a monkey with a grenade. Like the hero train driver. In another of Vonnegut’s books, the medieval sorcerer Merlin does some magic and conjures up a machine gun for the Knights of the Round Table. Marvelling at it, the first thing they do its smash the Holy Grail. “Whoops... sorry” It would seem that here they should realise “Oh no, what have we done!” But even the Apocalypse does not bring everyone to the surface and the name of the impenetrable is Legion. Jerzy Lec wrote that many Jonahs, having fallen into the belly of a whale, struggle exclusively to become more comfortable there. But some are penetrated deeply and they emerge. In different parts of the concrete parade ground, flowers sprout...
6. “Here and Now” is psychotherapy for serfs with a “residence permit” in their passport and a border guard at the entrance of each house. This ended with the onset of “Now and therefore where necessary,” regardless of flight schedules. It is no longer a meeting place, but an event of meeting, a synapse of the global organ of thinking. In a non-local world, any point, even one that does not exist, can be connected to any other through this process. The emerging community is non-local. NOWTOWN is not being built “in a new place.” Not in a place at all; but on meaning, which surpasses each of us individually. Not even on the meaning of life, but on a life of meaning. NOWTOWN is a garden for growing the very flowers that are beyond concrete slabs.
This is a widening of the corridor, an expansion of anthropological boundaries. Not yet the future; only an image, a bud, a prototype, an ovary—the non-fragile fluidity, “Mobilis in Mobili” (“Moving within Motion”) of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus and any dolphin.
The University of Comparative Irrelevance, invented by Umberto Eco: nothing needed for survival, but everything necessary for life.