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.
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.
April 12, 2020
DETERRENCE part 3
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.
April 29, 2020
DETERRENCE, part 4
EDGE OF THE PRESENT
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.
May 14, 2020
DETERRENCE, part 5
WELCOME TO THE PRESENT
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.