• March 15, 2020

    DETERRENCE part1

    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.

    Keep safe, wish you strength and health.

    Alexander and Nicole Gratovsky

  • April 1, 2020

    DETERRENCE part 2

    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.

    Alexander and Nicole

    Gratovsky