A HUMAN IS SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Interview with Alexander and Nicole Gratovsky  

by Stavros Georgiadis

Athens, September 2021

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- In the past, there existed a tradition of creating "Cabinets of Curiosities" - collections of outlandish artefacts. Is the Institute of Curiosities something different?

A - At the heart of our collection lie not objects, not things, but rather phenomena and manifestations - something intangible. In addition, the Institute not only collects, but also investigates and identifies patterns. Since the focus is on exceptions to the rules, these patterns can be called the “Rules of Exceptions”. 

- But they say that “exceptions prove the rule.”

A - This is a reduced and therefore incorrect translation of Cicero’s phrase “Exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis." Its meaning is that exceptions from one rule point to another, which is their source. To a law of a different order, perhaps hidden for now. For example, Newtonian physics did a great job at low speeds. It is sufficient when you are slowly driving along a country road in a carriage. But when the speed increases to cosmic velocities, it turns out that all constants change, time strives towards zero, space behaves inconsistently, and a new physics is required.

 

N - But more radical changes also occur: not when a specific rule is just a special case of the next one, but when it is wrong. Conventional beliefs are by no means necessarily true. For a long time, the Earth was considered flat and for the assumption that it revolves around the Sun people were burnt at the stake.

 

A - Since any system is primarily interested in stability, exceptions are most often either ignored as insignificant "accidents," or perceived as threatening and therefore requiring therapeutic or surgical measures. But if careful observation brings to light more and more deviations from the learned picture, at some point they work like detonators, blowing it to pieces.

 

- A "White Hole" - is it such an explosion?

A - Now, it’s more like glimpses of light at the end of a gloomy tunnel. Indicators of a possible future. In exceptions we see "rabbit holes" leading to unknown spaces of possibilities cut off by agreed-upon barriers, ignorance and mistrust, but inherent in human nature. We overcome our own limitations in order to look into these tunnels, attempt to walk along them, expecting that something very important for us lies there.

N - They are like flashing emergency beacons, seemingly incredible, but making their way through holes in the roof and walls. These walls are covered with thousands of warnings: "Don’t walk on the grass," "Don’t swim beyond the buoys," "Don’t stick your head out," "No entry, danger!" In essence, a single sign with different variations: “No Exit”. But the walls are extremely flimsy, sieve-like, no matter how much they are patched up. White Holes are wardrobes leading to Narnia. There are already so many of them that it appears that we live in a giant wardrobe, like in a Japanese house, where weightless sliding panels allow you to leave the room at any time in any direction. All of the conditional boundaries of agreed-upon reality turn out to be permeable. You can walk through walls.

A - This is the way of life of the restless alchemist Pinocchio. Digging a hole with your own nose in the painted and non-heating hearth in the workshop, in order to discover behind the worn canvas a door with the inscription EXIT. Our present Babylon is dotted with such rabbit holes - rips in the existing system of ideas about man and the world. If you look into them, you can see a living forest behind the fake trees. And help it to seep through, break through, and sprout into us.

 

- How timely is all this now, when so much effort is spent on putting-out urgent fires?

A - It is precisely the scenery that is on fire. Not the world, but the old maps of the world. Retouching on painted hearths. These fires are not the cause of the problems, but a consequence of the depletion of resources. To extinguish them is like pouring gasoline onto burning peat bogs. The collapse didn’t happen a year and a half ago, but much earlier; simply its visible form has caught up. The train had already been stopped due to the end of the area suitable for the laying of rails. But the rear carriages were still pushing forward by inertia, and only when they began to buckle upwards did the "management experts" rush to repair the wheels and draw the curtains. But the train will not go any further as a result of this. It has nowhere to go. The way of moving has changed. It cannot be pulled out of the mind at endless foresight sessions and summits. It is not the product of an intellectual construct. The caterpillar cannot think up the flight of the butterfly.

N - And the caterpillar is, of course, very scared. Bulkheads, new barriers, prohibitions and restrictions are falling every day. The majority is always afraid of the new and attempts to prevent the future. Alas, this is only possible at the cost of life. Including your own. Preventing the future is death. Experts on social insects describe the phenomenon of the "Mill of Death," when the leaders of the ants, "who know where to go," run in a closed circle leaving behind them pheromone tracks, and the whole anthill rushes behind them, deepening this stinky rut, until every last one falls dead from exhaustion. The main property of any closed system is its hysterical limitation, the strictly guarded circle of norms. Bonfires and barbed wire around the circumference - the perimeter locked-down. But when a system is closed, locked into itself, it is hollow and muffled, like inside a tank, and there is nothing to eat except for yourself.

A - Here is the hardest and most important thing: to unscrew from the thread, to switch off the autopilot. The strictest rules in the house always forbid children from climbing into the attic, where it seems that treasures are hidden in mysterious chests, and in the corners in cobwebs stand the very wardrobes we have referred to. Children that sneak into attics, despite the prohibitions, are themselves the treasure. Because, unlike obedient children, they have a chance of actually making a discovery. We were recently told that in Austria there was once an order for “Victory Against Orders.” It should be awarded to such children of any age.

 

- What is it that gives grounds to hope that a space of different possibilities lies beyond former convictions?

A - Current physics is based on the so-called “Standard Model.” It describes the well-known part of the Universe in which we have learned to feel competent, although we already know that 96 percent of the Universe is composed of "dark energy" and "dark matter," about which we know nothing and with which we cannot interact in any way currently available to us. We do not know how to “influence,” or “manage” it. This is a very embarrassing situation. We know a lot about four percent of our world and we don't know anything about 96 percent. We don't know how to taste, see or imagine it... It’s like a giant wizard’s hat. We know its volume, composition, material, density, and we can precisely calculate the weight; it turns out that it is 4 kg. We put it on the scales and - oops - we get 100 kg. We are stunned. We put our hand inside and it’s empty. We scan it with different types of rays - nothing. But there is a heavy, albeit completely elusive, white rabbit in there, which weighs almost 100 kg... And it is no longer possible to say that "what we cannot touch and measure does not exist." There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than our sages dreamt of... A lot: about 96 percent.

N - For a long time, believing that what can be touched and "mastered" is all that exists, we built an incorrect and severely truncated picture of the world and derived from it landmarks, goals, access codes, codes of conduct, hierarchies of relationships, surrogates of cause-and-effect relationships, etc. Naturally, we ran into a dead end. Having found ourselves in it, we discovered that not even ourselves are in there - just some kind of stub, "garments of skin"... To find yourself, while remaining within the framework of this flat cartoon picture is impossible - the ladder is not attached to the tower in which the princess languishes. We scrambled upward and the stairs ended, but the princess was not saved. She is not there and never was.

A - Essentially the same "Standard Model" currently operates in anthropology - in the notion of a human. Ninety-six percent of our possibilities and our life for us now constitute a "dark forest." We do not know what it is, nor even where it is. In the standard model of education, medicine, communications, energy, there is no access to it. The ends do not converge to such an extent that we actually feel with every cell and the intercellular space that everything is not right. In any case, we randomly climb into the gaps between the pillars of the border... It appears that they all lead into a unified space. The rays are emitted from one invisible radiant, like in a meteor shower. We collect them as best we can and trace their path back to the Source.

 

- Can you name the "main curiosities," the “most exceptional"?

N - Those that are under everyone's nose 24 hours a day. The number one exception is Life. The chance of its occurrence, as you know, is equal to the likelihood that a hurricane sweeping over a scrapyard "by chance" gathers an ultramodern Boeing ready for take-off. Or the likelihood that an explosion in a printing press will type the full text of Homer's Odyssey out of all of the typefaces without any mistakes. But we have been taught to relate to this miracle in a completely different way. Oscar Wilde said “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."

A - Another "number one" is a human. This is not just a rarity, but a completely individualised story. Extremely rare, to the point of uniqueness. Exclusive luxury. The retina, fingerprints, EEG and ECG patterns are all unique. There is no other human like you - you are the only one. Attempts to produce people by conveyor belt represent a perfect dystopia. There is much in man that does not fit into any of the Procrustean beds. A human cannot be digitised. Numbers are unmistakable precision, whereas life is the continuation of oneself with incalculable errors, deviations.

Our hypothesis is that a human is immeasurably greater than his current notions about himself. Like a magic wand that has learned to consider itself only a billiard cue or a baseball bat ...

N - Of course, each leaf of a tree is also unique. But, unlike the leaf, a human is able, at will, to either ignore or realise his exclusiveness, and only in the latter case will he become equal to himself. Very rare people do this. A rarity multiplied by a rarity...

 

- Are there criteria that allow you to "filter" actual curiosities from fiction and tricks?

 

N - Yet, we collect not single "exceptions,” but clusters, classes of extraordinary events and strange phenomena that do not fit into the usual framework. We are not talking about the favourite topics of esoteric adepts - paranormal abilities, extrasensory abnormalities, etc., which traditionally cause scepticism among the "serious" public. We focus only on what neither a fundamentalist scientist nor, on the other hand, an illumined spiritual seeker can argue with. Although neither one nor the other has intelligible explanations, or the skill of interacting with this phenomenon. 

Something is undoubtedly happening, but we “do not believe our eyes,” because the approved theories deny such a possibility and we do not understand at all how this can be.

A - Umberto Eco admitted that, when wandering through a dense forest, he expects to meet a unicorn. Otherwise, what pleasure is there and what point is there in the dense forest? This is not about a Filipino faith healer plunging his hands into someone and removing their appendix without surgery, or causing a dumpling to pour oil onto itself and jump into his mouth by the power of thought... We are more interested in who these people are, who are capable of asking questions in the middle of man-made hells, in the centre of a seemingly endless Auschwitz, of such a different order that the Universe responds to them? In the most hopeless of circumstances, preserving their birthright. How is this done? By what forces?

N - Then there are “socio-cultural curiosities” that somehow make their way through the verified columns of the matrix. The first graduates of the Pushkin Lyceum: how did so many boys from quite ordinary families who ended up the same class make it into history? What is this educational phenomenon? Or Florence during the Renaissance: how to explain why so many perfect geniuses appeared in one city at the same time? More than sometimes occur during a whole century for all of humanity? What is this confluence of factors? 

A - Or the phenomenon of genius in general... Where do geniuses get their discoveries and works from? How do they do it? Without finishing a conservatory of music, they already play masterly in childhood, make breakthroughs in mathematics, speak dozens of languages? From the field directly? How do they get it all from there? Did they locate the transmitter and tune into the frequency? These are the rarest cases, but they are not isolated. Spontaneous remissions: professionals give a person an incurable diagnosis. He somehow recovers and they shrug their shoulders... So-called “Blue Zones,” areas of extraordinary longevity and health. What set of factors is at work there, allowing people from generation to generation to live in such a way that every third person happily - in the literal sense of the word - lives to be a hundred years old? So, it is possible? There are synchronicities - in everyone's life - extremely unlikely, "inexplicable" coincidences of desired events that confound all theories of probability, outwardly unrelated in any way, but precisely connected by meaning. Does this indicate that meaning is generative? There are psychophysiological phenomena that demonstrate colossal untapped human resources that manifest themselves "spontaneously." For example, in extreme situations. Apparently, in these "accidental coincidences" there is some unrecognised regularity, worth at least attempting to understand. Where a causal relationship is not visible, perhaps the reason is hidden from our usual perception?

N - What would seem a completely different sphere is the experience of happiness and joy. Not pleasure, which you can “inflict” and “cause,” but which will not bring joy and happiness. Why are they so rare, although so significant that they form the main content of life? The notorious formula for happiness - what does it look like? Peak and mystical experiences, insights, intuition - each of us knows that these are not fictions - what areas do they lead to? Highly developed empathy, compassion, altruism - all of which present unpleasant difficulties for an evolutionary theory in which the fittest survives. What to do with these exceptions? Giacomo Rizzolatti discovered mirror neurons and after a few years it turned out that if we switch off the skin receptors, we will begin to feel the pain of another as our own, not only emotionally, but also physically! As if we are one being, simply out of a bad habit inserting the euphemism “as if” into this phrase. Where, then, are our boundaries? What recently seemed inexplicable curiosities turn out to be the norm, forcing us to look at a human differently.  

 

- The space of new possibilities is very attractive. What, above all, prevents us from entering it?

N - Our tendency to "plaster over the cracks." To stuff the opening exits full of rags, the putty of ritualistic themes and actions. To natter on with empty talk, networking-grooming, strategic sessions, news feeds, everyday chewing gum, behind which lies the fear of the silence of an unknown space and a fresh through-breeze. The subconscious desire to hold on to the illusion of "competence" and separate yourself from what you do not understand - instead of connecting… For example, when on a boat, almost every time we observe that during the first few days many have a hysterical desire to literally turn their backs on the infinity of the ocean and start discussing recipes or relating empty stories, in order to hide from the sudden feeling of losing their significance and the realisation of their own tininess. The panicked fear of the vastness that has opened wide, with which you do not know how to communicate. But only the tiny, extremely focused and fluid is threaded into the eye of the needle...

A - The “expertise” of a connoisseur is a fetish of modernity, a surrogate formula for “success.” The wisest of our acquaintances once said that everything starts from the position: “I don't know anything and I don't remember anything.” From the position of an attentive and trusting novice who opens his eyes for the first time and looks beyond the fence... But now, when all the landmarks have been blown away by the wind, each of us is a “Confused Human,” and much more hope is to be found in those of us not afraid to admit this confusion than in the “all-knowing.” We are witnessing a hysterical bacchanalia of “speakers,” experts on how to put together not even just the word “happiness” from the four letters A, R, S, E, but happiness itself. Crisis management is the ability to hammer square columns into round holes. 

N - But now, there is nothing more to nail into, there is water all around. The only maps to hand turn out to be master’s diplomas in processing columns and holes...

A - It is a kind of koan: it is impossible to find a solution with the usual methods. It is necessary for all previous methods of solutions to wither away, wrinkle up and drop off, but you identified yourself with them for so many years that you stick to them... If I believe that I end where my skin or the wall of my bunker ends, or a visa issued to me by some registering authority, a licence for activity, a statistically determined length of life - I cannot overcome the hopelessness and lack of a way out...

- If truly exceptional abilities are actually normal, why are they so rare?

A - Because on the way to any peak you have to overcome the force of gravity. Merab Mamardashvili believed that a person is actually not some frozen reality, but a moment, an event of ultimate effort. The truth being: nothing extremely good will happen to you against your will. No one will impose exceptional joy on you. But very few people like to "strain," especially considering that at this moment you are practically alone. Even if you are just "not quite like everyone else." In a number of countries, left-handed people are still retrained. "Right" means "correct," hence the concept of right in the legal sense - the legitimisation of norms, prohibitions and sanctions. Peter the Great forbade left-handed people from testifying in court. During the onset of egalitarianism, French revolutionaries adopted a decree "on the demolition of all bell towers as a violation the principle of equality." Norms are dead-end tapering corridors with low ceilings. Where are bell towers to come from in them? During the witch hunts in Europe, so many bright women were burned at the stake that beauties are still rare there. The weeding out of exceptions leads to the establishment of dullness as the norm. The term “survivor bias” describes a selection defect, when the norm is determined only by those who, as they say now, “passed into the future.” Whereas those who, for some reason, were rejected and destroyed, cease to participate in the description of the species, and the concept of the norm is reduced. It narrows. In genetics, there exists the "bottleneck effect," according to which genetic diversity is depleted when the population decreases and not restored even with new population growth - the exceptions are removed through a filter... The extermination of exceptions makes them practically unrecoverable. A talented, extraordinary human, who contains the hope for a great breakthrough, is an endangered species due to this artificial selection. "Unnatural selection.”

N - All exceptions that could not be removed like weeds, that sprout through the sterilised concrete parade ground of our worldview and social practice, go through three stages. 1. This cannot be. 2. It happens, but too rarely to pay attention to it. 3. This, it turns out, is available to almost every fully-fledged human. There are very simple illustrations that after a few years seem an almost everyday occurrence. Twenty years ago, we conducted training, teaching students to walk on broken glass, etc. It seemed to them a miracle or a trick, but literally an hour and a half later it became an acquisition that significantly expanded their ideas about themselves. Now this is a fairly common element of personal growth programmes. Or take the example of Jacques Mayol, who three decades ago set out to do a dive while holding his breath. Authoritative doctors explained to him that imminent death awaits a person deeper than 30 metres - this is how everything is arranged, from their expert point of view. They themselves, of course, did not try, but precisely because they knew that it is impossible. Mayol listened to them and dived anyway. Not thirty metres, but a hundred. Now only the lazy are not engaged in freediving. Before our very eyes, the threshold of human capabilities, the concept of the norm, was pushed back.

 

- Is freediving one of the entrances to this space?

N - As much as a thousand others. But Mayol is definitely a stalker-guide. A thousand spokes lead to the centre and a single (unified) hub. Each human will himself find how to get to it - whether he needs a pool, broken glass, or, conversely, the creation of stained-glass windows from this glass... Joy is the indicator that this is your path. If you do something that causes joy to flow through you into this side of the Universe, it means that this is your path. If it does not - leave it to someone else, do not waste your time. When Mayol was asked how he does it, he replied that he makes love to the water. This is not a poetic metaphor. He wanted to communicate with dolphins, for this it took an immersion while holding your breath, and so he began to do it. If something different were required, it would be different. He was almost the first to say that dolphins are intelligent...

 

A - That was his immersion. In this space, the formal "goal" is passed through when there is meaning. When a child is interested, he learns AS HE GOES ALONG. But when learning is performed in order to commit something to memory, and this is the ultimate goal, it is an immoral waste of life.

 

- Is it possible to teach this? To create such a school?

N - Such a school is not for the sake of consumer gains and specific "profitable" trophies. In Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land," the Martian Michael Smith, who is being educated, is asked by everyone to teach them amazing things - some how to kiss a woman to oblivion, some how to relax at the bottom of a swimming pool, some to keep the notorious glasses in the air with a gaze. He answers everyone that the training will be hard and long, and will give very mediocre results. What to do? "Learn the Martian language!" Then you will begin to think differently and enter into a new relationship with the world, see other aspects of it, recognise their true names and be able to interact with them. Along the way, as a consequence, you will learn to dive, kiss and an uncountable number of things that are natural for a speaker of such a language.

A - As for the "teaching method" in such a "school.” In sport and in childhood there is a phenomenon where as soon as someone overcomes the line that was previously considered "out of this world," very quickly several people do it at once. It is necessary for someone to show that this is possible. And, if it turns out great, so that it takes your breath away, perhaps at the beginning this alone will be enough. Here a mysterious mechanism for mastering the impossible is in effect. This is precisely the mystery of how children, when it seems to them that something is impossible for them, either learn or make a breakthrough... What is their means of transportation "there," into this space where miracles are normal? Possunt quia posse videntur, "they can because they believe they can." Without any explanation of "how exactly" and, of course, without any "master classes," disassembling a miracle into minute details. This is what distinguishes a master class, where they explain how to do something correctly, from the spontaneous street game, where the older boy just goes ahead and does, without even saying the cherished “do as I do.” The younger boy sees how great it is and does the same. The older boy does not explain - he is not interested in doing this, he is playing... Explainer-Pharisee-gurus grow out of those fearful younger boys, waiting for master classes, who stood nearby but did not dare to copy. When the latter grow up to have heir own offices, it is harmful to listen to them. You don't want to be like them, do you?

 

- Does such a school exist somewhere? Such a community? Such a culture?

N - From the beginning we have been talking about rarities. But there is an example where this is not uncommon, but rather the norm. The culture and intelligence organised and functioning in this way is that of the very whales and dolphins with whom we have spent a significant and very joyful part of our lives for more than 15 years. Carriers of the oldest and most developed consciousness on Earth. We look into them, recognising our possible selves. Marvelling at what embodied intelligence is capable of.

 

- In addition to dolphins, do you have many allies? Who is “with you"?

A - This is a rather unorthodox project from an academic point of view. Although, from the beginning science is all about this. It has something of boyish climbing over a fence to pick fruit. There are all sorts of guards and watchmen, it happens at night - so dark that you can’t see your hand in front of your face.... But what can you do if the fruit is very tasty and it is not yet grown here? And the garden, most importantly, is as forbidden as it is ours, but this is either long forgotten, or not yet known. Fortunately, it turned out that an irresistible passion for these fruits was retained by quite a few people, who brightly and courageously work in very different fields of knowledge and activity. Including prominent scientists, who no longer need to prove their right to research not what is accepted, but what is interesting. At the end of 2019 in Delphi, we gathered the NOW: Nature of Wonders Assembly, with 150 amazing participants from 25 countries, and it was a strong start. Something happened there. Those who were present swallowed the lure, and now it drags us together up from the dark deep water to where some hot rays make their way through the thickness.

 

- Rare people, exceptional fates - is it possible to speak of some kind of algorithm? Or is it all completely individual?

A - There is something in common and unified, but all this is very unreasonable, and therefore extremely difficult to convert into an algorithm. All of these people create the impression of having grabbed the end of Ariadne's thread and, in order not to drop it, wound it around their wrist... Such drivers are a very strange thing. It is something that is not your property, but happens through you. You cannot help but think about it, live it - because this is how you are truly alive. This woman takes your breath away - every minute - so be with her, she is the only one written in the lines on your palm! Whereas, if it is a case of "she’s ok, no worse than others, it’s convenient, we’ve known each other for three years, she’s a good housewife" - don’t be with her. Or in relation to your work - if it is such that there is no time for sleep, you cannot help but do it - this is your job. Whereas, if "they pay well and in general the prospects are good" - don’t waste your time. This is not your life. There is not even cheese in this mousetrap. Here, in fact, there is no choice - you can relax. Love has no alternative). It takes you by the hair and pulls you out of the swamp. On condition that you let it enter you, pushing everything else aside. The fact that it happens "through" us and not at our whim, does not come from us - means that this is the action of a "Higher Power." If you like, a manifestation of the law of nature, with which you can’t bargain. But the requirements are high - you need to do it not half-heartedly, but to the fullest. In order to overcome inertia and break out of the endless circular orbit, it is necessary, as is well known, to achieve escape velocity. Otherwise you will get completely twisted and come spinning to the ground in a downward spiral with all your foolishness and won’t be able to put yourself back together again. This is a story about leadership, but the concept of “leader” has completely different connotations here than in business training. Between the firebird in the sky and a refrigerator tightly packed with bluish broilers, is a distance of different dimensions.

N - There is a prototype of the Institute of Curiosities in science fiction. The early Strugatskys had the romantic Scientific Research Institute of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In later books, it was replaced by the much more rigorous Institute of Metapsychic Research (commonly-known as the Institute of Eccentrics), focused on identifying people able to communicate with the Universe in a completely different way, to think and live differently. These people ("Ludens") differ in that they have activated the so-called "third impulse."

 

A - You know, the signal systems discovered by I. Pavlov are the first, allowing you to respond to sensory stimuli. The second - to create intellectual and speech models. And the third is not from the animal that sees and senses (this is the first) and not from the mind that thinks and speaks (the second), but from Life - including the invisible and unspeakable, i.e. what is “excluded” from ordinary discourse. This is not a personal reaction (the first signal) and not a creative interpretation (the second), but involvement in interaction with the whole, of which you are a part. So, exceptionality is actually inclusiveness... Mutual action, the cause of which is universal connectedness. The whole is actually determined not by the sum, but by the interaction of the parts. When the perception of the whole arises, it is no longer possible to act out of any kind of separation. Because you know now that any separation is about death. This is a colossal revolution in all of the foundations of the present life of mankind. If it happens, the characteristics of the field change. In such cases, no one will able to “sit it out” somewhere. It seems to us that this is exactly what is happening now.

 

- The caterpillar dreamed of a butterfly...

N - And it woke up in a cold sweat!

- Which of the two? The butterfly or the caterpillar?

A - Both, to be honest...

 

For now, we still live in accordance with the established rules of the game, which cannot be ignored. A new institution requires resources, including quite material ones. Where do they come from?

 

A – We are not particularly worried about this. Investing in a living human, in natural (not artificial) intelligence, in authenticity, in life itself - filled with genuine joy and meaning - is already a powerful, albeit elitist, trend that requires the ability to see a little further than a quarterly report. Against the background of the total development of digitalisation, neural networks, VR, etc., this new business with meaning is gaining momentum. Until now, fortunately, investment decisions are still made not by neural networks, but by humans. Among them are those who recognise authenticity as the highest luxury and a mighty resource for the immediate future. They are no longer like the well-trained majority when making decisions about how and what to teach their children, how to live themselves, how, with whom and why to communicate, to what to devote their time - not in the matrix, not in a digital paradise and not in augmented reality. In a year there will be many more of them. All of this may not provide instant and immediate profits, but leading-edge impact investors clearly understand that the winnings lie in another area altogether - you can foolishly sell your birthright for lentil stew, but you cannot buy it back.

 

- You are starting the Institute’s expedition programme. An expedition to where? How?

A - An expedition is usually undertaken "to conquer the world"... Rarely in order "to discover." In ours, there is nothing related to conquest. This is again about how Ivan the Fool went to look for something, he didn’t know what. "Place your mind in your heart" and go. An experiment on living humans - out of a naive habit, trying everything out on yourself. In order not to get lost, using those very few verbs (i.e. actions) that do not have an imperative form. They cannot be commanded, they cannot be carried out "by order," or against one’s will. You cannot order someone "love!" or promise to start believing next Monday. All this goes through us, and when this happens we are strung onto this ray, and it directs us more powerfully and more accurately than any agreements, goals and plans. There is a force at work here that does not obey orders, coming from another address that connects, not separates us. Actually, this address is the whole point - we are going there. Via various exceptions to the rules, like along the spokes of a wheel.

N - It’s like cocktail straws of different lengths, colours and diameters, that convey a single drink. Like the needles of a hedgehog which, through ignorance, think that they are separate from each other and are unable to see the living hedgehog from which they all grow, of which they are a part and due to which they live. 

A - It will be a kind of self-propelled amphibious wardrobe. In some places travelling over land and mountains; in others, floating on the sea. If we are lucky and do everything right, we will sail accompanied by whales. Onto the boat, changing each other at different stages, people will embark, with their long noses already digging different keyholes into an unknown space - from the perspective of biology, physics, neurosciences or Argentine tango... We will tap the walls and look under the floorboards, trying to discern who is looking at us from there. It may turn out we are able, not even to discover a new country, but to open up to it and show that what is happening in it is possible... To simply answer in the affirmative the anecdotal question: "What, you mean it was possible to do that?"

 

- A journey into the White Hole... Where is the entrance?

N - A white hole, by definition, is a place where nothing and no one can ENTER. You can only EXIT through it. Inside-out. From the inside outwards. Like from a movie theatre when the show is over. FROM the well, where you have already somehow ended up. FROM the bus that has arrived at the terminal station. EXIT.

A - The entrance to the Looking Glass is through the mirror... You take a mirror and say to it: "Mirror, mirror, on the wall..." But this is if you are ready to accept the answer... The exit to exceptions is where you decide to cross a black cat’s path in spite of the hysteria of panic-mongers and the guardians of the rules. This requires the ability to remain in the minority - to move along the "narrow path," And, in addition, against the stream... Everything is coming from there, and you are going there... But intelligent life is the ability to swim against the stream. We are looking for different exits based on the "reverse citation index" principle. Most of all in search engines, people look for what is below the belt, secular scandals and statistics on vaccinations - billions of searches and answers. If we meet the answer “nothing was found according to your search,” it means that we managed to leave the parade ground and go out onto the untouched field. It's fresh and spacious there. It is similar to the overcoming of a certain threshold, like a membrane - an airlock.

 

N - Beyond it is a constantly expanding space, where it turns out that a human is not what he used to think of himself, but something different. The reverse perspective is at work here. Something huge and attentive is focused on tiny me, all the rays are collected as a lens, in order, through me, to burn something amazing onto this flat thing we call reality.

A - A White Hole? It is a lens, made of water containing an incalculable impurity, which is considered an individual - the main concern is how transparent it is. Asceticism is the ability to move aside what you used to consider yourself, so that the light is not obscured. Such an entertaining anthropology: a human as a White Hole. A hole made of the non-manifested. A hatch made out of the possible.

 

- You remind me of hounds who have picked up a trail. It seems that there is no point in trying to lure you into some other project now...

A - We have been trained in white holes... We have licked the bottle containing the elixir, and we’ll hardly confuse this taste with any other. 

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