Thus man begins to become aware of the freedom of the cosmos. He begins to feel like a real cosmopolitan or world citizen and vibrates in harmony with those forces. He comes to the realization of an unspeakable union that encompasses everything and excludes all fear.
G.R.S. Mead 1
I'm all alone on that wide promenade. The others, who were just with me, are far behind me. A deep thump goes from the concrete road through my whole body. The row of trees at the edge of the boulevard seems to fold away. I see a part of the slowly approaching tank.
I stand still.
This happened in 1989 in Beijing and everybody knows the picture2. It is an iconic image of the confrontation of the individual with power. The power of the steel vehicle on caterpillar tracks seems obvious, the absence of power of the vulnerable man clear. And yet the tank will come to a standstill because the man remains standing.
This image came to my mind again at a time when a contagious disease goes around the world and the state intervenes supremely in the life of the individual. That intervention was very far-reaching and seemingly inescapable in China. That intervention is very far-reaching with the different degrees of lockdown in Western democracies. In addition to government pressure - and the government often responds to this - there is social pressure to conform. In Belgium this is called: ‘Stay in your kot (room)! And the pressure increases to wear a face mask. And the expectation increases of compulsory vaccinations, under both forms of pressure.
This crisis, too, produces its images. There was a photograph of the bluish peaks of the Himalayas as they were visible again from the North Indies for the first time in decades. There was the film about fish in clear water in the canals of Venice. Twice an image of a greatly increased transparency of our reality, of visibility, now that human activity has been virtually brought to a halt with a shock. The shock of the new.
With this standstill, people are overwhelmed by a great deal of uncertainty. The economic fabric of society threatens to be torn apart by months of reduced activity. Death seems to lurk behind every encounter. My older father and mother sit alone and I am not allowed to visit. Will the hospitals have enough capacity to take care of me if I fall ill? Will I die? Will my business survive? Numerous questions and, despite the increased visibility, no insight into the answers. We feel and see or think of intense changes, but we have no insight into where it is going. Many activities are being virtualised at a rapid pace, including religious gatherings.
There is the experience of calm in the atmosphere, of openness and transparency. With this visibility, people - some of them perhaps - once again seem to see the humanity in their fellow human beings and, keeping a safe distance, they also express it. Encounters and conversations between strangers very quickly go to the core of life and being human in the present. That touches my heart and makes a sparkling hope bubble up. A belief that it will go well. That all those people who now suddenly seem to have woken up will no longer fall asleep. That we have now seen so clearly that our society and way of life is absurd and dangerous and stupid. That we can't ignore the fact that the earth has given us a slap in the face and that nature is now, with our temporary KO, springing up very quickly.
What is the humanity in us? Do we only experience the mutual recognition of members of the species under threat? Do we recognise our own consciousness, suffering under supremacy, in those other people? Do we see the joy of mutual recognition and the opening that has now been made? An opening in my consciousness, in our consciousness? Are we joyfully curious about what could germinate and grow through that crack in heaven? The world upside down... growing normally happens out of the earth.
The upturned tree with the golden apples of the alchemists. Branches and twigs that indicate exactly in which direction the next step can be taken, my next step. Which, in complete freedom, can only be taken by me. Letting flow through the life energies of the alchemical tree. I am responsible for that one step, I am responsible for the coming to fruition of the tree. I am responsible for my humanity.
There remains that other possibility: we sacrifice our life energy, highly charged by emotions, to the creative reactor of our thinking and spin sticky threads again to seal the crack in heaven as quickly as possible. Not to be free yet and responsible for the next step. Spraying the crack in our consciousness's own heaven with PU foam. Or not. Nobody does anything about that but me. That's entirely within my power. Even if other people choose for rapid darkening and thickening. Die Gedanken sind frei! 3
Look very sharp. Do you still see the opening we're being given? Observe very carefully what possibilities you can see now in and around yourself and take the first step. In full confidence. Because it is the step that life has made you see by creating a big crisis. You and many others. You can call the mover - the motive - life, or universe, or God, or the real living in the collective human unconscious. Or visual: the square of Saturn - the old authority - with Uranus, the freedom impulse. The name and the principle are not so important. Meaningful movement has been set in motion. You can see its meaning. You can move along in organic growth. You grow along in the life that grows into this world through a crack in heaven. To bear fruit. Golden Apples of Consciousness.
A tank is a heavy armour from and against the fear of the spark of life and consciousness within. It's moved by an engine. Driven by that spark of life and consciousness, with the help of some thought amplifiers. When you've taken off the armour, you're standing under the open sky. You see the trees and the square again. You stand in full confidence. There is a crack in heaven.