Chapter 7 - Party on the Rooftop
Our new house was completed a month after I returned from Moscow, thanks to everyone lending a helping hand. Indeed, everyone helped. Even Fred had come down from Washington on weekends to help with finishing the house. He enjoyed working with Ross and Sylvia, and I with Heather. Finishing the inside of the house became a community project and almost a sexual affair. We were in love with each other, respected each other, joked about each other when we were covered head to toe in drywall dust, or when we were trying to get some paint out of Heather's hair after its accidental encounter with a paint brush.
The congenial atmosphere continued for some time after the house was completed. Sylvia and I often had Ross and Heather for dinner. We also spent many a night together when the weather made it difficult for Ross and Heather to make their way back to their side of our bay that we shared. Only a crude trail had so far connected our two houses.
Sometimes, especially on nights of stormy weather when going home became impossible for Ross and Heather, Heather and I shared the bed in our spare bedroom upon Sylvia's suggestion. The daring arrangement met with Ross' delight, who enjoyed being with Sylvia, in turn. Even Fred spent some nights with Sylvia when he came for a visit from Washington.
Soon, all of this ended for reasons that none of us could figure out, or cared to discuss. It simply ended. It ended gradually at first until it finally came to a stop in the following year with the falling of the autumn leaves. But why did it come to a stop after all the bright times we had shared? Had we become less human, less spiritual, less in love with each other, less in love with ourselves? Or was there no longer a need for sharing our love?
The latter didn't appear to be the case, since with the falling off in our social sharing many subtle tensions emerged. They emerged in the background at first, causing an empty kind of feeling.
I realized, of course, that an extremely challenging principle had been involved in our all-embracing outflow of loving one-another. Had the principle become lost? Did we no longer recognize its value? Did we no longer care to rise to its challenge?
Maybe the reason for this falling off was merely the lack of momentum that creeps into any process when the drive for moving ahead becomes swallowed up by apathy. Maybe the reason was that Steve and Ushi were no longer with us, who always caused us to reach higher than we had dared and had had urged us to constantly raise the bar and to step away from mediocrity and tired conventions, and to challenge ourselves with the infinite. He had urged us to go for the gold.
Maybe that's what was missing. Maybe that's what was missing from our self-love. Except, how does one get this back, especially when no one cares to talk about it or even wants to admit that a problem exists?
With these thoughts the idea emerged, that maybe the platform on which our wide open unity had been built, had not been set up high enough for it to remain secure. The opposite thought also emerged, that maybe our platform had been set up so high that we could no longer reach it to build on. What does one do then when one's self-love that had once been the animator for an expanding life, trails out into the dust for reason that one can no longer see?
It seemed to me more and more in those days that we had met another impasse, perhaps not a fundamental barrier, but another SandCastle-type impasse. Only this time, with Steve and Ushi being out of reach, we were challenged to resolve the unfolding impasse by ourselves without anyone standing at our side to help us to get us out of the rut. We were required to be the pioneers that we expected the whole world to be in the political sphere. I told myself that getting out of this rut would have been so easy if Steve had remained to be just a phone call away. This door was closed now. We were left on our own. But why should this be frightening?
The only solution that I could think of was to go back to the beginning, to answer the fundamental question that Steve, Ushi and I had explored on the first day we met: What is self-love in its highest sense? Indeed, what is divine Love if it is not reflected in universal love? It appeared that no one of us was ready to come up with a decisive answer to that question. I certainly wasn't ready, as I had demonstrated to myself in Moscow. The great gulf that I had erected had remained between Anton and me in spite of what we had written in our letters to each other. The deepening gulf that remained needed to be bridged with a growing love, a growing self-love out of which all love flows. But, how could this be achieved if I, and everyone else at our outpost by the sea, remained stuck in a rut?
Ross' surveillance station appeared more isolated in those days, more than it had appeared before. Did this feeling reflect the fact that we were isolated physically? Our beach paradise was located miles away from the nearest town and a long way away from the big cities. I felt at times as though we were living on a different planet. And so we had drifted out of touch with the real world, and as if it were by reflection, had also drifted out of touch with each other.
The events that occurred in the larger world became evermore remote to us. They seemed to have the same unreality to them as the many bedtime stories that are told and retold by parents when they try to put their children asleep. These stories too, seemed unrelated to anything real and tangible, just as the events in the larger world had become to us. They had become unrelated, perhaps because Steve had predicted many of the events in precisely the manner in which they occurred as if these events had all been written into the script of a story that made the story appear less real.
As Steve had predicted, the blood stained wall that had divided the city of Berlin into East and West for all these many years had come down. The wall was literally taken down brick by brick, by the people on both sides of the two halves of Germany. With this event East Germany became history, just as Steve had foretold. It had happened in the same year as the Tiananmen Square uprising. In China's case the revolt was brought down in a tragic manner, but the economic and political structure of China survived. A major civil war was avoided. The Berlin Wall came down five months later without the slightest bloodshed, ending a repressive political system that had stood for fifty years, built on the ashes of World War II. But in the wake of this success for democracy a wave of economic looting began of the little that had remained. As Steve had almost predicted, his home city, Leipzig, that has had a substantial industrial economy in the days of Steve living there, that had remained intact after the war, was loosing ground. Under the thumb of the Western Banking Empire the 100,000 industrial jobs in the city, that had supported the city, were largely shut down. The city lost 85,000 of these jobs to the free-trade slavery employment in the poor countries of the world. Even China fell prey to this survival of slavery. Ironically it was our country that once fought a huge war against slavery, which became the driving force behind this new slavery.
With the collapse of the East German state, the ideology of this state, its organization, its power structures, all simply evaporated. Like a bursting soap bubble, the facade that it once presented, simply vanished. It vanished, because there was nothing standing behind the facade that was profoundly substantial in humanist terms and valuable so that it would have elevated the people's existence for which cause the system might have been retained. Except when it fell, the imperial structures and institutions that replaced it, made matters worse. This fate wasn't surprising, since communism had been cooked up in the imperial workshops of the old British Empire in the first place. Communism had survived, because the humanity of the people affected had elevated the defective system to a large degree and made it functional. In the mean time the old imperial system had become a whole lot worse that it had ever been. Soon after the modern imperial system had replaced the communist system, it became a deeper-reaching threat, so much so that many began to look back fondly to the olden days under communism. In all this mess of collapsing systems with looting and poverty in the wake, the principle of the general welfare was nowhere to be seen.
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