From Rolf Witzsche's novel:
Seascapes and Sand
qualified than Steve? Come on Ushi. Who in the world would be more
"Look at the tip
of your finger," Fred interjected and laughed. "To whom is it
Ushi grinned and
pointed to me.
"Me? No it isn't
me. It can't be! I messed up terribly."
"Yes, you. Of
course you have messed up," said Fred.
"But you came
through in the end," said Ushi emphatically.
"Don't belittle yourself," he said. "Can you name me one
other person in the world who surrendered his most precious possession,
like you did in surrendering your California beach house, for nothing more
than the slimmest chance of helping mankind to avoid a nuclear war?"
grinning. "Even though your beach project didn't have a thousand in
one chance to work out for you as you had planned it, you stuck your neck
out and put your money down in a big way for that slim chance. Can anyone
match that? Sure, there were great speeches made at the conference. But
words are cheap. Your actions said more. Selling your beach house for
nothing more than to somehow help humanity to get itself out of its rut
reflects a movement of the heart that speaks volumes. What you did back
then, when all of this started, was monumental my friend, even if you made
a terrible mess of things here in Moscow. And I respect all of that. Has
any explorer into uncharted lands ever succeeded without encountering at
least some difficulties?"
Ushi began to laugh.
"Some difficulties?" she repeated.
"Oh, you know me,
I exaggerate," said Fred. "You three had a love festival in
Russia with a few difficulties along the way, from what I can sense. Ah,
but the difficult things make the achievement all the more profound.
Kennedy said about America's Apollo moon-landing mission, that the nation
must commit itself to it, not because it is easy to do, but because it is
hard. He should have added that it had to be done, because it is also the
human thing to do to surge beyond the barriers of the past. How else is
progress to be won? Our nation had achieved miracles with the Apollo
project, Peter, considering the crude technologies that we had to start
with. We built the great rockets from scratch that ended up standing over
300 feet tall and 30 feet in diameter, each weighing as much as 12
Boeing-747 jumbo jets combined. Those giant colossuses that we created
could not only lift themselves off the ground, but could also inject
almost 50 tons of payload into lunar orbit. It took us 3 days to fly to
the moon. We had three days time for exploration there, and another three
days to get back. And Peter, we did this enormous undertaking seven times
in a row and messed up only once and nobody was hurt by it. So who cares
that we messed up this once. It's the achievement that lasts forever,
that's what counts. Each time we launched an Apollo mission we expended a
complex of seven complete space vehicles, a collection of 5000 tons of
hardware and numerous types of storage tanks filled with numerous types of
fuel. This was big, Peter!
"Yes, I would say
we faced some difficulties along the way," Fred continued. "We
took risks that we thought we could handle. When the first lunar lander
touched onto the moon it had 30 seconds worth of fuel left. Every landing
was a calculated gamble. Every time you step out of your front door to
drive to work you face certain risks. But when the stakes become greater,
the risks become greater that we take. Still, not a single Apollo mission
ever crashed. We understood the principles involved and we trusted them,
just as Kennedy understood the principle that made this project a
necessity. Kennedy understood that mankind needed to be challenged to
place its goal beyond itself and reach for it. Mankind had been in the
sewer of war for too long, and the Vietnam War was brewing in the
background, as were other wars. The nation needed a change, to chart a new
trend, build a new future. We needed it fast, because our world was
getting dark again. Our open hand that had once helped the world to free
itself from fascism, had already become closed again by the time Kennedy
had been elected, and there were movements afoot to turn that closed hand
into a clenched fist. Our hearts as a nation had become clenched, stone
hard, and cold, raped with violence on the new killing fields of empire,
for oil. And there were many such killing fields throughout the Third
World. It appears the Kennedy understood that a society with a clenched
heart is self-doomed, so that only a society with an open heart has a
future. That's what the Apollo project was designed to accomplish. It was
designed to heal America and the world. The Apollo Project wasn't the
colossal waste that some little minds claim it was. The Apollo project was
a wealth-fare for the nation. There has never been more wealth created for
the U.S. economy and the nation. than during the Apollo project years. For
every penny we spent we got forty back in technological progress and new
industries and richer employment and in vast scientific achievements.
"Yes, Peter, we
also messed up. There were failures. One mission had to be curtailed
because of an exploding oxygen tank, that had caused severe damage. No one
had been injured, but the mission had to be scrapped. It couldn't land on
the moon. Long before this happened we had also suffered three deaths in
an oxygen fire on the ground, before launch. We messed up badly on this
one. But we didn't stop, Peter. We went to the moon six times altogether
and collected more than 800 pounds of lunar samples, among performing
other experiments. We brought all this massive pile of samples back to
earth. The Apollo missions were a great success even though a third of
them were canceled after President Kennedy was murdered and the Vietnam
War was exploded into a genocidal orgy in which over two-and-a-half
million people were killed. The ratio of sacrifice tells its own story. By
testing the limits in scientific exploration we took as few risks as
possible and lost three man on a journey where no man has gone before or
since, while the payback will enrich us forever. In contrast with that,
the explosion of war that became the Vietnam War, which shut the Apollo
Project down before it was concluded, ended up killing between two and
three million people, and the goal was to destroy the cultural optimism
the Apollo Project had created. That's the cost differential between good
and evil, between becoming a star and a rat. We took the wrong turn,
Peter. We put the murderers into seats of power. That's how we became a
society with a clenched heart once more, which is now on the fast track to
becoming the world's foremost fascist fist. In comparison with that, your
performance in Moscow was that of a saint."
"You might have
guessed by now where this comparison is leading to, Peter," said Fred
after a brief pause. "The Apollo project was our national love
festival. We were in love with our humanity then, for a brief span of
time, before our humanity was stolen from us again. Now we can only dream.
When the Apollo Project was killed in 1972 by the masters of empire, we
surrendered also our industries that would have given us the capacity to
go back to the moon. We lost this ability, and may not get it back for
decades to come. We lost the industries that built the hardware, and we
lost the scientists and engineers that designed the mission. We lost it
all. We lost it, as if it had been but a dream. But it wasn't a dream. Our
brief love festival, no matter how fleeting it was, gave us the key to our
future. From what the astronauts brought back in samples from the moon we
know that the moon is an incredibly rich source of an isotope of helium
that some believe may be the most ideal fuel for nuclear fusion energy,
with enough of it located on the moon to satisfy mankind's global energy
needs for 10,000 years into the future. We now have an open door that we
never had before. We may not need it. Other options may prove to be more
powerful. Nevertheless, we have this one option in our pocket now. Yes,
Peter, we had messed up with the Apollo project. A few things went wrong.
But we came out of it infinitely richer by having taking those incredibly
daring steps to reach beyond ourselves and go to the moon. No one will be
able to take this achievement away from us again, and what we got out of
it. And that is how you must see your own love festival in Moscow. Sure
you made a terrible mess of things in Moscow. Your speeches were so far
advanced that nobody could hear you, and so they called the whole
conference a waste of time as nothing else was said that was of any value.
But what went wrong, I count as a small price to pay, in comparison with
what was achieved by you."
"What terrible mess did I make, really? It couldn't have been that
Ushi pointed to the
letter. "You made a mess of things with Antonovna."
"I merely tried
to explain to Antonovna what it is that she was in the process of
celebrating with her country's Thousand Year Celebration of the
Christianization of Russia, which she was so proud of. I told Anton that
the shiny facade that she saw wasn't real. I told her that she was
celebrating an artificial imperial construct that has no natural basis
anchored in reality, but which has become the cultural foundation of
Russia. I told her that no fundamental principle supports the model of the
Soviet Union that she is celebrating. I told her that she is celebrating a
lie. I told her that the Byzantine model has no foundation, that it is a
myth. That's what I told her. I told her about the Principle of Universal
Love and Love-Based Economics. Was it a crime to say this, and to say it
from the podium? Maybe I didn't present it correctly and made a mess that
"It's all part of
loving," said Ushi.
I paused momentarily.
"I also told Anton about Helen's model of the oneness of all
humanity," I continued. "I described to her Helen's visual
construct of the lateral model, which Helen saw as a lateral lattice of
human hearts all bound to one-another by the threads of our universal
love. Maybe Helen's model is something that was too challenging for Anton.
I had explained to Anton that all loving begins with our own self-loving
for the wonders of our humanity, the very humanity that we all share, by
which our loving invariably embraces the whole of mankind as it unfolds in
an expression of being in Love with our common humanity. I told Anton
about Helen's greatest joy, the universal kiss, which Helen has defined as
the element of our humanity that brings to light our peace. I had asked
Antonovna if this made sense to her. Antonovna had nodded."
"Ah, I see, you
spoke to her about the Apollo Project," said Fred and laughed.
I laughed too, now.
"Maybe I had pushed this adventure into inner space a bit too
far," I said. "I told her that none of what I said can happen
while the division of humanity is maintained that splits society apart,
even the sexual division of society. I thought at first that I shouldn't
have included sex. So I omitted this crucial element that divides all
mankind universally. I screwed up. I had catered to her fears. I knew that
hiding the subject of sex was dishonest and paramount to perpetrating a
lie. I knew it was a sore spot with her. So I screwed up? So what? Maybe
some day Anton will forgive me for messing things up for her, as you say I
have done. That was my sin, my casualty. Except her letter tells me that
she has already forgiven me. I am ashamed nevertheless that I may have
deeply violated Steve's trust by not having achieved more. I let down the
whole assembly at the conference with my stupidity, by laying on them the
Byzantine speech. I insulted Russia, belittled America, and called the
whole world impotent."
Ushi burst out into
laughter. "So you failed to meet your expectations, eh? So what?
You're too modest Peter. Maybe that is why Steve asked me not to tell you
until after the conference was over that it was he who invited you. He
knew that Antonovna needed help, and he felt you might just be honest
enough to give it to her." Ushi kept on laughing as if to emphasize
"You are right,
Ushi," I said and joined in her laughter. "If you had told me
this at the beginning I might not have said a word to Antonovna out of
fear, or anything of substance on the podium. I would have played it
"What do you
think you would have accomplished that way, Peter?" Fred interjected.
"Do you think America would have made it all the way to the moon, by
playing it safe 100%? Can a love festival at the leading edge, reaching
beyond one's limit, ever be achieved by playing it safe? Real safety is
rooted in the dynamism of loving. Sometimes it becomes necessary to stir
up the riverbed if that's the only way to dredge up the mud. So what if
the waters become cloudy for a period? Some of that can't be avoided. It
comes with the territory. Stirring the mud cleanses the river as long as
the river keeps flowing. That's how the Apollo project worked. Steve
understands this. He stirred up quite a bit of mud in his days as a
scientific pioneer. He trusts you to be able to stand in his shoes and
stir up a whole lot of mud so that the mess can be dealt with. That's how
Kennedy created a love-festival in America. America fell in Love with
itself for a brief span. This is what had turned the Apollo Project into a
wealth-festival. Steve understands the principle involved."
"Peter, Steve was
glad that he could arrange things so that you could come in his
stead," Ushi interjected. "Steve wanted you to have this chance
to be there and do something profound."
I shook my head.
"No, don't be
modest," Ushi came back, "admit it, you are the greatest. With
all your faults and fumbling, and whatever else you did, you did more than
anyone there had done. You laid the foundation for peace and freedom, even
if there was only one person affected by it for now, which is Antonovna.
You may not realize this, Peter, but you accomplished in those two weeks
in your fumbling way what Steve and I had tried for a year in our
attempting to help Antonovna, and had failed. It was Nicolai who had
sought our help. He thought you were our only hope. Nicolai might thank
you one day for it. So you see, you are the greatest."
"No! There is no
one the greatest among us." I replied in protest.
On this note we both
started to laugh, and then Fred joined in.
"Well, I just
wanted to see what you would say," Ushi replied.
"I bet you are
unprepared for what I'm going to tell you," said Fred. He suddenly
became serious. "Russia is finished. It has no hope, because it lost
its last thread of Love that normally connects a nation with its
"The letter I got
from Anton gives me hope," I interjected.
Fred shook his head.
"No Peter, that's not enough. I asked a lot of questions in Moscow. I
had talked to leading officials. There is nobody home. There was one
speech made that was worth anything, and that was your Byzantine speech,
and nobody heard a word of what you said. There was nobody home, Peter.
And that is why Russia is doomed. The Soviet government never learned what
civilization is. It was the same in Germany in 1933. On the day Hitler
burned the Reichstag to the ground, he should have been arrested and
hanged. The fascist game should have stopped at this point. Society had
this one last chance, but it failed itself. It let the monster continue.
From that point on it was impossible to pull Europe away from the brink,
and Germany was doomed. As a consequence the greatest holocaust in history
swept across much of the world, in which over fifty million people from
over fifty nations murdered one another in an orgy of war that left 50
million corpses in its wake and much of an entire continent destroyed.
That's the price that society paid when it lost its threads of Love that
normally binds it to its humanity and to one another. Russia is about to
pay this price again, and will pay it for the same reason. Germany should
have had the strength to depose Hitler, as strong threads of love had been
woven into the fabric of its profound cultural heritage by the poetry of
Schiller, Goethe, and the music of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms,
and so forth. That poetry and music was still there, but the people no
longer heard what the poetry and the music was conveying. The threads of
love had been torn to shreds by the war drums and the screeching of hate
drenched insanity spewed forth out of the mouth of Hitler, and his
propaganda machine, all nicely paid for with British and American money.
The real holocaust, my friend, happened outside the concentration camps.
The holocaust was mental, that had conditioned the whole nation to make it
unfit for survival. Hitler coming to power was secondary. Starting the war
was secondary. The death toll in the camps that became referred to as the
holocaust was small in comparison with the raping of society by the war
machines grinding out death on every corner of the globe. And in the end
no one won a single thing, except the Empire. When the guns fell silent no
victory had been achieved. Fascism had not been defeated. The war simply
ground to a halt when one war machine had decimated the physical resources
for the other. The real victory remains yet to be won in the endless
battle of empire versus civilization. However, this victory will come too
late to save the Soviet Union. And possibly it will also come too late to
save Russia itself and America with it. In this case society will likely
pay the price repeatedly, because I see no effort being made by anyone to
rebuild the threads of Love that have been lost in the shadow of the rise
of fascism that followed the war that nobody won."
right," Ushi interjected. "Germany shouldn't have fallen into
the Hitler-trap that the old British Empire had set up for it. Hitler's
political party, a party of thugs, was bankrupt. It should have ended
there, but it didn't. The Empire's financiers bailed the idiot out and
made the chief idiot a man of power. That should have been impossible in
Germany, the nation of Friedrich Schiller, the nation of the poet who had
stopped Napoleon in Russia in 1812."
been buried by the Empire," said Fred. "His humanist-kind of
patriotism lay buried under the rubble of World War I and the further mess
made by the economic wrecking of Germany by the Empire that followed. But
we don't have that excuse in America. Our counterpart to Schiller, our
greatest poet of freedom and the humanist principles on which freedom is
built was not buried in the rubble of wars. Still, hardly anybody speaks
his name anymore, the name of James Fenimore Cooper. Did you know that his
father was associated with the Washington forces fighting the British
Empire, and that James is credited for having raised up the patriotic
foundation for Lincoln to be elected, who stopped the Empire's takeover of
America? Cooper had set the patriotic stage on which the horror of the
world wars could have been avoided, but it wasn't avoided. Now tell me who
is standing in his place today? The Empire owns America today. America has
become its trained dog that dances to its master's command and barks as
required. The America that once stood as a temple of liberty and beacon of
hope for all mankind, exists no more. Having taken on the role of a
financier's dog, America's 'life' is thereby doomed to be relatively short
according to the life of a dog, and it is becoming increasingly brutal as
the process continues which will end utterly meaningless. I had hoped that
something big would come out of the conference, but as I said there was
nobody home. And that's what Schiller too, had lamented, when he said
about his time, that the great opportunities in history far too often meet
a little people. That's his way of saying, there was nobody home.
"And so it
becomes evermore difficult to rescue America from its chosen fate; chosen
by default; chosen by apathy; chosen by indifference; chosen by the
circumcision; chosen by greed; by which the whole of mankind is doomed
with it," Fred continued. "Instead of rebuilding the lost
threads of love that should bind a society to its humanity, America is
binding itself to violence, hate, destruction and genocide, even its
self-genocide under the Empire's global warming dogma that mandates it to
destroy its industries to save the earth. Only when I can hear the N-word
being spoken again, promoting nuclear power in capital letters, can I see
any hope on the horizon, because that won't happen until the L-word is
back on the horizon and the threads of Love are being rebuilt. But that's
not happening yet, is it? Instead I see the race to hell continuing. My
greatest fear is that it might be said in future ages about our present
society rushing away from Love, that this madness for suicide should have
stopped long ago, but that it was allowed to continue. That is what they
will say, provided that anyone remains alive to look back from the
the love-feast that has happened in Moscow," said Ushi. "We have
a love letter to prove that something has happened. That is why you can
never forecast the future in a linear way, Fred. In the human world, a
single spark of a profound realization can light a fire that can change
the whole landscape. So I would say that the only thing about mankind that
is predictable, is that nothing is predictable. And thank God it is so.
Otherwise, what point would there be in fighting to uplift the world when
hope is slim? History seems to suggest that we most often succeed when we
are facing incredible odds and aim to win."
Three of the five F-1 engines for Saturn V, dwarfing their creator, Wernher von