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  • AutorenbildDaniel Bernhard


So, people in my home country started targeting everyday Russians, or just people with a Russian sounding surname, making them responsible for Putin’s criminal war of aggression. It keeps happening again. The categorizing. The sorting of human life. And it has never stopped. It still seems to run this world. One kind of human life is always deemed more „valuable“ than another human life. Just make sure to be on the winning team. That’s why no-one cried out when Erdogan attacked Rojava some years ago, another beacon of radical democratic hope on this planet. Seems like Kurdish life was less valuable. No one illuminated monuments in the national colors of Kurdistan back then, of Serbia, of Syria, of the Congo. No special reports about the starving, bombed-out children of Yemen, for years now. No one wants to see that. No one wants to know about the African students being pushed back at the Polish border. It would taint the European self-image of being so compassionate right now.

And people are compassionate. It’s so beautiful how compassion, solidarity and other social superpowers suddenly emerge in moments of crisis. People are offering their homes to innocent people displaced by the atrocities of geopolitics. Everyone is raising donations to support Ukrainians, whose battle against Imperialist forces is inspiring the whole world and awakens the heart of humanity to what is really essential in life. It makes me feel euphoric when I get this sense of a universally shared passion for justice, peace and freedom.

I am also really in love these days. Also my mum went to hospital and I am afraid she might die soon. Also the springs on our mountain are drying up because there has been no snow, no rain for way too long. I look at the yellow brown burned grass on the mountains around us and I feel desperate. Will there be another world war? How to survive in the coming economic crisis? What sense does it make to survive when others suffer anyways? So much to feel. But I need to DO SOMETHING! QUICK!

Voices say that it’s narcissistic to deal with your own feelings while the world is falling apart. You need to act. Suppress. Function. Of course, in moments of acute danger that may be the only choice. In most other moments, I can be much more helpful and supportive to my surroundings when I am not in panic mode.

We have powerful mechanisms built into our nervous systems that are there to save our lives by enabling us to simply function, not even feeling a broken foot because we need to run for our lives. The same mechanisms can also sabotage our ability to be responsive to what is actually happening. We can get trapped in a perpetual inner state of emergency. Luring fear that never fully goes away. And the media ecosystem supports it: Breaking News will never stop coming in these days. They scream: There's danger! React! Research! Be prepared! Or: Numb down! Watch a series! Eat A LOT! It’s too much.

What is lacking? Right: s p a c e. The space around and in between all the informations, all the action and reaction. Of course, this space is scary, because with opening into it, my emotions might emerge as well. They might sweep me off my feet. But maybe that’s exactly what I needed in order to come back to my senses: My sensing, pulsating, vibrating flesh. My muscles, nerves and bones that I completely disconnected from. By being breathless for too long, staring at the screen like an animal of prey waiting for the next attack.

The world is not safe. I can’t tell this scared little animal inside that „all is fine“, because it will detect that lie and lose all trust. But I can still breathe. At least try. At least realize how constricted I am in the moment. And be with that. This is where s p a c e comes in. No need to pretend to be fine. There is blood coursing through my veins. There is saliva forming in mouth, my eyelids are blinking. My tears are just rolling down while cooking lunch. A scream that needed to come out for ages. Silence. A shiver of disgust. Not cloaked by stories anymore. Breath. Just things that happen inside a human body.

That might be all there is right now. I might be just a human with a heart in front of an electronic device, sobbing. To stay with this shows no lack of responsibility towards the world. It's what enables me to actually be responsive to my worlds.

This simple breath of s p a c e is where I start being comfortable with the sensation of constantly falling, into yet another situation I can’t control. Because that is the truth. I am not in control. I am in space, falling at the speed of light. And I trust science on that.

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