Resurrecting Carmen

by Canadian Author, Researcher, Explorer, Producer
Rolf A. F. Witzsche

 

*1

Picture 2012 - YouTube 1991, London performance 

When love is too small, tragedies happen 

Can we resurrect us from this trap?

 

Lead-in (Background and setup for the exploration)

Later that evening, since this was the last evening of Steve and Ushi being with us, we all decided that a cultural celebration was needed. Steve chose the opera, Carmen, by George Bizet. He had noticed that Ross had a video recording of it on his shelf. So it was, that in the glow of the sunset Ross' television set was dragged out onto the balcony, external speakers and all.

Steve stood up and made a speech before we put the opera on. He leaned against the balcony railing and raised his hand to get people's attention. Low clouds over the sea behind him reflected some of the remaining glow of the sunset. Some of it still illumined the sky far to the right.

Steve told us that he thought it was quite a miracle that we got through what had happened almost without a scratch. He said it was a miracle, because everything that had been done, apart from a few exceptions, had been done dishonestly and untruthfully. "The miracle is that we survived," he said.

"That's no way to start a celebration!" Tony interrupted him.

"Hey, what do you mean to tell us, Steve?" I added to Tony's remark. "What did we do wrong? We detected the cruise missile, we got it shot down, we succeeded in Venice to the point that the fondi got all tied into knots. Also we had not a single nuclear attack or threat from the Soviets of any kind since we canceled the SDI. We also did well in the desert and again at the hearing. How can you say we did everything wrong? We succeeded at the hearing beyond what I had hoped for. Instead of us doing everything wrong, the opposite happened. The evidence seems to suggest that we did everything right."

Steve shook his head. "Hey, Pete, you of all people should know what I am talking about," said Steve. "Perhaps you don't even recognize your own untruthfulness. You have not been honest with yourself about the truth that you know, which you ignored in your blind zeal of wanting to rescue humanity all by yourself. Thus, the project started out wrong. The goal that you had in mind with your beach project was a noble one, but the path you had chosen to get there was a dishonest one. You denied the very foundation of the goal that you were striving for and did so almost to the end. The scene was salvaged by other people, mostly by Fred, and you didn't even recognize that it happened."

"Me?" I said astonished.

"Yes you, Peter. Hadn't I told you right from the beginning that your beach project wouldn't work? I knew that it wouldn't work, because it couldn't possibly work on the platform on which you had started the project. You sold all you had and poured every penny of it into this project. You said to yourself that's the only way to get things done, by doing it yourself. It didn't work out that way, because you denied a fundamental truth about our humanity, that we all reflect one universal, infinite Soul that manifests itself in a community of principle across the whole of humanity. Did you really believe that you were the only person in the world with the desire and the determination to uplift humanity to a higher level of unity where its safety ultimately rests? Evidently you believed that you were the only one with that desire. You were living a lie. You lived with that lie. That is why you pushed yourself to the limit to do this thing alone. And that is why it didn't work out until a lot of other people changed your platform for you, starting with Fred, and later Ushi in the desert. You had denied the very basis on which the project needed to be established, which is the universality of our humanity. You should have invited everyone to participate at the beginning, in this vital project that is in everyone's interest. If you had done this, your motives would have been in accord with the truth that all people are human beings with the capacity to acknowledge universal principles. You should have made your project, everyone's project. But you didn't do that. Instead you denied everyone's humanity. Indeed, you denied your own humanity, because truthfulness is one of the great attributes of our humanity, especially in regard to the principles that we behold with the mind, which the eyes cannot see, but which we recognize, because we are human. We can't deny these principles. To do that is like denying the universe itself.

"As Fred pointed out," Steve continued, "every human being is capable of the recognition of universal principles, without exception. All too often we close our mind to that capability, especially in times of blind zeal. Anyway, that is why your project didn't work out as planned, because of your untruthfulness with yourself in respect to the principles that you knew or should have known. In your case, I believe, the consequences were minute, nor was there any intentional dishonesty involved. Indeed, the problem became resolved rather quickly. A lot of people contributed to the solution without your specific invitation and the whole world has benefited. But there was a great deal more dishonesty involved in the way the SDI issue was set up to be handled, which wasn't your fault. We all fell into the trap on this one. The entire cancellation process turned out to be one continuous charade of deception," said Steve. "The honest thing to do, would have been for the President to hop on his airplane and meet the Russian President face to face. He should have said to him, what do you want? What does it take for us to treat each other as human beings? If the SDI scares the hell out of you, I'll call it off, unless you reconsider our earlier offer and agree to develop the thing jointly for the protection for the whole of humanity. This would have been the honest thing to do for dealing with that issue. Instead, we staged this huge charade that the Russian President probably didn't know what to make of. Luckily, he came to the right conclusion; possibly for reasons other than the one that we had been trying to impose. And so, that project didn't work out either as it should have. Sure another nuclear tragedy in the immediate timeframe may have been averted by changing the background a bit, but the cause for the danger has not been eliminated, though it could have been.

"We don't know yet what the consequences for this failure will be in the future," Steve continued. "Let us hope that the little bit of what we did right, perhaps a word that was spoken or a phrase, or a gesture, lit a spark in the Soviet camp in some way. Obviously it did, and thanks to that, we are still alive," said Steve. "The rest of what we did was dishonest, because we didn't believe that the Soviets are human beings with the capacity to react like human beings, if they are honored that way. We didn't believe that they would be able to deal with us on the level of a community of principle. We treated them like a dog that we train with food rewards. And that, my friends, is how we addressed a life and death issue that effects the whole of humanity. We weren't honest with ourselves about this issue, because if we had been, we would have realized that this entire approach was total lunacy. No universal principle supports deception or coercion. If we had chosen to uplift the US/Soviet relations to a higher level where we do recognize universal principles, all of that deception and coercion nonsense that we put on the table would have not happened. It would have been swept into the trash bin of history before it saw the light of day."

Steve paused and sighed. "I also couldn't help notice a deeply seated dishonesty among ourselves, personally, in Venice." He looked at me when he said this. "Yes, Pete, once again you were at the center of it. I realize of course that Venice was a poor choice as a location for the conference, since Venice had become famous, historically, as the world headquarters for dishonest diplomacy. Venice had held this title for a long time until the British Empire assumed it and brought it to London and held it there ever since. Obviously, imperialism is totally built on dishonesty. It has to be that way. How else can the imperial oligarchy loot the whole world and get away with it? Except, that's not the dishonesty that I found disturbing among us in Venice. The dishonesty, which I am talking about, was of a different nature.
Steve looked at me without a smile. "I am well aware of the deep love and closeness that exists between Ushi and Pete," he said. "I also could sense the same between Heather and Pete. It was all denied to a large extent and pushed into the background for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, those 'obvious' reasons were untruthful. So, here, too, if one were to uplift our platform for relationships to the higher level of universal principles, which we all recognize or at least pretend to recognize, that untruthfulness would have stayed behind and would likewise have been swept into the trash bin of history. That would have been inevitable. Some day it will be. We just have to make the inevitable come true. Until we do this, we will hurt each other or deprive ourselves through self-denial. So once again, I must say that it was a miracle that we got through the Venice experience unharmed. We certainly didn't return enriched in this regard. We came back worn out and drained. Ushi and Pete were honest enough to recognize that they needed a vacation afterwards."

"So why didn't you warn us?" I asked.

"Hindsight is easier than foresight," he said and grinned. He stepped away from the railing and stood upright. "In hindsight I can also recognize three major occurrences which were carried out completely honestly," said Steve.

"That's better," said Tony.

"One of these three happened in Venice," said Steve. "From what I can tell, the people from the fondi were completely honest with Pete. They said in essence: It is our goal to rule the world. For this we have to break up all the big nations in the world. We want you to help us, not hinder us. This was an honest statement on their part. That is their intention. They may not have the power to carry this out, but they were honest about their intentions. Nothing was hidden or denied.

"Another event where I sensed a deep seated honesty, was our meeting with the President in the White House, after we came back from the White Sands Missile Range." Steve smiled when he said this. "The President didn't even pretend to know anything about universal principles and their necessary reflection in the relationships between people and nations. He talked about horse racing. There was a lot of honesty in that response, both with him and with us. In a sense he was saying to us, look fellows, I was chosen for this post because I have a closed mind, so that I can be manipulated. People with an open mind towards universal principles and the truth will never be nominated to become President, because they can't be manipulated. That's how our democratic system works at the moment. He was truthful about that. That is how the empire intents to use democracy as a cover to rule the world.

"The third honest thing that happened, as far as I can tell," said Steve, "that stands in total contrast to what happened in Venice, was the Royal Dance affair that Pete and Ushi have set in motion in the desert of Arizona. There was a lot of honesty in that. It began when a newly wedded bride wanted to act out in real life what she had deeply desired in her very soul, which was based on an already existing community of principle by which she realized that her act of self-acknowledgment would be accepted. It was a daring stand for the truth. She carried it through by being honest with herself. Ushi helped. She opened the door and set the stage. Everything else unfolded from an honest response to a principle that a lot of people had already recognized with the senses of their soul that behold what the eye cannot see. The truthfulness of what they beheld came to light spontaneously in the fun filled and joyous environment of an unfolding community of principle.

"We can learn from these cases," said Steve. "We can learn that if there is no community of principle unfolding, there is something spiritually lacking, because there is no truthfulness in what is happening. That's really what I wanted to say. There just wasn't a shorter way to say it."



With this having been said, the cultural celebration could begin. So it was, that with the last glow of light on the horizon the music of one of the greatest operas ever created rang out into a night filled with stars and a rising moon that had just become visible.

Carmen was a perfect theme for this celebration. As Ross pointed out, the opera Carmen is the story of a rebel that matched our own profile. Carmen, the Gypsy girl, is a rebel for the human soul, a rebel for freedom. She is also the enemy of the oligarchic system of a fenced-in society. She is a threat to its law and its order and power, and everything that moves in this confined sphere. In Carmen are conjured up all the revolutionary ghosts in humanity's history, which become intertwined with her all-pervading charm. Inevitably, she has to die. Death is the law of the oligarchy, when it is challenged. Its rule of death is obeyed even by a lover who kills the woman he loved in a rage that reflected the system that he never found his freedom from. The composer put this deeply enslaving factor on the table honestly and daringly. Still, death on stage was something revolutionary in opera in 1875. The period around 1875 was a period of peace and great spiritual and scientific development. It was a revolutionary period of a new renaissance. The American Civil War was history. Many old axioms were cast aside. The unfolding revolution in thinking had its reflection also in Europe, and Carmen in many respects embodied that revolutionary spirit. The opera cuts through the old trend in thinking that was customary prior to that time. It still does this to a large degree, and hopefully it will do this again among us all as we reach out into the future. Carmen is a pioneer for freedom. She is the Spanish Gypsy of an era of awakening, but she is more than that. She is the enduring symbol of the exotizised romantic mystique of Spain, where the human element shines through, and this rather brightly. She touches a responsive chord in all people with human hearts throughout time. For this reason perhaps the opera Carmen became one of the most popular operas ever created. Steve added that this is so, "because it gives us a glimpse of the sublime, and puts the sublime into the sphere of our daily world where the sublime is still lacking.

Ross also pointed out that Carmen has a second correlative that the composer most likely hadn't intended, or was even aware of. The year in which the opera was staged, the year 1875, was also the year that the Specie Resumption Act was passed in the US Congress that dealt the first major blow to America's identity as a Federal Credit Society and opened the gates to it becoming a Private Monetarist Society. The Specie Resumption Act set the stage for an imperial society, a society of people that would soon steal from one-another for profit. With this Congressional act the humanity of the nation was stabbed into the heart. In Bizet's opera Carmen dies at the sword of the man that is in love with her, in order to take her away from another lover. The wound that America suffered in 1875 was probably inflicted in a similar environment of blind emotionalism, but the wound became potentially fatal in 1913.

"The 1875 wound was a slight wound," said Fred. "On the surface it looked like a vote against Henry Carey who fought for universal scientific and industrial development. In real terms the wound went extremely deep," added Fred. "The vote for specie was a vote for gold or silver, as currency. It was a vote of distrust in the government's ability or willingness to keep its currency fungible. This vote of distrust went straight for the heart of the general trust in the honesty of society to itself that is the key element of the Federal Credit System. The scrip that was killed in 1875 was the system of Lincoln's Greenbacks. The scrip was essentially a promise by society to honor the society's self-created value that its currency represented. The vote for specie said in essence, 'a promise means nothing, I want gold, I want property.' With this vote of distrust by society of itself, the core element of the Federal Credit System was destroyed. With it Congress destroyed what had protected and built up the nation. The vote for specie was a vote against trust in universal principle, against the Principle of Universal Love, rendering property of value, and our humanity as naught. This vote represents the deepest overturning of the foundation of our nation, which was our trust in one-another, and our commitment to one another. It marked the beginning of the end, a wound designed to kill 'Carmen.' Thus, two major black days now stand in infamy, in the history of our nation. The first is the 14th of January 1875, the day when we were deeply wounded. The second black day is the 23rd of December 1913, the day before Christmas, when the nation began to die. Every patriot should know these dates, together with the 4th of July 1776 when our nation was born. It took the imperials 101 years to wound us deeply, and 138 years to bring us to our knees. But like the phoenix we shall rise again. Carmen will be resurrected. America is not totally dead yet, though we are close. The resurrection is possible."

Ross suggested that we need to resurrect 'Carmen' by undoing the wound that is killing her. He suggested that this healing could be achieved through a process of education, of understanding what had caused 'Carmen' to be stabbed. "Bizet's whole opera of the story of Carmen unfolds as a love story that ends in utter tragedy," said Ross. "However we need to see that, Carmen is murdered not because of the rage of a displaced lover who had been stood up for another. The tragedy is the result of the smallness in the axioms of society where all love is privatized, and only one love can stand, limited to the smallest possible sphere, where love is so small that the very notion of universal love becomes seen as totally impossible."

"Carmen dies in the opera because one lover steals from the other the love that he desires," said Fred. "That process invariably destroys what is stolen. That still happens on the economic scene. That's the process that is wrecking the world today and turns the planet into a sea of 'emptiness' and poverty. That's the result of the process that was put on the plate of America in 1875, the same year that Bizet illustrated the consequences of the same process in the opera Carmen, probably without knowing that he did so."

"I wonder how many Congressmen acted dishonestly with themselves in 1875, when they voted for the Specie Resumption Act," said Steve. "I wonder how many of them could sense the danger to the nation. It was no secret that this act would open the floodgates to private monetarism. Nor was it a secret that private monetarism is a platform that has historically proven its effect in robbing the nations poor. Every empire illustrates this devastating process, which it cannot hide, since it is the platform for its existence. As human beings the Congressmen must have been aware to some degree that the imperial monetarism that they were voting for is a platform for clever stealing, and that a nation cannot prosper on a platform of stealing from one another. Many of them must have recognized this and have known in their heart that voting for this imperial act was wrong. I suspect that many were voting as they did, because they were not honest enough with themselves, to acknowledge what is right, or were not honest enough to fight for it. When Carmen's lover takes hold of the sword in the opera, in the moments of his dark intent, he knows deep in his heart that this action is wrong, but he isn't honest enough with himself to fight for the right, so he allows the wrong to happen, driven by emotions that cause him to act in accord with an imposed script. And so the love of his life dies at his hand. He must have known that it wasn't in his interest to murder the love of his life. He obviously knew this. Indeed, he would have fought for his love, and not have struck out with the sword, had the universally isolating 'imperial' script not been in control. But he didn't fight. He let a script unfold. I wonder how many Congressmen were voting in 1875 as required by a script, who having found it more convenient to live dishonestly than sticking their neck out of the trenches, failed thereby in actively fighting for what they knew as human beings, is right. Many might have voted dishonestly that day, and so the nation was deeply wounded this day."



Carmen fitted well into the scheme of our celebration of the battles we had won. Our season of trials had been a growing season for us, filled with discoveries, daring adventures, some honesty, some love, and a few really great achievements, including even a New Hope for the world.


PS. 

The story of Carmen, written in 1875, is situated in Seville, Spain. It is the story of a ‘wild’ Gypsy girl who is everybody’s favourite. In the course of events a police corporal falls in love with her. They form a bond. A little while later a gallant toreador arrives, and she falls in love with him, who reciprocates. The former police corporal tries to win her back, but she refuses. He argues desperately. In the shadow of the repulsion, in a moment of rage, he stabs her. As she dies he realizes that he has killed his most beloved, by which he himself, of course, is doomed to die too, as a murderer. If the conflict had not been left unhealed, but had been addressed at an early stage, no one would have died, and all would have ended up with a richer sense of love.
 
Maybe it is the tragic ending of this unhealed problem, which is widely common in the modern world, which gives the opera its enduring significance. It may also be significant that the tragedy in the opera occurs right outside the gate of an arena where a bullfight is in progress. 

The opera has remained a favourite in the operatic repertoire to the present day. Maybe it will remain so until civilization (Seville) is healed of its deadly conflicts.


The opera: YouTube version of 1991 London performance 

Synopsis:
Place: Seville, Spain, and surrounding hills
Time: Around 1820
Act 1

A square, in Seville near the door to a tobacco factory. 

Soldiers (or police) relax in the square. The woman Micaëla appears, seeking José, a corporal. Moralès, another corporal tells her that "José is not yet on duty" and invites her to wait. She declines, saying she will return later. José arrives with the new guard, which is greeted, and imitated, by a crowd of boys.

As the factory bell rings, girls emerge and exchange banter with young men in the crowd. Here Carmen enters and sings her provocative song on the untameable nature of love. The men plead with her to choose a lover, and after some teasing she throws a flower to Don José. A deep feeling is riused in him.

As the women go back into the factory, Micaëla returns and gives José a letter and a kiss from his mother. He reads that his mother wants him to return home and marry Micaëla. Shy with embarrassment she hears José declaring that he is ready to heed his mother's wishes. Just then, the women stream from the factory, great agitated. Zuniga, the officer of the guard, learns that Carmen has attacked a woman with a knife. When challenged, Carmen answers with mocking defiance, "Tra la la..." Zuniga orders José to tie her hands while he prepares the prison warrant. Left alone with José, Carmen beguiles him as she sings of a night of dancing and passion with her lover—whoever that may be—in Lillas Pastia's tavern. Confused yet mesmerised, José agrees to free her hands. But, as she is led away she pushes her escort to the ground and runs off laughing. José is arrested for dereliction of duty.

Act 2

In Lillas Pastia's Inn

A month has passed. Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercédès are entertaining Zuniga and other officers in Pastia's inn. Carmen is delighted to learn of José's release from a month's detention. Outside, a chorus and procession announces the arrival of the toreador Escamillo. He introduces himself with the "Toreador Song" and sets his eyes on Carmen, who brushes him aside. Lillas Pastia, the keeper of the tavern, hustles the crowds and the soldiers away.

When only Carmen, Frasquita and Mercédès remain, the smugglers Dancaïre and Remendado arrive and reveal their plans to dispose of some recently acquired contraband Frasquita and Mercédès are keen to help them, but Carmen refuses, since she wishes to wait for José. After the smugglers leave, José arrives. Carmen treats him to a private exotic dance, but her song is joined by a distant bugle call from the barracks. When José says he must return to duty, she mocks him, and he answers by showing her the flower that she threw to him in the square. Unconvinced, Carmen demands he shows his love by leaving with her. José refuses to desert, but as he prepares to depart, Zuniga enters looking for Carmen. He and José fight, and are separated by the returning smugglers, who restrain Zuniga. Having attacked a superior officer, José now has no choice but to join Carmen and the smugglers.

Act 3

A place in the mountains


Carmen and José enter with the smugglers and their booty. Carmen has now become bored with José and tells him scornfully that he should go back to his mother. Frasquita and Mercédès amuse themselves by reading their fortunes from the cards; Carmen joins them and finds that the cards are foretelling her death, and José's. The women depart to suborn the customs officers who are watching the locality. José is placed on guard duty.

Micaëla enters with a guide, seeking José. She is determined to rescue him from Carmen. On hearing a gunshot she hides in fear. José, has fired at an intruder who proves to be Escamillo. José's pleasure at meeting the bullfighter turns to anger when Escamillo declares his infatuation with Carmen. The pair fight, but are interrupted by the returning smugglers and girls. As Escamillo leaves, he invites everyone to his next bullfight in Seville. Micaëla is discovered. At first, José will not leave with her despite Carmen's mockery, but he agrees to go when told that his mother is dying. As he departs, vowing he will return, Escamillo is heard in the distance, singing the toreador's song.

Act 4

A square in Seville. At the back of the walls of an amphitheatre

Zuniga, Frasquita and Mercédès are among the crowd awaiting the arrival of the bullfighters. Escamillo enters with Carmen, and they express their mutual love. As Escamillo goes into the arena, Frasquita warns Carmen that José is nearby, but Carmen is unafraid and willing to speak to him. 

When alone, she is confronted by the desperate José. He pleads, though vainly, for her to return to him. While cheers are heard from the arena, José makes his last entreaty. Carmen contemptuously throws down the ring he gave her and attempts to enter the arena. Enraged, José stabs her, and as Escamillo is acclaimed by the crowds, Carmen dies. José kneels and sings "Ah! Carmen! ma Carmen adorée!" He has murdered the woman he loved.

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*1 Image: "Salzburger Festspiele 2012 - Carmen" by Luigi Caputo - 
Salzburger Festspiele. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons