Stranded on Earth        Chapter 5       

Chapter 5

...then to purple.

Brigitte spends the whole school year exploring the arcana of ecology, and involving in the various activities of the group. A highlight for them was the elections, and they wondered if they would support the national candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. After a lot of discussion, it was finally agreed that such a participation would not require so much work as for a local election: so they could give a hand while doing other things.

Brigitte realizes on this occasion that among ecologists, nothing is perfect either, and the discussions are sometimes difficult. But it seems that this state of affairs is very general on Earth... But, happy with finally finding living people, she prefers not to expect they are in more perfect. Fortunately. She remembers her (hard) acquisition: people are more or less aware, and for whose who are, it is sometimes difficult to mend their personality accordingly. Otherwise, a good group has the advantage of embodying a model which is closer from the ideal than any of its participants.

Also this organization operates a group buying of organic food. This is of great interest to Brigitte, but unfortunately she sees only the end and the dissolution of this group, for reasons she cannot know well enough, since the working meetings are not in her schedules. At most, she hears that «there were a lot of parasites». So here is yet another place where there are «problems» which mess up everything, without way of knowing exactly where these problems come from.

In fact Brigitte fullheartedly involves in the life of the group: she finally found a way to act for the sake of humanity! So she ignores the wrong side, the false notes, she even not see them.

She does not see Roger so often. She is worried for him, because his new university room is quite noisy, especially on Saturday nights when he must also bear the «boumes» (parties) which take place with a hellish noise right in front of his window! He has no choice, he has to endure... Or, from time to time, find a restful night of sleep in Brigitte's place, or with other friends.

Roger approves Brigitte on her activities, and he even has long discussions with her about ecology, which he discovers convinced in advance. «You see Roger, it's not just the Rastas who eat organic!» But contrary to Brigitte's expectations, Roger will not come to join the group. He argues his license to prepare, but she feels that his refusal is deeper. He will not tell her more, despite her questions.

Brigitte also regrets that the ecologists do not have the sense of partying, as her ancient friends, who from a tabla and a guitar were making a happy and lively orchestra!

There are not just organic producers to visit in nature, and Brigitte accompanies Monique, who organizes several times a year outings to the nearby forests and even to the mountains!

The first vision of the mountain in spring will remain forever engraved in Brigitte's memory, as one of the great moments of her life. From nature, she only saw fields, which after all are still artificial. Here is the true nature, free and proud! The beauty of the flowers, the tall trees, the snow-covered peaks! O how is virgin nature spontaneously harmonious, clean and nicely arranged, like a garden where some facetious gardener would give here or there a bit of help to chance... Everywhere small finds or charming scenes, or flowers, herbs and rocks, harmonize with the soothing and vitalizing vibrations...

Here is the most precious gift of nature, and also the most fragile: Everyone feels good, peaceful, revitalized, more open to Poetry, more available to friendship, to consciousness. Nature nourishes in our beings all what is the most profoundly human. Without it, we would be orphans, and we would go groping in the darkness. But this miraculous gift is so fragile, that very little is enough to make it evaporate: a piece of plastic in the grass, the sound of a car, some electric wires, a square field, tourists talking about TV...

Brigitte points it out to Monique, who replies: «Oh that you should talk to Marc, he knows a lot, he would talk you about the Devas and all that. I prefer to say that nature is beautiful, from its own nature! Or that our evolution in nature has taught us to find it beautiful as it is! There is a sort of harmony between nature and us, a subtle exchange, and that can only work with the nature we always knew, for millions of years, and not with nature which has been planned, built and tamed. In any case Man is made to be in contact with his mother nature, and he derives an obvious happiness of it!»

A wonderful day goes through the sloping forests, then pastures with subtle curves, dotted with rocks and flowers... Arrived at the top, one of the participants got out a wooden flute. This sweet melody harmonizes perfectly with this simple and beautiful landscape of grass and rocks.

In fact, they are not really on the mountains, but only on a small height: the excursion had to be easy. This makes other peaks still overhanging them in a splendid panorama, while far below the valley is diluted in blues: the road and the houses seem to be only models, very harmless seen from here.

Unfortunately they also touch the fragility of this nature. On their way up they went through a lumber yard, a clear-cut, bulldozed paths, gaping wounds, entangled trees, massacre, bombing. Thrown out the fairies rocks, torn off the fragile skin of soft moss, filled in the poetic hollows. For hundreds of meters, they crossed this frightful poeticide in a gloomy silence punctuated by sorry exclamations.

Higher up to the peaks, a strange white scar zigzags on the meadow: a new road which leads to a ski resort. Marc explains that the alpine ecosystem is very fragile: only a thin layer of humus and roots protects the underlying loose soil from erosion. A single small scratch can widen and give a gaping wound which will need centuries to heal... If before water run-off does not take away the thin layer of earth, to leave a desert of barren rocks. An irreplaceable wealth savagely destroyed for futile games... And he conclude: «The ancient civilizations all left archaeological remains, moving traces of their passage. We, we shall leave garbage and destruction.» He does not think so well, because at times the wind brings them the sickening smoke of a municipal dump located a little below, in full beauty… «How can it happen that it is whose who are living in the marvel who are most eager to destroy it?»

They are preparing to come back down, when Monique exclaims: «A raptor!» And here all they are passing the binoculars, seeking to identify the beast, which does not deign to approach anyway. Brigitte is a little surprised: all along this day they saw many more friendly birds, who did not triggered so much excitement. Her Grandma spoke little of them, the raptors, casting on them the silence of the dreadful things of which we do not speak to children. To adult Brigitte, she had little opportunity to talk about them again: they had disappeared.

Brigitte does not seek to dig deeper, but she classifies the fact in her memory: to see later... She also starts to observe in binoculars the beast, while it moves away. Was it an impression, or really was the alpine pasture more silent in its presence? Go figure, with all the gossip of this team of chatterboxes:

«They are the regulators of this ecosystem!

- Without them it is the very survival of the mountain which is compromised.

- It's beautiful, what a great look!»

Monique is inexhaustible on raptors. Marc, on his side, remains reserved.

On another outing, they visit a swampy area, one of the last wetland ecosystems to be preserved. It is a very different beauty, calm, discreet, all in deep and varied greens, on a background of pastel mist. Imagine duck flocks, and other birds by the thousands. Our friends do not try to approach them too closely. Besides, the birds are wary and they stay away from usable paths. In addition it is the season of nesting. Here too it is threatened: a project of drainage, the eternal rumours of highways, and the hunters who always try to extend their odious privileges...

On a certain day in September, Brigitte was not there yet, but the whole group died laughing while listening at the story: some of the members had noticed that at hunt opening, as soon as the first shots, the ducks flew massively to the nearby reserve, where hunting is not allowed. These members had come very early, and they threw... good old firecrackers, in the marsh, some minutes before the hunters were allowed to shoot. As expected, all the ducks immediately went to the shelter, right under the nose of the furious and powerless hunters. And our friends quickly scampered off, we never know, a hunting accident can happen so quickly...

Brigitte and the other participants of these pleasant outings are filled with wild beauty, but above all they are seriously aware of the serious threats to nature, oppressed and suppressed on all sides, exploited and massacred, denied of existence and then shown as a folklorical caricature to tourists. A little further is looming the destruction of Mankind itself, a terrible deadline, a heavy bar on the horizon of the future: 1990, 2000? If Humanity does not become aware of its aberrations by these dates, if nothing is done to stem the flow of hatred and incoherence, then a sad end awaits it, and with it all its innocent road companions on Earth...

The sun burning the skin (no more ozone) Europe as dry as the Sahel (the greenhouse effect) the land and water poisoned (nuclear plants, agricultural poisons...) This is what awaits Humanity, if consciousness does not prevail over egoism and indifference...

Brigitte, much to her delight to help an useful group, suddenly realizes that these deadlines are not in some hypothetical distant future, but that they will impact her directly: everything will happen before she is forty years old, just half of life... These terrible prospects are now gnawing at her mood and enthusiasm, as they already seriously damaged those of the other members of the group. In more, the conversation there more often run on these dark predictions, rather than on the joyful and the positive things. It must be made clear that at this time of the narrative, Brigitte conceives (and her pseudo-philosophical studies did not helped) the functioning of the human psyche essentially as a set of psychological mechanisms, themselves under the absolute dominion of matter: desperate conception of an illusory freedom, useless feelings, a futile quest for happiness, a totally meaningless life, to which death will in any case put an absolute and irrevocable end...


Brigitte is in fact deeply disappointed with her university studies. In spite of many useful and relevant points, she actually found absolutely nothing in all these theories which would tell us what an awareness taking like hers would be, or what would have caused it, or how to provoke it in others. Nor is there any indication of how to sufficiently accelerate the evolution of the consciousness of Humanity to meet the deadly challenges ahead. At the current rate, it would still be millennia... And there are only twenty years left. If only Humanity was made only of financiers and technocrats, in the end nobody would mind seeing it disappear. but there are brave people, children, innocents, and of course nature, herbs, flowers, trees, and all the animals...

The end of Earth would tarnish a bit the stars...

During the group's meetings, discussions about ongoing militant work are often used as starters for broader, more philosophical digressions, where enthusiasm for generous plans for the future alternate with the pessimism of whose who feel stuck and helpless. Brigitte, who definitively not, but then not at all want to join the void before the age, and any time ever besides, tries to connect the discussion on the problem of the urgent awareness taking of Humanity:

«How to provoke a general awareness taking? This is the only way we can get out of trouble! Otherwise we will fight to save something, and in the meanwhile there will be thousand other things destroyed!

- Yes, this is what we do when we distribute leaflets! We inform people!

- Inform! Inform! I am talking about awareness! We have an ecological awareness, right?

- That's because we are informed.

- But no! The nuclear criminals, polluters and all that, they are as knowledgeable as we are, and better still, they know for sure that we are all going to die, and yet they continue! It's a difference of mentality!

- It's because they're selfish or asocial, that's all.

- Of course, but we can CHOOSE to be selfish or not to be selfish, to enter the stream of life or not! It's that to be aware! Instead of being a psychological mechanism! How to help everyone to become conscious?

- Well, if you find a way...

-...No, I don't see any. But we could search together, try to understand something.» The whole group suddenly seems seized with a kind of inertia which is starting to get on Brigitte's nerves.

«With your courses in faculty, do you see any explanation?

- Well figure you, I am quite disappointed: we speak only of psychological mechanisms. These mechanisms exist, of course, but precisely... when we are not conscious. To be conscious is to leave psychology and its mechanisms, and to freely choose our feelings and our thoughts. In all the courses and books I read, there is not a word about what could be the human mind free of any psychological mechanism, nor how to get rid of them. If the whole humanity is to do its psychoanalysis, it will need a hundred thousand years. We must go faster.

- Ah for this we need access to the media, the newspapers, to be able to express ourself publicly...

- That would be nice, but it's better not to rely too much on it. They are too busy with their soccer. To access them, we need considerable financial means. Something tells me that it must be possible to communicate with all Mankind with few financial and few technical means, but I cannot find the words to explain it!

- Well try and search, you'll tell us when you find. In the meantime, we should still be able to agree on the date for placing these posters».

Towards the end of the year, Brigitte finally realizes that these discussions are leading nearby nowhere. She is not happy with that, although some in the group approve her. In any case, they do not see any miracle solution either.

This commitment on the ecological front is at the expense of Brigitte's studies, so that she misses her DEUG and must repeat the year. She is starting to understand why most of the people who hold high positions, administrative, technical, financial, seem to be especially deprived of human feelings: they had to forget them all, or never had any, for being able to completely sacrifice the best years of their lives to their studies, the years of generosity and ideal, the years of discovering love!

In any case, this repetition annoys her a lot. Otherwise she would now be free of these studies which now appear useless, while being free to choose a better way at a substantially higher level. But she must spend another year to do the same thing again!

Shortly before the annual closing of the ecology group, the conversation comes on the group buying, and the regrets of having abandoned it. Brigitte takes this opportunity to try to understand how they went there: «But in the end, which difficulties? I do not see how difficult it is to order parcels from producers and dispatch them?

- Ah, we see that you have not been there, you! You realize, all these calculations!

- A little bit of accounting. So what? Align numbers, not exciting, okay, but if you have to do it... It's incidental, basically.

- And how long does it take! To fill all these parcels!

- There neither do I get it. You have to do them anyway, these packages. It can not take longer than every one for himself, in the shops, on the contrary.

- You do not have children to take care!

- But how? I have my classes! Anyway, now that it's over, you must be even more annoyed, go shopping in town, it takes longer, run from one store to another, waiting queue, weigh small things, instead of having everything in one place. And then, between ecologists, we are SUPPORTIVE of each other, yes, or not? If some people have less time, others can compensate. I do not see...

- Exactly! There was plenty of parasitism!

- Why not get them off? Parasites, it is to be scratched, shaken, eliminated, what.

- We did not want to be like cops!

- What harm is it to be respected?

- And then it was disgusting all the time, people never swept, and then...

- How? Whose people? But it was you,«the people», wasn't it? You only had to take the broom and do it! I really do not see...

- Listen, Brigitte, you say plenty of you must and you have to, but you were not there, you did not experienced it, so you cannot talk about it!»

Brigitte ends up realizing that this discussion bothers her friends and makes then angry. At least she would like to understand why, but again the group evades this topic and starts loudly on something else. She leaves, annoyed and displeased. She goes to the back room where the tall Marc is. She breaks out:

«How do you want us to understand each other if we always escape the issues instead of trying to solve them? We can never communicate, it always turns to controversy! And we want to give our ideas to the whole Humanity!

- I know. They do not have your level of consciousness.

- Well... they should, right?

- Do not expect so much from them: save two or three, they never did meditation. You, you are used to it.

- Used to... what? But no, never! I... I never did meditation! I'm definitively not connected to these mystical things, me!»

It must be said: like everyone else, Brigitte heard about God, spirituality and mysticism, but she feels that all this was invented from scratch, the fruit of pure imagination. For her, the human thought, and the sensation of perceiving the world, of realizing, are explained by the sole properties of the matter of which the brain is made of. The destruction of this brain leads to nothingness for the consciousness it has borne. The mere idea of reading a spiritual book is a terrible thought to Brigitte. Certainly in her studies, questions such as the existence of God, the destiny of man, or free will, are debated, but only from an intellectual point of view: we study the thought path of such or such philosopher, with, among other things, his arguments to liberate himself or encumber himself with transcendence. At no time there is a single attempt to define this transcendence, and in any case all this remains purely speculative and arbitrary, labelled «belief», by lack of the least verification mean, lack of any objective knowledge, accessible to all, on a possible «beyond». Brigitte therefore adopted an attitude of cautious scepticism: she does not «believe», while admitting that in fact she does not know. Like her comrades, she is rather wary of the «curés» (French name of the catholic priests, used derogatively in the context) and other «cathos» (French abbreviation of Catholic, often mild derogative). Although, unlike most sceptics, she did not closed the door to the Spirit. Simply she does not worry about it, since, until further information, nothing seems to come from this side. Anyway, to live in the Good and Honesty seems far enough to be in agreement with God, in case He would really exist. What more would He expect of us? And even, she thinks, to see her living in consciousness would surely make Him much happier than making hypocritical genuflections at church while speaking bunk on her neighbours.

For her, the only interesting point about spirituality is how to get rid of all the annoying blokes who want to force us to adhere to this or that bizarre religion. She is therefore very surprised to be recognized a high skill in a field so far away from her concerns.

«What makes you think so?»

It's Marc's turn to be surprised. He stammers, «Well, I do not know. I feel it. It cannot be explained. At times you give the impression of being in meditation, except of course when you get angry. It's an impression, you know, I'm not a great master. You believe in God?

- Yes, and in Little Red Riding Hood, too.

- And the survival of the soul either?

- Why would you want me to believe in all these stories of the priests, that they invented? To believe, it is to be wrong, right? We believe a thing which is false. For what is true, we do not need to say that we believe: we know. If God existed, He would be great enough to tell us himself, directly, personally, without any ambiguity.

- Mmmmmh... Excellent remark. And if He told us... not the way you expect?

- What do you mean?

- In a more subtle way, not from the intellect, but in the feelings, or more subtle yet?

- Poor intellectual philosophers, then, they will never find out. All what I ask is to know, but I would still like some objective evidence before turning my life upside down for these stories. Simple precaution, there are so many illusions on Earth.

- We say that sometimes we have a proof, if we know how to deserve it.

- That's what I say: I am bad, I never had one.

- Would you like, for example, that the Earth has for destiny a state of Harmony and Happiness for all the beings it is hosting?

- Ah of course! You'd have to be crazy to not want that.

- Do you think humans can do it?

- AAAh it's easy! All you have to do is to want it. Ten minutes are enough. The time the last shells fall down, and no more war. The time to share the food stocks, some days, and no more hunger in the world. Close all the factories which stink and pollute, the stock exchanges and all the banks, ten minutes. After, the highway to Happiness.

- Ten minutes. You don't do it the lazy way, you. Do you really think that all this is possible?

- But of course! There is only a decision to take! Even whose who have too much psychological problems to embody it themselves can at least agree! It is as easy as pressing the red button of nuclear war, and certainly much more interesting!

- You, yes, you want it! But the others?

- Well look, we are two: if I want, you are totally free to want it too, even if the others not yet agreed. So we are two. After, the same goes for each of our friends: we are four, then eight, sixteen, up to all Mankind. Everyone is totally free to make his own choice, even if one is oppressed or imprisoned. Nothing can stop everybody from agreeing.

- And the fascist regimes? And the bandits? And the financiers? They can put sticks in our wheels.

- Nothing prevents them from agreeing too. It is their interest too! In any case they are a tiny minority, it is easy to muzzle them if the entire population is no longer obeying their commands. If for example we make cooperatives, self-managed workshops, a free economy, what will remain of the power of money? Nothing! Power is also a convention. A head of state whom people no longer obeys would have no more power than the fool who thinks he is Napoleon and... But why are you laughing?

- Ah ah! I brought you in a little trap: for five minutes you were praising freewill!

- Yeah, but what?...

- You took position without any hesitation, downright, even passionately. And this is very funny because freewill is precisely the most indelible expression of the Divinity in the Human!

- How...

- Of course! What does the materialism says of free will? That the brain is a set of material particles, obeying to physical laws, so that the behaviour of these particles is entirely determined in advance. Thus we would be completely conditioned, and our future perfectly determined by our present conditions, and all our decisions, from the most banal to the deepest one, pure result of the random play of particles and electromagnetic fields in the depths of our neurons.

- All conditioned... It's stupid.

- This is a consequence of the reductionist conceptions of consciousness. After these, the process you describe is impossible, since people would decide randomly for or against your plan. Yet guys like Einstein dug at the question of free will, and he defended it until the end of his life. If free will exists, it necessarily goes beyond material limitations.

- In the faculty they talk about free will, but not from this angle.

- Of course, your courses are censored: they lack the key which would really allow to understand the evolution of philosophy at a whole.

- The teaching of the university censored? But who could organize such a tall shenanigan?

- Nobody. Whoever truly found the key to philosophy stopped to be a philosopher to become a mystic... And we do not study mysticism in faculty.

- Oh no! No way! Well, to be fair, we sometimes talk about people like Gandhi, or some saints who have philosophized, but never as mystics.

-... But to find our way in philosophy without the spiritual light is like trying to understand cars without ever talking about drivers. One could study their technical evolution, make statistics on their movements, and even scientifically deduce the road code from their interactions. But we would never get access to their purpose, to the experience of freedom of the driver. This is what happens with the official philosophy: speculations, assumptions, extrapolations, contradictory systems, an unfinished building site without plan, a big mess in short, with no overall understanding and never any solid ground.

- Stop it you are totally destroying my work! Already it's a pain to repeat the second year...

- You still have to admit that you did not lose your time at the university. Some things will be useful to you. Everything is not bad: there are a lot of good philosophers, or good ideas. But none took off. Or if they did, they automatically passed out of sight, above the visibility ceiling of the official teaching, leaving there only his unfinished job. Look: we talk about people like Victor Hugo, as a writer. But never as a Mystic. Did you learn in high school that Victor Hugo had spiritualistic communications with his dead son? That he was interested in astral travel? That he was against war and armies? That his spiritual insights and his humanism have underpinned all his work as a writer?

«But let's go back to free will. According to the physics of the television, then, no possible free will for the matter of which we would be solely constituted. Do you understand that in these conditions, in order for free will to exist, we must get out of any material determinism? If so, then thought and consciousness must exist out of matter, and in addition they must have an influence on it?

- Parapsychology?

- I am wary of parapsychology as we hear of it today, but if you agree, the influence of thought on matter must be observable, at least sometimes. Even if we were not yet able to scientifically prove strong things like levitation, for instance. But the mere fact that free will exists necessarily implies that our thought also exists outside of matter, since matter is unable to provide any genuine free will.

- It's a plot from God, then. Damned! I am surrounded. It's interesting what you say, I'll think about it, but you see, it will not prevent me from sleeping tonight, especially since it's late, Mr. Guru. Good night, then.

«Good night», Marc answers gently, smiling mysteriously.

This discussion, if it did not angered Brigitte, did not upset her either. She would even quickly forget it, like any of those thousand useless conversations which fill our time, without what happened just afterwards. One does not change a fundamental orientation in life, for some arguments exchanged around a table full of stacks of posters, the back against a Ronéo printer. But why is it that this very night came back her childhood dream from the ice planet with mysterious furrows?

Brigitte, amazed, went up at once on her bed in her dark room, and she still contemplates the image just so strongly imprinted in her mind. It does not look like Ganymede, in fact, but rather like Miranda, the satellite of Uranus, with more irregular furrows. In any case at the time of this story, no Human could have imagined Miranda.

As often in dreams, various impressions, often ineffable (not describable with words, unknown from the current experience, but yet very alive, very real) come to colour this vision. How to explain this? There is something about her with this asteroid? Presences live around? Who are they? What a strange mixture of joy and sadness... How all this is confused, incomprehensible, in comparison with the crystalline clarity of the image. So precise that three days later she will still be able to draw a map on her dream book, with the ten main craters, the area with the strangely entangled furrows, roughly an equilateral triangle, just below the equator, plus a crack which extends to the southwest and disappears behind the limb.

The return of this dream is perceived by Brigitte as a kind of signal. Yes, but a signal of what? What is the meaning of such a vision? In which way can her destiny as an unknown little Earthling be of concern with this distant ice world?

Unable to answer any of these questions, Brigitte resolves to continue her life of ecology activist, as if nothing had happened. The not always pleasant discussions do not prevent the group from working and doing a good job... Unfortunately, this work is effective only in the realm of the ideas, because for now the ecological movement cannot do little more than campaigning, distribute leaflets, organize debates and conferences.

Two doubts remain in Brigitte's mind. The first: does ecology represent the ideal as a way of seeing the world, or imagining a better world? Anyway she finds nothing else which can get closer to it. Ecology is beautiful. Ecology is clean. Ecology is life. Ecology, as a philosophy, is a powerful help for solving the problems of the world.

The second doubt: Are they really effective at helping other Earthlings to become aware? Certainly, the discussions around the stands or in the premises clearly show that more and more people are interested in ecology or in a better world. They are doing a great work. Unfortunately, it is only a drop in the ocean! Let us not forget that at the time of this story, ecology in France is in a low tide. As for finding ecologist groups in the immense masses of misery and ignorance of the Third World, or in the vast bunkers of the soviet world, there is no hope...

Brigitte, aware of this fact, is worried. Never at such a pace, as meritorious as it may be, will consciousness be able to win the race against death. As for finding a way to go faster, she is still at zero. She opens her mind to Monique, who tries to reassure her:

«But yes we are doing a great job. Ecology will recover. The so-called eco-newspapers which denigrate it are sinking down. The outings we do are very nice, and they attract more and more people.» Brigitte feels a little uncomfortable: Monique's arguments to reassure her are just arguments to reassure themselves; they bring no understanding of the problem, no solution, no way to change things.

For Brigitte, Monique is much more the typical ecologist than Marc. Marc is a scientist full of knowledge and analysis to make things clear; but with Monique no need for so much speech: her enticing smile is enough. She smiled so much that the first wrinkles are actually «in the right place», giving a feeling of a perpetual contentment. She is in the right, Monique, when she sings while trotting in the room, her little glasses dangling on her nose, in search of a documentation; she is in the right when, seeing you arriving, her face suddenly lights up, an then she always gives you some charming attention or pleasant jest; she is in the right, and moreover she is beautiful when, in the public debates, with her high pitched voice she squeaks anathemas against the polluters and the complicit administrations: «All slackers! All irresponsible!» She is true during her outings when with a gesture of the arm she discovers in front of you a superb panorama while commenting: «look at that if it is beautiful!» Or when, silent and motionless behind a grassy knoll, the binoculars on her nose, she suddenly shudders and whispers, «That's a great woodpecker» or «It must be teals».

Yet Monique's reassuring words further increase Brigitte's anguish. Neither she nor Monique can see a solution to the drama which is unfolding on Earth. Brigitte comes to understand these idealists who resorted to terrorism. But this cannot be the solution: for a corrupt head of state eliminated, ten other perverse candidates arise immediately. So what to do? Continue the militant work. Period. End?

The end of the year is an active period for the band, where Brigitte often meets Marc. She is careful not to continue the discussion on the mystical stuff, but Marc takes initiatives in the group. At a meeting, the discussion rolls on Happiness:

«It is very important, for feeling good, to be relaxed, without tensions. It is a way of getting back in touch with your body, disconnecting from stress, re-harmonizing with nature.

- It's not mystical stuff, at least? Monique worries, while murmurs approve her.

- No no not at all. It's quite scientifically explainable, he answers with a curious light in his eyes. During relaxation, the brain emits alpha waves, in the electroencephalogram, which tend to bring rest. We feel good, we are more receptive to the harmonious things of life, less conflictual. When we are stressed, or even just concerned, we are tense, the muscles are blocked, and the toxins accumulate. The brain emits beta waves, which are faster.

- In short, the alpha is good and the beta is bad?

- No, do not exaggerate, I did not say that the beta is bad, but for the brain to remain in good condition, we need to take some time into alpha rhythm.

Brigitte observes this discussion without getting involved.

«The best way to realize this is to try, right? I propose that we gather together at the Foyer Rural, where we did the General Meeting of the association, and that whose who are interested come for a relaxation course. Michel you could also come to show your Tai Chi and other alternative medicine stuff!

- Oh this is a good idea! At least we would live it, instead of just talking about it!

- This will be nice, because in the Foyer we feel really good! In nature and everything! Do you remember the evening after the general meeting?

- We can take two days, or more...»

This is how, in the beginning of a sunny July, the entire team meets at the Foyer, former castle stables in a vast park of trees and greenery, cleverly and beautifully arranged by a group which rents it for courses, seminars and other meetings. They ask only a very low price for the ecologists.

In the great hall, joyful bursts of voices intersect amidst bird songs and breezes in the trees; through the large arched and small squares windows comes a still soft morning sun and a deliciously fresh air: Marc made everyone get up at six, and the first session begins before breakfast. What a pleasant feeling of lightness!

The big moment is arrived. The silence sets gradually. First surprise, it is Yolande, the companion of Marc, who guides the relaxation. Yes, the discreet Yolande, always silent, who sometimes accompanies Marc in the outings, reveals herself an expert in relaxation and other do-in, perfectly at ease and sure of herself, with her soft voice, serious and with a nice timbre. Ten minutes later the first snoring testifies about her mastery!

Those who do not sleep feel good, light, happy. Yolande and Marc pass among the lying bodies, lifting legs, then letting them fall, in order to feel the degree of relaxation. Some do not succeed. She whispers amiably: «The first time is normal! Look, your leg must be soft like a rag doll.»

For Brigitte: «You're doing well, just a little stiffness in the shoulders.» To see, she pulls her arm vertically, and lets it down: «You see! Just a little in the shoulder!

- But I never did!

- It happens that some people know naturally.

- My parents always said I was contracted!

- The proof that not.» She smiles at her and passes to the neighbour.

For the sleepers, it is not necessarily a failure: Suzanne and Jean will remember a strange and beautiful dream, the same for both! While they meet for the first time. Not for the last time, probably...

The three days of the course alternate relaxation, healing massages, do-in, Tai Chi, games and small joyful musical evenings. What a good atmosphere! Despite a dispute between Eric and Monique everything is good, life flows. We are far from the arid militant discussions, yet this life they learn to enjoy is a new way, and they will be stronger at defending it...

Several times Monique or others tickle Marc: «And so, when do they come, the recruiters of your sect?»

He answers in the same amused tone:

«Do not worry, they are already there, stashed in the false ceilings with bazookas. You have no chance of escaping them.»

xxx During the last session, Yolande, instead of going through the ranks to advise, finishes her guidance with a sentence: «Now try, without forcing, in full relaxation, to think of nothing but a rose and its perfume. I let you try for a moment.»

Brigitte tries the exercise... small surprise of suddenly feeling more lucid, perfectly aware not only of the flower and its beauty, but also... this is that, life: to fully enjoy Beauty, to leave it to express itself, to admire it... To be an admirer, to be only admiration, without any other thought interfering or taking precedence. The whole universe exists only to be aware of its own beauty.

It excites her so much that she gets agitated, dissipating this wonderful state of consciousness.

Shortly after the end, Brigitte tries to call Marc, or Yolande, who cannot be found. This is because everybody is about to leave: tidying the premises, picking personal belongings, signing checks... Just a moment Brigitte sees Marc, and calls him: «Marc! Maaarc!

- Yes?

- I...» Brigitte suddenly does not know what to say!

«It went well, the relaxation?

- Oh yes, especially the exercise with the flower! It was great! I had the feeling... How to say? that the whole universe...

- This is good. It is a very good exercise. You can do it alone, if you want. Just be careful that it is not just a reverie, that it is really a relaxation, or something with the whole universe, as you said. He smiles at her warmly, then: excuse me, but I have to leave now». And he leaves there Brigitte somewhat disconcerted...





For the third and last time, Brigitte finds herself in her Grandma's Home.

We expect that she resumes her presence exercises on a new basis! She does a lot of relaxation. First, as Yolande taught her, she releases one by one all her muscles, including those of the face and the skull. Then she relaxes her mind: to think at nothing, not to have any particular feeling. It is much more difficult to do it herself alone, because the parasitic thoughts come to taunt or to seduce her. But it is useless to fight, we just do not grasp at them, and look at them as a spectator. Finally, as for the rose, she chooses a subject of admiration, but in her immediate environment: the garden, birds, trees, water. Each time new revelations spring out!

It is a very good time for Brigitte. Despite her long relaxations, she is more than ever active in the home, in the kitchen, in the garden, somewhat neglected this year: Grandma is no longer young. She even had a phone line installed, out of caution. It is that Grandma's life has not always been easy, and with age she feels it... But she never complains and never let a word.

Grandma asks no questions when Brigitte lies on a blanket in the shade of the oak, or when, imitating Yolande, she sits cross-legged for half an hour, before starting to garden. Once, Grandma is looking for Brigitte, calling her to ask for a little something, but, arriving at the corner of the house, she discovers her sitting like this: «Oh excuse me, Doe. I did not know you were there. I leave you.» Simple respect, or complicity?

Like last year, Grandma lets her do what she wants, just showing the most urgent work. Fortunately Brigitte remembers some story with her caretaker and this time she is more considerate with her Grandma. When the television grumbles, she just goes in the woods or in her room.

Brigitte has enough to fill her dreams book: several times beautiful landscapes of flowers appear to her. The leaded sky also comes back once. She flies off, hits this strange cover of clouds and... A hatch opens in it, towards an obscure and mysterious top. But she closes it immediately, not feeling ready yet to face this unknown. This very particular dream, meticulous in the details, certainly has a precise meaning, but which one?


At a moment, Brigitte asks Grandma: «I must have had a beginning of sunstroke, or something like that.» Nothing like that to make the heart of a grandmother leap: «How's that, my Doe? How do you feel?

- Not much, actually, but it came back several times. It is weird: It is as if someone is touching me in the middle of the forehead.

- Aaah that, Doe, nothing to do with sunstroke. Not at all.» She makes her most beautiful smile, declaring very calmly: «It is the finger of God.

- What?

- Perfectly, Doe. It is the finger of God. He has chosen you, and now it is time for you to listen to Him and follow Him on the path that He has shown you.

- But...

- Yes perfectly.

- You know I'm atheist like a banker.

- Ah ah! Well, not Him.

- And who brought you something like that?

- Oh that was my priest, when I was at catechism! It was a long time ago, you guess, but I remember well. He was a good curé, who even had been in the orders, a Franciscan, a true priest who had faith, and who knew how to give it to the kids as we were, not one of those degenerate priests who only command with a whip! Once I remember he had told us about the saints, and the saints, once, it was in the Middle Ages, it happened that to them. And in the convents too, it was a sign that we were on the path of holiness.

- Oh, damn, then I'm going to be holy. I will be canonified.

- Canonized, Doe. We say to canonize. But you're not there yet, it's far not enough! It should not get up in y'r head, my dear, these stories. Besides, I should not had told you about it. I would like to say more, but I'm told I must not, that we must still wait. In any case, to arrive, we must be modest, my Doe, MODEST and humble. If the head is too big, the halo does not hold on it. There are many called and few elected. You must do a lot of prayer, much more than you do.

- But I do not pray!

- Well, when you're sitting in a lotto in the garden or under the tree.

- But it is not prayer, it is relaxation! I learned this with the ecologists!

- It's the same family, recognize.

- Oh, well. This is new. Ah! But tell me, Grandma, to be a saint you still have the right to eat your excellent apple pies?

- Hmmm I don't know. We'll see that.»

Despite this apparent humour, Brigitte is in fact clearly intrigued. These coincidences can not be entirely due to chance. Already Marc saw her meditate. Who told Mother Grand that she sits «in a lotto»? And who advises Mother Grand on what is appropriate or not to tell to Brigitte? Marc? She never met him. So who? In any case this «one» seems well informed about Brigitte's thoughts ... Troubling.

In any case, she refuses to live under the control of a supreme being, getting out of the imagination of the priests, and who would have all the power on her. That the religious of the past, by exercises similar to relaxation, have met certain realities of consciousness, she can admit, but this does not allow any form of submission or dogmatism.







Stranded on Earth        Chapter 5       


Scenario, graphics, sounds, colours, realization: Richard Trigaux.

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