Story 7 - Unity.
He never answered me. By this time we had arrived in Frankfurt.
As soon as I got off the plane everything that the man had said became confirmed. I telephoned Tony, who had stayed with Sylvia in the hospital. He confirmed that Sylvia was fine and was recovering in post-op. He said that she would be back home before I would be back myself.
Steve's answer, too, reflected what the man had said. He told me that the Soviet's were not eager to start a war at this stage. He heard this from official channels. Nor did the Soviet's believe that this partial collapse of the West's financial system could be seen as a sign that the West, itself, was about to collapse. Thus, the
Cold War stalemate continued, as it had for all those years already. At least, that's the way Steve saw things. He also insisted that I should have seen that too.
Steve had brought a newspaper to the park where we met. We met at his favorite bench in the middle of a great lawn. He pretended to discuss the newspaper with me.
"Peter, Peter, why did you travel half way around the world just for that?" he greeted me while he looked at me across the top of his glasses and smiled. "Did you come to hear me telling you what you already know?" He reached his hand out. "It is so nice to see you again," he added. "Still, you could have saved yourself the trouble."
"The President of the United States of America wants to have your assessment as to what kind of dangers we are in, because of the financial breakdown, and how that is perceived in the Soviet Union?" I
had said to Steve. "The President is scared. The first strike option is on the table to preempt a possible Soviet first strike in response to our weakness."
Steve just shook his head and laughed when I told
him that. "If this wasn't so serious, it would be funny," he said. "The man is insane and incompetent. There is no economic crisis unfolding, and much less a strategic one, and he wants to throw nuclear weapons around. Tell me, what do you see on the economic front?" he asked. "You are an economist as much as I am, in the way had talked about that before. You understand as well as I do that without love in society, there is no economy. So, how much love is there? And how much greed do you see? Greed and poverty corrupt society and destroy the foundation for its physical existence, which love would build. So, Peter, how far the pendulum swung towards greed and poverty and away from love?"
I told him that I saw a lot of evidence for both poles being represented. I still saw a lot of love in society, even though I saw a strong trend towards greed and poverty that may some day rule the world.
"There is your answer," said Steve. "Greed causes people to steal from each other's living, and as a consequence, people die inwardly as human beings and the economy disintegrates as a consequence. Poverty has the same effect. I corrupts people into becoming greedy, just to be able to survive, and so they are corrupted. Yes, Peter, I agree, we can all see a lot of that happening now. And we see the results. The economies are collapsing, and the financial system that represents them becomes more and more a hollow shell. And what do see on the other side, Peter? Is there any love left in society that reflects the humanity of human beings, the humanity that powers the economies in which people enrich one another's existence and their world and their civilization? Is that all gone?"
"It's diminishing," I replied, "but there is also a lot of it left."
"So, there's your answer. Tell your President that he's not facing an economic crisis yet. But warn him, that if the collapse is continuing, as it most likely will, since nobody acts to turn the thing around, we will face a major civilizational crisis in a about a dozen years. If people are corrupted by greed and by poverty, their life dies, and with it dies the substance of their love that powers the economy. Consequently the economy collapses and the financial system becomes so hollowed out that it eventually disintegrates into thin air. Puff, and its gone. Tell that to your President."