The public debate about Lance Armstrong in 2012 and 2013 was a prime example of why it is important to gain insight into ‘the darkness’. Not that Lance is an evil man, certainly not. The darkness was mainly apparent in a certain aspect of the cycling circus, and how personally he rationalised and behaved to fit into that. An apt metaphor for the entire society in an age that is grinding to a halt.
Once again many preachers of Love & Light were inclined to devote no attention whatsoever to ‘the Lance Armstrong case’: ‘Let’s be positive and aim for the future.’ Within the sports world there were also people who wondered if that cesspit had to be opened up at all. Even more so, the independent anti-doping institute USADA was pestered by many during their hunt for Armstrong and his outfit, or rather, their hunt for the truth. Yet if USADA has made one thing abundantly clear, it is the correctness of that endeavour. Through their tenacity, and savoir faire, and with the law on their side the truth could be revealed.
The unmasking brought about a great deal. Suspicions or witness reports may add up, but a medialized full frontal confirmation such as this really stirs things up. Now we had to develop the insight that this is what happens if you give the ego the upper hand, in this case in the form of greed, and a hunger for status and power. Pretty much sums up the Age of Pisces as well. Such an actual insight into how destructive these mechanisms work out is very important for our learning process. A widely admired public hero such as Lance tumbling from his pedestal creates a much stronger shock wave, than say, yet another dishonest big time banker that nobody ever heard of. His fall from grace hits home, and mirrors our own personal issues. On a side-note, the case also helped to point out the relativity of our admiration for sports heroes.
Lance’s downfall is essential for us as it enables us to understand how the outdated spirit of the times (used to) work, the central destructive force being competition. Early 2013 on Oprah Winfrey’s television-show he confirmed that he was indeed capable of anything to stay ahead of his opponents in a match, repress his teammates, and break and destroy his opponents in the doping case. He was un-bear-able (his own words), extremely manipulative, leaving a trail of destruction where ever he went. No heart or empathy was involved whatsoever as all had to give way to his thirst for success.
Benjamin Creme therefore rightfully states that competition, separation, and commercialism represent the Evil in the world. Those three are destroying us and our world. The darkness is in our way of thinking, and therefore within all of us. However, if you gain insight therein, and learn to control and consequently apply it, that darkness will never step forward again. This is why it is such a good thing that so much is coming to the surface. A lot like a therapy that provides insight into your actions, enabling you to change patterns you have become accustomed to because you have become aware of them, confronting you with the question: is this really what I want? If the answer is ‘no’, then you can start to change.
Insight begets awareness, and heartfelt insights are always forgiving: ‘Who ever is without sin, they shall throw the first stone’, as Jesus already put it. This is why the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa was so very important (as one element in the restorative justice). Only once there is insight into what has happened and how this could come about, can the wounds start to heal. Ultimately it is never about punishing those responsible. The common process is what it is all about: to forgive and to jointly walk a new path together. Most ‘criminals’ are therefore once more members of their society.
Back to Lance: consider that his downfall concerns us all. Yet our one-sided legal system focusses only on ‘the perpetrator that must be punished’. Counter this with the focus of reconciliatory legislation: restoring relationships within society, as the entire community is involved. Seeing what he radiated during his interview with Oprah, clearly all is still too fresh and painful, so he was mainly just engaging in damage control. Lance’s insight into his predicament is probably not fully evolved yet. Although he is sorry, he regrets getting caught most of all.
His words seemed to suggest that as well. Asked whether he regretted his return in 2009 (he quit in 2005), he confirmed this, saying that it had been a grave mistake that he regretted tremendously, because if he had not returned to cycling his doping history would never have surfaced the way it did. Someone who is truly remorseful, would say exactly the opposite, expressing joyfully that, although it was painful to get caught, now he could truly come to terms with himself and his surroundings. As mentioned before, perhaps it is still too early for Lance (2013). He will likely need years to rid himself of his old way of thinking and acting. Especially with ego boosters like lawyers, image consultants, and investors surrounding him. Yet it might speed up if he truly ‘broke’ and saw the light.
The darkness must be lifted up. That is why it is so important that affairs come to light. The purpose is not to destroy the person Lance – he is a good man – but the insight we gain into the process that got us here, so we can cooperatively work to heal and renew the society.
We learn from it, it increases our awareness. It shows us a mirror, and stimulates us to head for other directions. His unmasking, and the many other disclosures of the last few years; all are examples of what mankind is going through. Our dark side is not just coming to the light at a whim. It shows itself so we can make it disappear, so we can make a fresh start. Or as HB put it once: ‘The stables of the shadow are being wiped cleaned.’
If the purpose of life is to transform ignorance into insight, then the Lance case is an excellent example. Not so much the subject, but rather how we deal with it. If the intention is to learn from it, then the New Age will become more of a reality. Let us hope that all together we can, with Lance, get closer to ourselves so as to contribute lovingly to a society that lives from the heart.
The gesture of the Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya, late in 2012, was in stark contrast with Armstrong’s behaviour. During a cross-country match he was in second place behind the certain winner Abel Mutai, a bronze medal winner at the London games on the 3.000-meter steeplechase. Mutai was about to finish, but 10 meter before the finish he stopped, thinking that he had already passed the line. Iván noticed this, but stopped short once he got close to him and gestured Abel that he still had a few meters left to run. Within sports Ivan’s reaction was a rare and valuable example for society, saying: ‘I could have won, but Abel was the true winner. I think gestures of honesty are very important, especially if you witness how affairs are dealt with nowadays in football, politics, and society.’