Philosophy in a time of tribulation – Part 3

A crisis is an intensified form of obtaining personal, or rather collective, consciousness

Philosophy in a time of tribulation – Part 3

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Crisis: I decide or I am?

It is often said that a crisis is an intensified form of obtaining personal, or rather collective, consciousness.  It can be compared to a period of intense upheaval for the personality, an expropriation of the ego.

In this context we are reminded of the etymological meaning of the word.  The word ‘crisis’ is derived from the Greek word ‘krino’, which means ‘I decided’, or ‘it is decided for me’.  At first glance, it appears that the ‘I’ does not in fact have a lot of choice in such dramatic and confusing times.  On the contrary, is there any freedom or definitive choices the ‘I’ can make in times of crisis?

Indeed, a crisis demands the utmost of a seeker on the path to truth.  It will put the greatest of tensions on the individuals’ inner balance.  Just consider for instance, the impact a pandemic can have on the economic and financial security for ourselves and our loved ones, when we have to weather the storm of potential job losses or business failure.

In recent history there have been many crisis situations that are comparable in intensity to the present world pandemic situation.  The Spanish flu, the financial crisis, and climate change, are a few that come to mind.  Often we have seen that the positive outcomes that could potentially have materialised from such crisis’, have failed to appear because the ‘I’ remained in charge, and therefore nothing changed, and the situation could be said to have remained ‘corrupt’.  An ancient cheeky rhyme comes to mind to reflect this:

They drank a glass, they peed, and everything remained as it was.


According to the Bulgarian philosopher, Peter Deunov (1864-1944), as difficult as it may be, from a spiritual perspective, a crisis places the human being at a turning point.  It can be said that a crisis opens the door for a new opportunity, a new direction.

Up until that point in time, because of the dominance of the ‘I’, the soul could not blossom, but remained enclosed like a bud.  However, in the new period whose door is being opened by the influence of a crisis, the ‘I’ is being pushed aside, and the soul is given the opportunity to awaken from sleep.  Deunov calls this

the opening and blossoming of the human soul,

one of the greatest events in our universe.

Peter Deunov also reminds us of the origin of the word ‘I’.  He derived this conclusion from his studies of the ‘Ostrogoths’ who lived in what is now part of Bulgaria, and particularly their well know bishop Wulfila (311-383), who compiled the first Bible translation from the old Greek to Goth.  This Gothic Bible is the only surviving primal document that gives insight into the origin of the Germanic languages in Europe. In his translation, Wulfila concluded that the Goth word ‘Ik’ came from the first letters of Iesu Krist (Jesus Christ).  From this origin, the German ‘Ich’, the English ‘I’, and the Dutch ‘Ik’ all evolved.  Perhaps it is also no coincidence that in both English and Danish, ‘I’ is still written with a capital.

He who allows the Power of Christ to speak within him, and who chooses to follow that voice, will walk a different path to one who is blindly driven by their self maintaining ego. Such a person does not become obstinate in the face of their personal survival being challenged, but rather through acceptance and insight, radiates a calm, harmonious, and unifying force of Love.

Iesu Krist does not bring the way of ‘I decide my future’ into this world of tribulation, but the power of self-surrender, of ‘I-lessness’.  It is a force that is absolutely not of this world, and it builds a bridge between the stone hard ‘I centrality’, and the blossoming Divine Soul within man.

This Power of Christ is beautifully expressed in the Gospel of John:

I am the bread of life (6:35)

I am the Light of the world (8:12)

I am the gate for the sheep (10:7)

I am the good shepherd (10:11)

I am the resurrection and the life (11:25)

I am the way, the truth, and the life (14:6)

I am the true vine (15:1)


To be continued in part 4

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Date: January 1, 2021
Author: Dick van Niekerk (Netherlands)
Photo: Pixabay CCO

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