On December 24, 1968, while Christians were preparing to celebrate the birth of the Redeemer of this world dog, astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders orbited the Moon 10 times aboard the Apollo 8. They were the first to see Earth as a beautiful blue ship, sailing in solitude on the black background of the universe. With that cosmic image, which was broadcast by all televisions, the commander of the Apollo 8Frank Borman congratulated Earthlings on Christmas by reading the opening verses of the book of Genesis. “In the beginning God created heaven and earth. And the earth was disorderly and empty, and the darkness was over the bottom of the abyss, and the Spirit of God moved over the waters. ” Humanity could hear the voice of the cosmonaut, arriving from space, which poured these biblical words with a hoarse sound on the delicacies, the turkey, the baked sea bream and the pularda prepared for Christmas Eve dinner.
In 1968, this Earth, which humans could observe for the first time from the sofa, was still disordered, as noted in the first verse of Genesis, but that year transcendental events occurred that deviated the course of contemporary history. In that blue ship, napalm was being thrown at large over the defenseless towns of Vietnam in an endless war, which returned to the ports of California the corpses of the American soldiers packed in plastic bags. With the defeat of the world’s most powerful army at the hands of ragged civilians, the wars of occupation ended forever.
In that blue ship, in April 1968, on Mulberry Street in Memphis, Martin Luther King, leader of the black Civil Rights movement, was shot dead by “a well-dressed white man”, who shot him from a hotel across the street with a Remington-Peters rifle and, as a result, entire neighborhoods of major North American cities began to burn. At the Olympic Games, which were held in Mexico that summer, the Power of the Black Panthers made an appearance before the world. As the United States anthem played, African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos atop the podium lowered their heads and raised their fists clad in a black glove.
In 1968, in Paris, the students of the Universities of Nanterre and the Sorbonne established the great feast of rebellion against their old teachers. The French May was just a campfire that lasted what it took for the flames to turn to ash, but from then on nothing was the same. A new way of being free, of loving, of creating, of seeing the sea under the asphalt was inaugurated under the glow of the fire. The student rebellion spread through all the universities of the West as a rite that inaugurated a new era, but in Mexico City freedom was aborted with the massacre of the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, in which the army massacred Hundreds of students shooting at them from rooftops. The Earth was still messy. In 1968, Soviet tanks entered Czechoslovakia to crush the Prague Spring.
Life was, as Samuel Beckett said, a chaos between two silences, but in that blue ship, which traveled around the sun at 30 kilometers per second, the Beatles sang Hey jude and all the follies were admitted. Indeed, the darkness was on the beam of the abyss and in the midst of them humans believed themselves gods, but before the cosmic image of the Apollo 8 they saw themselves as outside the placenta, the umbilical cord with Mother Earth broken, and from that out-of-body vision, a new measure of things was installed in the collective consciousness, a different way of understanding the world, with the perception of the miracle , of the weakness and insignificance of life. This image was the first germ of globalization and ecology. Nothing that was not planetary and universal would have made sense since then. All the dreams of humanity began to shoot towards the galaxies, including theology, and at the same time they inserted into the bottom of our brain an unavoidable omen: in this fragile blue ship in which we are forcibly embarked, there are no first class passengers. The Apocalypse does not admit privileges. Either we all save ourselves or we will all perish.