The Rubicon

The Rubicon

A psycho-philosophical treatise on border crossings
Lady Susan V.E.A.M.

Who or what is the Rubicon?

Everyone knows that others might say!

Sometimes, especially on a Sunday walk where the children were allowed to wear the latest jeans or the great new sneakers, you can hear the following words from very excited parents:

“Don’t run across this wet field now, otherwise the Rubicon will really have been crossed!”


“Hopefully he will refrain from mentioning this or that, otherwise he has actually crossed the Rubicon this time!”


“What’s on her mind, coming to this meeting even 1 minute late and then this greeting, she probably doesn’t know who is standing in front of her? How can this continue after she has already crossed the Rubicon at least twice before and upon her arrival?!”

In the period from 49 BC. began the Roman civil war, which Gaius Julius Caesar led against Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus.

Historically, the Rubicon was a border river between the Roman province of Gallia Cisalpina and Italy proper.

After the Senate on January 7, 49 BC. According to tradition, when he, Gaius Julius Caesar, decided that in order to be allowed to run for the consulship again, he would first have to dismiss his entire army and lay down his empire, Caesar crossed the border on January 10, 49 BC. BC with his troops the Rubicon.

“Alea iacta est!”

Caesar is said to have called. This world-famous quote literally means:

“The die has been thrown!”

One has to imagine what the dismissal of his army and the dissolution of his empire would have meant to him.

He would have had to relinquish all of his command over Gaul and Illyria.

An expression of weakness. With such a reputation, how could he have stood as a candidate before the consulate?

It is clear to all of us that this was an extremely great provocation for Gaius Julius Caesar.

A stupid provocation?

What provocation is not stupid?

Isn’t politics done that often? – In large and small ways? –

In the best-case scenario, this creates diplomatic complications. In the worst case scenario, wars, we all know that.

The armed crossing of the border river Rubicon by Gaius Julius Caesar was once again a provocative response for the Senate.

Yes, this armed crossing of the border river towards the south and thus towards Rome was a clear declaration of war on the Roman Senate.

Caesar was obviously very aware of this and furthermore that from now on, from this point on, there was no turning back, otherwise he would not have made the documented exclamation: – “alea iacta est!”

Rubicon speech

The implementation of the principles I have stated today can have

a far-reaching effect on us all.

I believe that we are crossing the Rubicon today.

There can be no turning back.

….and so on…

President Pieter Willem Botha

August 15, 1985

The then South African President gave this speech at the Durban City Hall during a meeting of the Natal Provincial National Party. It was about apartheid, i.e., racial separation in South Africa.

However, as we also know, the quote: “alea iacta est” was the inspiration for the president’s speech, but he did not announce any substantial changes in his speech.

This resulted in turbulence in the financial and stock markets and, above all, a further deterioration in socio-economic conditions. Especially because the domestic and foreign policy expectations that had arisen beforehand were not fulfilled.

Today, the speech, which was so politically formative for Botha, is seen as one of his greatest failures and, ultimately, the announcement of a Rubicon speech, which it was not, as a synonym for the individual and collective dealings with the apartheid system in South Africa’s history.

We know today that it was a window dressing with devastating consequences.

However, Gaius Julius Caesar’s saying is ultimately true here too – “alea iacta est!”

Whether an announced border crossing that is not carried out or a border crossing that has been carried out, there are always devastating consequences from which there is no turning back. However, we should not overlook the fact that an announced border crossing that is not carried out is in itself a border crossing.

How’s that?

For the last thing listed, we only need to change the context, the basis.


The basis, the context in which we judge an action leads us to a conclusion (Latin: conclusio). A conclusion is a “conclusion” for, in logic, several closely related facts.

As a result, it is always the person themselves, the recipient of a message, who has the responsibility to judge the actions of the sender. The recipient’s assessment now depends on his basis and his understanding. His assumptions and his own value system play an important role.

There are, of course, social conventions that dictate the basis for judgment.

Now we know how a border crossing, a crossing of the Rubicon, occurs.

We first need a named, claimed, contested and so “recognized” basis.

If the individual or socially designated basis is not recognized by at least one side (sender or receiver), there is no point in dispute (it takes at least two people to argue) and therefore, in the sense of “crossing the Rubicon”, there is no need to turn back.

However, if the basis is perceived the same by both sides, one should ask oneself what causes one to cross a boundary of the other that one also recognizes.

Is this due to the sender’s own value system, which does not show them to respect others and therefore their own recognized boundaries?

As we know, it is unfortunately much more common for us to treat ourselves and/or others without respect.

This can then only lead to what we call trouble or even war.

So if there is no need to go back, we are closer to life, because life knows no way back.

Real life knows recognition, respect, respect for things, facts, circumstances or rather recognition of being.

So what often lures us into the Rubicon trap?

It is the non-recognition of life, the lack of respect for ourselves and others.

More than that, it is the lack of clarity and, above all, the lack of respect, the lack of recognition of our own being and the being of others, on a large and small scale.

Treating each other with respect requires that we listen, that we try to understand ourselves and those around us.

Then the Rubicon is no longer a border river but simply a river that flows like life itself.

As we know, you can only cross each river once because, as the name suggests, the water flows and has already changed again the second time you cross it.

“The only constant thing is change!”

“The only constant is change,” as the pre-Socratic philosophers already knew how to say.

With clarity and respect for ourselves, for others, for life itself, we no longer need to be afraid of boundaries and no longer need to act against life because we might want to “go back” and thus counteract life would.

There is no “back” in nature!

Lady Susan V.E.A.M.