It came as a shock because, honestly, some part of me expected her to live forever. Of all the human mortals I've met, who but Barbara Marx Hubbard might? Though twenty three years my senior, I constantly envied her physical and mental vitality. It wasn't that she never tired, became depressed, or succumbed to frustration, but with a nap, a glass of wine, or especially a good conversation she rallied, resurrecting herself like clockwork.
In the end, it was an accident. She fell -- literally fell to her knees, or was brought to them, in a posture of metaphysical supplication that characterized the commitment of her life and being to the Absolute Divine as literally as anything could have.
She was an Icon, a symbol, a person closely linked to an idea. Barbara's idea always was and always will be the Conscious Evolution of Humanity. Nothing could distract her from that idea and she wore it everywhere, in every situation as her defining lens on reality, shaping and re-focusing all encounters with people, events, and information so they would fit. Most of us have never seen such devotion to a vision.
She was an Icon, a memetic Mother of Social Invention who we could feel, even when we could not always make sense of, or put solid ground under the vision she ceaselessly expressed. As a friend for twenty seven years, and my next door neighbor for 6 of those, she occasionally confided her confusion and dismay that she wasn't as "famous" as some of her autopoietic colleagues in the consciousness movement and marketplace. Like most of us she deeply doubted herself, at the same time overcoming that doubt with a zealous intention to triumph through the sheer will of her hunger for grandeur. She played full court, resented being left out, or of missing any opportunity to communicate her message.
Barbara was ambitious in a way that comes from worshipping and also feeling diminished by a business tycoon father who made the family fortune in the Marx Toy company, a prototypical capitalist of his era who had ties to high ranking politicians and captains of industry which he shared sometimes with a young, precocious Barbara. She was weaned on privilege and high place, attracted to men of both true and impersonated stature for the rest of her life. But a role model that would have been taken at face value by a son, was transformed by the intractable Anima of the daughter into a capitalism of the psyche. It was not money and its power that she cared for -- Barbara sought after the kind of power that could only be gained from spinning in her prolific and clever mind a Story that, to her, unveiled the meaning of of everything.
Make no mistake about the complexity of this woman. She brought us into her Story and with its language filled our mouths and hearts. There was never a greater champion and cheerleader of the unknown women on the listening end of group phone festivals who, along with the famous men, were her loyal followers. She digested our collective greatness so voraciously that we could bite off a little chunk for ourselves and actually taste it. Sometimes she could be fickle, narcissistic, insensitive. She was a magnificent enigma, embodying the vast and varied potentials of a Master Plan because, after, all, what could be more complex than the evolution of humanity?
Barbara Marx Hubbard was an Icon, in the ancient, religious definition of that word -- a work of art so imbued because of its magical capacity to serve as a window to heaven, a doorway to the sacred, an interfacing portal to the transcendent cosmic ineffability that ideally expresses itself constantly in, through, and as us, and all that we experience and know... but slips through our fingers as we drop again and again into the duality of the human condition.
Barbara was able, somehow, to hold her own consciousness on that precipice between worlds -- I believe she planted her flag there in order to demonstrate to us that it could be done.