The things that are really for thee gravitate to thee.
O, believe, as thou livest, that every sound that is spoken over the round world, which thou oughtest to hear, will vibrate on thine ear! Every proverb, every book, every byword that belongs to thee for aid or comfort, shall surely come home through open or winding passages. 
Every friend whom not thy fantastic will, but the great and tender heart in thee craveth, shall lock thee in his embrace. 
And this, because the heart in thee is the heart of all; not a valve, not a wall, not an intersection is there anywhere in nature, but one blood rolls uninterruptedly an endless circulation through all men, as the water of the globe is all one sea, and, truly seen, its tide is one.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Over Soul

The precisest map is a hindrance to the first step of a journey. — For more on this, read start.

The second step of our journey now is to turn on the beacon, a word which comes to us originally from the Proto-Indo-European verb “to shine.”

Until recently, a beacon would have been an actual flame. So first we must find our kindling, those bits of dry matter, the shadow of a memory of a living tree.

The splintered shards of the old growth forest of our civilization, the flammable fragments of our once vital, and vitalizing religion — these must be gathered and piled up in the tower.

“Love never fails.”

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”

“Men being by nature, all free, equal and independent, no one can be put out of this estate, and subjected to the political power of another, without his own consent.”

“Jesus loves the little children, all of the children of the world.

“To love truth for truth's sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues.”

“We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject, for both have labored in the search for truth, and both have helped us in finding it.”

There is ample matter, scattered about on the old forest floor — 

ocean of tree trunks, a forest no more.

But the little sticks and dried-out branches, they can still be used to start the flame for the beacon, if sadness is not permitted to well up at the sight of the deceased forest.

Don’t look to closely at it whilst gathering the twigs. Don’t look too closely, O Soul within me.

Sing songs of peace, hum a tune about the sea, and gather the bits of fuel from the old forest, that others will see the beacon and gather here to begin planting it anew.

The dry, cracked dirt surrounding the old oak trunks (giving trees from which we took to much, and gave back too little) will not even drink now when offered water.

“Go away from me, go away,” the parched ground refuses the rain, “go far, far away, lest I be reminded of what majesty I once nourished here, before it was taken away from me.”

And so the water rolls onward, finding its path more quickly to the sea, tarrying no longer in the meadows and marshes around the forest, but rushing right past it all,

“Nobody wants me, get me to the sea. The sea will always take me,”

And so it goes rushing toward the sea.

I do not need to tell you that something is wrong with the world.

I will not light any beacon by writing yet another explanation of our predicament, or offering another theory of how we got here. Less still were I to project a tidy strategy for repair.

“Look at my secret knowledge! If you all just listen to me, we will be saved!”

Nobody wants to hear it. Nobody can bear to hear it anymore, the hollow echoes of attention-seeking charlatans. So we drown out all hope, because it is false hope.

We hear doom, doom, doom.

And after, blame, blame, blame.

What will be solved with this? To what end all this fear, and anger, and gnashing of teeth?

The beacon must be a symbol of hope, and there is no hope in the past. There is no hope in theory, or explanation.

There is hope only in hope itself, for it is only the return of hope that permits the return of action that might lead to the realization of the hope.

Doom and blame leave no room for hope, and thus no room for hopeful action. Doom and blame create a malevolent spirit that is duplicitous even in its single-minded focus on a scapegoat.

“Eliminate the scapegoat!”

The old solution, never final. But the only solution that doom and blame can offer.

Existential bargaining.

Believe it or not, God drives a hard one:

“You must change, dear child,” he says to me, and to you, and to all.

“But it would be so much easier if everyone else would change! If only people would do the obvious, the logical, the righteous thing, I wouldn’t be forced to pay this price of changing myself. It isn’t fair!”

God isn’t negotiating. He never was. But here I am, here you are, still thinking maybe there’s a chance to negotiate.

So hope fades, because God isn’t budging.

The heart hardens, the scapegoat is hated more intensely, and at last the faded hope breathes its last.

Then there is only the prospect of pyrrhic victory.

Children of the Ashes, will this human voice wake you?

Will you see the light I’m lighting up in the tower and say “maybe, maybe, just maybe…”

And then come looking for it, finding me.

Will you come looking for that light with a heart of hope? With a heart that burns for a different, a better, a more beautiful world?

“I want the world to be different, so I will be different!”

“I want the world to be different, so I will do the work!”

Even if nobody else is doing it? I must ask.

I must insist — even if nobody else is doing it?

Even if you show up to the beacon and it’s just me here working while I wait for you, and you arrive, and it is only the two of us — will you still feel like doing the work?

Would you still feel like taking the next step in the oh-too-impossible journey to plant enough gardens for all the little children to be able to play in the grass, smell the fragrance of flowers, eat fruit straight off the tree, as children always did for ages upon ages —

Would you still feel like taking the next step, of building houses, rebuilding old ruins, one by one, day by day until no mother must worry that next month her children might be homeless —

Would you still feel like plunging yourself into a business venture that is needed to bring in the cash necessary to pry lands out of the greedy fingers of those parasites who have hoarded our world’s resources, who do not care whether those worried mothers live or die, whether their children live or die —

If it is just the two of us when you arrive, will you keep leaping into the faithful promise that goodness multiplies, that the tiniest of seeds can eventually become a tremendous plant —

I should hope it is not just the two of us, by the time that you make it.

I hope that many begin the journey to the beacon, and that several shall actually arrive so that we can make common cause to breathe life back into the dry ground of our culture as much as of our forests — that many will have made the trek in the hope of finding others whose first questions aren’t “but what’s in it for me?” “what do i get right now if I signup?”

It probably won’t be just the two of us.

There are so many like us out there — so many more than you think.

The last time I lit the beacon, I was farther away. People were more confused. The world had not yet clarified its true condition.

But still so many came, with so little on offer, and so much more seemingly on offer from the world.

So I know this time even more will show up. Even more people will say “here I am! Where can I help?"

You’ll come for your own reasons. 

To make friends. 

To cure boredom. 

To go an adventure. 

To meet the love of your life.  

To make a name for yourself

To find a place to be, and ways to be helpful.

To change your context as part of changing yourself.

To learn to let go of expectations and really live.

You will come and be exposed to new ideas, new opportunities, and varied habits and manners of living, and if my experience can be relied upon to predict — you will find a deeper sense of belonging than you might ever have imagined:  in part because of, and in part transcending the differences and novelties.

I can say that as long as I am involved, the on guarantee I can make is that nobody will leave unchanged and unchallenged by the experiences that lay ahead.

“Everyone must be responsible for their own success."

Why is that?

Because success and failure are subjective conditions. There are competing subjective perspectives on conditions — one person’s success is another’s failure and vice versa.

Thus, as success is defined in the subjective, only the subject has any agency over the qualities of the outcome — and remains the final judge within the subject’s own realm of thought.

Each of us is stuck with ourselves.

When we come together, we owe each other the reciprocity of appreciating the difficulty of being stuck with one’s self — whether aware or unaware, the feeling is little improved.

On the basis of knowing the difficulty of changing myself, I can appreciate that it’s difficult for you to change yourself. Yet we should all strive to change ourselves in those ways which ameliorate the conditions of life for ourselves and others.

If you have eyes to see that light, follow it.

Because that light, which first must bring together those who can see it, and are drawn by it, must then turn its shine to the dark recesses of our collective lives — and bring sight to the difficulty in changing our collective selves, even in ways that would be nearly universally beneficial.

What meaningful distinction is there, in our time, between politics, religion, business, family, entertainment? — they have all become mere facets of the same device, other apps on the same phone.

Thus, completely contrary to the conventional wisdom of business culture, we do not need a single, focused vertical that can attain the targeted Monthly Recurring Revenue within few enough months to be attractive to a venture capital investor.

Our problems will not be solved that way.

Perhaps some of the symptoms of our problems will be medicated by narrow focused ‘lean startups’.

Everything must start somewhere, though. The question is whether the start becomes an end in itself, or a means to something yet new, yet unexpected.

If you’re close enough to the light you can see the complex world requires complex solutions — and complex solutions can’t be planned in advance. Life is too complex for that, it turns out.

They unfold through specific intentional efforts and adaptations at the margin, and the more begun at the same time, with shared roots and interconnections, the faster unexpected evolution will carry it further and in novel directions — this is what it means for something to take on a life of its own.

The beacon is lit, will you help me tend the flame?

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