Longing for the Sea
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
~ Antoine de Saint Exupéry
We need to reinvent our culture.
No small task. And given the tremendous process of inner impoverishment that has unfolded over the last few hundred years, we no longer have ready access to the tools we need to do it.
Most of all, we need a new story. One that is life-affirming and life-enhancing. One that is fundamentally collaborative and generative. One that maps our connections. One that sings the song of the shimmering sea, filling us with longing.
But we are no longer in intimate contact with the underworld of myth, symbol, archetype – the fibers from which powerful stories are spun. We are no longer fluent in the soul’s language for the mysterious forces that shape ultimate reality.
Instead, through the dominance of scientific rationality and materialism, we stay forever on the surface of things. In the strategic mind. In a diminished experience of the world the philosopher Ken Wilber calls “flatland.”
In the current story we have no vertical axis. No depth. No perspective. No cosmology.
We need to recover this dimension of ourselves or our new stories will fail, just as the stories of liberalism, socialism, progressivism, environmentalism, etc. have failed. Without it, we’ll just end up recounting another episode in flatland.
Perhaps there’s never been a more significant time for those who carry the gifts of the vertical axis. The poet, artist, storyteller, witch, psychopomp, bard, shaman…
These guides are needed more than ever, to call us forward into our journey. Theirs is the sacred task of beckoning us out to sea.