Wednesday, February 26, 2014

THYME Magazine: A Case for Vision VII

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VII, Issue X

A Case for Vision VII
© 2014 The Kirchman Studio.

Our nation is in need of an I. K. Brunel's vision today.  Our situation is no less dire than that of Bristol in the Nineteenth Century and we need to find direction, both in spirit and economically, if we are to emerge successfully. [1.] Looking at what is happening in North Dakota it is imperative that we find similar opportunity for people in every state of the union. Where shall we look for a vision of the future? Certainly not to an administration that sees massive unemployment and underemployment as a good thing! Many of us have seen our hopes and dreams take a serious hit from the policies of this administration. The marketplace has less resources available to support the creative endeavors we are now supposedly 'free' to pursue. Just ask anyone actually selling fine art these days. People need to be making money in order to spend it! If you are looking to the National Endowment for the Arts to fund your work, guess what? Diminishing tax revenues means less money to fund 'public' art. In fact, the government will be hard pressed to meet obligations such as Social Security and Medicare.

The current administration has no intention of encouraging the true creative sector in this country. In fact, it is becoming quite clear that they WANT us discouraged. Our discouragement is essential for them to implement their 'fundamental change' to the country we live in. That is why we must not succumb. I would like to, in the spirit of Theodor Herzl's Aultneuland, give you reason for hope and reason to stay in the fight as well! Herzl was a man with a vision. In Altneuland he was spot-on in describing the nation that was born, or reborn, if you will in the creation of modern day Israel. When Herzl wrote his novel the land was securely in the hands of the Ottoman Empire. In 1917 England's foreign secretary Arthur Balfour wrote a declaration stating that this land should indeed be given as a homeland to the people who had inhabited it since ancient times. World War I saw the end of the empire and British control. It wasn't until 1947 that Israel was truly 'reborn' in the wake of that terrible war.

So, it is essential for us in our time to keep the vision alive that created our own republic. We need to teach our young people, instructing them in the Faith and values that are the true foundation of America's remarkable story. Just like Bristol, England in the Nineteenth Century, we need to look beyond our immediate boundaries and see new possibilities. I believe that ultimately the unseen hand of creativity and human ingenuity can prevail. Will we live to see new wonders? I believe in G-d. I believe in inspiration, and I believe in Imago Dei... the knowledge that in creation G-d did indeed give mankind a small spark of His own creative energy. When Samuel Morse telegraphed: "What hath G-d wrought?" he was correct in his attribution even as he worked with his own hands to make the device. Now we need to be open to the same sort of inspiration. There are things we can make again (or for the first time)!

Consider the more recent story of R. G. LeTourneau, who's company had been awarded a contract to build a machine to lift airplanes by the government during the great war. No one had ever built such a machine before, and the engineers were stumped. Wednesday evening rolled around and LeTourneau announced to his stunned team that he was going to a prayer meeting. "But, sir,... We've got a deadline on this thing!" The great industrialist replied: "But I have a deadline with G-d." LeTourneau went to the prayer meeting. He sang praises and poured out his heart in earnest prayer. He said that walking back to his office from the prayer meeting, he 'saw' the design he was seeking for the machine clearly in his head! What if a modern-day Brunel were indeed to create new dorways for American commerce, as American ingenuity continues to finds new sources for energy to power that commerce. Just think, new geothermal resources powering new frontiers in American inventiveness.

I, for one, refuse to believe that the age of inspiration is past. I do believe that it is essential that we return to the roots of Faith and freedom that have given birth to the American experiment and sustained it. It is not enough to be brilliant in business if we squander the return it gives us in a false sense of entitlement: "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." -- Luke 12:8 So, come with me, in the spirit of Aultneuland, to an America not too far in the distant future. Let us visit a land where a greater vision prevails than simply profit or personal reward. In my youth we once rode the train into Philadelphia from Baltimore. At the time, when you entered into Pennsylvania from Delaware, you were greeted by a large sign that read: "What Chester Makes Makes Chester." The city of Chester was at the time a center of manufacturing and it indeed saw itself in terms of its contributions to the world.

Would that we would see ourselves as contributors to the world once more! If Herzl were to step into his beloved Zion today, he would be amazed to see the center of advanced technology she has become. He would wonder at technologies being developed there that might one day give sight to the blind! Though he forsaw them, the modern cities such as Tel Aviv would still astound him! He would see the amazing works of irrigation that have made Israel the garden state of the world. The flowers we had at our wedding in 1980 came in boxes that proudly proclaimed that they were grown in Israel. Abraham the Patriarch was given the promise in Genesis 22:18: "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." What wonderful contributions might we as a people make to the world if we will ourselves heed the voice of the One who created creativity itself?

The waterfront of Chester, Pennsylvania in 1875.

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