Jefferson to Adams #2

Posted by on Oct 30, 2009 in Akbar Lightning, Correspondence

Dear Friend,

Your letter so affected me that I was stunned for a while, forced to surrender to its superior quality.  I smiled, as I do when I encounter something surprising and great.  If there is one advantage to the additional years we now share it is this ability to recognize greatness in others and submit to it in order to grow, as opposed to the way younger men do who are threatened by the creative leaps taken by their colleagues.  It is this virtue, that is easily taught to children but has lapsed from being done so, that is the foundation of a thriving community, and my friend, this is what has been on my mind of late, the longing we all have for just this, community.

Men such as we, who embark on a mission for truth, are always tasked by the continuous process of reduction that occurs when particular prejudices come to light and unfounded passions and certainties get turned inside out as a result of the very process that binds us.  And with every step closer to the light we find ourselves less able to understand the darkness and we lose that which makes men practical or common, and so lose a bit of our humanity too.  There is no path in life that comes without a cost, and we are all called to make a choice.

But I digress…as we have made our choices, as we have committed ourselves to this course, I ought not bore you with what you know, with the pain of trying to live in progress.  It has become a tedious topic between us, this longing for fellows, this desire to expand the league of gentlemen and gentlewomen who are capable of such a rigor, that kind that is emancipated from any thoughts of authorship or pride, but which hungers only for truth regardless of its originator or creator, for such people have come to the liberating conclusion that the source of greatness is too vast to reside behind a single person.  In fact, I offer, that the only greatness is to be found in those efforts that come from collaboration.

This my dear friend I offer as a tonic for this pain of isolation that haunts us in our journey now, at its beginning, that the collaboration between us, the magic of a joint expression is the highest aim of any human endeavor, for it conquers the plague of separateness that we are born to as creatures, and that grows daily in our post-modern world.  Community is the ends and the means of this project of ours I declare to you, I posit, as my current thesis.  There is art, to be sure, there is science too, these things are but hammers and nails laid on the ground next to the great monument of a new culture, a world renewed in enthusiasm for collaborative coexistence.

It has pained both of us, we need not hide it, to have seen so many come and go.  When I first landed on Globatron, alive with wonder and enthusiasm for this place where I could share my insights without that self-editing that strips the purity from my daily encounters, I remember the difficulty I had at first, in defending my rights to speak my mind.  There were some here who had grown accustomed to thinking of this place as something local, something playful, a diversion, if you will.  And I had no ill will toward that position, in fact, I often supported it, as I felt that diversity was a self-evident virtue.  However, when challenged, when my diverse opinions and positions were criticized I asked only that the charges be dealt with in a Socratic fashion, I asked that the terms of reproach be brought to scrutiny.  And above all else, it is this I believe, led to the inevitable schism that leaves us now Mr. Adams, in our current state of isolation.  For what was ignoble in my person was not necessarily the subject of my postings but the means by which I wished to engage in defending them.

You see my friend, as I posited earlier, the methodology that guides us in our collaboration is one where our egos must always submit to the better idea.  This is an activity that takes a particular strength of character, and my own virtue will be measured by this, by my continuing willingness to accede to the superior motion even if I discover that I am destined to follow, for what better to follow than that which is true?  This, in my humble opinion, is what gives the creative life a scientific character, or let me call it a rational one.  Without this, what grounds do we have to negotiate the tension that comes between our prejudices?  Nothing, without a rational and civil means to settle differences it can be argued that we have lost our human connection, our sense of community.

As you brought us back to life Mr. Adams, as you took me, the icon of Thomas Jefferson, and gave him a new driving soul in this work, I cannot help but think of my original revolution, and the founding of a new constitution based on a systematic structure that would allow rational men to argue passionately for their position.  You see, the checks and balances of the American system of government were a redundancy meant to provide the security to allow men the freedom, the liberty to do what it is we are doing here, to surrender, to give up their constituency’s prejudices, if in the due course of exchange a higher truth was revealed.  This is the wisdom of our founding ideals as a country and only one thing can destroy such a refined system, and that is the obstinate defense of a position that someone knows to be false, a lie.  As we saw in The Chicken Wire Project, and The Laws, when people were unwilling to engage in a discussion of personal terms, because they were holding onto unfounded prejudices, we were unable to negotiate the terms of community and the ideal of diversity died as a result of my unwillingness to acquiesce to propriety and their refusal to provide grounds for their attack.

And so Mr. Adams, as a result of your sound judgment and your consistent support of healthy dialogue, we saw that when people are challenged to dismantle the prejudices that keep them separate, they often act out in destructive ways, and as a result we became co-revolutionaries and gave Globatron a new start, one unshackled by minor local concerns, not boxed in by singular terms such as art or education; we embarked on a mission of purpose with no definable goal, other than perhaps great glory and adventure, fed by a willingness to pursue any position to its logical end, or as far as we could make our way.

If it were merely the comfort of company driving my desire for new members I would abandon it, but my passion for outreach is driven by my thesis that community building is at the heart of the truth, of that constellation of righteousness that will provide the backlight for the legends to come in the 21st century.  If you and I Mr. Adams are the only ones in this world of 6.5 billion human beings who understand what we know but cannot describe, the way of Globatron, then I say every possible activity is then equally futile, for civilization depends upon what it is we know how to do, disregard authorship and copyright in favor of the joy of discovery.  Without a return to this kind of trust, a faith in one another, the kind that allows for a passionate argument, we won’t make it through the coming turmoil.  But in response to your wonderful letter, if we don’t make it, I am so grateful to have at least had your friendship, for without it I would most certainly be mad.

To conclude my verbose response, the search for a third, even though he/she might never be found, has a symbolic importance, as it helps us maintain the hope and elude the bitterness that can afflict men of ideas.  Mr. Adams, we were not born to suffer, but to transcend the challenges that we are born to face.  This is the great middle passage of our revolution, and there will be many setbacks to be sure, but alas, before long we will tire from the negotiation that having a community demands, and so for now my friend, I will enjoy this time, this pregnancy, the calm days of ideals, forging of them a living breathing body of wisdom that will help us in the next stage of our lives when we must transition from men of action to men of service, humbly maintaining whatever it is that we are building.

I hope this letter finds you well, and that it honors you the way your letter honored me.

With admiration and respect,

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