The previous blog opened up with a look-back to the fire in Paris, of the Notre Dame Cathedral, and to the commitment made to restore it. President Macron went so far as to promise that it would be rebuilt and that it would be “more beautiful than before”.
The first blog reminded the readers, that even the most precious and enduring of institutions – regardless of how beloved and beautiful they are – can become damaged or entirely destroyed. The first blog reassured the readers that valuable and priceless things can be restored and that restoration acts are worth the time and effort to make them possible.
Every great and beautiful creation, no matter how large or small begins with the process of imagination. Imagination becomes visualization which then becomes actualization. It does not matter if we are talking about building a house or building a city – a single engine plane or a space station – a successful winning team or a great and prosperous country. Nothing great has ever been achieved without someone, or a whole bunch of someones, being able to SEE what the finished product should look like.
Albert Einstein once said that, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. He explained that knowledge is limited, but that imagination goes much further and that it embraces more. Einstein was able to demonstrate the profound truth of those words and transformed our understanding of the Universe.
Humanity owes a great debt to those who are gifted with imagination and who helped us visualize the potential of those things that are truly Beautiful. But – we are not just indebted to them for the splendid inventions that they brought to us – Their ability to see how great ideas could produce the right conditions for human flourishing is of even greater admiration.
Not everyone embraced the vision of the Great Thinkers, but over time, certain countries in Europe began to adopt the new methodologies for better government and Western Civilization was born. The citizens of these nations became the recipients of the very best of Political Practice and began to experience the inestimable blessings of new Civil and Religious Freedoms.
When the New World was discovered and new nations began to take shape, considerable efforts were made to ensure that even greater freedoms and rights were protected and that they would become part of the Founding Documents. Never before had the world seen anything as remarkable as what was achieved in North America. The absolute best and greatest of Political Thinking and Imagination had become a reality.
Thomas Jefferson has been credited with making the timeless statement that, “The price of freedom is Eternal Vigilance”.
Unfortunately, just as what happened to the Notre Dame Cathedral, Vigilance was replaced by apathy and careless disregard. Far too many people thought that it was someone else’s responsibility to preserve, protect, and defend the cherished symbol of our Western Heritage
As a result of our indifference – The spectacular beauty of the greatest political achievement in World History has been, all but lost – and has become damaged to the point of being discarded. Some of our fundamental freedoms have been destroyed and all those that still survive are under siege.
It does not require special abilities of genius or perception to recognize that the political system in our country is broken and ugly. It no longer functions the way that it should and it offers nothing appealing to anyone other than die-hard political enthusiasts. We are too angry, or too embarrassed, to even talk about it. We are at the point, or we are getting very close to it, when most people will want nothing more to do with something that provokes, so much hostility and ill-will, and that is seen as being the cause of more hardship than healing.
The first step in restoring a damaged product begins – Not with Imagination – But with Recognition, and then it follows the same logical progression. Recognition is the ability to see what was once there and to see what it is was originally designed for. The neglect and the decay are not sufficient to disguise or hide the beauty that was so obvious at the beginning, or to invalidate the purpose of the original product.
Restoration is NOT a new creation – the product of imagination – anymore than restoring a vintage automobile means building a new car. Restoring a Broken Marriage, or family is not starting from scratch with a new bride and a new groom and creating a new family. Restoring relationships involves the same people who began the relationship in the first place.
If Imagination is a non-negotiable requirement, vital to the creation of new inventions, Recognition is an intrinsic and indispensable ingredient fundamentally necessary, for any project worthy of being restored, to succeed.
Whether it is for pleasure, profit, or for other personal reasons, the decision to restore involves seeing what others are unable, or unwilling, to see. Rust, oil, and grime, covering dented metal, discourage most people from wanting to invest time and money into restoring a Classic Car. Dilapidated buildings, boarded up to hide the severe effects of neglect and vandalism, offer little enticement to anyone to do a “fixer upper”. Broken people, suffering from addiction and from abandonment, smelling bad and offering little hope of ever becoming ‘normal’, are avoided and pushed aside.
These reactions to difficult and, seemingly impossible, over-the-hill, washed up, too late to do anything about, challenges are typical and they are normal. It is the default position of most people who might not care enough, or who lack the gift of better eyesight, to see what is possible underneath the layers of rust and old paint. They do not see the potential of discarded lumber, chipped glass, or fading glory. Many of us become cynical, jaded, and suspicious – forgetting that Beauty is often hidden beneath heaps of trash piled up over years and years.
We have all had the pleasure of seeing the magnificent results of brilliant Restoration Projects and we have marvelled at how the persons responsible were able to accomplish such stunning results. Ordinary objects like pianos, automobiles, pictures etc. – to much bigger items – homes, buildings, and neighborhoods, – to the most important of all matters – personal health, personal relationships, and whole families – these have all borne witness to the redeeming and transforming power of Restoration and to the exceptional ability of the craftsperson to see what everyone else missed. They recognized the beauty of the original creation and the purpose for which it was made. They understood that, not all things are destroyed by neglect and that it is possible to restore many good works to their original condition, or to make them, “even more beautiful”.
There is an undeniable need to Restore Politics in our country. It could be difficult, but it is NOT impossible. The original blueprints showing what Politics should look like are still intact and there are enough committed people to accomplish the work. When Politics was first created, it was a work of art and genius. It was the product of brilliant thinking and it became the foundation that has lasted for centuries. Politics was meant to be beautiful and it was designed to be so. It is worth the effort to Restore Politics and the next Blog will go into more detail.
This is not a whimsical notion – it is a matter of utmost urgency. There is much that is at risk and the potential for greater loss is real.
Feel free to comment, but do not let anyone discourage you from reading further and from participating in this project.