After a few more words with Steve, saying thank you and conveying my greetings to Ushi, I hung up.
After I got back to Jason, Lora, and Tony, and told them that Steve agrees with Jason, that our project won't work, and for the same reasons that Jason had already recognized, Jason responded without a word. He raised his jug of beer as for a toast and smiled.
We remained together at the pub far into the night, figuring out what Steve might have meant with his comment, and about why the beach had such a liberating effect on people.
"It makes sense," said Jason at one point, "I just can't figure out what it is that makes sense."
"It's like everything else connected with the beach," said Tony, "you can feel that there is something moving there, but you can't put it into words."
"That's not enough for me," I said a while later after the conversation had shifted onto a different subject. "I've got to be able to understand this thing precisely."
I turned to Tony, and repeated what Steve had told me. "Steve told me, that our project wouldn't work as we have figured it, because it would involve a denial of the very principle that we would build on."
"Are you serious? After you just spent 93,000 dollars on it!" Tony replied.
"What project did you spent $93,000 on?" asked Lora.
We told her about our peace camp and nudist beach project, that we have designed to help reverse fragmentary perceptions. We told her that we were going to invite artists, and writers, and set up a workshop, and a hotel.
"That sounds terrific," said Lora. "Why does your friend feel it won't work?"
"He said, a crash program won't work because one can't initiate intelligence through coercion. One gets caught up in what one is trying to correct. He said the burlesque business would see us as a threat and step on us. The law would hound us, the church would put up a fight, and the police would see it as an 'immoral' project."
"I know what he is saying," said Lora. "We've gone through all of that at Wreck Beach. We've been stepped on. But look, we've grown."
"She's right," said Jason. "But you don't have to do it that way."
Jason suggested that we didn't have to set ourselves apart from the world, no matter how rotten it is. He quoted the Bible, surprisingly. "Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile with him, go with him twain!" He suggested that the burlesque business wouldn't see us as a threat if we operated under its terms, making the beach a paying proposition. "Even burlesque operators respect your right to chase the buck."
"Right, people will pay if the idea is valuable," said Lora. "They've been known to put up all kinds of money for great ideas. Just provide the right platform, and the thing will move on its own. That's what's been happening at Wreck Beach."
Lora said, that this is what might be moving her shows. "As soon as you have a focal point, bang! Everything comes together."
"I suppose, you could approach the legal problem in the same manner," said Tony to me. "Don't fight it! Support the legal system. It's designed to protect an individual's autonomy! That's what we intend to do, don't we? Autonomy doesn't imply a lack of responsibility. It is based on integrity. The legal system won't challenge nudity on this platform, if it doesn't appear as a threat to the public's welfare."
"I wish this could be said about Wreck Beach," added Lora. "Have you noticed the drugs on the beach? I fear drug abuse may get the thing closed down some day."
"And what about the church... How can you satisfy the church?" asked Jason.
"Maybe we won't need to satisfy them at all," I replied.
Jason looked up with a questioning look in his eye, and laughed.
"We are not in competition with them," I added.
"OK, just try to tell them that," said Tony.
"We could tell them that our project is designed to roll back the fruits of the tree of knowledge that caused mankind to become separated from their God. We could tell them that we want to reverse what Adam had told Eve, that they were naked," I said.
"Yes, there can be a lot of 'poverty' in knowledge that is like nakedness, that makes you feel small," said Jason. "But the church won't understand this." He laughed again. "Well, maybe they shouldn't fault a project that aims to close the rift between God and man," he added. "That's what every church aims for. However, they won't see it that way."
"We can also carry this thing into all kinds of other areas," said Tony, "including the military. This might be the first peace camp ever that respects the military in their efforts to provide security for the nations. This view might net the armed services more PR points than all the air shows put together."
"What was this thing you were saying about artists and writers?" asked Jason. "You mentioned a workshop?"
"Oh, that's simple." I explained to him that autonomy is an artist's everyday way of life. "Artists are scientists," I told him. "They produce from out of the depth of their intelligence, not just from thinking, but from the bottom of a keen awareness. There, discoveries are made, even original discoveries of fundamental principles, which are then expressed."
"And the public?" asked Jason.
"It's like Lora has put it," I said to Jason. "I'm not responsible for what the public thinks?"
"Good!" Lora approved. "I try not to coerce anyone. The rest is outside my realm of responsibility."
Lora smiled. "If you ever need a social director, get in touch with me," she said grinning. "Your project sounds like something I would love to be involved in."
I said we would keep her in mind, and wrote her address and phone number on a beer mug coaster.
Jason stopped laughing, and told Lora not to put her hopes up, because this project won't work. "It can't possibly work," he said, "and not for any of the reasons that were discussed tonight."
"I thought you liked the project," I replied. "I thought you approved of the idea."
"Of course I approve, but I also know that it won't work," he said. "I played along with you guys, because I thought you were all joking and dreaming wonderful dreams. Seriously now, it won't get off the ground. I admire your devotion to humanity. It appears that you are throwing everything you have into this project. My first reaction had been, that you are insane. That's why I hoped you were joking. What you are doing is not only insane, it is also immoral."
"What's immoral about a project to enhance the unity of mankind?" I asked. "We hope to create the same thing that you have here in Vancouver. What is immoral about that?"
"The way you propose to implement it, is immoral. You said you would be funding the whole project yourself. This is immoral," said Jason.
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