I realized that what had happened to us all would have seemed unbelievable in the Old World just a half a year earlier. Steve was right when he promised back in Leipzig on the day we met that the unfolding of love would grow stronger and never stop unfolding out of the depth of its infinite principle.
I had my doubts then, but he was proven right already the very next week when I met Heather. Without Steve's focus on freedom and love, I wouldn't have dared to stop for Heather when she thumbed a ride of me. The loss, which this 'tragedy' would have incurred, was hard to imagine now. What would our life have been like without the good things Heather had set into motion with her love? Those first days with her had been wonderful days, days in which we shared our life and our excitement with living, all the way through the days of the naval hearing and the days of driving back to Pittsburgh. The resulting meeting of kindred hearts had sparked a celebration of love and life right from the start. It had become interrupted only at the end by an impasse, but the 'light' of the celebration hadn't grown dim.
"Now, just a few months later, we were all together in one place for an even greater celebration of the wonders of love. What we had achieved was far greater than what Erica had hinted at as being possible, or even greater than what Ushi had allowed and Steve had thrust into the practical sphere.
Steve had suggested when we first met that our dancing on the pinnacle of the world would change the world. It had changed us all indeed, from within, and now we stood at the threshold of changing the world from the depth of our 'dancing' on a mission of such magnitude that one almost couldn't dare hope that it might succeed.
Tony and Ross, it appeared, were dancing on this pinnacle in their own way, for their own reasons. Who could know what their stories entailed? Who could know what worlds upon worlds their loving had already embraced? We had created a world for ourselves that had never been created before on such a profound level, and yet this was the minimal platform on which we could possibly succeed. We were all aware that a single word spoken in the wrong tone could ruin everything at the conference. Our presence and our actions during the next day, unknown to the world, were destined to change the world for all times to come. Also there remained that lingering doubt that we might not succeed, though one way or the other the world would be changed by us.
Perhaps it was by reason of this doubt that I felt that our world seemed suddenly more beautiful and precious than any heavenly paradise could possibly be, as we looked at the riches we had within ourselves. Would we have the chance to see the beautiful things unfold and bear out their full promise? Our world seemed precious in the light of this promise, and its wonders exceedingly fragile. I had a feeling that we have been cheating ourselves by having taken any of its profound wonders for granted. It seemed to me that we had barely begun to come to life.
"Should I ever die," I said to Ushi quietly, in order that Ross wouldn't hear me.
"Heavens forbid!" Ushi interrupted before I could finish.
I corrected myself, voicing the old saying again, and added that I would ask not to be shut up in some fancy old heaven, but would ask to have the privilege of coming back to the Earth again.
"Oh, Pete! This one has been worn out years ago!" Ross interrupted me and grinned.
"No it hasn't," said Sylvia. "It's just coming into view. It holds the key to understanding the principle that the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many. The principle is true, because there is no 'outside' possible in the Universe that is all, nor in the universe of our Humanity for the same reason. If there is no 'outside' in this universe, then the One that is Humanity includes the many that reflect it, which in turn is represented by each one. That's our heaven on Earth, the infinity of one. It is real. It is concrete. It is tangible. It has the potential to be the brightest star in the universe, grander than any mythological heaven could be that would be as boring as hell."
"You'd better be careful," Ross intervened. "Unless we succeed with our mission, our heaven might become a burnt-out rock before we know it, or an Ice Age paradise for penguins, with only few, rare human voices to be heard, if any, and those would likely be sad voices of a mankind that has lost its song."
Ushi cringed when she heard Ross talk that way.
"May it never come to that," said Ross.
"May the old saying, that Earth is heaven, never die, nor the reason for the saying ever vane," I added.
"I sincerely hope so," said Steve and raised his glass of wine for a toast.
I remembered that Steve had never raised his glass without a good reason. But this time no one cheered as we drank in honor of our heaven on Earth. I couldn't figure out for what reason no one cheered, except that I had this deep-seated uncomfortable feeling that we carried the responsibility for this grand future ourselves, especially during the next few days when our actions could tip the balance either way. If we failed, we could indeed set the stage for actions that might transform our treasured world into a desolate hell. And even if we were to win, the question would still remain whether it is really possible for mankind to rouse itself sufficiently to create the needed Ice Age Renaissance that would assure our food supply in an Ice Age World, creating a New World starting now. The possibility that we might fall short of reaching that goal, or of even getting started, had the potential to become frighteningly real. Still, our potential to prevent this failure was equally real.
"Isn't that what this is all about; why we are here?" I replied to Steve when we talked about our part in it. "We are not fighting a war. We are fighting to prevent it. We are fighting for an active peace that will be maintained without end by its principle, in which love can unfold and be our light. We are not just fighting against something, so that war doesn't break out. We are fighting to create the brightest civilization ever imagined in which war has no place. That goal may seem to be still miles in the distance, but we also know that we must never let it out of our sight."
We all knew that mankind wouldn't have a chance to recover itself physically from a nuclear war and still create the needed Ice Age Renaissance with indoor agriculture. If a nuclear war was to erupt, which no one could stop and only a very few would survive, the long-term survival of mankind might be put in doubt. It appeared that the development of mankind is keyed to the development of successive energy technologies that require ever-larger populations, and that the development of that larger civilization was built on energy technologies for which the resources have already been used up in our progression. It appeared to me that it might not be possible to recreate from scratch the type of civilization that we have presently achieved, with an infinite potential, should we allow it to be destroyed.
"Are you saying that we are fighting to uplift the human environment around the world not only to create the needed Ice Age Renaissance, but also to protect the survival of mankind as a species?" said Ross. "Are you saying that we can't be satisfied with anything less?"
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