An all-time high

As a naive phenomenologist, I would say that the only reason a plant breaks out of the ground is to touch the sun. The tallest trees, such as the coast redwood in California or the yellow meranti in Borneo are also the most ambitious. They don’t touch the sun, but they come closest, and proudly so, to it.

No tower made by human hands represents the effort of a single substance to touch the heavens in the way a tall tree does. Even though every human being is fundamentally, and at their finest, a tree, the embodiment of a will to shoot up, to cast their roots deeply and widely enough in order to touch the sun.

Human cultures and civilizations preserve, as the sum of the wills of those who make them up, the will to transcend the ‘already-here’, that is, to shoot up, to trascend themselves.

Sometimes, there are leaps upwards, sudden bursts of creativity and transformation, unexpected discharges of energy, will and desire which push a culture to seek new spaces, without leaving the ground in which it is rooted. We usually call these moments renaissances – a kind of strengthening the roots so that the trunk can get taller and taller. Every renaissance, including The Renaissance of the 15th century, is a moment of great root-grooming, an age of looking backwards so as to shoot upwards.

The indifference to the past, the reluctance to steward the roots and make them stronger, the cynicism of decadence, are the true enemies of growth and the reason why things may get bigger without getting better.

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