Thinking is the talking of the soul with itself.2
Throughout this book, one call has sounded time and time again: the call to think. Independent, creative engaged thought, when paired with constructive action, is one of our most powerful gifts. Timshel, the title of this chapter, is inspired by John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, where the word’s meaning is debated. In scripture, “timshel” is part of the verses on Cain and Abel; sometimes it is translated as “thou shalt” (a proclamation), while other times it translates as “do thou” (a commandment). What the character Lee in East of Eden discovers is a third possibility, one that he deems the most accurate: “thou mayest.” Free will. Choice.
To unite thought and action, though, requires two conditions. First, our definitions of thought and action need to be encompassing, with room for emotion and intuition and spirit, too. Second, our underlying values and our guiding principles need to be crystal clear—just like the honeybees when they’re seeking a new home. Here, then, are my own beliefs.
… that “and” is better than “or.”
… that bridges are better than boxes.
… that the natural world offers insights more powerful than those our imaginations could ever create.
… that the systems we create do exactly what we designed them to do—and that therefore we have the power to change them to do different, better things.
… that stories are important. They connect us, inspire us, and make the abstract real.
… that needless fear drives most of the problems of the world, and necessary fear drives the rest.
… that most people, most of the time, want to “bend toward justice.”
… that extending our time horizon and expanding our focus makes it easier to see true cost and true profit, which naturally leads to more optimized investment decisions.
… that investment, in its truest and broadest sense, is a tremendous force for positive change.
These are my beliefs; they don’t have to be yours. But investing our precious resources—time, energy, talents, wealth—is an act worthy of deep reflection and consideration. Investing is not just a practical necessity; it is embodied belief. This endeavor is worthy of our full attention, and it is well served by embracing the full spectrum of the world’s wisdom—natural, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual. This bank of wisdom is our truest capital, our deepest well, offering endless possibilities for investing in the world that we want to see.
Here we are, on this earth, our home. Together.
Surrounded by wisdom and power and potential.