Sunday Best – November 7, 2021


The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify into every corner of our minds.    – John Maynard Keynes


This week I’ve had the chance to reunite with two of my most beloved communities, one linked to Wellesley College and the other to the Santa Fe Institute. It’s given me the chance to reflect on what makes these groups beloved to me.

First, the individuals assembled are a mix of brilliant and generous and quirky folks who might never be connected, were it not for the group in question.

Second, each community is connected beyond the individuals — to a shared place, with its own particular beauty and history and meaning, and to a shared mission, eternal in its relevance.

Third, each of these groups illuminates new ideas. By the end of a gathering I feel like I’ve drunk a goblet full of sparks, full of energy and vitality.

Most precious – and most unusual, if the Keynes quote here is accurate – these communities allow for letting go of the old ideas, the ones so deeply rooted that we might not even realize they are there.

We can’t let go of the safety of one riverbank until the appeal of the other side is greater. Sometimes that means we wait and wait, digging in deeper even as the other shore beckons.

But if we are lucky, we have a star beyond ourselves to guide our progress.

If we are lucky, we are surrounded by others who show brilliance and courage and candor and generosity and love.

We can let go together,

and swim.



 * The quote in this image translates as, “In the above, there is above.” Mountains beyond mountains, never ending.

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