By Bill Harley
Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay described the modern age with haunting clarity in these lines from one of her poems:
“Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts . . . they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun; but there exists no loom
To weave it into fabric.” *
There is intense hunger in the world to find the loom. Your friends, neighbors, co-workers, people you pass on the street, young and old, rich and poor, famous and forgotten, those with advanced degrees and no degrees, people of all colors and ethnicities, and you and me—we are all searching for the loom.
What is the loom? It’s the purpose of life, the meaning of this earthly existence, that which we should be striving for, the role of the Creator if there is one, and the responsibilities of the human being if there are any. We are all intensely hungry for meaning and understanding. That’s how we are wired.
It may not look like it on the surface because our culture and the various media that drive it keep us amused, consumed, addicted to the trivial rather than the meaningful, the superficial rather than the profound, and the material rather than the spiritual. But scratch the surface of the human interface with a question, release a heavy sigh of weariness with the status quo, or invite someone to help you search for the loom, and the hunger shows itself.
It is probably the reason that Jean and I have been getting feedback from readers that people are finding great success starting book clubs in their neighborhoods focusing on our first book, Now That I’m Here, What Should I Be Doing? In the book we share the results of our research into the Holy Books of all the world’s major religions and share the remarkable consensus that exists in them on the following subjects: the three ultimate purposes of life; the social, intellectual and spiritual growth patterns designed into life by an all-loving Creator; the nature of the tailored growth curriculum that exists for each person; and how each person can take action in their personalized curriculum to better fulfill the purposes of life.
The reports we are getting say that the collaborative study in these book clubs is leading to highly stimulating interactions, rapidly deepening friendships, profound sharing of life experiences and insights, and increasing clarity about the loom—that is, knowing why we are here and what we should be doing.
Jean and I encourage you to invite your friends, neighbors and acquaintances to such a book club. At the neighborhood level you can provide the loom and begin collaboratively weaving the fabric of an advancing civilization. And please keep us posted on your progress.
*Edna St. Vincent Millay, from “Upon This Age That Never Speaks Its Mind,” Collected Sonnets(New York: Harper Perennial, 1988), p. 140.