Excutience. We have picked ourselves up and shaken loose the dust from our feet.

For decades, our societies have been warped by the ideological precepts of an earlier age and our wealth has been channelled into instruments of destruction pointed, for the most part, back at ourselves. Nuclear arsenals, missiles worth millions of dollars apiece, chemicals, diseases concocted out of designer genes, warplanes and great ships -- an endless list of military hardware. How much of it has been expended to kill our fellow human beings? How much of it lies in the murky depths of the oceans? How much of it lies buried in fields, biding its time that it might murder future generations? How much of their happiness have the people of every nation collectively sacrificed that they might die at the hands of their fellow taxpayers?

That time has ended. And the renaissance of the West lies before us. It has always been thus. The Black Death swept away half of Europe, but the survivors inherited the wealth of the continent and built the world of the Italian Renaissance. The religious wars of the Reformation consumed Europe's energies for over a century but, when the dust settled, it experienced the Enlightenment. We are shedding our concerns for military bravado and nationalist pride. And the demons of this century do not have the grip they once had.

Like a Snake, we acquire new skins. When they are new, they are glossy and supple, bedecked and speckled with brilliant colours that soak up the sunlight and warm our souls. But change is insidious and inevitable. We learn, we grow, we evolve. Soon that skin is shabby. When we flex, it cracks. Its colours fade to sickly grey and it holds the warmth no longer. It was not meant to contain us forever. And there comes a time when we are bigger than it ever was and we must leave it behind.

The first generations of this century faced down the excesses of old tyrannies and laid them low. The middle generations overthrew the old moral and social codes. Now the last generations shall build that new world that their parents dreamed. We are taming our governments and bringing them to heel at last. We are building up an equity between the genders and among all races and ethnicities everywhere. We are uncovering all hidden sins in our society and dragging them into the open to deal with them. We are awake to the threats to future stability and viability of life on this planet and we are stirring into action against them.

But, for now, most of this is still only on paper. It is a theory. It is a dream. We know what we must do to survive on this planet. But we have not done it yet.

The time for that will come after the turn of the Millennium. That will be the lesson drawn from the chaos at the turn of the century -- that we *must* do what we know we must do. Everyone will recognise the urgency in necessity. The barriers that have held us apart for so many centuries will seem trivial then -- the barriers between nations and peoples in the world of the concrete, yes, but also the barriers within our hearts and minds. Then shall excutience begin in earnest as we purge ourselves of all the errors of the past and build for the future.

And then what? ...

Created: August 1996. Last updated: 12 Jan 1997.
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