May 30, 2009
The Earth Is Hiring
Commencement season continues! Nice one from Paul Hawken:
There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you didnít bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: YOU ARE BRILLIANT, AND THE EARTH IS HIRING. The earth couldnít afford to send any recruiters or limos to your school. It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and that unbelievably cute person you are dating. Take the hint. And here’s the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don’t be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.
I like this bit, too:
There is a rabbinical teaching that says if the world is ending and the Messiah arrives, first plant a tree, and then see if the story is true.
If his speech has a failing, it’s that is goes too big, too fast. You gotta ground yourself, earn the graduating class’s trust, before you reach for the “CAN YOU FEEL THE VERY STARS THEMSELVES IN YOUR CELLS?” lines, but Hawken sorta jumps right in.
He keeps it pretty abstract, too, and I can imagine an aspiring financial analyst in the crowd going, “Uh… does this apply to me?” And of course it does, but Hawken doesn’t connect the dots.
That said, it’s got enough stirring lines to reward a reading.