“People of Earth, my fellow human beings, please hear me: we stand at the beginning of a new era. For all of our lives – for all of the lives of our parents, our grandparents, for all of reliably recorded history, we have been struggling to recover from the great disaster. The story of our planet, these past three centuries and more, has been the story of the single greatest enterprise undertaken in human history: the monumental task of repair, recovery, and restitution that our ancestors left for us when they allowed pride to rule over sense.
“The ancient mistakes have caused so much damage, so much pain and misery, that they have come to define our entire species: we are the children of those who have laboured tirelessly to repair our broken world, and we have taken up their cause without flinching or faltering. I speak to you now to tell you that we have completed this colossal undertaking. The chapter that began in time beyond recall, when the last throes of the cataclysm died away, is complete. We have healed our world.
“We have reclaimed these things – our biosphere, our society, our government, our identity as a species – not by forgetting the past, but by remembering it. Those ancients who nearly destroyed the planet did so with powers that have become all too familiar to us, powers over matter, energy, and information that made their atrocities not only possible but inevitable. We have not forgotten.
“We have restored our world not by embracing these ancient and terrible powers, but by rejecting them. We have steadfastly held on to our limitations and chosen – not out of principle but out of necessity – to remain human, to constrain our powers within the scope of our imagination. Our strength and success have come precisely because of this restraint, not in spite of it. A world in which we are no longer human is a world we are sworn to reject.
“The peace we enjoy now is a thing we have earned – I doubt that any person could reasonably claim otherwise. Were we to simply accept it as our due and quietly continue living in the garden we have rebuilt, no fault could be laid at our feet. And yet it is precisely because of this peace, this culmination of centuries of dedication and sacrifice, that I call upon you to support me in an endeavour that will make all of our previous efforts seem as nothing.
“The ancients did more than simply shatter our planet: they shattered our species. In the years before the calamity, brave souls flew away from our world. They sought as many things as the human heart can hold: knowledge, sanctuary, liberty, transformation, destruction, apotheosis. Some flew knowing the fate that awaited our world – others left long before the tipping point. It is certain beyond any possible doubt that this diaspora, this scattering of humanity, have by now transformed themselves almost beyond our knowing. They are riven away from us by centuries of time and by distances we can barely comprehend.
“They are our family.”
“Every soul that lies out there amongst the stars is a sister, a brother, a cousin to us. Wherever they may have gone, whatever they may have become, they all came from the same place and the same people: they came from our world. They came from us.
“And so I now propose a task, a great labour, whose scale and scope promise to span greater times and distances than any we have even contemplated to date. We must find them: all the lost, all those branches of our mighty human family tree that have stretched beyond us. We must go to them and make to them the same promise that we made to ourselves, long ago: the promise of hope, of reconciliation.
“The promise of community.”