Rilke was right to note that the new year would be full of things that have never been. Every new year brings us innovation, discovery and change. In that, every new year brings us something to hope for despite looming dangers. Despite the many losses that have made 2016 a bitter and sorrowful year, I fear we may look back on it with longing as the Grand Panjandrum takes the oath he will break that very day and every day that follows.
Tomorrow will follow tomorrow and time goes forward inexorably. All we can do, then, as we teeter on the edge of the abyss, is resist despair, resist defeat and find sanctuary in community, in beauty, and in certain knowledge that the arc of the moral universe may have gotten a kink in it, but it still bends toward justice.
It may be that Second Life® becomes a refuge, a haven of sanity and compassion in a world that has turned vicious and violent. There is a culture of tolerance, open-hearted decency, and cross-cultural respect in Second Life that may be a safe haven for people who find the open embrace of bigotry by our political leaders offensive and intolerable.
Second Life will continue to be a place where people value beauty and difference, where people from other countries continue to enrich our lives. Second Life will continue to be a place where we reject fear and embrace our common humanity.
In SL®, we will still value people by their ideas, their creativity, and their character rather than how loudly they can shout and how viciously they can bully and bluster.
While graft, bigotry, and misrule may hold sway outside, within SL we can find a haven of safety. We can imagine a moral universe where bigotry gives way to tolerance, and tolerance gives way to acceptance, and acceptance gives way to community. A world full of things we have seen and will see again. A world of things that have never been.