Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

—Seneca, Roman philosopher and statesman

It is a funny thing about our cultural stories. We seem to tell more of them that reinforce our belief in collapsing systems than ones that inspire a belief in renewing systems. Stories of breakdown are everywhere. We find them in newspapers, in magazines, on TV, in movies, and on the Internet. We know that ecosystems flourish, collapse, and arise anew over time. So do social systems. They rise up, become “too big to fail,” and weaken, even as something new takes shape. New beginnings are all around us. Yet they become ...

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