MY “AHA” MOMENT
In 2010, a transatlantic journey to the Hague, The Netherlands, opened up a world of story to me, including the story of entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie’s deep devotion to something called the “Peace through Law Movement.” Since that time, I have been learning about this undertold and almost secret history, rich with constellations of individuals who were bearers of “moral energy” – of virtues and values that inspire and connect. I felt compelled to give voice to this history by creating products that connect us to the stories of these individuals, and therewith, to their virtues and moral energy.
THE BIG IDEA
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl noted that human beings have deep need for meaning. Novelist E.M. Forster told us to “Only Connect” and to “Live in Fragments No Longer.” We are hungry for meaning and hungry for connection. But we have a fragmentary (if any) connection to our inspiring past. My products help to overcome this fragmentation by connecting the purchaser to the ‘red thread’ of ‘positive history.’ Charged with moral energy, these products connect us to stories of virtue and value, thereby enabling us to build bridges of meaning for our present and future selves, as well as to those whom we encounter.
WHY MY IDEA IS BETTER THAN THE REST
We all understand the notion of a ‘sentimental object’ – a special token – such as a bracelet - that is infused with personal meaning. My products build on that idea but carry more transcendent meanings that are rooted in ‘positive history.’ These ‘sentimental’ objects are connected to individuals of moral energy and virtue. Virtues and values such as “fortitude” are rather abstract notions, but my products transform these abstractions into concrete and visible objects that we can see and touch, and which convey a story. These historically themed products enable one to become a teller of unknown stories, and therewith an ambassador of meaningful and positive history.
THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
I would like to create a range of products that are sold in museum shops and other similar specialty shops both domestically and internationally. Ultimately, I imagine an educational consumer experience – wherein the purchaser learns and internalizes the story connected to the product, and is able to transmit the story to others. My next step is to create a number of prototypes and packaging so that I can approach possible vendors and buyers in the United States, Europe and Asia. My first product, the first English translation of a 1912 essay by Nobel 1905 Peace Prize winner Bertha von Suttner, is for sale at the Peace Palace Library giftshop in The Hague. You can buy it here: