What is Cathedral Thinking?

The concept of Cathedral Thinking stretches back through the centuries to medieval times, when architects, stonemasons and artisans laid plans and began construction of the soaring, cavernous structures that served as places of worship, community gathering spaces and safe havens.

Since then, the concept has been applied to space exploration, city planning and other long-term goals that require decades of foresight and planning so future generations can enjoy their full realization.

Though there are many instances to which Cathedral Thinking can be applied, they all require the same foundation: a far-reaching vision, a well thought-out blueprint, and a shared commitment to long-term implementation.

Un tas de pierres cesse d’être un tas de pierres, des qu’un seul homme le contemple avec, en lui, l’image d’une cathédrale.
(A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.)

– Pilote de Guerre, by Antoine de Saint Exupéry


The Stonemason’s Dream by Agent Starling

A call for cathedral-thinking in the world today

The master mason studies the bare ground and sees the sacred building of his children’s future
His grandchildren’s house of prayer
His great grandchildren’s sanctuary
The master mason peers at the rock face and the quire rises up before him
He stumbles over a rock fall and the nave emerges from the stones
He spots a cairn, and the transept appears before his eyes
Crosses a quarry and a tower materialises in the air
The master mason hears the bells ring out loud and clear against the exposed precipice

The master mason looks at a pile of stones and sees a cathedral

Rock by rock in a lifetime the foundations take form
Stone by stone a lifetime more to carve the arches
To raise the beams, shape the vaults, set the gallery

He won’t see it finished
But he knows
That this magnificent cathedral will live and breathe for generations thereafter
That this green and blue planet will live and breathe for generations thereafter

The visionary forester catches a spinning seed as it flies by
She sees a mighty sycamore stand up tall
The forester stakes a lone beech sapling
And the dappled light of the future woodland flickers in her eye
She gathers a handful of acorns and an ancient oak wood grows high up before her
Season by season, little by little the foliage becomes dense, and the forest deepens

She won’t see it mature
But she knows
That this green and blue planet will live and breathe for generations henceforth

Rivers will flow clean and clear
Oceans will teem with life
The air will be fresh and pure
Daylight clear and luminous
The night sky shimmering with planets

Lyrics by Lou Duffy-Howard © 2022 Agent Starling all rights reserved

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