This is the fourth speech in the wedding ceremony of Ruby & Miranda. See the Sequence introduction for more info. The speech was given by Ruby.

Riva descends from podium.

Brienne: We have spoken of the horrors that exist, the threats that loom, and the good worth fighting for. We cannot know that we are equal to these challenges, but we won’t let that stop us. I call upon Ruby to speak of our determination to Become Stronger.

Ruby ascends podium.


Composed of gas and dust, a pillar in the Carina Nebula

Ruby commences speech.

There is a cry among us, a cry dear to us. “Tsuyoku Naritai” – “I want to become stronger.” Embodied in these few foreign syllables is one of our deepest values and greatest virtues. We say these words because we know that the challenges we face today are great, perhaps too great, perhaps greater than we can handle – today. But that does not matter, because we want to become stronger.

Some believe that we were created in the image of a perfect, wise, and just god. We know that we were not.  No, we are the product of a blind, uncaring, unfeeling, raw mechanical process. We were hacked together, a disparate assortment of adaptations just good enough to pass our genes onto another generation, without oversight, without foresight, and certainly without benevolence. We became whatever worked – but only whatever worked in a time and place we left long ago.

So when we are faced with the suffering of millions, when we are marching towards our deaths, and when threats to our existence looming on the horizon – we cannot expect to be equal to these trials. There is no magical reason why the universe ought to present us with challenges we are strong enough to overcome. But in this cold and uncaring universe, there is one mercy. One card we hold in our hands – the capacity to grow. The ability to become stronger.

[We will run rampant with this ability, for in it is our capacity to do anything.] We will grow until we have the might to banish the darkness, and until we have the power to seize the stars.

Already we have come so far: in wisdom, skill, and kindness. Once we accepted dogma, the stories which were told to us, but then we learnt to argue and to reason towards truth. Later we learnt that even reasoning can easily go astray, so we taught ourselves to look at the world, to let it tell us what was true. After that milestone, we surged ahead with development after development – feeding billions, eradicating age-old diseases, and flying to the heavens and beyond. Once we only cared for those closest to us, our kin and tribesmen, but step by step our empathy spread to our peoples, to our species, and to all sentient life.

And we will not stop, for there is more work to do. We have begun turning our minds on themselves, to see how they work, to discover ways to use them better. We will perfect an Art. We know that it takes humility to care about truth rather than pride, to follow the winds of evidence rather than convenience – and we practice every day. We know that no homunculus sits behind our eyes, but rather a pantheon of agents – and we are learning to unite them in pursuit of our goals, with strategy and cunning. More bridges await, and we will cross all of them.

And as we create concord in our minds, we will learn to work together. We will not let ourselves act in our own immediate, personal interests; no, we will defy the forces of Moloch, and work jointly for the prosperity of all. No nation will stock arms and construct machines of death out of fear that they will be the only one to abstain; no scientist will withhold their findings of what wasn’t the case to get published; no leader will work for popularity alone; and no researcher will disregard the dangers of their work.

When our friends propose plans to improve this world, we might still offer our critical counsel, but we will also pledge our support. We will invent ways to work ourselves to agreement, alignment, and alliance, so that jointly we can strike. Our teams will be hailed as fearsome cells which attain their objectives with ferocious effectiveness. Aye, we will become strong enough to work together.

And we will become stronger together, because we are not individuals. Here, beneath this sky, is a community of people dedicated to each other and to universal flourishing. We are united around our values and visions. We will give strength to each other: teach each other, support each other, love each other. Side by side we will grow mighty, and take the rest of humanity with us.

We will become stronger, because what is at stake is too dear and too precious not to. A single person is a whole world; each of us has a mental life too rich for our own vocabulary to convey; each of us is infinitely precious.

Everyone is worth fighting for without reserve. And here, on this Earth, we need fighting for.  Thousands of thousands of us are suffering – poverty, hunger, disease, abuse, torture, loneliness, despair. Not one of is not inching towards our graves. And before long, all of us could be gone irrevocably.

This is not okay. We will not let it be. We will do what it takes, whatever it takes - we will become stronger.

But when the pain is gone, and the danger has passed, we will not be done. To stop as soon as the darkness has gone would be a tragedy not much smaller than doing nothing at all. There are stars to reach, a universe to populate with myriad flourishing minds on myriad flourishing worlds, a connectedness of all things to bring about, eternal dances, endless knowledge, boundless fun and joy and love. All the goodness that ever could be - unfathomable as the vastness of space itself - that too is at stake.


We cannot reach that good . . . yet. Always we add ‘yet’ to the end of our sentences.

Tsuyoku Naritai.


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