It is our duty to understand and self-consciously conserve a natural process of imagination that has proceeded for an extraordinarily long time. This process has not been uniform nor is its continued emergence inevitable. It has changed its properties markedly since the origin of consciousness, which is a property characterized best by us. Its conservation requires political and cultural components.
To understand this process and then to self-consciously preserve it, we need to place the written record of the human past within the natural record of the entire past. We need to study light, rocks, bones, and blood as well as written texts, and rethink the narrative of time and the human place in it. We need to study natural imagination to tell a story of the entire past from which humanity has emerged and remains embedded. This provides a context for understanding the present and options for exerting constructive influence in the future.