One thing that I seem to be returning to, in art and life, is the importance of being able to envision a better world. Or, put another way, the importance of stepping out of the story that we live in and consider a whole new take on things. It’s about the stretching-beyond, curious, willing mind; the imagination. I’d like to suggest it is our greatest tool when working to change the world for the better.
In my early twenties I read something that spoke about depression as a sort of inability to position yourself in a different corner of the room so to speak. I guess, a lack of vision, being stuck with an outlook that only allows for a small part of the picture to be seen. I had a strong feeling then that it was important to stay open to the possibility that things could change. Being on the look-out for change mattered, being able to picture a place where you would like to land mattered. Even just wanting to be able to picture it mattered.
In later years, my interest in the imaginative mind, has had a lot to do with a sense of a collective depression, especially among people who care a lot about the world. It’s no surprise, really, because our eyes are so much focused on the things that are not okay, the things that not enough people speak about, the social injustices, the pollution, the suffering of animals in factories, just to name a few from the top off my head. And that view should be enough to make anyone, if not depressed, then at least severely discouraged. Especially since it’s so hard to spot progress in any field, at least if you keep your eyes and ears peeled to the mass-media (even the alternative sources).
There is a great need, I think, for a view that includes more. For me, that means using my imagination, the part of me that tries to see beyond the current state of things and picture something else, something other, something better. Even if I have no idea of how, or when, or in what way these changes would occur. We benefit, I think, from trying to picture what we’re working to reach, instead of just seeing all those things that are wrong. It’s exhausting to only take in the disasters and it doesn’t make us better activists.
I believe that even just the trying to imagine a better world matters. You might find yourself, like me, bumping up against the walls of your imagination, trying to grasp something that seems out of reach. And really, how are we supposed to envision something that we have never even heard of? Where would we start? My mind seems cluttered with the stories from my upbringing, my culture, the stories of the mass-media (often about violence, conflicts and the lack of money for human needs), I feel them blocking my view, there are things behind them, I just know it. The world could be arranged in so many other different ways, this world-order is not the only one possible – - and so I keep trying.
I’ve been working on a poster on this topic, and I’ve decided to stop waiting for the Perfect Idea of Perfect Ideas, and just finish it. And really, what’s important here is not delivering an impeccably shiny product that couldn’t ever be improved, what matters is the the trying, the starting somewhere and having something to start from again – just creating one version. So I’m going to post a few things about this project over the next few days. If you have any comments, bring ‘em!