By Anonymous (not verified) on December 19, 2012

The world is an echo of wounds. The fascists in France want it to be Arizona. We wake to a social media newsfeed hyper-consolidating statistics of buried loved ones at speeds unparalleled in human society, yet our ability to process that information emotionally remains the same. An editor asked me where I find the courage to continually wake up in a world that devours children, much less hold forums on growing our dreams, souls, and spines. I have no profound answers, only the simple truth taught to me by my mother's suicide: We cannot heal what we will not face.

The world is an echo of dreams. We are here today because there were people before us who refused to die, and lived long enough to have children who did the same. At some point in our existence, we have to choose between viewing our genetic inheritance either as a cycle of tragedy or pedagogy of resiliency. Our dreams will be in the genes of our children one day, and they will make the same choice with us.

When we are elders in the cemetery, those who visit us will call our current time "The Era of Assassinated Imaginations." As they reflect, they will speak on what we do not: that in this time, not only were our bodies wounded, but also our dreams. What most people call apathy would be better defined as intergenerational shell shock. Our cultural DNA has been so historically traumatized from witnessing the theft of everything we love that it has resulted in chronic numbness. The grave has become more attractive than the streets or the refugee camps, or any other place where feelings of helplessness weigh down on our hearts.

Have you ever envisioned yourself in a healed world? There are places where emotional physics overrules physical science. To get there, we must reintroduce imagination as the essential skill set if people are to fall deeply in love with dreaming the world anew. What we envision for ourselves affects what becomes of the universe. A people will not attempt what they believe is not possible.

This is why spaces for vision development are crucial in this moment of shifting human trajectory. Our purpose on this planet is not to fight back as much as to fight forward -- to not only exist and resist, but to grow. Resistance without purpose is resiliency with amnesia, the absence of affirmation. A people who define themselves only in opposition to an enemy are people who have given up the belief that sovereignty is possible.

The people I cross paths with speak increasingly not only about reclaiming resources but cultivating relationships. We are remembering as a species that growth is simultaneously structural and personal -- that limiting our models for transformation to current concepts of identity is boring. Our genetic geography is shaped more by our stories than our exterior. By placing imagination and relationships at the center of reshaping our sense of shared self, we start the healing process, and with our collective dreams, lay the foundation for a new form of tribe.

This shift is not possible without the creativists: those who dance, dream, and write. Today, a generation of cultural visionaries is changing the philosophical framework with which they engage the arts. It is far less interested in only entertaining, more in engaging with the intangible part of being human. They are speaking to the human heart in ways that dare to make feeling more desirable than numbness.

The two primary energies on this planet that propel change are love and frustration. While the latter is far easier to introduce, it is far more limiting. People guided by frustration have a limited amount of emotional capital. They will eventually burn out, as we have witnessed countless times before. People who grow visions from love dare to view their movement as an act of beauty instead of war, psychologically shifting the axis of their energy. The purpose of engagement no longer becomes primarily the destruction of the enemy, but the blossoming of the world we deserve. Our gente, buried and breathing, are allies on this Earth and in the afterlife. There is a power that comes when we remember this world does not turn without us, for in the physics of people, refugees and love make the world go round.

Hold up your heart like a hand grenade. Let the world see how resiliently fierce and beautifully dangerous a militant sunflower can be. This Empire is but a blink in the eye of our ancestors. We center it too much in our stories and value systems. We have been told that gravity is real and unicorns are not. We believe we deserve the bruises and beatings and thus stay in this abusive relationship with the streets and the state.

There is an art to growing dreams.

There is a psychology to poetry.

There is a blueprint that butterflies carry in the memory of the cocoons they've survived.

Hummingbirds are asking us to fall deeply in love with imagining the world.

Infants are reminding us to hold social systems to the same standards as five-year-olds: to expect what has been stolen to be returned, and what has been wronged to be made right.

How will we grow a society if we do not push forth questions that excite the human soul to ask and answer?

A few for you to inquire:

How do we repair our dreams?

In what ways will human society organize identity and emotions in the future?

Why are bigots so painfully unimaginative?

What would you do if gravity was an illusion?

Who defines love and prayer?

How do we grow a right to not only return but remain?

In what key do we exhale?

What will the world look like the day after the last prison has closed?

Defeat is not a possibility when you are the one who defines victory. We must live as we speak: with love and sovereignty.

Mark Gonzales is a world-recognized innovator in using culture to leverage social power and heal trauma. His residence and engagements have spanned fifteen countries, ranging from refugee camps to Stanford University, TED talks, and the United Nations. He is often found speaking on dreams via twitter: @wagebeauty.com.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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