on imagination, death, apocalypse, and facilitating society

ook so this is gonna be a random disjointed collection of thoughts. they’reconnected in some way, but i’m not sure how at the outset, so i’ll just start and we where it lands.

the other day, i read through a section of grant williams’ masters thesis. though there was a ton that stood out as important, one quote is haunting me.

It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.

– frederic jameson, essay: future city

from where i am in the world, this is overwhelmingly true. all of the people around me who are forward-thinking can only imagine the end of times (ok, all is an exaggeration, but it’s close). the science, the trends, the media, everything tends towards destruction. nuclear war, climate change, oppressive systems, it all just leads to the end of times.

bell hooks, from a different angle, was also onto this understanding…

It may very well be that the worship of death, indicated by the constant spectacles of dying we watch on television screens daily, is one way our culture tries to still that fear, to conquer it, to make us comfortable. Writing about the meaning of death in contemporary culture Thomas Merton explains: ‘Psychoanalysis has taught us something about the death wish that pervades the modern world. We discover our affluent society to be profoundly addicted to the love of death…

— bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions, Chapter 11 – Loss: Loving Into Life and Death

i think the the game of thrones phenomenon fits in here. we’re more interested in watching (or maybe more able to realistically imagine) destruction of life than we are in creating and watching alternative, hopeful, positive futures.

next thought: i did my training as a facilitator at the interaction institute for social change and interaction associates. two things i learned in those spaces are relevant here:

in the process of making a plan, it is important to separate the idea-generation phase from the decision-making phase. if you don’t have a large number of ideas to choose from, you’re unlikely to find the best solution. putting strong constraints on brainstorming often obscures really good solutions (the reasons why are complicated, but i’ll just leave it there for now). this makes me believe that it’s actually really important to have more imagination spaces. in my mind, this is why futurism (including grant’s thesis work) is so important. i’m now beginning to understand futuristic science fiction as the idea-generation phase of facilitating a better future for our society. and we need a lot more of it. maybe that’s what i’ll take on during nanowrimo.

out of time!

​ writing: 11:44

spell-check, link-finding, & formatting: 14:42