Commentary on Barry Lopez Post: On HOPE

Imagination.

I think that having a pre-determined imagination and then performing it in the world most-often leads to a colonizing of the imagination with another.

There are layers of justifying and claiming innocence in our will to control.

However, power is always being exercised. Whether one sits still or speaks or takes up arms or sleeps, this takes power.

Social power is the reality of social worlds. Since our social worlds are complex, we must learn to engage complexity.

So Barry Lopez asks us to welcome the ineffable, the unknown, wonder, diversity; to question loss and how it comes to be.

A different imagination begins with questions we must ask ourselves.  What, in our worldview, is assumed to be real, coherent and universal?

If we begin examining, we see that everything is fragile.

This fragility is feared in our present world.  Being fragile can be socially seen as weak.  This also comes into play when we work with identity, gender, and masculinity.  The assumptions of what is considered ‘strong’ and what is necessary to ‘hold things together’ and to ‘protect.’

Protection is something we must do sometimes.  But I feel that in the present realities, we protect way too much.  Often, we do not know that we are protecting anything.  On the other hand, an ‘everything is okay’ attitude is also a way of not committing, not making a mistake, and not being seen as one thing or another.  Often, we may even say we are ‘free’ when we say this to ourselves.  But it masks a value of non-commitment and intensifies alienation and brings nothing deep or lasting because that is what is desired.  It is a slavery to a certain moment when one decides that this is an effective strategy to resist something that has happened.  It is no more free than any other method.

To work with difference, to struggle with how we are complicit in the loss and violence in the world, would make us examine closely, our process of self-making as individuals and communities, and begin challenging our own assumptions and at the same time discovering new things.  These new possibilities may also not be new.  They are often ‘old’ or ‘ancient’ things that have been discarded and killed and excluded in the past.  Indeed, they may be things that have been twisted into something else through the passage of life.  As we begin working, I think that we begin to recognize these things, and to welcome the deepening of our lives.  The way we are now, as Barry Lopez points to, will lead to more loss.

Perhaps this will be a way of making a self-hatred and a misanthropy–a hatred of people, into a global reality for some.  They will be fulfilling their role in the world.  As we begin a journey to change our imagination and imagine anew, perhaps we may change directions.  In any case, it will be a struggle.  And I say that in my own experience, it will be a beautiful challenge for ourselves and we will make new friends on new paths.  We will no longer be colonized by the idea that it should be easy.  We will move with the ecologies of mourning, reflection, recognition, and natural movements of time and the trees and the planets.  It will not look one way.  It could be urban, it could be in a grain of sand.  We cannot know.  All that must be done is to take the steps.

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