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A Citizens Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear

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poe Donating Member (554 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 09:15 PM
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A Citizens Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear
Among those who would seek or want social change, despair is endemic now. A lack of hope that is tied to many kinds of powerlessness. Repeating patterns of suffering. Burgeoning philosophies of fear and hatred. Not to speak of the failure of dreams. Where once there were societies that served as models for a better future, grand plans, utopias, now there is distrust and dissatisfaction with any form of politics, a sense of powerlessness edging into nihilism.In considering what is possible for the future one must be careful not to slide into denial. Imagination can so easily be trapped by the wish to escape painful facts and unbearable conclusions. The New Age idea that one can wish oneself out of any circumstance, disease, or bad fortune is not only sadly disrespectful toward suffering, it is also, in the end, dangerous if escape replaces awareness.

But there are other dangers. What is called "realism" can lead to a kind of paralysis of action and a state of mind that has relinquished desire altogether. Especially now, when the political terrain seems so unnavigable, the impulse is toward cynicism. For months before the World Conference of Women met in Beijing, an informal debate circulated among women in the United States. Alongside the serious questions of China's violations of human rights, another question was posed. Why should we meet at all? What good will it do?

What remains with me from Modotti's images is not just a portrait of dreams that failed but of dreams that are still alive and of aspiration itself, that learning of the soul that never ceases. No one can stop us from imagining another kind of future, one which departs from the terrible cataclysm of violent conflict, of hateful divisions, poverty and suffering. Let us begin to imagine the worlds we would like to inhabit, the long lives we will share, and the many futures in our hands.
-Susan Griffin
www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=41&ItemI...
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