hope in dark
by Rebecca Solnit – original publish 2004, 3rd publish (one i’m reading) 2016
added hope page while reading hope in dark
(because loving her definitions of hope in the forward)
173amazed by the ravenous appetite for another way of telling who an where we were, i decided to write this slender book
the hope i’m interested in is about broad perspective w specific possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we act
hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act..t
taleb knowledge law et al
ideas at first considered outrageous or ridiculous or extreme gradually become what people think they’ve always believed..power comes from the shadows and the margins, that our hope is in the dark around the edges, not the limelight of center stage..t
activists often speak as though the solutions we need have not yet been launched or invented, as though we are starting form scratch, when often the real goal is to amplify the power and reach of existing alts.. what we dream of is already present in the world..t
what startled me about the response to disaster was not the virtue, since virtue is often the result of diligence and dutifulness, but the passionate joy that shined out form accounts by people who had barely survived
people return to those selves, those ways of self-organizing, as if by instinct when the situation demands it..t
this was a revolutionary vision of human nature and a revelation that we can pursue our ideals not out of diligence but because when they are realized there’s joy, and joy is itself an insurrectionary force against the dreariness and dullness and isolation of everyday life..
recognize the radical possibilities that can be built on an alternative view of human nature.. t
science of people.. we have no idea what legit free people are like
amnesia leads to despair in many ways…. when you don’t know how much things have changed, you don’t see that they are changing or that they can change..
why depression/suicide .. so seductive.. no-way/only-way out
where hope comes in, and memory, the collective memory we call history…
despair is also often premature: its’ a form of impatience as well as of certainty.. to retain a sense that even 4 yrs later the verdict isn’t in is to live w more open minded uncertainty than most people now can tolerate
‘i’ve seen enough change in my lifetime to know that despair is not only self defeating, it is unrealistic’ – susan griffin
if there is one thing we can draw from where we are now and where we were then, it is that the unimaginable is ordinary, that the way forward is almost never a straight line you can glance down but a convoluted path of surprises, gifts, and afflictions you prepare for by accepting your blind spots as well as your intuitions.. t
let’s listen/org for that.. ie: imagine if we
howard zinn’s ‘the optimism of uncertainty’
social, cultural, or political change does not work in predictable ways of on predictable schedules.. we don’t know what is going to happen, or how, or when, and that very uncertainty is the space of hope.. t
none of them (boat owners rescuing people after hurricane katrina) said, i can’t rescue everyone, therefore it’s futile; therefore my efforts are flawed and worthless, though that’s often what people say about more abstract issues in which, nevertheless, lives, places, cultures, species, rights are at stake.. none of those people said ‘i can’t rescue them all’ all of them said ‘i can rescue someone and that’s work so meaningful/important i will risk my life and defy the authorities to do it’.. and they did.. of course, *working for systemic change also matters.. the kind of change that might prevent calamities **by addressing the climate or infra or environ/econ injustice that put some people in harm’s way in new orleans in the first place
people in official institutions devoutly believe they hold the power that matters, though the power we grant them can often be taken back
everything in the mainstream media suggests that popular resistance is ridiculous, pointless, or criminal, unless it is far away, was long ago, or, ideally, both. these are the forces that prefer the giant remain asleep.
ch 1 – looking into darkness
virginia woolf – 1915.. 6 mos into ww1: the future is dark, which is on the whole, the best thing the future can be..
again and again, far stranger things happen than the end of the world..
we adjust to changes w/o measuring them; we forget how much he culture changed
we need to hope for the realization of our own dreams, but also to recognize a world that will remain wilder than our imaginations..
power to the imagination.. demand the impossible
ie: imagine if we
they didn’t push hard enough or stay long enough to collect the famous peace dividend, and so there was none. it’s always too soon to go home. and it’s always too soon to calculate effect…
the woman from wsp told of how foolish and futile she felt standing in the rain one morning protesting at the kennedy white house. years later she heard dr ben spock who had become one of the most high profile activists on issue say that the turning point for him was spotting a small groups of women standing in the rain, …
all that these transformation have in common is that they begin in the imagination, in hope. to hope is to gamble. it’s to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. to hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk..
safety addiction et al
to live is to risk
to live is to risk
no fear in love
hope calls for action; action is impossible w/o hope
to hope is to give yourself to the future, and that commitment to the future makes the present inhabitable.
anything could happen, and whether we act or not has everything to do with it
i want to start over, with an imagination adequate to the possibilities and the strangeness and the dangers on this earth in this moment…
let’s imagine a legit nother way
ch 2 – when we lost
we felt clearly the pain of the circumstances to which we had grown numb..
exit sea world
stories trap us, stories free us, we live and die by stories, but hearing people have the Conversation is hearing them tell themselves a story they believe is being told to them.
how do people recognize that they have the power to be storytellers not just listeners?
imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..
hope is the story of uncertainty, of coming to terms with the risk involved in not knowing what comes next, which is more demanding than despair and in a way, more frightening. and immeasurably more rewarding.
we should recall every day how right Carlos Quijano was when he said that sins against hope are the only sins beyond forgiveness and redemption
system that empowers people at the grass roots to build their own future…. in aug 2004.. venezuelans again voted a landslide victory to the target of an unsuccessful us-backed coup in 2002, left win populist president hugo chavez
s america was neoliberalism’ great lab, and now it’s the site of the greatest revolts against that pernicious economic doctrine… … corp globalization .. commodification of everything..
we know how the slide into tyranny and fear takes place, how people fall into a nightmare, but how do they wake up from it, how does the slow climb back into freedom and confidence transpire..?
arundhati roy: ‘for many of us who feel estranged from mainstream politics, there are rare, ephemeral moments of celebration’… and there is far more to politics than the mainstream of elections and govts, more in the margins where hope is most at home
scott fitzgerald famously said, ‘the test of first rate *intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the sam time and still retain the ability to function’.. but the summations of the state of the world often assume that it must be all one way or the other, and since it is not all good it must all such royally.. fitzgerald’s forgotten next sentence is ‘one should, for ie, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise’
havel: ‘… either we have hope w/in us or we don’t; it is a dimension of the soul; it’s not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation….an orientation of the spirit/heart.. it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons… ..not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but, rather, an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed..t
sometimes it’s the most unlikely people who rise up and take power… the people who have an intimate sense of what’s at stake..
quiet enough to hear
freire’s pedagogy of oppressed and sequel pedagogy of hope .. where he declares: ‘.. hence need for a kind of education in hope’
oi to ed ness.. no training needed.. just deeper listening.. to what’s already in each one of us
banner in reclaim the streets in late 1990s: ‘resistance is the secret of joy’
waiting until everything looks feasible is too long to wait..t
let’s not wait.. let’s not keep getting distracted
inside the word emergency is emerge.. the old certainties are crumbling fast, but danger and possibility are sisters..
ch 3 – what we won
being right is small comfort when people are dying and living horribly, as are both the iraqis in their ravaged land and the poor kids who constitute our occupying army..
written back then.. but day i’m reading it – nov 10 2016 –
U.S. military announces that civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria are more than double previous estimate https://t.co/r0B0oeK6Xe
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/QueenNoor/status/796749042214703105
time for us to cease to be followers
ch 4 – false hope and easy despair
authentic hope requires clarity – seeing the troubles in this world – and imagination, seeing what might lie beyond these situations that are perhaps not inevitable and immutable..
the apocalypse is always easier to imagine than the strange circuitous routes to what actually comes next
the situation had changed completely, but the song remained the same
same song ness
the nature of adversarial activism, which leads to obsessions w the enemy, and, as a few environmentalists have mentioned to me, w the use of alarmist narratives for fundraising and mobilizing.. sometimes these bad news bringers seem in love w defeat.. because if they’re constantly prophesying doom, actual doom is, as we say in california, pretty validating.. they come to won the bad and even take pride in it: the monsters and atrocities prove their point, and the point is very dear to them..
the point becomes the demonstration of one’s own virtue rather than the realization of results.. and puritanical because the somber pleasure of condemning things is the most enduring part of that legacy, along w the sense of personal superiority that comes from pleasure denied.. for some reason tales of decline and fall have an authority that hopeful ones don’t..
hopefulness is risky, since it is after all a form of trust, trust in the unknown and the possible, even in discontinuity.. to be hopeful is to take on a different persona, one that risks disappointment, betrayal, ..
before a disease can be treated, it must be diagnosed. and you do not need to know the prescription before you diagnose a disease….bad news can be a gift/step toward hope, as long as that news can be let go when time comes..have to be able to see farther.. look elsewhere..
true – to gift/step…. and also true – to look elsewhere…. that we need to quit just diagnosing.. ie: costello screen/service law
on puritan ness.. belief that no one should have joy or abundance until everyone does, a belief that’s austere at one end, in the deprivation it endorses, and fantastical in the other, since it waits a universal utopia..
agree.. for past.. but for today.. i believe.. we have the means to leap.. and so we have the means for the dance to finally dance.. but has to be all of us.. for (blank)’s sake…
joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism.. and when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated, and isolated, joy is a fine initial act of insurrection
sounds like the need for little breathers in the all nighters.. ness
ch 5 – a history of shadows
the limelights there (onstage) are so bright that they blind you to he shadowy spaces around you, make it hard to meet the gaze of the other people in the seats, to see the way out of the audience, into the aisles, backstage, outside, in the dark, where other powers are at work.
a lot of the fate of the world is decided onstage, in the limelight and the actors there will tell you that all of it is , that there is no other place.. no matter the details of the outcome, what is onstage is a tragedy, the tragedy of the inequitable distribution of power, the tragedy of the too common silence of those who settle for being audience and who pay the price of the drama..
the idea behind representative democracy is that the audience is supposed to choose the actors, and the actors are quite literally supposed to speak for us…
in practice, various reasons keep many form participating in the choice, other forces – like money – subvert that choice
need to let go of any form of democratic admin
pay attention to the inventive arenas that exert political power outside that stage or change the contents of the drama onstage.. from the places that you have been instructed to ignore or rendered unable to see come the stories that change the world,.. t and it is here that culture has the power to shape politics and ordinary people have the power to change the world
you can see the baffled, upset faces of the actors on stage when the streets become a stage or the unofficial appear among them to disrupt the planned program
carhart-harris entropy law – hard won order.. et al
change that counts in revolution takes place first in the imagination
this means, of course, that the most foundational change of all, the one from which all else issues, is hardest to track..
but easiest to facil.. if we let go enough.. ie: let go of tracking.. of any form of m\a\p
the revolution that counts is the one that takes place in the imagination.. *revolution doesn’t necessarily look like revolution…t belief can be more effective than violence.. violence is the power of the state; imagination and nonviolence the power of **civil society…
*back to the need to let go of tracking ness
and more power has come to belong to the ordinary citizenry
and suddenly, almost with the swiftness of thought – whose transformation has in fact set the whole process in motion – the old regime, a moment ago so impressive, vanishes like a mirage..
on the exponential potential.. for a leap.. for (blank)’s sake…
part of the story (of abolition movement that ended slavery) is about the imagination and determination of a few key figures.. but part of it is about a change of heart whereby enough people came to believe that slavery was…
slavery never ended..
it was arguments, sermons, editorials, pamphlets, conversations that *changed the mind of the public: stories
it is in these neglected places that radical power lies…
just as fashions are more likely to originate in the street w poor nonwhite kids, so are new stories likely to start in the marginal zones, w visionaries, radical ,obscure researchers, the young, the poor – the discounted, who count anyway..
begs a means to undo our hierarchical listening
the routes to the center are seldom discussed or even explored, in part because so much attention is focused on the central stage…
to admit that these people pose a threat to the status quo is to 1\ admit first that there is a status quo, 2\ that it may be an unjust and unjustifiable thing, and 3\ that it can indeed by changed by passionate people and nonviolent means.. to admit this is to admit the limits of state power and its legitimacy.. better to marginalize activists – to portray them as rabble on the fringe who are dangerous the way violent criminals are dangerous.. thus is the true danger to the status quo made into another ‘safe fear’.. t
safety addiction.. killing us
what lies ahead seems unlikely; when it becomes the past, it seems inevitable..
they won’t thank a bunch of radical professors or scruffy anticapitalist street activists who were being tear-gassed for arguing the point prematurely.. t
which is to say, stories migrate secretly. the assumption that whatever we now believe is just common sense, or what we always knew, is a way to save face. it’s also a way to forget the power of a story and of a storyteller, the power in the margins, and the potential for change…
if it happens, it will come to look like it always was a good idea, and the first people to have espoused it will be forgotten, since they were kooks, extremists, and impractical dreamers.. t
their amnesia is necessary to their sense of legitimacy in a society they would rather not acknowledge is in constant change..
well.. not in legit change.. otherwise.. we’d be alive/awake.. which we’re not.. the change is just spinning wheels of same song ness
we need legit change..
this book is a history of the shadows, of the darkness in which hope lies..
thinking of Jason Fried‘s rework – that most gets done in the shadows
and too.. batra hide in public law
ch 6 – the millennium arrives: nov 9 1989
born summer berlin wall built
people have always been good at imagining the end of the world, which is much easier to picture than the strange sidelong paths of change in a world w/o end.
in 62.. students for a democratic society, the key org for the student movement in the us was founded and the environmental movement began to matter in the public imagination and public discourse
trial of the chicago 7 et al
what gets called the 60s left a mixed legacy and a lot of divides. but it opened everything to question, and what seems most fundamental and most pervasive about all the ensuing changes is a loss of faith in authority..t.. the authority of govt, of patriarchy,of progress, of capitalism, of violence, of whiteness..
we need a means to let go any form of people telling other people what to do
ie: a nother way
people found end of world easier to envision than the impending changes in everyday roles, thoughts, practices .. perhaps we should not have adjusted to it so easily. it would be better if we were astonished every day.
rev of everyday life ness.. keeps us awake/alive/real
people armed with nothing more than desire or hope brought down the wall
by acting as if they were free, the people of eastern europe became free
but not legit free..
havel – playwright… before became president of postcommunist czech
that both the civil rights movement and rock and roll came out of the african american south to change the world suggests a startling, resistant richness under all that poverty and oppression and evokes, yet again, the strange workings of history..
off stage ness
A Sanders-Warren ticket would have won this election. And left us a more peaceful nation. bit.ly/2eOOq9s
perhaps answers our soul’s crave.. lies in .. being off stage… (and outside any form of democratic admin)
ch 7 – the millennium arrives: jan 1 1994
the zapatistas chose to rise on the day that nafta, the north american free trade agreement, went into effect, opening us, mexican, and canadian borders.. the z’s recognized what a decade has proved: nafta was an econ death sentence for 100s of 1000s of small scale mexican farmers and w them.. something of rural and traditional life.. they came not just to enact a specific revolution but to bring a revolution, so to speak in the nature of revolutions.. t
revolution we need: instigating utopia everyday
they were nothing so simple as socialists, and they did not posit the old vision … they affirmed women’s full and equal rights, refusing to be the revolution that sacrifices or postpones one kind of justice for another….t they did not attempt to export their revolution but invited others to find their own local version of it…. for the rest of us, the zapatistas came as a surprise and as a demonstration that overnight the most marginal, overlooked place can become the center of the world.
they were not just demanding change, but embodying it.. one of their maxim ‘everything for everyone , nothing for ourselves’ and though they have survived more than won their quarrel w the mexican govt, they have set loose glorious possibilities for activists everywhere. they understood the interplay between physical actions, those carried out w guns, and symbolic actions, those carried out w words,/images/art/communications, and they won thru these latter means what they never could have won thru their small capacity for violence..
manuel callahan point out that the z’s did not come ot turn back the clock to some lost indigenous dreamtime but to hasten the arrival of the future: ‘we indian peoples have come in order to wind the clock and to thus ensure that the inclusive, tolerant, and plural tomorrow which is, incidentally, the only tomorrow possible, will arrive’.. marcos has said, ‘in order to od that, in order for our march to make the clock of humanity march, we indian people have resorted to the art of reading what has not yet been written.. because that is the dream which animates us as indigenous, as mexicans and above all as human beings.. w our struggle we are reading the future which has already been sown yesterday, which is being cultivated today, and which can only be reaped if one fights, if, that is, one dreams‘.. t
1996 – 4th declaration of lacandon jungle: .. ‘new lie being told to us by history.. the defeat of hope.. we must raise an international of hope.. unity beyond borders.. *not the B of hope, not an image inverse to, and thus similar to, what is annihilating us’..
*aka – not same song
ch 8 – the millennium arrives: nov 30 1999
seattle – 1999
i like the term global justice movement for this swarm of resistances and inspirations
simply, a struggle to re democratize the world, or the corner of it from which a given struggle is mounted..
under nafta rules, corps have an absolute right to profit w which local laws must not interfere.. poisoning the well is no longer a crime, but stopping the free flow of poison meets w punishment.. other ies of this kind of globalization include the attempts by multinational corps ot privatize water supplies and to patent genes, including the genes of wild and of traditionally cultivated plants – to lock up as commodities much of the basic stuff of life, in the name of free trade..
young global justice advocates understand that, as is often said, globalization is war by other means.. war is easy to abhor, but it takes serious passion to unravel the tangles of financial manipulations and to understand the pain of sweatshop workers or displaced farmers.and maybe this is what heroism looks like nowadays: occasionally high profile heroism in public but mostly just painstaking mastery of arcane policy, stubborn perseverance year after year for a cause, empathy w those who remain unseen, and outrage channeled into dedication..
seattle was mainly a group of white folks, yet and this was very important, there were people from india, mexico, the philippines, and indonesia.. they rep’d influential groups and millions of people who had protested on their own streets but couldn’t come to seattle, so if one looks at the larger movement and the swelling of the ranks of globalization activists around the world, one would have to conclude that this is truly a crossnational movement and very possibly the first truly global movement..
french farmer and revolutionary jose bové: ‘i had the feeling that a new period of protest was about to begin in america – a new beginning for politics, after the failure and inactivities of the previous generation’..
the global justice movement brought to the progressive/radical community what had long been missing: a comprehensive anal that laid the groundwork for a broad coalition, for the common ground so absent from the movements of the 70s-80s, which seemed to advance single sector or pit one issue against another.. this is, of course, in part because the globalizing corps manage to be anti environmental, anti demo, and a whole lot of other atrocities all at once.. but the antiglobalization movement in its breadth, in tis flexibility, and its creativity seems, like the z’s, a great step toward reinventing revolution..
it was in that upper left corner of the us that it made its transnational presence impossible to ignore.. 50 000 people joined the union led march, and 10 000 activists blockaded in the downtown streets, disrupting and ultimately canceling the meeting of the wto that day. the shutdown encouraged impoverished nation delegates and the reps of non govt orgs to stand their ground inside the wto talks.. this time victory – the shutdown – was tangible/immediate.. but the action also served to galvanize the world w an unanticipated revolt on the grand scale, and it made corp globalization a subject of debate as it had not been before
seattle is sometimes misremembered as an eden.. it was just a miracle, a messy on that won’t happen the same way again.. since the seattle surprise, it’s become standard practice to erect a miniature police state of walls/weapons around any globalization summit, and there rights free zones seem to prefigure what corp globalization promises..
in seattle, the tactics and philosophy of nonviolent direct action had a shining movement, a moment that was the culmination of decades of discussion and experimentation
direct action et al
that is to say .. the movement was pluralist; it came form many directions, including a constructive critique of the failure of the 60s and an ethics of power.. so you could say that seattle arose not only from addressing the problem that is ‘them’ – the corps and govts – but form the problem that have often been ‘us’.. the activists, the radicals, the revolution.. its success came out of addressing both of these fronts, a response many years in the making. and out of the moment
on that day when seattle seemed like the center of the world, there was a sister action ion bangalore, india, focusing on monsanto..
to think of 1999 is to think of a bygone era in which these more complex and long term issues had not been overshadowed by the imperial belligerence of the so called war on terror..
four years later a group led by mexican campesinos and korean farmers, in coalition w the ngos inside the sept 2003 wto ministerial in cancun, brought the org to the brink of collapse..
at the cancun ministerial, the impoverished nations created coalition called the group of 20+ that reps nearly half the world’s people and more than 2/3 of its farmers, a group powerful enough to stand up to the rich nations and the corps they rep.. the coalition.. was assemble by brazil.. under lula.. is a beautiful maverick.. this is one of the global impact of south american’s long climb out of tyranny.. kenyan delegate: ‘meeting is over.. this is another seattle’.. talks collapsed.. george monbiot: ‘at cancun the weak nations stood up to he most powerful negotiators on earth and were not broken.. the lesson they will bring home is that if this is possible, almost anything is’
it was triumph for farmers, for poor, for power of nonviolent direct action.. for power of people over corps and justice over greed.. it was power shift, both from the rich nations o the poor and from the towers to the streets.. seattle was led by young white radicals thought reps of all the world were there, but cancun was led by mexican campesino and korean farmers .. unfolding as it did on the 2nd anniversary of 9/11, the revolution in cancun reclaimed some of the peaceful populist power that osama bin laden and bush had paralyzed.. ‘we are winning’ said the graffit in seattle
ch 9 – the millennium arrives: sept 11 2001
there was a long moment when almost everyone seemed to pause, an opening.. when the nation might have taken another path..
it was not just the possibility of a war but he sense of the relation between self and world that changed, at least for americans.
to live entirely for oneself in private is a huge luxury, a luxury countless aspects of this society encourage, but like a diet of pure foie gras it clogs and narrows the arteries of the heart.
this is what we’re encourage to carve in this country.. ….but *most of us crave more deeply something with more grit, more substance..
deep enough .. for all of us
after 89 quake in san fran… the day after.. i walked around town to see people i cared about, and the world was local and immediate.. not just because the bay bridge was damaged and there were practical reasons to stay home, but because the long0term perspective from which so much dissatisfaction and desire comes was shaken too: life, meaning, value were close to home, in the present…. connected to death, to fear, to the unknown… we could feel strongly, and that is itself something hard to find in the anesthetizing distractions of this society..
after 9 11.. in brooklyn that week, a friend reported, ‘nobody went to work and everybody talked to strangers ‘.. what makes people heroic and what makes them feel members of a community.. i hope that one thing to com out the end of american invulnerability would be a stronger sense of what disasters abroad – massacres, occupation, wars, famines, dictatorships – mean and feel like, a sense of *citizenship in the world
*oi to this.. we need to go deeper than citizen ness
wartime and disaster elicit this heroism most strongly, though there are always volunteers who don’t wait until disaster comes home, the volunteers and activists who engage w issues that don’t affect them directly.. w landmines, discrimination, genocide, the people who want to extend their own privilege and security to those who lack them.. in its mildest form that heroism is simply citizenship, a sense of connection and commitment to the community.. and for a few months after 9\11 we had a strange surge of citizenship in this country..
again.. citizenship not deep enough
though oil politics had much to do w what happened, we were not asked to give up driving or vehicles that gulp huge amounts of fuel; we were asked to go shopping and to spy on our neighbors..
it seemed as though the bush admin recognized this extraordinary possibility of the moment and did everything it could to suppress it… for nothing is more dangerous to them than that sense of citizenship, fearlessness, and communion with the world that is distinct from the blind patriotism driven by fear..
in fact 9 11 was largely an excuse to carry out existing agendas of imperial expansion and domestic repression.. i wish 9 11 had not happened, but i wish the reaction that hovered on the brink of being born had..
ch 10 – the millennium arrives: feb 15 2003
a march is when bodies speak by walking, when private citizens become that mystery the public, when traversing the boulevards of cities becomes a way to travel toward political goals..
march -11-30 million.. first to reach all 7 continents.. against a war (iraq) that had yet to begin.. to refuse to endorse the revenge being exacted for that crime (9 11).. for those who credulously believed that iraq was somehow linked to al-qaeda…
nyt: 9 11 moment of communion born out of atrocity, but this one was born out of insurgency and outraged idealism.. it (2003 march) bore witness to a usually unspoken desire for something other than ordinary private life, of something more risky, more involved, more idealistic..
the dream did not last…
the millions marching on feb 15 represented something that is not yet fully realized, an extraordinary potential waiting, waiting for some catalyst to bring it into full flower.
yes.. that.. what we already have in each heart.. let’s unleash that..
a new imagination of politics and change is already here, and i want to try to pare away what obscures it..
ch 11 – changing the imagination of change
activism is not a journey to the corner store, it is a plunge into the unkown..
a game of checkers ends. the weather never does. that’s why you can’t save anything. saving is the wrong word, one invoked over and over again, for almost every cause…
life is never so tidy and final. only death is.
i wonder what would happen sometimes if victory was imagined not just as the elimination of evil but the establishment of good..
we are not who we were not very long ago… (ie: changing understanding of nature..)
ch 12 – on the indirectness of direct action
writing is lonely, it’s an intimate talk with the dead, with the unborn, with the absent, with strangers, with the readers who may never once to be and who even if they read you will do so weeks, years, decades later. an essay, a book, is one statement in a long conversation you could call culture or history; you are answering something or questioning something that may have fallen silent long ago, and the response to your words may come long after you’re gone and never reach your ears, if anyone hears you in the first place.. how it’s been for so many books that count, books that didn’t shake the world when they first appeared but blossomed later
this is a model for how indirect effect can be.. how delayed, how invisible;
alex query – on someone will write it.. time writing as waste.. compared to living..
so .. cheers to hosting-life-bits ness
also on lit & num as colonialism et al
resistance is usually portrayed as a duty, but it can be a pleasure, an education, a revelation
also a distraction
ch 13 – the angel of alternate history
all these places are places of absence or at least the absence of devastation, a few of he countless places in which there is .. nothing to see, and nothing is what victory often looks like.. the angel of history says, ‘terrible’, but this angels says ‘could be worse’.. they’re both right, but the latter angel gives us grounds to act
ch 14 – viagra for caribou
it turns out, for ie, that viagra is good for endangered species.. animal parts that traditional chinese medicine prescribed as aphrodisiacs and for treating impotence.. ie: green turtles, seahorses, geckos, hooded and harp seals, velvet from half grown antlers of caribou.. are, thanks to the drug no longer in such demand.. what more comic form of the mysterious unfolding of the world is there than this.. which suggests that viagra’s ultimate purpose may be the survival of animals at the edges of the earth
the internet was invented by the us military and may be one of our most valuable weapons against it, for the decentralized dissemination of info and for the org of citizen action..
ch 15 – getting the hell out of paradise
perfection is a stick with which to beat the possible…
socrates supposed to law et al
there’s an increasing gap between this new movement, w its capacity for joy and carnival and the old figureheads.. their grumpiness is often the grumpiness of perfectionists who hold that anything less than total victory is failure, a premise that makes it easy to give up at the start or to disparage the victories that are possible..
what’s missing from these two ways of telling is an ability to recognize a situation in which you are traveling and have not arrived.. it’s a way of telling in which you can feel successful w/o feeling smug, in which you can feel challenged w/o feeling defeated.. eduardo galeano: ‘.. what is utopia for? it is for this, for walking’
revolution – instigating utopia everyday
perhaps a deep sense of loss is contingent upon the belief in perfection
the premise is that once perfection has arrived change is no longer necessary. this idea of perfection is also why people believe in saving, in going home, and in activism as crisis response rather than everyday practice..
moths and other nocturnal insects navigate by the moon/stars.. those heavenly bodies are useful for them to find their way, even though they never get far from the surface of the earth.. but lightbulbs and candles send them astray; they fly into the heat or the flame and die.. for these creatures.. to arrive is a calamity.. when activists mistake heaven for some goal at which they must arrive, rather than an idea to navigate earth by.. they burn themselves out, or they set up a totalitarian utopia in which others are burned in the flames..
don’t mistake a lightbulb for the moon, and don’t believe that the moon is useless unless we land on it…. after all those millennia of poetry about the moon, nothing was more prosaic (lacking poetic beauty) than the guys in space suits stomping around on the moon w their flags and golf clubs thirty-something years ago.. the moon is profound except when we land on it..t
paradise is not the place in which you arrive but the journey toward it… the industrialized world has tried to approx paradise in its suburbs, w luxe, calme, volupte, cu de sacs, cable tv and 2 car garages .. and it has produced a soft ennui (listlessness, dissatisfaction) that shades over into despair and a decay of the soul suggesting that paradise is already a gulag (system of labor camps in which people died).. countless desperate teenagers will tell you so
paradise in all accounts is passive, is sedative, and if you read carefully, soulless
out of all that conviction, all that passion, one thing stood out for me: gopal dayaneni, one of the key organizers for the antiwar actions, was asked by the daily newspaper why he was getting arrested.‘i have a soul,’ he replied.. t
trial of the chicago 7 et al
the term ‘politics of prefiguration’ has long been used to describe the idea that *if you embody what you aspire to, you have already succeeded.. that is to say, if your activism is already democratic, peaceful, creative, then in one small corner of the world these things have triumphed. **activism in this model is not only a tool box to change things but a home in which to take up residence and live according to your beliefs… even it it’s a temp and local place, this paradise of participating .. this vale where souls get made..
you could describe activism as having tow primary strains: the attempt to change something problematic outside itself and the attempt to build something better.. though the two strains are irrevocably and necessarily intertangled
they are present all along the journey; arrival is at best irrelevant, at worst undermining.. at least to the goods of the spirit..t
revolution – instigating utopia everyday
arrival as a naming the colour ness
reclaim the streets (rts) the rowdy british movement of the later 90s, lived this out beautifully. the premise behind rts’s street parties seemed to be that if what they were protesting against was isolation, privatization and alienation, then a free for al party out in public was not just protest but a solution.. if a solution in the mode that hakim bey called ‘temp autonomous zones’.. (bey contrasted these moments of lib w revolutions proper, which ‘lead to the expected curve, the consensus approved trajectory: revolution reaction, betrayal, teh founding of a stronger and even more oppressive state.. by failing to follow this curve, the uprising suggests the possibility of a movement out side/beyond the hegelian spiral of that ‘progress’ which is secretly nothing more than a vicious circle’).. rts and the antiroads movement took on what could be called post industrialization of britain the privatization of everyday life and the imposition of monster roads and freeways on still vital landscapes and communities..
there were some beautiful moments: people taking up residence in trees in which they established legal residence by receiving mail there.. a tactic to keep the tree from being cut; an rts party in which they surged on to freeway overpass and muffled by rave music, smuggled jackhammers onto the concrete under the giant bell skirt of stilt walking grande dame, the jackhammered openings in which trees were planted; huge street parties in downtown london that linked up w activists around the world to become global anticapitalist demos
that rts didn’t outlive its moment was also a kind of victory, a recognition that time had moved on and the focus was elsewhere..
instead rts’s incendiary carnival spirit, global internet communications and tactics of temp victory became part of the vocab of what came next, the global justice movement.. rts decomposed itself into the soil from which new flowers spring.. on day in california, i hear a zen buddhist abbot from ireland quote the argentinian jorge luis borges ‘there is no day w/o its moments of paradise’.. and then the day continues..
ch 16 – across the great divide
june jordan once wrote, ‘we should take care so that we will lose none of the jewels of our soul.. we must begin now to reject the white, either/or system of dividing the world into unnecessary conflict.. we need everybody and all that we are‘.. jordan asks us to give up the dividing by which we conquer ourselves, the sectarianism, the presumption that difference is necessarily opposition.. t.. so does the activism of the moment
arrival of millennia could be told another way.. as the departure of the binaries and oppositions by which we used to imagine the world.. the end of the soviet bloc meant that capitalism and communism no longer defined a world of difference or a political standoff that had long been described as east vs west.. the z’s came along 5 yrs later w a politic that was neither c nor c, but implicitly positioned them together as means of displacing power form the individual, the community, the local.. opposition is often illusory: the old distinction between aristotelians and platonists, for ie, overlooks how similar these two camps might be to a taoist or a shaman.. gender, once imagined as a pair of definitive opposites, has been reimagined as a spectrum of anatomies, affinities, and attractions.. another binary that has become outdated is right and left.. though these terms are still deployed all the time.. what do they define?
i’ve often wondered what alliances and affinities might arise w/o those badges of right and left..
the guys drilling w guns might’ve been too weird to be our allies, but they were just the frothy foam on a big wave of alienation,suspicion and fear from people watching their livelihoods/communities go down the tubes.. what could have happened if we could have spoken directly to the people in that wave, if we could have found common ground.. if we could have made our position neither right/left but *truly grassroots.. what would have happened if we had give them an alt version of how local power was being sapped, by whom, and what they might do about it.. we need them, we need a broad base, we need a style that speaks to far more people than the left has lately been able to speak to/for
has to be all of us
what gets called the left has often had as its principal hallmark being right, a sectarian righteousness that is also dissipating to make room for some spectacular new tactics, movements, and coalitions..
on baldemar velasquez (ohio farmworker organizer and ordained minister) getting children of christian republicans in toledo ohio religious school to join him..: ‘there are 3 groups of people god watches over jealously in the entire history of scripture, orphans, widows, aliens.. how many of you want to do something about theses? every kid in auditorium raised their hands..’.. what makes him (baldemar) remarkable is this making of connections not just between issues but between sides
ch 17 – after ideology, or alterations in time
cornel west came up w idea of jazz freedom fighter and defined jazz “not so much as a term for a musical art form but for a mode of being in the world, and improvisational mode of protean, fluid and flexible disposition toward reality suspicious of ‘either/or’ viewpoints.”
that similar journeys beyond binary logic and rigid ideology should be happening in such different arenas suggests that when we talk about a movement we are not talking about a specific population or a specific agenda but a zeitgeist, a change in the air.
brand non-binary law et al
or perhaps we should not talk about a movement, or movements, but about movement: to apprehend these wild changes is as though to see many, many groups of people get up and move around from the positions they sat in so long…
charles derber calls this the ‘3rd wave’ claiming it as a successor to eh 1\ 60s style activism and 2\ fragmented id politics: ‘while 3rd wave has begun seriou new political thinking about global alts it is basically antidoctrinal, in contrast to 1 and 2.. on need to accommodate many issues and pov’s.. resisting a ‘party line’ has kept the movement together’.. to be antidoctrinal is to open yourself up to a new and unexpected alliances to new networks of power.. it’s to reject the static utopia in favor of improvisational journey.. benefits from mistakes, inspirations an tools provided by past movements..
naomi klein: ‘when critics say protester lack vision, what they are really saying is that they lack an overarching revolutionary philosophy.. like marxism, demo socialism, deep ecology or social anarchy – on which they all agree.. that is absolutely true, and for this we should be extraordinarily thankful.. at the moment the anti corp street activist are ringed by would-be leaders, anxious to enlist them as foot soldiers for their particular cause.. it is to this young movement’s credit that it has as yet *fended off all of these agendas and has rejected everyone’s generously donated manifesto‘
elsewhere she describe marcos and the z’s in terms that exactly fit the loose networks of anarchist global justice activists: ‘*non hierarchical decision making, decentralized organizing and deep community democracy’ this is an ideology of sorts , but an ideology of absolute democracy that’s about *preventing authority form rising .. w the concomitant limits of imagination, participation, adaptation, which is to say that it is an ideology against ideologies.. if there were purest or puritan tendencies in earlier waves of activism.. this is generously, joyously impure, w the impurity that comes form mixing and circulating and stirring things up..
john jordan: our movements are trying to create a politics that challenges all the certainties of traditional leftist politics, *not by replacing them with new ones, but by dissolving any notion that we have answers, plans or strategies that are watertight or universal. in fact our strategies must be more like water itself, undermining everything that is fixed, hard and rigid with fluidity, constant movement and evolution…
*like charters replacing 500 policies with 500 policies..
we are trying to build a politics of process, where the only certainly is doing what feels right at the right time and in the right place – a politics that doesn’t wait (interesting how wait and hope are the same words in spanish) but acts in the moment.. not to create something in the future but to build in the present, it’s the politics of the here/now
taking power has been the goal at the end of the very straight and narrow road of most political movements of the past.. taking control of the future lies at the root of nearly every historical social change strategy and yet we are building movements which believe that to ‘leg go’ is the most powerful thing we can do.. to let go, walk way from power and find freedom..t
giving people back their creative agency, reactivating their potential for a direct intervention in the world is at the heart of the process.. t
w agency and meaning reclaimed, perhaps it is possible to imagine tomorrow today and to be wary of desire that can only be fulfilled by the future.. in that moment of creation, the need for certainty is subsumed by the joy of doing, and the doing is filled w meaning
alphonso lingus: we really have to free the notion of liberation and revolution from the idea of permanently setting up some other kind of society..
zapatisa scholar john holloway has a manifest of a book out called change the world w/o taking power
on the need to let go – but with some safety
our safest safety: gershenfeld sel
brother david sums up holloway’s position: the notion of capturing position of power, either through elections or insurrection, misses the point that the aim of revolution is to fundamentally change the relations of power..
david: it is an arena in which the old distinctions between reform and revolution no longer seem relevant, simply because the question of who controls the state is not the focus of attention
this is what the temp autonomous zones, the politics of prefiguration, the adage about ‘process not product’ have all been inching toward, a revolution in the nature of revolution.. w the promise that whatever mistakes we make, they will not be the same old ones..
if only.. same song ness
1979 – when the sandinist rebels overthrew the somoza dictatorship in nicaragua were ‘two days that felt as if a magical age old spell has been cast over us, taking us back to genesis, to the very site of the creation of the world’.. these other versions of what revolution means suggest that the goal is not so much to go on and create the world as to live in that time of creation..
getting us back/to grokking enough ness
revolution… not so much to go on and create the world as to live in that time of creation….. enactments of daily life…. each to participate in inventing the world.. raoul: ‘revolutionary moments are carnival in which the individual life celebrates its unification w a regenerated society’
the question then is not so much how to create the world as how to keep alive that moment of creation.. a world who’s hopefulness lies in its unfinishedness.. its openness to improvisation and participation…
ch 18 – the global local, or alteration in place
the answer to most either/or questions is both; the best response to a paradox is to embrace both sides instead of cutting off on e or the other for the sake of coherence. the question is about negotiating a viable relationship between the local and the global, not signing up w one and shutting out the other
one way to define global justice movement of our time – a global movement in defense of the local
the old slogan that went ‘think globally act locally’ could be stood on its head as ‘think locally act globally’ for the local is one way to describe what’s under assault by transnational corps, but the resistance is often globally networked.. much of the radicalism of our time is in celebration and defense of the local.. but it would be too simple to set up the local as the good
need both for the dance to work
networked individualism et al
it was about belonging to a place not as a birthright but as an act of conscious engagement. in some ways bioregionalism prefigures the anti-ideologicalism of the present in that it was about adapting rather than imposing, and its emphasis on the local meant that it wasn’t preaching a gospel that could be exported w/o alteration. imposition is about consolidation of power; the local i’m interested in is about dispersing it..
jim dodge claims anarchy as an essential element of bioregionalism, ‘ the conviction that we as a community, or a tight, small-scale federation of communities, can mind our own business, and can make decisions regarding our individual/communal lives and gladly accept responsibilities/consequences of those decision.’.. this brings us back to he activism of the past 20 yrs.. or more, since contemporary anarchist organizing draws upon the decentralized models of the anarchists of the spanish civil war for its affinity groups, the more or less autonomous associations of five to fifteen people that constitute the basic unit of direct action
in other words, they were, or rather we are, anarchists, and this mode of organizing comes most directly out of the antinuclear movement of the 1980s, where direct democracy was established through affinity groups and spokescouncils using consensus decision-making processes (a spokescouncil is a meeting to which member affinity groups have each sent a spokesperson
yet.. again.. even deeper.. now have means to disengage from (or at least go ginorm small.. approach limit of zero/infinity).. consensus.. because public consensus always oppresses someone(s)
you can have an identity embedded in local circumstance and a role in the global dialogue, an interest in networks of connection and a loss of faith in the reality of clear-cut borders..
so this globalization of communication and of ideas can be the antithesis of the homogenization and consolidation brought by the spread of chains and braids and corps… arundhati roy: ‘the dismantling of the big – big bombs, big dams, big ideologies, big contradiction, big heroes, big mistakes. perhaps it will be the century of the small’
the ginorm small
the best way to resist a monolithic institutions or corp is not with a monolithic movement but with multiplicity itself..
the ginorm small
decentralization and direct democracy could, in one defn, be this politic in which people are producers, possessed of power/vision, in an unfinished world
we need to let go of any form of democratic admin
ch 19 – a dream three times the size of texas
dunbar-ortiz: ‘it is exactly what gives you hope when you see this happen – when you see how hungry people are for the truth’
ideas have been at least as important as law in the shift of status of indigenous americans, for even the legal gains seem to be built on a foundation of change d imagination and rewritten history.
way deeper than that.. no..?
why laws.. they should be ongoingly unfinished.. and much much less/simpler.. ie: make.. oh so much irrelevant with.. your own song ness
columbus day became an occasion to rethink the past, and rethinking the past opened the way to a different future..
nonindigenous americans often embraced two contradictory not-so-true stories before that change.. one was that native americans had all been wiped out…we had the end of the trail, the last of the mohicans, a vanishing race, a dying nation, a doomed people, stories that might condemn the past but lest us off the hook for unfinished conflicts…. in the other key story, there never had been any native americans.. continent had been pristine, untouched, virgin wilderness… a story particularly dear to environmentalists who saw nature as a nonhuman realm….
they all agreed that inuit culture and language ‘will disappear’ on april 1 1999 the inuit got their homeland back.. they won from the canadian govt their own autonomously governed province, nunavut, a huge tract of far northeastern land 3 x the size of texas..
what bridges the space between that hope and that realization..
the resurgence of the indigenous peoples of the americas means many things.. one is that there are usually cracks somewhere in the inevitable and the obvious.. another is that capitalism and state socialism do not define the range of possibilities.. for the indigenous nations often represent significantly diff ways of imagining and administrating social/econ systems as well as of connecting spirituality to politics..
relegated to history’s graveyard, they have, as have the zapatistas, inspired the birth of another future. ‘another world is possible’ has become a rallying cry, and in some ways this is their world, the other future drawn from another past recovered despite everything..
ch 20 – doubt
climate change is killing far more people than terrorism
so too.. status quo over virus et al
‘the future is dark, which is on the whole, the best thing the future can be, i think’ said virginia woolf in the midst of the first world war, a war in which millions of young men died horribly.. they died, but not everything did. woolf committed suicide during the next war, but before that she created a body of work of extraordinary beauty and power, power put to use by women to liberate themselves in the years after woolf was gone, beauty still setting minds on fire.
Chris Bright: the basic structure of the status quo always looks so unalterable. but it’s not..t
an extraordinary imaginative power to reinvent ourselves is at large in the world, though it is hard to say how it will counteract the dead weight of neolib, fundamentalisms, environ destructions, and well-marketed mindlessness.. t
but hope is not about what we expect.. it is an embrace of the essential unknowability of the world, of the breaks w the present, the surprises.. or perhaps studying the record more carefully leads us to expect miracles.. not when/where we expect them.. but.. to expect to be astonished, to expect that we don’t know.. and this is grounds to act..t
ch 21 – journey to the center of the world
sometimes the grander political causes are so abstract/removed.. it seems right instead to cook hot food, box it up in chinese takeout cartons, and give out meals to 50-60 people.. it’s hard to stay what diff we make, but we meet people who are hungry, people who bless us, and people who turn away because they’re busy shooting up, or crack has taken away their appetites, or suffering has driven them mad.. few remember that there was no significant us homeless population before the 80s, that reagan’s new society and econ created these swollen ranks of street people..
a lot of the marches and demos in san fran begin/end here.. and so i’ve been here again and again for peace and justice as well as to get food and to give it away.. this is what the world looks like to me, like un plaza, full of half forgotten victories and new catastrophes, of farmers and junkies, of mountains of apples and of people trying to change the world and tell the truth.. someday all this may be ruins over which pelicans will fly, but for now it is a place where history is still unfolding.. today is also the day of creation..
ch – looking backward – he extraordinary achievement of ordinary people – 2009
several years ago, 2600 people lost their lives in manhattan, and the several million people lost their story.. the al-qaeda attack on the twin towers did not defeat new yorkers.. it destroyed the buildings, contaminated the region, killed 1000s, and disrupted the global econ.. but it most assuredly did not conquer the citizenry.. they were only defeated *when their resilience was stolen from them by cliches, by the invisibility of what they accomplished that extraordinary morning, and by the very word ‘terrorism’.. which suggest that they, or we, were all terrified.. the distortion, even obliteration, of what actually happened was a necessary precursor to launching the obscene response that culminated in a war on iraq, a war we lost (even if some of us don’t know that yet) and the loss of civil liberties and *democratic principles that went with it.. only we can terrorize ourselves
on teachers taking kids home w them.. a spontaneously assembled flotilla of boats, ranging from a yacht appropriated by policemen to that historic fireboat, evacuated 300-500 000 people from lower manhattan, a nautical feat on the scale of the british evacuation of an army from dunkirk in the early days of ww2, the fleet, that is rescued in a few hours as many people as the british fleet rescued in days (under german fire admittedly, but then new york’s ferry operators and pleasure boat captains were steering into that toxic cloud on a day when many thought more violence was to come)
adam mayblum, who walked down form the 87th floor of the north tower w some of his coworkers, wrote in the internet immediately afterward: ‘they failed in terrorizing us.. we were calm.. if you want to kill us leave us alone because we will do it by ourselves.. if you want to make us stronger, attack and we unite.. this is the ultimate failure of terrorism against the us’..
more in this country have died of domestic violence since that day (9 11)
admin.. claimed we should fear mythical iraqi ‘weapons of mass destruction’ .. rarely did they mention that we had, in fact, been bombing iraq w/o interruption since 1991..
after 9 11, it could all have been different… if so.. wouldn’t have been children imprisoned.. unmanned drones slaughtering wedding parties… soldiers returning w e-3 limbs missing….trillions of dollars… taken to support war
ch – everything’s coming together while everything falls apart (2014)
ursula k leguin: ‘we live in capitalism.. its power seems inescapable.. so did the divine right of kinds.. any human power can be resisted/changed by human beings’
americans are good at the mingled complacency and despair that says things cannot change, will not change, and we do not have power to change them..
on chevron pollution.. which periodically create emergencies requiring everyone to shelter in place (and pretend that they were not being poisoned indoors)
there’s a role for everyone, and it’s everyone’s most important work right now
climate.. oi.. not deep enough
so many other important matters press upon us – human rights and justice work, the care for the most vulnerable – but it has to be part of what you do.. it is the *big perspective from which everything else must be seen.. ie: impinge on all human rights et al
*not deep enough.. not root..
it’s great to bicycle.. eat plants.. solar panels.. but *it can give you a false sense you’re not part of the problem.. you are .. part of greater problem if you are a citizen of a country that is a major carbon emitter..you are part of the system, and you need, **we all need, to change that system.. nothing less than systemic change will save us.. t
that deep.. even beyond *climate focus
**yeah that.. let’s do that.. ie: a nother way
we need change on a colossal scale..
yeah.. beyond climate
i think you have to hope, and hope in this sense is not a prize or a gift, but something you earn thru study, thru resisting the ease of despair, and thru digging tunnels, cutting windows, opening doors, or finding the people who do these things..
*? earning thru study? oi
a note on terminology
the root of the word, radice, literally means ‘root’ and suggests that radicals get to the bottom of things, to the cause rather than the effects..t
ie: problem deep enough for 8b people to resonate w today
ch 16 – 89: baldmar velasquez says, ‘number one, i don’t consider anybody opposition’: interview w the author, sept 2003.. t
ch 17 – 92: naomi klein, ‘non hierarchical decision making’: ‘the unknown icon’ tom hayden..t
94: as my brother david, a global justice organizer sums up holloway’s position, ‘the notion of capturing positions of power’: intro to globalize liberation: how to uproot the system and build a better world (city lights 2003) .. from john holloway’s.. how to change the world w/o taking power
95: raoul baneigem writes, ‘revolutionary moments are carnivals’: quoted in do or die (earth first.. britain’s newsletter)
the extra ord achievements of ord people
122: ‘320 000 traumatic brain injuries.. according ot eh rand corp’: rand corp, press release ‘one in 5 iraq and afghan vets suffer ptsd or major depression’ april 17 2008
about the author
included in books list: a field guide to getting lost; wanderlust: a history of walking;..
about haymark books
as karl marx said, ‘the philosophers have merely interpreted the world; the point however is to change it’..t
dec 2015 – via Maria – hope in the dark:
The grounds for hope are in the shadows, in the people who are inventing the world while no one looks, who themselves don’t know yet whether they will have any effect, in the people you have not yet heard of who will be the next Cesar Chavez, the next Noam Chomsky, the next Cindy Sheehan, or become something you cannot yet imagine. In this epic struggle between light and dark, it’s the dark side — that of the anonymous, the unseen, the officially powerless, the visionaries and subversives in the shadows — that we must hope for. For those onstage, we can just hope the curtain comes down soon and the next act is better, that it comes more directly from the populist shadows.
“When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes.” buff.ly/1VcahX0
via Maria – hope in the dark 2:
Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes — you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others.
Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists.
Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone.
Ideas at first considered outrageous or ridiculous or extreme gradually become what people think they’ve always believed. How the transformation happened is rarely remembered, in part because it’s compromising: it recalls the mainstream when the mainstream was, say, rabidly homophobic or racist in a way it no longer is; and it recalls that power comes from the shadows and the margins, that our hope is in the dark around the edges, not the limelight of center stage. Our hope and often our power.
Change is rarely straightforward… Sometimes it’s as complex as chaos theory and as slow as evolution. Even things that seem to happen suddenly arise from deep roots in the past or from long-dormant seeds.