Sunday, June 26, 2011

You, Imagineer

Christ, you know it ain't easy...

On back in the day, when I was barely 18, in 1969, the Tet Offensive was slaughtering my buddies in Vietnam even as it was showing the world that imperialism from any quarter would not be tolerated in that "backward" country used to resisting Chinese invasion for literally much of two and a half millennia. The Chinese invaded repeatedly and were replaced in brief attempts by Mongols, French, Japanese and finally Americans. Vietnamese are stubborn. They don't tolerate others occupying their land, telling them how to live, stealing their resources and violating their women and children. What a bunch of weirdos.

Into this mix comes John and Yoko with their marriage in March and their Bed-In for Peace in Amsterdam and then Montreal. Their anthemic Give Peace a Chance was recorded in the hotel room in Canada, with a cast of interesting characters on hand and singing along (e.g., Dick Gregory, Timothy Leary, Tommy Smothers). Lennon and Ono were serious about this humor, so to speak, and carried on opposition to the war, producing another anthem in 1971, Imagine. They sang out loud what a peace system would look like to them and asked us all to imagine it.

Gregory Bourne (2011) makes a similar request for a nonkilling world. If we cannot imagine it, he asserts, we cannot achieve it, a very similar claim to what Elise Boulding said in the 1970s, when she imagined how to help other imagine, ultimately creating her Imaging a World Without Weapons movement of workshops with a clear method of helping us do that work. And it all trails Albert Einstein, doesn't it, when he noted that "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

So, in the midst of our hyperactivism, let us not forget to take some spinfree moments to imagine. Maybe you will only imagine one tiny piece of the solution to the problem of violence in our world. Maybe you will only be totally original one tiny time in all your imaging work. And perhaps that one tiny innovation, imagined from your unique mind, will be the crucial peace piece. Don't keep us waiting too long...

Bourne, G. (January 01, 2011). In Pursuit of a Killing-Free World. Peace Review, 23, 2, 205-213.

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