A failure of the imagination is not only an inability to consider a possibility, but it is also an inability to socialize that possibility.
— Julian Bleecker
"The ultimate hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently." - David Graeber
American poet W.S. Merwin on the social role of poetry. Merwin's poetry includes themes of anti-war and deep ecology.
I think there’s a kind of desperate hope built into poetry now that one really wants, hopelessly, to save the world. One is trying to say everything that can be said for the things that one loves while there’s still time. I think that’s a social role, don’t you?..We keep expressing our anger and our love, and we hope, hopelessly perhaps, that it will have some effect. But I certainly have moved beyond the despair, or the searing, dumb vision that I felt after writing The Lice; one can’t live only in despair and anger without eventually destroying the thing one is angry in defense of. The world is still here, and there are aspects of human life that are not purely destructive, and there is a need to pay attention to the things around us while they are still around us. And you know, in a way, if you don’t pay that attention, the anger is just bitterness.
'W. S. Merwin', Poetry Foundation [accessed 15 October 2020].
Never mind that everyone will probably be terrible at parties when they return, never mind that we are all likely to emerge from this more scared than we were before it. Just let me get at the future, at the thing I cannot reach. People talk about the future now the way they once talked about the past: a place I can’t go to, where everything is better.
Those parties in my twenties were rarely as good as I remember them being; the 1970s wasn’t a smarter or sexier or more hopeful decade than this one. Most conversations pits are ugly, and most parties are awkward and boring. But everything that leaps out of reach is perfectible, because it is not ourselves. The conversation pit is everything I can’t access. It is every story we tell each other about “the after times,” about an idealized future that is unlikely ever to arrive. If only I could reach that place— that past, that future, that imagined security— everything would be fixed.
“Night once was the matrix of dreams, and dreams are an at-hand instruction of the possibility of the impossible, and so it is utopia itself withheld from us in a world that withholds our sleep.”
— Anne Boyer
"If I’m dissatisfied with this world — and I think that I might be — a problem is that you can only desire based on what you know. You have certain experiences in this world, they produce certain desires, those desires reproduce the world. Our reality today just keeps reproducing itself. If you can create different experiences that manifest different desires, then it’s possible that those will lead to the production of different worlds."
— Moxie Marlinspike (interviewed by Anna Wiener in the New Yorker)