Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Prophetic Imagination and Criticism

I've been meaning to do this post for sometime now. A while back, at the book store, I stumbled across Walter Brueggemann's The Prophetic Imagination. Though this may not be for everybody, browsing through it spoke to me, and I made the purchase. For this I'm happy, for some of the insights of the book are stunning:
How can we have enough freedom to imagine and articulate a real historical newness in our situation? That is not to ask...if this freedom is realistic or politically practical or economically viable. To begin with such questions is to concede everything to the royal consciousness before we begin. We need to ask not whether it is realistic or practical or viable but whether it is imaginable. We need to ask if our consciousness and imagination have been so assaulted and coopted by the royal consciousness that we have been robbed of the courage or power to think an alternative thought.

To me, this really rang true while coincidentally and concurrently in political debates with Democrats and Republicans about how we can truly affect real change in America. How we can make our organization and systems more participatory, responsive, and accountable, and true to freedom, liberalism, and democracy.

As long as we buy into the 'way things are [done]', then there will be little power to transform them from the 'way things will always be'. If you win with the current tactics, if you rule the current system, if even squeezing your nose at the stench, what will inspire you to dare to change things, to do them differently, since this could threaten your superior position? Indeed, would only beauty or a desire for a clean olfactory environment encourage this change?

History would seem to suggest that it is only from courage and clarity from the underdog, from those not in a superior position as pertains the system, that coherent and appealing visions for change arise. Though I may be oversimplifying, I'm just trying to share some of the revelations that came to mind while reading the above passage.


For explanation of the Royal Consciousness, and a full review of the book, follow this link.