Despairing and Dreaming

“The truth does not reveal itself by virtue of being the truth: it must be told, and we need to learn how to tell the truth more effectively. It must have stories woven around it, works of art made about it; it must be communicated in new ways and marketed so that it sells. It must be embedded in an experience that connects with people’s dreams and desires, that resonates with the symbols and myths they find meaningful” (Stephen Duncombe, Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy)

I am reflecting on a conversation I had with a dear colleague this morning who was expressing significant despair in their professional life, and extolling the virtues of the emotional response over the logical / fact based one. We have a problem as progressives with reason and rationality and the moral high ground. Nobody else cares about these things and the world is burning around us whilst we fiddle. It feels futile and helpless, or at least it does to me. Another colleague on the call spoke about “digital resignation” – when we know it’s all terrible and feels so overwhelming that we stop engaging with any opportunities for change.

The answer I keep coming back to is story. More stories. That connection with dreams, desires, and also the terror and the fear.

“Like ´Bluebeard´, the fairy tale of ´Snow White´does not record a single, appalling crime, but testifies to a structural and endemic conflict in society that was political and social as well as personal, producing many, many instances of similar violence.” (Marina Warner, Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale)

Embrace the darkness and the doom and despair and weave something out of it.

Wish me luck. I’m off now to re-write a conference proposal…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *