The War Against The Imagination
Diane di Prima, beat poet and activist, says, “the only war that matters is the war against the imagination”. This morning I am alive with the truth of this statement. And, I am filled with grief and rage. My ancestors are very good at rage-in-service-of. But of course, as is true of nearly every human culture, their imagination was gutted and the richly textured multiple worlds of wonder, of gods and goddesses, of ensouled beings everywhere each telling their essential story to continue weaving the wellness of The World was plundered.
This morning, as the Cottonwoods above my head come alive, as the Sun makes its way up over the horizon to the East, and it peels nighttime down, off the Front Range of the Continental Divide, to expose a momentary pink, snow-reflecting morning glory, I am grateful for Diane’s reminder that the most important war is the war against imagination, all other wars are subsumed in this war. She reminds us we cannot take a breath or speak a word without a cosmology. And this cosmology determines what we are capable of, and what we are not. It determines what is acceptable, and what is not. It determines what we will stand up and risk everything in service of, and what we will simply continue to allow to happen as if we are powerless to stop it.
This morning, as the light in the fields just keeps getting more extraordinary, as the Robin keeps singing his waking-up song, his plump worm-filled crimson breast proudly presenting to the Sun, I am reminded that what creates wildly healthy human culture are conscious, self-and-World-scribed, self-making-meaning-of-The World-from-within-The World, deep-imagination borne cosmologies. I am reminded that what has become of Woman and Man, what has become of family, and eros, what has become of prayer and grief, of longing and awe – and what has become of life on Earth for all beings as a result – could never have happened had we refused to allow our imagination to be domesticated and commercialized. The realm of imagination is the landscape that exists between our individual human experience and The World itself. It is the landscape where our human wellness is germinated. The fertility of that landscape determines how dangerous or how benevolent we are.
The war against imagination is the only war that matters. All other wars are subsumed within this one.
Like all beat poetry, Diane’s poem is meant to be heard. Listen to her read and know that each step you take, back into liberation, back into the rewilded terrain where your soul might remember and reweave its own meaning-making cosmology of the nature of The World, is a radical step. The most radical step. Allow The World itself, once again, to reflect YOU back to you.