Friday, January 09, 2009

WANTED: WORLD-CHANGING IDEAS, NO STRINGS ATTACHED

January 9, 2009

People who have the power to change things for the better generally fail to change things for the better for one or more of the following reasons.
1. They are the wrong people to be in power.
2. They are the right people but depend on or are hampered by the wrong people.
3. Right people or wrong people: power itself is the problem.
4. Power always has many strings attached.
5. Too many strings = too many knots and loose ends and broken threads and nooses.
6. While the powerful are busy trying to untangle their strings without losing their power, the innocent and powerless suffer.

7. When the powerless adopt the methods of the powerful, they too become entangled in the strings of power, and the goal of making things better moves further and further out of reach.

THEREFORE:

WE WHO WANT TO CHANGE THINGS FOR THE BETTER

WITHOUT FALLING INTO THE TRAPS OF POWER

NEED TO CHALLENGE OUR IMAGINATIONS

TO CONCEIVE IDEAS WHICH ARE POWERFUL

BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT ABOUT POWER.

NEW WAYS OF LOOKING AT OLD PROBLEMS,

USING THE POWERFUL TOOLS

OF ART, OF MUSIC, OF DANCE, OF THEATRE, OF POETRY, OF FILM, OF SPORT, OF INVENTION, OF BUILDING, OR EVEN OF BLOGGING.

With all this in mind I imagined an unlikely but not unimaginable scenario. This is what I saw:

An army of dancers, amateurs and professionals, wave after wave of them, every style of dancing from anywhere in the world, accompanied by their musicians, moving in disciplined formation like a very long carnival parade. But not a carnival.

A massive non-violent dancing protest, confronting tanks and trucks and armed soldiers intent on their power mission, obeying their power orders. On both sides of the divide, the dancing army confronts the violence and advances inexorably, rhythmically. The fighters in their tanks and behind their rockets are flabbergasted, the music and dancing are so contagious......

Yes, yes, I know. The dancing army would nor be allowed into the country. And even if they were, they would not be permitted to enter the war zone. And even if they were, the dancers would become too traumatised by the dead, the dying, the wounded, the bereaved screaming despair and vengeance, to be able to keep on dancing. And even if they were, they would soon be mowed down by the fighting on all sides. Life is not a cabaret, oh chum. I know this.

A stubborn, childish, rebellious voice in me keeps on insisting my scenario could happen if enough people participated. There are other ways, ways that are beyond politicians and governments and armies. I'm concocting a little video to illustrate the above scenario and will post it when ready.

The killing and maiming and destruction have to stop. Not after discussions and negotiations and conferences but immediately.

If the 'experts' haven't been able to make it stop after years and years of talking and killing, killing and talking, why not try something completely different? I am absolutely not saying that a dancing army (or another idea of similar nature) would be a solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict or any other major conflict elsewhere on the planet. But it could (or so I imagine) at least stop the killing, allowing other solutions to be found.

In July 2007 I started another blog, OUT OF THE BOX, which fizzled out after a very short time, mainly because I didn't keep it up. To start the new year, I want to resurrect it and am throwing this challenge out to you:

Can you imagine original scenarios which could STOP THE KILLING anywhere on the planet that people are wiping each other out in large numbers, for whatever reason)?

Here are the rules:

1. Scenarios must be imaginative and constructive, no matter how unorthodox.

2. Please, no lectures or analyses! Only visualisations of events that could be made to happen, using unconventional creative approaches, borrowing from the arts rather than politics.

3. You can post your ideas on your own blog and put a link to your post in the comments here

4. Or you can enter your idea as a comment which I will copy and paste as a post here

5. Illustrations and videos welcome. Post at your own blog and/or give us a link at OUT OF THE BOX.

6. Also welcome are links to existing initiatives which tackle such issues creatively. For instance:

Peace Child , a non-profit organization which uses music and the stage as a vehicle for grassroots repair and reconciliation processes. Serves Arab and Jewish teenagers, their parents and teachers.
Or this which documents some of the international initiatives helping to build peace through the arts.

MORE

10 comments:

Dominic Rivron said...

What a good idea! I will contribute if I can think of anything.

Poet in Residence said...

We could send a radio message from a blurry UFO somewhere in a blurry desert: "We have landed on planet Earth to repair our ship. We will leave planet Earth as soon as we can. Please don't kill us. We repeat. We are here on a peaceful mission. We will leave soon. Please don't kill us. Please don't kill us..." and so on and so on until the war stops.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Dominic, I'm sure you can come up with some good scenarios. Please do!

Poet in Residence: well if the UFO is convincing enough, it might distract the fighters from their fighting temporarily. But unless it could be built to actually sweep them up into outer space (not a bad idea), I fear they will revert to the killing fields.

Poet in Residence said...

I think an inflatable UFO, or a hologram UFO, or even an invisible UFO might be ok because no Earthling knows what a UFO looks like. In fact an invisible UFO would be the best for it would show that superior scientic technology was here. A technology not to be messed with.

Natalie said...

P-i-R:
can you elaborate the scenario? I mean, write it as you would if it was a genuine project. How would you set it up? How would you convince people (especially the sides who are fighting) that there was a real invisible UFO on the scene watching them and communicating? How would you move the idea from the inside (the fantasy in your brain and ours) into reality?

Dave said...

Looks like you mis-typed the url to your website in the link, Natalie.

Natalie said...

Dave, I've corrected it and tested it and it's working now.
Will you send an idea?

bdieu said...

A friend sent me this video after I mentioned your post on the list. It illustrates well the enormous power of social media combined with art that can be used to draw people together for a pacific cause.

Anonymous said...

All the port and airport workers in the world should refuse to load and unload ships carrying weapons. All the people who make guns, tanks, missiles, etc should refuse to make any more.l

Natalie said...

Bee, thanks, that's an excellent link. I'll add it to a sidebar on OUT OF THE BOX. And thanks again for mentioning my post on your list.

Anonymous (why Anonymous?) - Those are great ideas but can you now ask your imagination to describe exactly how you would go about convincing those people to follow your idea? This requires imagining all the reasons they would refuse such as: those protesting port & airport workers would lose their jobs then what would they live on? And: the arms dealers and manufacturers make tons of money: why would they agree to lose such a cash cow? So it's not enough to imagine a good idea, you need to imagine how to overcome the resistance which will inevitably occur.