Wednesday, October 11, 2006
The news is never good these days. War and rumors of war. Climate catastrophe in the making. Scandal. Violence. Injustice. The Braves missed the playoffs. It is enough to bring despair.
We rest uneasily between two countervailing pressures. One imagines a way out of the present malaise by longing to go back to an imagined past that never was. The other longs to imagine a way forward. Yet the work of imagination necessary for that way forward is blocked by the desolation of the very institutions necessary for that imaginative work.
For example, take Congress ... please. The people's house will not or cannot not tend to the people's work. It will not because too many of its members are beholden to those who long to go back to that imagined past. It cannot because its structures are corrupted by money and vested interests that do not want a way forward.
For another example, take the church ... again, please. It will not or cannot cast a vision and do the work of imagination necessary in these times. It will not because it is too timid and too tepid to shake the foundations of the status quo. It cannot because, again beholden to or cowed by those who long to go back, it no longer attracts those who have been graced by the prophetic imagination so crucial for such a moment.
At such a time as this ... well, it's a good time for a mystery novel and a doughnut.