Despair Is an Insult to the Imagination

Despair Is an Insult to the Imagination

Despair Is an Insult to the Imagination

Jack Kornfield shared that homily in his dharma talk last week. I don’t want to insult anyone’s experience of despair. Despair is a bona fide, appropriate human reaction to the losses and devastations we’ve been experiencing and witnessing in recent weeks, in recent years. 

[P.S. Here’s the link to Michael Shaw’s beautifully crafted documentary, Living in the Time of Dying, “meeting the truth of the climate crisis”, one of the best I’ve seen in the plenitude of offerings for April 22, 2022 Earth Day.]

Jack talked about the many ways we keep hope alive in times of despair through the imagination and visioning that leads to wise, collective effort.

A phenomenal resource for that wise effort is Paul Hawken’s Nexus project, based on his new book Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation Nexus literally provides maps of every day solutions that every day people can do, easily, and now. This link in alphabetical order; this link by geography.  

Nexus builds on Hawken’s New York Times best-selling Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed for Reversing Global Warming.  [See my e-newsletter at the time: Solving Climate Change – For Real.]

And when I need real live examples of imagination overcoming despair, I turn to Reasons to Be Cheerful, investigative journalists discovering brilliant manifestations of imagination and collective effort to inspire those of us “crushed by negative news.” Stories like:

Does This Water Have Legal Rights? – citizens filing lawsuits to protect waterways threatened by development

An Orchard Grows in Kansas City – planting fruit trees on former dumpsites and empty lots to green cities and feed communities, all over the country

Shifting Winds – during a time of drought, Iowa farmers have turned wind turbines into a cash crop, supplying 57% of Iowa’s power, generated by wind. (This article is part of the Solution Journalism Network’s Red State Green Energy series.)

I know I’ve given links here to lots of examples of ordinary folks moving beyond despair through imagination and visioning to wise, collective action and solutions. May they also be resources for recovering resilience in these still perilous times.

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