Climate change and the quest for new stories

Late last year I wrote about going on a quest to find new stories about climate change and possible future scenarios that might occur because of it.

Somewhere (and I’ve no idea where now) I read that stories that depict dystopian futures turn people off.    Rather than galvanizing people into action they tend to lead to paralyzing depressions and feelings of powerlessness.

When I googled a question about finding new stories I discovered many articles  about our need for new stories – not just about climate change but new stories about politics, economics, new cultural stories,  stories about disability that don’t focus on overcoming disability, stories about sustainable agriculture and industry …   the list goes on and on.

I read an article in the Guardian Newspaper about a group of concerned individuals who have created a collection of new fairy stories that deal with current issues such as climate change and refugees here

The article concludes with the statement –

“Most tales, at some level, present a rite of passage through difficulty to maturity, awareness or resolution. Now, more than ever, it feels like we need new tales to lead us through our troubling times.”

I kept searching online and found a comprehensive article about the power of story and why we need new ones using stories to change systems  The author, Ella Saltmarshe, writes –

“Systems change can involve painting compelling visions of alternative futures. We can use story to create immersive scenarios of the future that engage people on an emotional and intellectual level. This work can make the possible feel more probable, bring new perspectives that challenge the goals and mindsets of a system, and enable the transformation of rules and processes.”

Further searching led to this article about the role of science fiction in envisioning new, positive futures –  https://rethink.earth/can-science-fiction-reimagine-the-future-of-global-development

Reading these and other articles I concluded that the first steps towards creating a better world lie in imagining just what that world would look like.

My quest to find new stories continues but at least now I have defined what I am searching for and why.  IMG_20170913_212524.jpg

prompt:  https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/01/16/rdp-wednesday-quest/

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Time for a quest

new horizonEarlier this week I explained how so  much of the creative work I’ve been putting on this blog is really only reworkings of ideas I’ve expressed before.  I’m starting to bore myself – and quite possibly, my readers.

Combined with the facts that my internet connection drops in and out and that the battery in my laptop died yesterday blogging is becoming harder  for me.  Typing words letter by letter with a stylus on my tablet is tedious.   Most of my photos are locked up on my laptop as well so I have limited photographic material to play with.

Getting the laptop working again will have to wait till the new year.

So all in all, a blogging break is in order for me.   Again and again. I am coming across the idea that the way forward into our collective future is to find new stories.  I am at  the stage of life where I need to find new stories in my own life too.        Growing older and moving into the third stage of life I find this culture is not providing me with models of aging that sustain me.  The medical model of age as a disease is sickening- literally –  the cultural idea of denying and/or defying age doesn’t work for me either.   Of course bodies age and interests change – that is the way of life.  The idea of retiring to play golf and bingo bores me witless.   There has to be more fulfilling ways to age.  Jung’s process of individuation interests me – what is it and how do you do it?   I want to find out.

To find new personal stories that sustain me and to find new creative stories to tell I need to retreat  to the places where stories are born – the  imaginative, meditative realms  of dreams where  archetypal figures roam.     For me,  such quests are best taken alone.

Thank you for reading and following my blog.    I have enjoyed our conversations.   I will probably return to blogging at some future time but for now wish you a happy holiday season.

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Possibilities

Browsing through my WordPress reader I was intrigued by the prompt on K’lee and Dale’s Cosmic Photo Challenge The look and feel of gratitude

I’m finding it hard to express myself in words at present.   I think it must be because of the exhaustion caused by my current ill health.  I’m finding it much easier to express myself through images and have been spending a lot of time processing photos and posting images on Instagram.  Doing this leads me to an awareness of two things I am very grateful for right now – the Internet and digital photography.

Both open up all kinds of possibilities that didn’t exist previously or, if they did, were difficult and time consuming to achieve.

By cropping, inverting the image and enhancing the colour I can quickly turn a photo of a pond into an image where fish fly through a cloudy sky.

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I created the digital image below in attempt to express how events in the outer world are rocking my old certainties and beliefs about the way the world operates.

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That leads me to something else I am extremely grateful for at present – books (both fiction and non-fiction).    I’ve been reading a lot lately.   Just today I finished reading an extraordinary novel – “Princess Bari”  by the Korean author Hwang Sok-Yong.   The novel  is about the journey of young village girl in North Korea to her life as a shamanic healer in contemporary London.

The novel looks at the issues of refugees and people smugglers, the plight of illegal immigrants without papers, war, terrorism and other contemporary issues yet it is not a depressing book.   Instead it uses magic realism to weave a tale that speaks of the power of love and hope.

Speaking of terrorism and the ‘war on terror’ one of the characters says – “This war is a hell caused by the arrogance of the powerful and the desperation of the poor.   We are poor and have nothing to give, but we must have faith that we can still help others.  This is the only way the world will ever get any better.”

Reading this book I was filled gratitude that our world contains room for stories and the gifted storytellers who can use words to inspire others.

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Inner Journey

This post first appeared on my old blog ‘Art and Life’.    It may resonate with some of you.

I journey within –

For so many nights now I have been dreaming of old tired places, thoughts and experiences I have no wish to revisit but which lurk in the dim recesses of my mind.   It is as if all the debris of my psyche lies in wait for me to sleep so that it come come out and haunt me – night after night.   Every sorry story I have ever been part of is choosing this current time frame to revisit me in fragmentary nightmarish scraps.   It is as if I have become a  voyeur surveying all those moments in my life when I was less than perfect or failed to achieve some goal.

Often these dreams are so disturbing they wake me up.   Invariably this waking occurs at strange times – 02:02, 3:33, 4:44 etc.    For a long time I thought the dreams were pointing out deep psychological dramas I needed to resolve.   I would lie in bed, tossing and turning as I wrestled with my demons.

After a while it came to me that these dreams were showing me things that happened a long time ago.   They were often about events that had been resolved with time or they retold stories of incidental moments that I could nothing about now.   It was if my mind was somehow stained with these things – that those unpleasant occurrences had left behind a residue that still coloured my subconscious.

I told myself sternly that it was time to move on but the dreams continued.   It seemed my subconscious had an inexhaustible supply of bad memories to parade before me.  Endless murky interiors haunted by ghosts of my past presented themselves.

Recently it dawned on me that what these dreams are showing me are not issues I must resolve in my waking life but patterns of thought that keep me trapped in repeating infinite variations of the same themes.   What they are showing me is the dark side of my own being.   My own shadow self.

I have always thought that the psychological shadow self was a dark figure that embodied all the unsavoury aspect of the self – some heinous malevolent character that would devour all the good parts of me if I let it loose.   What I’ve recently come to understand is that my shadow self is an amalgamation of my own negative thoughts – my lack of self esteem and feelings of inferiority (due to all the usual culprits – age,  worldly and financial status, body size, gender etc as well as memories of past mistakes and failures).   It  is that part of me that holds me back and keeps me repeating old thought and behavioral patterns that reinforce my lack of self esteem and feeling of inferiority.   It’s like an inner series of labyrinthine rooms that are all essentially the same.

That realization has become a beacon in the darkness.

I have been thinking along a track that has already ended.    Now I realize I can change my life by changing the way I think.

Now that I know that I flood the dark interior spaces of my mind with light.

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Reblogged in response to this week’s prompt on Sue Vincents #write photo challenge

  photo credit – Sue Vincent
prompt:    https://scvincent.com/2018/09/20/thursday-photo-prompt-pillars-writephoto/

 

Waves

There’s so much going on in the world I need to clear my head.   Driving away from town I take a bumpy dirt road down to a beach where not many go.  From there I walk through the dunes to the open sea   There is nothing but sea and sky between me and Antarctica.

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Walking along the beach I collect scraps of plastic thrown up by tide.    I find a beer bottle with a Chinese label.   The lid is still on and there is still beer inside the bottle.   I figure it must have washed off a fishing trawler somewhere out there in the Southern Ocean.

I stand and watch the waves.  DSCF0116 (480x640)

Beyond the horizon big trawlers from across the globe ply the waters – who knows how many are out there and if they are fishing sustainably.    Three miles off-shore an oil company is doing exploratory drilling for natural gas.    I’ve signed a petition against it but right now Big Oil rules the waves.   Beyond the rigs the Sea Sheppard vessels will be harassing the Japanese whalers as the whales swim north to calve.   Closer to Antarctica the sea will be choked with melting ice bergs that have broken off the continental ice sheet.   Recently I read Antarctica is breaking up faster than the scientists anticipated.

I stand watching the waves and am overwhelmed with sadness for the state of the planet.   Doom and hopelessness engulf me as I think of the whole sorry mess of species extinction, climate change and seas full of plastic while governments besotted by the dollars handed out by global corporations stand idly by.   Dystopian images of death and destruction gleaned from movies, news reports and bleak contemporary fiction flood my mind.   Everything seems pointless.

I take deep breaths to calm myself.   The Om of the waves as they lap the shore soothes me and my heart opens to the beauty of the moment.

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As I watch the sunlight sparkling on the waves I glimpse alternate futures where the ingenuity and resilience of humanity gathers strength – futures where ecological awareness blossoms into understandings of the interconnection of all things.   I see futures where harmonious and creative ways of living evolve into cohesive social structures where all people are respected.  I see the Earth regenerating and ecological balance being restored.

As I stand and watch the waves it comes to me that this is a pivotal time.   No one can possibly know  exactly what the future will bring.    I, like every one of us, now face a choice.   I can let myself be swept up into the mindset where all hope as gone or I can learn to surf the waves.

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prompt:   https://scvincent.com/2016/05/26/thursday-photo-prompt-still-water-writephoto/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://scvincent.com/2018/06/28/thursday-photo-prompt-wave-writephoto/

What if? #writephoto

  photo credit:  https://scvincent.com/2018/05/03/thursday-photo-prompt-ascent-writephoto/

What if the light at the top of the stairs is the light of new consciousness illuminating our hearts and minds in these turbulent times?

What if the darkness at the bottom of the stairs is the darkness of our unconscious thought patterns that continue to think within the limits of old paradigms that are increasingly proving to be unsustainable and exploitative?  These ways of being are often based on egoistic desires for personal power.   What if we concentrated the immense power and brilliance of combined human thought on ways that create new ways of living?

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What if, when dark thoughts arise, we see them as the old patterns being revealed so that we can heal and release them?  What if we turn our face our fears and no longer let them control us?

What if, instead of giving our power away to old authorities who continue to exploit and manipulate us, we unite? What if we find ways to collectively move towards the light of illuminated consciousness and work together to create a new earth based on ecological and egalitarian practices that respect the Earth we live on and the rights of all to live with dignity?

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 What if, instead of focusing on the dark,we look to the light?