The Prophetic-Artistic Imagination

Creativity, art, symbol, and ritual are essential tools for transformative change to an economy of life. Fortunately, many artists know this, even though others are captive to the status quo.

Alternatives to empire economics come alive through new images, through the use of artistic imagination. Albert Einstein, one who changed the paradigm of physics in the 20th century, stated, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

In the paradigm of Newtonian physics, obedience was the main virtue—obey the machine of nature. But in the current paradigm of quantum physics, creativity is the main virtue, so we call on one another to co-create the emerging new order, the Ecozoic Era, as Thomas Berry calls it. Physics is ahead of economics, culture, religion, and lifestyle at the moment. Creativity languishes. Arise! Let’s catch up, and take a “quantum leap.”

Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer restlessness and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.

—Arundhati Roy at the World Social Forum, 2002

Artistic imagination is not just for the great artists and the professional performers. To reclaim creativity, our creativity, we need to de-professionalize art and midwife to birth the images in our thoughts, feelings, intuitions, and stirrings of our gut.

Artists so often see where we need to go. Their eyes often expose more clearly why we’re disturbed with what is. Their music, their drawings, their photography, their paintings express visually what we feel in us—often so deep we haven’t yet found the words for it. Their images, poetry, and song guide us. Their humor helps us laugh; their cries help us know better our laments. That’s why JEM invites and collaborates with artists.

It is our inner artist who will help us re-image, re-shape our worlds into the abundance economics required in the Ecozoic Era. The rational powers, so essential over the past several centuries, though still important, must now share the task with the powers of image-nation.

—Lewis Hyde, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property

Let the artists and poets and dancers of the world prompt you to advance your own work for a new paradigm of life, singing, imaging the world our spirits yearn for.

The Common Good podcast episode 3 features a discussion on this topic.

Upon the end of her internship with JEM in 2007, Heather Hollingsworth produced a great piece of book art which you can download here (PDF), The Biblical Call to the Paradigm of Abundance.

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