The Advent of Imagination



The Advent of Imagination
by Brian Zahnd

Are we lacking in imagination, we children of Cain
We of the ancient, worn-out myopic Idea
(Long since unworthy of that noble name)
The horrid idea born a bastard east of Eden—
Kill Abel and pretend we don’t know he’s our brother
Kill Abel and pretend we don’t know better?

Are we so appallingly lacking in imagination
That we have no freedom because we have no choices?
That which has been is what will be
That which is done is what will be done
There is nothing new under the sun

Thus spake the Preacher who lost his imagination
Thus chanted the Preacher in his mantra of despair.
(What we need is a greater than Solomon to arrive on the scene!)

That no sooner do we unlock the secrets of the atom
(The building blocks of our universe we call home)
Than we use our (forbidden?) knowledge to build hellish bombs
Big enough to kill Abel a million at a time…and call it “progress”?

The zeitgeist is against us
That spirit of the age
That vile specter of feigned inevitability
Brazenly telling us, “Aye, but you have no choice.”

If we dare to dream an Isaiah-dream
(Swords morphing to plowshares, spears made pruning hooks)
If we dare to sing the song of angels
(Peace on earth, goodwill toward men)
If we dare to bless those whom Jesus blesses
(Calling peacemakers the children of God)
We’re derided and dismissed as “impractical”
(By the worshipers at the pragmatic altar)
Called foolish, even dangerous, dreamers
(By those whose dreams are censored by empire)
Called bleeding hearts
(By those whose hearts of stone cannot shed a tear, much less bleed)

But what’s a bit of ridicule if it comes with the liberation of imagination?
I for one am ready to be called an impractical, dreamy bleeding heart (or worse)
If it means we stop justifying the sacrifice of Abel on the altar of pragmatism…
(Or any other Ism.)

And so I ask you—
Test your imagination
Does the status quo (the existing state of affairs)
Have to remain an idol pledged allegiance to?
Has the way we’ve run the world since the (bloodstained) dawn of civilization
Worked out so very well we must remain wedded to it till death do us part?
What if the god Status Quo is guilty of spousal abuse?
Cannot we not sue for divorce
And marry another?
Behold, the bridegroom cometh! Go forth to meet him!


(The painting is Boundless Imagination by Hessam Abrishami)