Victim, survivor, what lies beyond? In some ways we are living in the beyond now.
We are beyond survivor.
We are beyond COVID.
We are beyond climate change.
With all this in mind, we could begin to look beyond our own lifetime. Futuring is beyond. We are beyond now, we are in Wonderland, we are over the edge. We are through the looking glass.
Society says we are Not Enough but I challenge you to consider this – western society is Not Enough.
Mental health mixed with art can sometimes help us to provide a vision to society of how it could be otherwise. This is futuring. When we have seen ‘over the edge’ and returned – we can bring with us positive change, if we are able to carry with us the vision we have of beyond. After trauma we can experience a huge shift from our own personal timelines to world timelines- this expansion powers futuring. Post trauma, we can begin to consider what lies beyond our own lifetime and this is transformative.
Das Gift is a one hour poem that explores what is not being said. What lies beyond. It was written a year before COVID but in many ways it is perfect for the troubled times we find ourselves in. If it is a vision of the future then it is apocalyptic. It explores what is not being talked about in society.
Das Gift urges us to see it as it is.
Seeing as it is – grieving old versions of self, others and the world we knew pre trauma
Seeing it as it is – feeling deep sadness at loss rather than instantly medicating this sadness to keep the status quo
Seeing it as it is – seeing and voicing fears instead of bypassing them with anger, alcohol, vaccines or holidays
In this way, seeing it as it is is radical citizenship.
We can choose to unwitness and not see (drink, shopping, study, work) but remember –
‘forgetting’ originally comes from the root word for lying. Forgetting is denial and choosing to unwitness and Das Gift urges ‘Show me. Let me have it all.’ We are beyond fun. It’s time to grow up. We need an ability to say ‘Show me’ and not blink. To bear witness in troubled times. nly then can we begin to build a vision of how it could be otherwise. That’s futuring for grown ups.
Finally, here are some futuring questions for you all –
What lies beyond survival?
How can we serve the times yet to come – future generations – beyond our own lifetime?
Are you alone or lonely? ‘We are all alone at this point.’
Is there a finish line? What are your futuring questions? Show me.
This is an extract from Alice Smith’s presentation at Mad Hearts Conference 2021 at Queen Mary University London. For more information on 361 Life Support go to 361lifesupport.co.uk