As a bit of a follow up to last week’s blog post and the power of working with others to create change in the world, I read something that I found interesting and inspiring during the week. On the surface it is about art, but it is also about changing the world and making things happen, a bit at a time and also on a larger scale. It’s about living an active and collaborative life and reaching for ways to make things better. The book it came from is called Draw your Weapons by Sarah Sentilles, and she is referencing someone called Elaine Scarry, who wrote a book (in the 1980’s) called “The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World”. Here is the quote:
“Art – bringing a physical object into the world where there previously was not one – illustrates on a small scale what’s possible on a larger scale… You imagine ————– and you paint ————. You take something from inside your mind and put it out in the real world – from my head to my hand, from my head to your hand – which means that what was once inside your mind is now shareable. Imagining a city, you make a house… Imagining a political utopia, you help build a country. Imagining the elimination of suffering in the world, you nurse a sick friend.
…[T]he creation of an artifact – a sentence, a cup, a piece of lace – [is] a fragment of world alteration. And if you can make these smaller changes, …if you can alter the world in fragments, just think what can be imagined together, what might be possible in community: a total reinvention of the world.”
Another angle on this is that those fragments of world alteration that we are all part of here in our everyday mundane and ordinary lives, ‘change the world’ because we are part of the world, and if things change here the world as a whole is a little bit different as a result. I love this thought as I beaver away at work or in the community – it doesn’t seem like much, and in many ways of course it isn’t and can’t be – but we are in the world and our little moves forward are part of the big picture.
(Pictures today from the internet, illustrating lace and cups as per the quote above, plus the covers of the books mentioned.)