To form an idea or notion with regard to something not known with certainty…(Oxford Dictionary)
It has been said that the first victim of war is the truth, but surely the first victim of orthodox education is imagination. From a very early age every worker is taught to be “practical”, “realistic” and stop “dreaming dreams”. And yet imagination is the very act of being human.
Whatever other aspects make human beings different from other animals, the human capacity to imagine is one of the most striking.
“I imagine, therefore I am a human being”, is a better aphorism than Descartes’ “ I think therefore I am.”
Imagination is not only the wellbeing of all poetry, music and art; it is the source of all science.
Where would science be if Newton hadn’t imagined an invisible force called gravity? Or, if Einstein hadn’t imagined the concept of relativity? Indeed it was well after the original flight of imagination that his view that light was bent by gravity was factually proven.
Darwin’s view of evolution wasn’t really proved conclusively until the discovery that the process of heredity, as earlier shown by Mendel, backed up his view. In a sense Darwin had imagined what was true. This new way of looking at the natural world was achieved by a leap of imagination.
The stifling of imagination is essential if the owners are to retain their class monopoly of the planet.
The great revolutionary act for the working class is to imagine an alternative to present day society.
Elsewhere in this issue very practical analyses of society, of economics, and politics are made, but let us indulge ourselves here in that most human of all pursuits – let us imagine the future.
A socialist view of the future society is one where the whole earth and all its resources are owned and controlled in common by the whole world’s population. Socialism is a world without money, prices or wages. Let us take a trip into that future. Let us take a leap of the imagination.
Having arranged that he wouldn’t be needed for a couple of days Billy decided to take Jane’s kids to the Museum of Ancient Artefacts.
The children loved it, but the trouble was that they kept asking awkward questions. “Why did people use stone tools?” “Billy, Why did people walk about in suits of armour?”
By reading the cards that accompanied the exhibits he managed to answer most of their questions.
“You see Susan, stone tools and weapons became redundant with the discovery of smelting metals.The iron age succeeded the stone age.” “Well Jack, suits of armour were used for warfare inside feudalism. They became useless, with the discovery of gunpowder and the improvements in the manufacture of artil-
lery in the 17 th century.
What was a dollar?
It was then that they came to the Hall of Capitalism. Now that was more difficult. There were so many baffling exhibits. What was a cheque? What was a cash register? The children had lots of questions as they
played with the cash registers on display.
“Billy, what was a dollar? What was a pound note? “Billy, had a lot of difficulty answering the questions and was a bit relieved when the kids got bored and asked to go to the café for an ice-cream.
What was a cash register?
As Susan and Jack ate their ice-cream. Billy sipped his coffee and wondered how this cash register thing could have worked in the Old Days. How did it tie in with the other astonishing exhibits in the Hall of Capitalism.
Did people who wanted an ice-cream have to bow to the Queen? Or did they have to recite a verse from the Koran? Now this seemed daft. Did they have to give tokens to the cash register? No matter how you looked at it, it was a bizarre business.
It seems today an obvious thing – if you want an ice-cream you take an ice-cream. Tomorrow Jane and the children were going to the South of France to pick fruit and he was going to visit Stephen in Amsterdam about the wood carving course. He wondered what the role of the cash register was in aeroplane trips in the Old Days. If you didn’t have enough tokens for the cash register did they throw you of the plane? Did they forbid you from entering the plane even though there were empty seats.
Why not eat fruit.
It surely couldn’t have been as bad as that though. No, surely not. But then again, inside capitalism they starved children…..killed them because they hadn’t enough tokens to put in the cash registers. Children died because their parents hadn’t enough tokens.
“No!”, thought Billy. “Perhaps I’ve misunderstood those exhibits in the Hall of Capitalism.” But then, there was that ghastly photograph of tiny children starving as they sucked their mother’s empty teats.
Young Jack had asked him, “Billy, these people lived in warm places. Fruit grows in warm places, doesn’t it? Why did they not eat the fruit?” Come to think of it Billy wasn’t sure it was a good idea to let young children see such horrible images. Still, they had to learn about the Old Days he supposed.
“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there” L.P.Hartley