How many times to we discuss a real world event and compare it to something in fiction? “This is just like that book,” we say or “this reminds me of that movie.” Lost in these realizations is often the fact that we were warned and we should either be thankful for it or shamed we didn’t listen enough.
Of course we should also ask how many times did fiction and art help us head off even worse things in the world? We may have sudden realizations, but might want to ask how many times the creative prevented awful things.
With these inspirations of realization, shame, and wonder we should then ask how can we use our creative abilities to head off bad things. Sure we worry about the wars and tyrants of the present, but we should also work to warn and inform and help people prevent them in the future.
Those yet to come may be quite thankful we gave them enough warnings in our creative work.
This is a massive power that creatives have. Because we connect with our works, we can warn effectively. Because we inspire, we can get people to see future threats. Because we teach others to dream, we can produce new generations of creatives to carry on undermining tyrants.
We should also keep in mind how subversive our work can be. Yes people may invoke the warnings of certain classic books and films – but those are the obvious ones. It’s the inobvious ones that the oppressors current and future miss, and the ones they may either sweat over in fear or not even know exist.
So ask yourself this, how are you going to use your creative power to not just head off the dictators and oppressors of now – but of the future? Maybe you’re busy with the fights of now, but if you can prevent the fights of the future, give it a try.
Perhaps you create a predictive work to warn of what may happen. You may prevent a problem, or help people deal with a future one.
Perhaps you create a work that develops skills or views to face the challenges of the future. They become more creative, or introduced to new ideas they will use, and so on.
Perhaps you create works that let people see the present differently and make different future choices.
And even if you can’t prepare for the future, maybe your current activities can keep oppressors off guard by making them wonder what else you might be doing that affects the future. Keep them guessing with that imagination.