To dream and to imagine function as necessary correlates acting either in service of leisure/entertainment or in the urgent tasks of personal and political emancipation. Both terms imply the necessity to create: to create realities or existences which may be thought of as impossible within the coordinates of a given reality. To dream or to imagine at all is to exercise the vital artistic duty of inventing alternative worlds especially when one is under imperial authority. When one finds themselves in a world in which inequality is taken for granted, the initial task, if one wishes for its opposite, is to dream or imagine another in its place, if only as a momentary escape. And this is sufficient for political action for it constitutes the thought behind one’s will-to-do. Both terms, to dream and to imagine, invoke a third term: freedom. And the freedom to dream and to imagine is the political will to desire and to think. This form of liberty cannot merely mean that one can impetuously do anything they please. It especially means coming to terms with one’s own sense of responsibility and self-discipline. Since it is, in the first place, the commitment to a struggle even if the conditions are not convenient to endure. This means that one could, through the activity of dreaming and imagining, limit one’s own self in terms of what one will do and what one will not do. For instance, one ought not to engage in any activity that would be contradictory to the cause one has, through dreaming and imagination, committed themselves to. Which is to say that any devotion to a cause transcends personal convenience and taps into a generality that one might call truth. To engage one’s dreams or imagination is to venture into the domain of images— virtual images, so to say. In this sense one could begin to talk about truth images. The principle of equality is one such truth image. And since it defines itself as truth as such, it can only be verified as much in thought as in deed— embodied in actions or real images, so to say. Therefore to dream and to imagine correspond to a universal image if one is politically motivated about the world in which they presently inhabit. Both terms address universality insofar as their ethics, once announced or professed by an individual, generate a concatenation of voices in its affirmation. Hence such images may be held subjectively but shared collectively. The infinite power in the ability to dream and to imagine cannot be understated. We must!
*** I wrote this note in response to a virtual project I am collaboratively developing with LABO148 titled New Cartographies: Letters from the “Whole World” (2020-2021) on the theme ‘to dream, to imagine’. See more here.