In Whispers we read: “Where do the others live, the ones who sent us here? The ones who exiled us to the earth?”
One restless night, I dreamed about a dystopian planet where all the poets, writers, artists, and seers had been banished. Eventually they all died out and nobody grew up to replace them.
After a very short time, that world with the ironic name of Harmony withered and almost died.
It took a very long time but Harmony’s dominant species finally realized their terrible error so they tried to nurture new artists and poets. But nobody could find any books on “How to Make an Artist” or “How to Make a Poet” and definitely not “How to Make a Prophet.” They flew from Harmony out to the stars but found no thinkers that they could understand. Too long ago they had exiled their visionaries to alien worlds that were now long forgotten and out of their reach.
They built effigies and habitats. They made studio replicas. They put desks covered with pens and notebook computers in a place of memory and reverence. It was a theme park complete with carousels and a roller coaster.
They named it Visionary Park.
People thronged to see the effigies of the long-gone creative souls. Sadly all they saw were wax statues. The walls were bare. There was no art, no poetry, no books. Nobody remembered what was in them. Nobody knew how to make new ones any more.
So it was too late. And not long thereafter everyone was gone. The planet became a desert. It was dead.
Is this poetry or is it history? Remember the Stalinist Purges, the Maoist Cultural Revolution, the Cambodian Killing Fields, the Nazi book burnings, the persecution of the Iranian Baha’is, or farther back to the Christian Inquisition, and oh so many more on a smaller scale, all in the name of maintaining social harmony.
“Art at its most significant is a distant early warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen.”
– Marshall McLuhan