By Ben Okri
(A few selected extracts)
Already, the future is converging with the past.
Already the world is converging.
The diverse ways of the world
Will create wonderful new forms,
Lovely cultural explosions
In the centuries to come.
Already I sense future forms of art,
Of painting, sculpture, humour,
Already I sense future novels,
Plays, poems, dances.
Already I sense the great orchestras
Of humanity, a world symphony,
A world jam, in which the diverse
Genius of the human race –
It’s rich tapestry of differences –
Will combine, weave, heighten,
Harmonise all its varied ways
And bring about a universal flowering
In all the vast numbers of disciplines
And among the unnumbered people.
Already I can hear this distant music
Of the future,
The magic poetry of time,
The distillation of all our different gifts.
Will you be at the harvest,
Among the gatherers of new fruits?
Then you must begin today to remake
Your mental and spiritual world,
And join the warriors and celebrants
Of freedom, realisers of great dreams.
You can’t remake the world
Without remaking yourself
Each new era begins within.
It is an inward event,
With unsuspected possibilities
For inner liberation.
We could use it to turn on
Our inward lights.
We could use it to use even the dark
And negative things positively.
We could use the new era
To clean our eyes,
To see the world differently,
To see ourselves more clearly.
Only free people can make a free world.
Infect the world with your light.
Help fulfill the golden prophecies
Press forward the human genius.
Our future is greater than our past.
We are better than that.
We are greater than our despair.
The negative aspects of humanity
Are not the most real and authentic;
The most authentic thing about us
Is our capacity to create, to overcome,
To endure, to transform, to love,
And to be greater than our suffering.
We are best defined by the mystery
That we are still here, and can still rise
Upwards, still create better civilisations,
That we can face our raw realities,
And that we will survive
The greater despair
That the greater future might bring.
From “Mental Fight – an anti-spell for the 21st century”, Phoenix House 1999