Activity 13: Seeing the world through “the third eye”

45 minutes


To help us to understand the importance of imagining a radically different world and to think of ways in which our everyday experiences discourage us from dreaming of radically different futures.


For this activity, Max Haiven’s idea that: “capitalism relies not only on the brutal repression of workers in factories and fields; it also relies on conscripting our imaginations” is a good starting point. Why is it important to imagine and dream that the world could be different? What are the ways in which these dreams are discouraged? In what ways do the forces that we fighting “conscript our imagination” or render our dreams pointless?


You will be divided into small groups. Each group has a card with a statement about the importance of dreaming and imagining different futures. As a group, read through the cards and use colour paper to note two key ideas that come to mind as you are reading the statements.

You have 15 minutes for this task.

After this, the facilitator will listen to the reflections, consolidate the main points raised and introduce the next activity.

The facilitator’s input will us to introduce three key ideas:

  1. How we are discouraged from dreaming by the conditions of everyday life
  2. How, everyday messaging from those who believe in capitalism communicates the message that There is No Alternative (TINA) and that our energies are better invested in trying to adapt to the system and playing the game according to its rules
  3. How utopian thinking is dismissed in the left as idealism and a terrible waste of time.

We have 30 minutes for this task.

Statement 1:

“In our dreams we have seen another world, an honest world, a world decidedly more fair than the one in which we now live. We saw that in this world there was no need for armies; peace, justice and liberty were so common that no one talked about them as far-off concepts, but as things such as bread, birds, air, water, like book and voice.”― Subcomandante Marcos

Statement 2:

“Without new visions, we don’t know what to build, only what to knock down. We not only end up confused, rudderless, and cynical, but we forget that making a revolution is not a series of clever manoeuvres and tactics, but a process that can and must transform us”― Robin D.G. Kelley

Statement 3:

“In time, we shall be in a position to bestow on South Africa the greatest possible gift – a more human face.” – Steve Biko

Statement 4:

“Struggle is par for the course when our dreams go into action. But unless we have the space to imagine and a vision of what it means fully to realise our humanity, all the protests and demonstrations in the world won’t bring about our liberation.” ― Robin D.G. Kelley

Statement 5:

“Dreams and reality are opposites. Action synthesises them.” – Assata Shakur

Statement 6:

“We have a vision of South Africa in which black and white shall live and work together as equals in conditions of peace and prosperity.” Oliver Tambo

Statement 7:

“Hope just means another world might be possible, not promise, not guaranteed. Hope calls for action; action is impossible without hope.” ― Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

Statement 8:

“People have always been good at imagining the end of the world, which is much easier to picture than the strange sidelong paths of change in a world without end.” ― Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

Statement 9:

“To seek new visions, to dream dreams, is essential and it is also essential to try new ways of living, to make room for serious experimentation, to respect the effort even when it fails” – Andrienne Rich

“It has become easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism” – Fredric Jameson

Statement 10:

“We’ve got some difficult days ahead…. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop … I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land” – Martin Luther King

Statement 11:

“The here and now is a prison house. We must strive, in the face of the here and now, to think and feel a then and there. Some will say that all we have are the pleasures of this moment, but we must never settle for that minimal transport; we must dream and enact new and better pleasures, other ways of being in the world, and ultimately new worlds.”― José Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity

Statement 12:

“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin

Last updated December 15, 2019 4:53 pm