We know the importance of history—it teaches us about our origins and stories, it helps us understand the shape of the present, it provides cautionary tales and examples to follow. It gives us inspiration, wisdom, and role models—but it is also contained in the past. What are the visions that lead us forward into the future? What innovative, revolutionary forms have we yet to imagine?
Are you an organizer, an activist, a thinker, or a dreamer? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then the IAS wants to hear from you.
This year, we want to hear your fantasies, your alternate realities, and your wildest dreams. We believe that we need more than just analysis and hard work to make a better world—it takes the courage to imagine beyond our circumstances into the fantastic and the impossible. In that spirit, our theme for 2019 is IMAGINATION(S).
(Art by Bec Young – just seeds.org)
Gary Snyder is not a philosopher, nor does he “consider himself particularly a ‘Beat.’” Snyder is a poet, an essayist, an outdoorsman and a practitioner of Buddhism. But despite his reluctance to identify with the Beat title, he has been an undeniable influence on the Beat generation and its writers. He was fictionalized as the character Japhy Ryder in Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums, and helped initiate the San Francisco Renaissance by organizing poetry readings with his close friend Allen Ginsberg, among others, thus ushering in the Beats as a recognized social force. Although not technically a philosopher in the traditional or academic sense, his writings contain a very complex treatment of modern society’s relationship to the natural world. Snyder’s chief concerns are protecting nature from the ravages of civilization, putting humans back in touch with our “wild” selves and returning us to a sense of self-contemplation, community and embeddedness in nature.
Snyder puts his philosophical views into practice in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where he has made his home since 1970. Eschewing publicity, he sits za zen every day, and is a life-long proponent of ecological thinking. Snyder also draws from Mahayana Buddhism, bioregionalism and social anarchism in developing his perspective and philosophical orientation. Snyder most clearly spells out the beliefs he conveys through his poetry and practices in his essay work and interviews.