I learned a new word today. Prolepsis is seeing the reality you’d like to have in the world. It’s anticipating. It’s a Greek word that means, literally, “a taking beforehand”.
Debaters use it to address rebuttals that haven’t happened yet. “I know you’ll say this, but…”
People use it to budget and plan for the future.
Writers use it to flash forward.
I don’t consider myself a particularly optimistic person. I see optimism as magical thinking. Optimists seem to have to overlook certain starker realities in order to maintain their worldview. To me, the difference between optimism and prolepsis is that optimists assume that the future is going to be full of rainbows and unicorns, but they do nothing to make it so.
On the other hand, prolepsis is more about having that vision, and then working toward bringing it about. I envision a world where we use a lot more green energy and the environment is all the better for it. But I don’t think it’s just automatically going to occur. A lot of scientists have to come up with ways to make this happen, and the stupid politicians will then have to be convinced that it’s more important than getting money from the fossil fuel lobby. (Vote!)
Prolepsis is all about being the change you want to see in the world. One of my favorite dear readers (Hi, Lyn!) once said, “What we don’t change, we choose.”
I couldn’t agree more. But making different choices to make a change, in many cases, has to do with anticipating the consequences of those choices. And that type of forward thinking is impossible if you don’t make room for a little prolepsis.
Practice prolepsis every chance you get. Don’t get caught up in the Trumpian negativity. Don’t think that the world is going to go to sh** if we don’t build walls and fear everything that is different from ourselves. Instead, think, “Yes, we can.” And then imagine what that would look like. And then do something to make it happen.
Let’s imagine that door, and then pave the long and winding road that will lead to it. Make the world a gift we want to receive. Onward!
Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5