"I think it is time for a modern War Against Error. A deliberately heightened battle against cultivated ignorance, enforced silence, and metastasizing lies. A wider war that is fought daily by human rights organizations in journals, reports, indexes, dangerous visits, and encounters with malign oppressive forces. A hugely funded and intensified battle of rescue from the violence that is swallowing the dispossessed. . . .

"The loudest voices are urging those already living in day-to-day dread to think of the future in military terms — as a cause for and expression of war. We are being bullied into understanding the human project as a manliness contest where women and children are the most dispensable collateral.

"If scientific language is about longer individual life in exchange for an ethical one; if political agenda is the xenophobic protection of a few of our families against the catastrophic others; if religious language is discredited as contempt for the nonreligious; if secular language bridles in fear of the sacred; if market language is merely an excuse for inciting greed; if the future of knowledge is not wisdom but 'upgrade,' where might we look for humanity's own future? Isn't it reasonable to assume that, projecting early human life into the far-distant future may not be the disaster movie we have come to love, but a reconfiguration of what we are here for? To lessen suffering, to tell the truth, raise the bar? To stand one remove from timeliness, like an artist encouraging reflection, stoking imagination, mindful of the long haul and putting his or her own life on the line, to imagine work in a world worthy of life?

"For a future that perhaps only the young will be able fully, purely to imagine, this new War Against Error has no guarantee of victory. Sentient life is original and very hard. A student of mine (probably twenty years old) recently gave me a piece of art. Printed, cut, and pasted within it were these lines:

"No one told me it was like this.
It's only matter shot through with pure imagination.
[So] rise up little souls — join the doomed army toward the meaning of change.
Fight . . . fight . . . wage the unwinnable.

" He seems ready. And so are we. Yes?"