Introduction to the exercise
This imagination exercise is just what Einstein meant when he said "Imagination is more important than knowledge." We are going to travel 30 years into the future where we are gathered at an event to celebrate the abolition of nuclear weapons; from this place we are going to envision what it will take to get us there. We will travel through time and space and use our imagination to help us remember that future moment, which we are able to live to see, that is, to make a reality in our lifetime.
Break into small groups
Divide the large group into smaller groups of 5 participants; for example, 10 groups of 5 for a group of 50 people. Have the participants count off by 10 and meet in different parts of the room to form their "micro lab’. Encourage everyone to sit closely together in a circle, so each person can easily see and hear everyone else in the group.
The visualization and role-play: We Did It!
Conduct a brief guided visualization and simple "time travel" to get to that place where we no longer have nuclear weapons. Ask participants to close their eyes and imagine that they are traveling 30 years into the future. Using breath and the sound of a bell or stomping feet, encourage them in their imaginary travel through time. You might say:
"Okay, now we must prepare to travel forward in time. Let’s put on our helmets and our seatbelts [move your body to put on your imaginary time travel head gear and belts]. Let’s get ourselves sitting up nice and straight in our chairs, with our feet on the ground, closing our eyes... we move forward from this day in this year [name the date, and start sounding or stomping feet, first softly then more loudly...]. We are moving forward in time. From 2007 to 2010... 2011... 2015... 2020... 2025 [keep stomping or making the bell sound] 2027, 2029... 2032... 33... 34... arriving at 2037... [breaking sound]. We are here!"
Ask everyone to open his or her eyes and immediately start to role-play.
Notes on Role Play
We are at an editorial board meeting, especially invited because of our involvement in nuclear disarmament. We’ve been asked to design the morning’s paper announcing to the world that nuclear weapons have been abolished! Have on hand large butcher block paper and different colored pens and markers to pass out.
"Welcome everyone! Welcome on this most special of days when the world is finally free from the threat of nuclear weapons! It is so wonderful to be here in this room of luminaries. Each of you has played an important role in abolishing nuclear weapons and has therefore been invited to be a part of the editorial board to announce in tomorrow’s newspapers across the world how we got to this special place in time and history! We have done it, ladies and gentlemen! We have achieved what many considered impossible. We have achieved a world free of nuclear weapons. Let’s give ourselves a hand! [Applause]. And let’s take a moment to introduce ourselves to one another... There are Nobel Laureates among us, former presidents and Heads of State. Oh look over there in the corner, Ms. Secretary General! I’m sure you all recognize the first woman Secretary General of the United Nations. What an honor to be in this room with each of you!"
Allow the students to feel into their self-appointed roles and get comfortable in their small groups. They should be encouraged to think of what they did that got them invited to this meeting... Who are they? After introductions in the small groups, continue with editorial board meeting.
We can hear the party going on in the streets! And the people out there are waiting for us to join in... but before we do, our job here is to identify what steps we took to achieve a world without nuclear weapons. And what were some of the drawbacks and difficulties? In short, how did we do it? So to put you in the mood we got some old technology together for you to record your thoughts on for tomorrow’s paper: the GLOBAL EDITION announcing nuclear abolition! Remember this [hand out large pieces of paper " butcher block paper " and pens]? PAPER? Remember when we used trees to make paper to write on? We pulled some from the archives and pens too just to get you in the mood of thinking about the past times...
With your paper and pens and in your group let’s work together to write tomorrow’s special edition. Okay let’s get busy!
Moving from small group to small group, the facilitators speak to participants from that future place, maintaining the role-play. With occasional interruptions to remind them of the time they have left, finally call everyone back together as a large group and ask for volunteers to present their ideas for the morning paper. Be sure to leave enough time for each group to share their vision.
Once each group has shared, make a transition from the editorial board meeting to sitting again in chairs, to travel back to the present moment. You might say:
Well our time here has come to a close, and I know you are longing to join the revelers in the streets. So let’s look around the room and appreciate everything that everyone has shared... And let’s move again to our chairs. Let sit up straight and put on our helmets and security belts and prepare to travel back in time...
Mirroring the future time travel in reverse, travel back from 2037 to the current year... Invite students to open their eyes at that present place and present moment in time.
When arriving back from the future, the following questions can be helpful.
In a nuclear weapon free world: what feeling was in your body? Was your breathing different? What feeling was there in the room? How was the reality of a world free from nuclear weapons represented in the people around you? Did your future plans change? What would you do in a world with no nuclear bombs? What would you like to do to bring about that future?
Use a fishbowl for students to share their experiences.