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Can imagination save us?

Posted by Simon Parke, 04 March 2019, 4.32pm

Is imagination our greatest need right now?

‘Imagination is at the deepest root of what it means to be human,’ says Jean-Yves Leloup.

So can it save us? And how?

All great structures and institutions, however large and looming, are imaginary – the result of imagination.

And so they need to be approached with imagination.

It is this idea which gives birth to politics – to the questioning of that which is, to the pondering of possibilities and purposive action in response.

Politics is an act of the imagination: ‘It doesn’t have to be this way!’

It is the same with boundary-pushing science, poetry and spirituality; each a creative response to that which is, a fresh spring bursting.

They allow nothing to be written in stone; for nothing is written in stone.

When the gift of imagination is not kept alive, the story dies, the music dies.

Institutions harden, calcify and become dogmatic; they are relative, but behave as if they are absolute.

Labels become small and intolerant gods.

Imagination is also important in our personal lives.

What is – whether a difficult relationship or situation - can be perceived as absolute…when in truth, it’s imaginary; an act of interpretation.

Nothing has built-in meaning; but without imagination, we might imagine it does and bow to the weight of its claim over us.

The gift of human imagination is the gift of questioning and possibility. It looks constantly to re-create freedom and meaning here and now.

And it’s at the heart of resilience.

If we lack imagination, we will struggle to find solutions to the challenges of life; we may be over-powered.

To imagine a better world is the beginning of a strong wisdom; an underground stream of change.

Don’t give up.

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