I've just had my paper 'Empathy and Imagination' accepted into an international Journal, so, I'm brave enough to say what I've been working on quietly for years; that our imaginations need to be noticed, educated and developed. It's not a specialised gift or talent to be able to imagine, we all can and do, prolifically.
So is it possible to conceive of half the world? We need to stretch ourselves and our awareness so far that it expands us, so that our meagre thoughts that dismiss or disregard 'the other' become expansive ideas that integrate and include.
Imagination and social conscience has been important since the Romantic period, I love the French. The importance of being able to imagine for an equal and just society is not a new idea. But this faculty and ultimate ability we have has been neglected and misunderstood, I believe.
From my research, imagining involves putting oneself in another's shoes. Being able to do this makes a great writer and storyteller, as well as a great activist, change agent or inventor. As we learn and use our imaginations to visualise and manifest WHAT WE WANT, let us also extend our awareness to 'others'. Some of the rich 62 have such an expanded awareness that they are doing SO MUCH GOOD TO BENEFIT OTHERS. Many others are not.
Imagining that expands our sense of self is beneficial, becuase what starts to happen when we put ourselves in another's shoes, so to speak, is that we see that the space between self and others as not so far. In fact, all it takes is a little imagination to become another, and experience their achievements or loss as our own. This is what happens in the stadium or at the movies. I pray that we all GET what we want in our lives, with an expanded awareness and an education imagination, so that our 'power of manifestation' works from, not a selfish or selfless sense of self, but a truly expansive, inclusive, planetary sense of self.
Sally Jensen is a Sustainability Educator and facilitator of the ResourceSmart Schools program in Victoria.