Imagining Change

Annie Heathorn           

 “Imagination and the will to carry it out are core features of survival” (Nordstrom 1998). Since the beginning of humanity, imagination has been the secret ingredient to human survival.  When humans were attacked by wild beasts, they imagined tools to fight back.  When they were cold, they imagined a way to create warmth. When they were faced with storms they imagined a way to build shelter. They imagined cities, social interaction, writing, ways of interacting.  Creativity and innovation sets human kind apart from other animals.  People create their vision of self, and grow into it. They create habits, culture, and ways of living.  People author their own place in society.  With out imagination, humans are left to the direction of someone else. 

            What terror war attacks is people’s ability to imagine and to create.  Separated from imagination, people cannot create and thus are subject to someone else’s imagination- be they good or evil.  Imagination empowers man because he can create a method to fight back.  Terrorists thus seek to destroy this imagination. Because the people in Mozambican are able to imagine a different situation, they are able to fight the terrorist war.

             The problem is that imagination is spurred on by examples.  When people see an example of the way they want to live, and to be, they can imagine themselves in that life.  In a barren, scattered, diseased, shattered world- as terror violence seeks to create- there is no vision of change. 

            Just as imagination is monumental in fighting terrorism, so is imagination key to fighting diarrheal disease in developing countries.  If people can imagine a new lifestyle, they can create a new lifestyle.  If they can imagine solutions to their situation, they can actualize those imaginations.  For example in the South African slums, if people were able to imagine a new lifestyle- one that is clean, where hygiene takes priority, and rehydration pills were taken and used, long term elimination of diarrheal would occur.  The problem is that people are often hopeless and can’t imagine nothing better for themselves.  They settle into the lifestyle that was taught to them, with no hope for change.  Inspiration and teaching communities to imagine and create new lifestyles could be huge in dismantling poverty and diseases.


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