Creating Room for Imagination

David Spangler

David Spangler

One of my purposes in writing Calculating Soul Connections was to change the way we view ourselves. Most of the world currently lives in a scientific and mechanistic reality. Even if many benefits of science are not available in a particular culture (as in the African jungle, rural India, etc.), most of the people of the world know what is possible. Most wish they had what modern industry produces.

What is lost in the mechanistic world are connections between people (and all the other entities). Because science doesn’t have a mechanism for that, it is not seen as important. So my desire is to make it possible to envision a mechanism, the life force, that connects us together. With a mechanism in place, we can begin to imagine a more connected life.

I want to borrow some ideas about imagination from David Spangler. one of my favorite thinkers on the subject. He writes a monthly essay, and this in taken from the July 2013 issue. You can see an archive of a few of his essays at Here are three things he thinks will help us imagine the more connected life he and I would both like to bring about.

“First, it is an imagination of diversity and complexity. Just look around you at how diverse and complex life is. By contrast, human imagination and action is often reductive, seeking simplicity and conformity. We can easily imagine living in a world where everyone thinks and acts as we do, a monocultural world, but can we imagine living successfully and peacefully in a world filled with many different ways of being? Can we imagine actively honoring and supporting ways of being different from our own? …

“Second, the imagination of the earth is open to possibility, experimentation, and change. Again, we have only to look at the fossil record or at the wondrous diversity of life on earth right now to see the truth of this. On the other hand, human imagination is often constricted by attachment to the familiar, and a fear of change. Why is it so difficult for people to accept that human behavior is causing catastrophic climate change? One can point fingers at the influence of vested interests such as the energy companies whose existence, wealth, and power depend on the continued use of the fossil fuels. But a more compelling reason is that we have grown accustomed to a world created and energized by such fuels, and it’s become hard to imagine other possibilities…

“Thirdly, the imagination of the earth arises from what I think of as a ‘conscience of the whole.’ It’s an organic imagination, one that demonstrates an ethic of connectedness. By contrast, our imaginations often express narrow self-interest and disconnection from any sense of being part of a larger wholeness. We can imagine new things, new possibilities; what we don’t imagine is how they fit in an integrated and harmless way into the larger community of life and planetary being. Thus we can imagine strip mining for coal or fracking for gas but not imagine the long-term consequences to air, water, soil, and people. We’re not good at imagining consequences, in part because we may not care about them as much as we care about ourselves and our short-term benefit. We forget that a [world] imagination includes in its considerations connections and consequences over hundreds and thousands of years. It is an imagination that cares.”

One other point that David stresses is that we need to clear our imaginations in order to see anew. We are constantly bombarded by media of all kinds that tells us how to imagine the world. But it is the same world we are already in, only more so.

We need to break free of those sources of communication and let other information get into our minds, hearts, and bellies (to use the Inca shamans’ terms). We need to imagine a world where “we can grow corn” — we can have effective and satisfying lives — and be parts of communities that support more than the materialistic aspects of life.

I think allowing room in our thoughts for the life force and souls is a step in that direction. It gives me hope to know there is more than a mechanistic world and to see evidence of spiritual practices reemerging. I hope it is the same for you.


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