Coming from a middle class, and having humble parents makes classicism hard to understand. The dynamic between the rich and the poor, and teachers and students are explained by Paolo Freire. Mutual communication rather than pedagogy in education is compared to the methods that artists have with their audience, as there lies a similar dynamic too. Tom Finkelpearl points to the fact that art can be co-created with spectators and participants. The same is relevant to education, as teachers can learn and receive knowledge from their students. Transforming the consciousness of any type of participant, whether the creator or informer, or the recipient, is essential to reach any transformative means, for instance in a workforce or inner being. The first step of a transformative process is to begin to think differently. Theorists argued that this initial stage that Freire emphasized isn’t enough. Their argument is valid, however it doesn’t represent the entire concept of transformation that Freire was referring to. The underlining political theme in his theory also necessitates the call for change. It is required upon societies, as it is with art, and education. Art seems to be more evolving than education. This is what education needs, the openness to transform and adapt transformative methods like art does. Freire‘s notion on the role of the educator isn’t revolutionary, however it has become a widely-known or recognized because it became a teaching philosophy. A method that educators employ, and present through it their thesis and findings. It’s also a great reminder for educators, and eye opening to teachers who are part of an oppressed society that relies on learning techniques such as pedagogy, or live under dictatorship. It’s a method and process. Processes have different stages, and any author or theorist should be capable of understanding that a scholar isn’t obliged to emphasize on all the various levels of an approach, theory or process can take. For example, Carl Jung, in his theory of transformation, covered a few stages of the transformation of the mind, consciousness, unconscious or psyche. The rest is on the discovery of the patient, reader or individual undergoing this process. Freire suggested the same with his interview with Finkelpearl, he said that it is eventually up to the reader, “to produce the product.” This applies to art too, as art itself can be a transformative experience, and have an apparent or discreet reaction with the viewer, or art experiencer. It provokes thought, it’s a stimulus. It can create inner, or outer dialogue.
Thinking about my life, I find that fear kills my imagination, and anxiety. I only thought of myself as an artist because I have an active imagination, and sometimes it never stops, even when I’m sleeping. Growing up as a child, when people asked my soblings what’s wrong with me? They said, “she has a wild imagination.” Those are the kind of terms my sisters would use, like eccentric, thinker, creative or unique, because my father was a psychologist, and that’s how he described my younger brother and I. The fear and anxiousness first developed when I left my mother’s womb. Then, it began to articulate when I was placed in school. An example of this type of fear would be the fear of humiliation, because when something uncommon is produced in a social setting, it could develop undesirable reactions that would affect a creative child. The child or individual would face consequences for being a unique thinker, and thinking out of the box. Peers can kill imagination, so does teachers, in unhealthy educational setting. It is up to the indicual to either succumb to the pressure, and tame these extraordinary abilities or have the will to reject society’s approval. We are placed in institutions that demands cooperation, elaboration, and fulfillment of expectations, rather than creation or imagination. It’s like how Eric Liu described the tendency of individuals to rely on narrow paths and societal arrangements. Liu chose Einstein as a clear example. Einstein, a scientist, has been the icon of imagination, or imaginative theories. He visualized, he imagined, and saw it in his head. He thought of the things he’d like to do, like a child, in the vast space he knew of. Do I believe that imagination could be cultivated? Perhaps yes. It’s like activating a button for those who are not visual or spacial thinkers. Some, like Einstein, were born with these qualities, and these qualities could be be obtained, once practiced. An typical mind can try to operate like an atypical mind. No one can argue would the impacts that imagination can contribute to societies or communities. But one can argue about the importance of cultivating the imagination in children, and harnessing it. This is not strict to educational institutions. The workforce can devalue imagination, as disciplined experience is often sought. Not every company or corporation is Google. Liu defines imagination as the following:
“The capacity to conceive what is not-something that, as far as we know, does not exist; or something that may exist, but we simple cannot perceive.”
If imagination’s process isn’t a mystery, and is attainable to everyone, why is the world we live in so common and dull? I certainly don’t see many people around me trying to change their reality, let alone transform their perception. There is too much judgment and insecurity. I would probably not have this notion, if I was like the author Lui trying to sell the idea of certain practices that enhance imagination or cultivate it. I believe imagination in all settings should be harnessed, but not pushed into existence via methods or techniques. It goes without saying. An artistic activity, for example, could inspire a person to create. Lui mentions that this is only possible when imagination is activated vis the practices he recommends in his book. Do I want to articulate the process of imagination? Explain how my mind works to the world? I don’t think so. I’d rather produce a creation out of my imagination, like a magnum opus. This is probably why I wasn’t intrigued by the first chapter of Imagination First. I believe educators should have awareness and tolerance of the existence of imaginative children, what they often call bright children. They should encourage these qualities like inquiry, and acceptance. It’s the educator’s duty to have the student question, and leave space for exploration. Imagination would come naturally is a safe and accepting learning environment. If teachers want to implement practices that develops imaginative qualities through assignments, they can. The imaginative children would be able to make something out of it.