Monthly Archives: October 2014

Education and Human Imagination

Bill Moyers has a wonderful interview up with the great novelist Marilynne Robinson.  One effect of this interview is to reinforce the importance of developing the whole human being and human imagination.

Just as importantly, Robinson skewers the scientific approach to the world represented in the constriction of life to the economic utilitarianism of market fundamentalism.

Here she describes how this manifests in the current neoliberal approach to education reform.

Moyers:  Are we suffering some kind of loss of imagination that we cannot perceive the lived experience of other people?

Robinson: I think it is true, and I think it’s having effects all  across the culture. Education, for example, which is very subtly turned towards making a good working class, however well paid, rather than humanizing people’s experience, making them feel what it is to be a human being in the stream of mystery on this strange planet.

Moyers: So what’s happened to imagination?

Robinson:  I think in a way we’ve been talked out of it in favor of some kind of crude scientism that has no way of articulating the fact of mind, the fact of imagination, the complexity of consciousness.  And what they can’t articulate they’ve excluded as being not real, or illusory in some way.  If you think that the human mind is a wonderful thing, there’s an infinite interest in cultivating it.  And if you think it’s simply someone who works more expensively than a worker in the third world, you know, you have no interest in people except to make them a part of a utilitarian system that produces for the sake of producing.

The complete interview is fantastic.  See it here: