Saturday, February 21, 2009

When Imagination Matters Most

Reality more or less is a deal struck upon between people.  Everyone perceives the world differently. The difference creates the need for discussion, which creates the need for compromise and agreement.  There are a few basic conditions that hold true for all people: hunger, thirst, the need for air, the desire for shelter-- all of those conditions that link to our mortality and to those elements in the world that seem non-negotiable.  

People arrive at solutions to these non-negotiable elements based on the strength of their ability to transform their perceptions into reality.  This is the way that imagination influences reality.  What was once in someone's head is now out there, a new thing for people to discuss: systems, laws, objects, words, Thigh Masters. 

The present financial crisis seems like a collective failure of imagination.  We've run to the end of a certain system of thought and so suddenly all of those necessities that were once tied to the productiveness of that solution are now jeopardized.   The purely imaginary aspect of money, let alone the hundreds of trillions of dollars purported to make up the world's worth, seems to be in full display at present.  We come across cliques of people who worked around the existing laws to create bogus wads of cash.  Who do they think they are?  Well it seems strange that this small group's use of rules just as arbitrary as this other group's would seem so desperate and flagrant, but in the end we don't know a better definition of the word anti-social.    

We were all born into the system that is currently coughing and gasping.  We inherited a number of rules and created a few more with the idea of the public good in mind. By and large the private citizen was not involved in the creation of these laws.  The private citizen held out a proxy to someone they thought would get the job done, someone good at imagining solutions based on existing parameters.  The private citizen carried about their business within the workings of that system while being entirely ignorant of its mechanics.  Whether or not this system was a parochial means of amplifying money then siphoning off the excess remains to be seen.  That system had its good points as well as bad.  

Now we're left with the dizzying prospect of re-assembling a financial system using only the dregs of the last one. Imagination called on to bail us out of a collective failure of imagination.  Well it would seem that the people in power for all of these years cleaved so wholly to an ethos that they may have destroyed their ability to imagine anything different.  Or maybe in the down moments of their office life while looking out over the South Cove they harbored their own quiet heterodoxy and kept it un-stifled for a time when better judgement might win out.

Whether or not you and I are implicated within this system, our inability to convert the population to a better way will simply be translated into hunger and our children will look at those Thigh Masters lying in landfills and wonder what possible purpose they could have ever possibly performed. At least we now know the possibility of change is open.  


  1. "We were all born into the system that is currently coughing and gasping."

    All you Reagan babies, that is. I just want to point out that I was not born into the system. 1978 was solid Carter Administration. My parents thought my future would be one of sweaters and solar panels.

  2. Your parents knew what was on the horizon-- why else would they retreat to the woods of VA? Hate to say that credit deregulation also began under Carter's watch (incidentally also my first president).