Thank you for entertaining that an article highlighting imagination and its relevant contribution to critical analysis, our orientating in self-determination, and these in social work
On Being weekly News (3rd June, 2019), notes how john a. powell, a civil rights scholar, social advocate whom studies structural racism comments, that to be human is “to love and to suffer; to suffer with, though — compassion, not to suffer against. So, to have a space big enough to suffer with, and if we can hold that space big enough, we also will have joy and fun, even as we suffer. And suffering will no longer divide us.” This is imaginative. His work on housing policy — among much else — is built on the foundation of his conviction that we cannot thrive unless we are in relationship with each other. Everything is about relationships, imagining those even where they appear currently to have failed.
Society must assume it is stable however the artistic skill in social working (social work is informed by art and science) must know both this assumption, and must let us know that there is nothing stable under heaven. Art exposes the very nature of our unstable lives; in this very exposition, I would suggest that art simultaneously touches the eternal, the universal. It is though imagination that we becalm the ‘momentary tumults against the raging ocean that has washed and will always wash, the shoreline of the human spirit’ (Popova in http://www.brainpicking.org.July 1st 2017). The artistic thinker in this age remains the carrier of imagination-seen also as the spirit that draws four walls of the house together as one shelter as conveyed in the popular social work model, Te Whare Tapa Wha (Durie, 1982)
Has social work policy and practice suffered because our capacity for imagination has been over looked, or actively impoverished through our workplace practices, emphasis in professionalism at the cost of or loss in authenticity and identity? “Imagination for individuals and imagination within the cultural knowledge of a profession, loses reality as it ceases to adhere to what is real…for there are degrees of the imagination, as for example, degrees of vitality and therefore, of intensity. It is an implication that there are degrees of reality”. It is a function of the imaginative or creative spirit to protect its interior integrity from the weight and intense declaration of reality, that place where increasingly contemplation is excluded and the impermanence of a future suggested. Consider how reality is sustained in The Daily Hourly News flashed through television screens in our homes. What therefore is the role of the imaginative spirit in work (Smith, G., personal communication, 2012). Smith suggests that if we may imagine ourselves differently we may become different in how and what we are to our self and the other
One of the peculiarities of imagination is that there is explicit at the end of an era. Are we there yet, I hear? Imagination attaches itself to a new reality and adhere to it. Reality exist for individuals according to the circumstances of their lives, the characteristics with which they reason. The pressure of reality is a determined feature in the artistic character of an era and a person. It is the resistance to this pressure or evasion avoidance to the pressure with folk of extraordinary imagination which endures, and offers capacities into the imagining of ourselves and our way of being. Has this meant we cannot centre our self…we are no longer where our spirit has footing? … where ancestors speak of enduring ways to us?
Does imagination reside with spirited passionate social work? How as a profession do we welcome the analysis and passion that imagination will call us out to: I suggest we would not be too incorrect to suggest that ‘The Emperor has no Clothes, or that social workers can be rich in yet our shared stories may be missing imagination?’ The time of Puao Te Ata Tu (1986) was one of imagining. I propose that the value in imaginative practices empower statutory social worker and their practice culture, in the authority and skills required to notice, critique, to care and hope so the children/kin whom they work for may know life, and experience richness connected to kin, land, cultural ancestors and their dreams. Yes, Imagination is culturally constructed, however noticing this and not collapsing that, then through its creativity we have our sense of self. These orientate and lead us into our identity and authenticity, guide us in how another person can inhabit authenticity also, and the possibilities in working those distinctions. Imagine how a fledgling morepork (owl) conceives of flight!