Imagination: A Force for Changing Taiwan

by PeiChin Chen on Thursday, 19 March 2009 Comments
Be it in science, in arts or in social movements, nothing new can emerge and happen if we are unable to imagine – to imagine new theorems, new visions, new ways of acting together, new dreams for the future. One could say that our memory is the stock from which we are able to perpetuate our knowledge and our collective being, while imagination is what makes us able to rearrange and renew our assets so as to discover new riches and to open paths that were unheard of.
Imagination is a force for change. Through imagination, mankind has changed the scientific paradigms that determine its vision of nature and cosmos; through imagination, artists have imposed upon us new ways of looking at external and inner realities; through imagination, thinkers have devised social systems that enhance our freedom and safety nets; through imagination humankind progressively invents a global system that creates a web of shared interests among nations and economies. The Internet, cell phones or digital cameras had somehow to be “imagined’ before being offered to us so as we creatively use them… For sure, there is always a reality check to be done when imagination begets new ideas, but the driving force is imagination indeed…

So, how do we nurture imagination, and how do we use the creative force we have been endowed with? The question has a personal dimension, but it is also a collective challenge. For it seems that, in the economic and political times that are ours, imagination has become a vital asset, the only one maybe on which we can truly rely. There is no clear project for the future of our economy and our social system. Old habits, slogans and ways of thinking are again dominating the cultural scene - and when was the last time you heard a truly new idea, an idea that was challenging your assumptions and usual way of thinking? Truly, imagination might be the energy that Taiwan, for example, is presently most lacking – though there is endless supply of it hidden in our midst. We might need “hope”, “audacity” and “self-confidence”, but more important… let us now bring imagination to power!

This month Focus is primarily concerned with imagination in Taiwan: how can our education system nurture so basic a talent in children’s minds? Can imagination change today’s Taiwan?

(Drawing by Bendu, colouring by Nakao)

Start with Hubert Kilian’s travel to the future:
Taiwan, 25 years later

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