Imaginative Poverty

Dave Pollard asks an intriguing question:

But in a modern, homogeneous society, do we still need imagination? I think it’s possible that in a hierarchical, overcrowded, enormously interdependent society imagination is an evolutionary disadvantage: It breeds dissatisfaction, nonconformity and discontent, and it suffers in an environment of homogeneity and monoculture. Even language, which has been shown to affect the way in which our brains are structured as we grow, drives us to think in linear, traditional, established ways. So I would argue that over the last 30,000 years imagination has been bred out of the human gene pool, and what survives is systematically squelched long before the school system has the chance to inflict further damage on it. Imagination can be frightening, and our society ridicules fearfulness (except of things prescribed by the government, the media and our peer groups as ‘reasonable’ to fear). I think we actually learn not to imagine.

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