Power of Imagination

Education, Innovations and Democracy

by Agnieszka Rothert (Author)
©2016 Monographs 129 Pages


The purpose of this book is to encourage the use and exploration of imagination, intuition and insight as essential ingredients for scientific, educational and civic endeavors. This groundbreaking book is a kind of intellectual provocation, but also an antidote for our current crises in education. It is a dizzying, transdisciplinary and morphing romp through fields as disparate as complexity theory, quantum physics, neuroscience, political sciences as well as the innovative uses of games.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction – Entrance
  • Part I Path
  • Labyrinth
  • Enigma—Curiosity—Cognition (Uncertainty and Pleasure)
  • Spookiness and Entanglement
  • Do We Know That We Know Nothing?
  • Kaleidoscope of Consciousness
  • Mystery of Cognition
  • Intuition, Insight and Prediction
  • Part II Around the Corner
  • Narrative, Creation and Fun
  • Innovation and Imitation
  • Part III The End/Exit
  • Education, Trans-formality, Flexibility
  • Bibliography

| 7 →

Introduction – Entrance

Lines Written by a Bear of Very Little Brain

On Monday, when the sun is hot

I wonder to myself a lot:

“Now is true, or is it not,

That what is which and which is what?”1

During the past few years the scholarly approaches in social sciences appear to have expanded, but there has always been an invisible and invincible border between soft science and hard science, and even more between world of reality and imagination. But in the same time, interdisciplinarity, multidisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity have just become the darlings of some of fast advancing sciences.

In my own case, during past fifteen years I tried to forge link with the social and natural sciences to explain what is going around us. I am always fascinated by going “through the looking-glass,” to see what is lurking behind, what hidden signs are here for us to explore. My own personal experience has taught me that evolution, adaptation, resilience, innovation and transformation are not only possible and crucial, mostly painful but at the end (or at the beginning of new cycle), whole process brings pleasure and zest for life, and new curiosity. Briefly speaking, the method of analogy and contextual thinking is something which comes naturally to me. Moreover, since I began my own adventure in scientific wonderland, I have been developing new insights and generating new connections but I also tripped many times (not mentioning being whipped by strong criticism many times). In short, it was a long, difficult and mostly bumpy road. Nonetheless, crossing borders, trespassing and transgressing boundaries has been an irresistible and inexplicable temptation for me. This time I decided to adopt the metaheuristics approach. I weaved together unlikely pairs of concepts, and because our thought shapes the environment and vice versa, I have experimented on my brain by the way of keeping slow string of hunches alive, then mapping and recombining them visually.

How do we know what we know? It is epistemological question. My approach is in frame of qualitative method and it is deeply inductive, because I start with the observations, assemble them into patterns, and ultimately derive generalization as a result, then again I mingle my insights in new patterns. The mental recombination of cognitive concepts is generating new batch of combinations. ← 7 | 8 →

This book is also coming from my feelings of frustration, when I am facing the constraints of the contemporary education process on a daily basis. The language of pedagogy bears close resemblance to descriptions of economic activities and/or process of production. While situation is fluid, the probability of more commercial pressures and the necessity to adapt to the changing technological environment is apparent. While being an accomplice to this unfolding changes, I wanted to be free of guilt by even small degree. So this is my expiation, in form of “an intellectual provocation by means of transdisciplinarity and synectics. I am advocating a playful and more open model of civic education, useful when everything is shifting and surprising. The old world is changing, and we need to stop making repeated misjudgments about it.

Revelations abound, and they have many names: revolution, complexity, interdependence, liquidity, boundlessness, connectivity, integration and fragmentation, globality and locality, trans.., post.., meta, etc. Depending on ongoing mood and intellectual preferences, we can be optimistic or pessimistic about our collective future. But as whole, human beings love to assess what will happen within the next few moments. There are many fictional future scenarios to choose from and we all imagine cultural landscapes of the near future. Prediction is a slippery road. But we have capacity for remembering, memory systems which allow us to look at past events and to recombine them to imagine a new ones, even though it makes many mistakes along. We can also think about some crucial aspects of what is going around us as a kind of signal or hint, because the future is now, in the present, and all of us cannot only feel it but we are collectively manifest it by our choices.

There are many exercises in futuring. The British educational think-tank Futurelab produced a combination of predictions about social situation built on some crucial aspect of work, education, culture, community and governance.2 It created three possible “worlds,” each with a different set of social values (individualism, associativity, collectivism).3

World one belongs to individualists, it is called “trust yourself.” People take charge of themselves, good citizens are meant to be as self-sufficient as they can, so they rely on the state, government for as little as possible. Changing work and housing patterns have led to increased mobility; and social structure, social communities, social ties are much more flexible now. Organizations and collective ← 8 | 9 → schemes (health care, pensions) are “opt in,” everything is voluntary and largely privatized. The role of the state is minimal. It takes care of internal and external security, regulate monopolies. There are many small political parties, representing many different and particular interests. Governance can encompass varied modes of coordination but usually mutual adjustment in process of negotiation and simple majority rule prevail. The use of the internet is common and global. Possibilities for electronic political participation are abound but individualists in this world tend to “opt out.” The services sector dominates; namely part-time jobs, freelancing and outsourcing. The culture of DIY (“do it yourself”) flourish, with the leisure time taken up with pastimes like growing and producing food, making of clothes for yourself, other crafts and solitary or self-reliant sports and outdoor activities. The state is almost absent, whereas the family is taking the first and central place. This is the only group most people belong to for any length of time. But it is not “old fashioned” nuclear family. This is mixed bag of kinship and other relations. The family is also a playground for learning self-reliance and independence, autonomy and curiosity. Because the state is shrunken, the prime goal of education is to instigate and prepare for creativity, self-expression, survival and self-actualization. The main goal of the learning process is to provide people with an ability to find their place in flexible and mutable social network. There is a huge variety of educational services. Market competition has led to the creation of specialized and sponsored by business curricula. Outside of the mainstream, there are many alternative forms of teaching.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2016 (September)
Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2016. 129 pp., 3 s/w graphs

Biographical notes

Agnieszka Rothert (Author)

Agnieszka Rothert is Professor of Political Science at the University of Warsaw, the Head of the Unit of European Institutions and Participant of the training program "SIMS – Scientific Infrastructure Management Support" at the NCBR, Technische Universität Dresden, Fraunhofer MOEZ & IZI, IBM. She is the author of several books showing how concepts drawn from complexity theory can be adapted in our understanding of global politics.


Title: Power of Imagination
book preview page numper 1
book preview page numper 2
book preview page numper 3
book preview page numper 4
book preview page numper 5
book preview page numper 6
book preview page numper 7
book preview page numper 8
book preview page numper 9
book preview page numper 10
book preview page numper 11
book preview page numper 12
book preview page numper 13
book preview page numper 14
book preview page numper 15
book preview page numper 16
book preview page numper 17
book preview page numper 18
book preview page numper 19
book preview page numper 20
book preview page numper 21
book preview page numper 22
book preview page numper 23
book preview page numper 24
book preview page numper 25
book preview page numper 26
132 pages