Making a Difference with Imagination

In an interview yesterday, December 17, on Seattle’s NPR station KUOW-FM, Eric Liu spoke with the host of Weekday, Steve Scher, about Imagination First, the book that he and Scott Noppe-Brandon co-authored.

“Imagination is the capacity to imagine ‘what if’,” Eric said. He proceeded to talk about the fact that it is easier to kill imagination than to use it—because of our innate fear of the new and the unknown. And yet, sometimes issues that require imaginative solutions, and seem forbidding when they first arise, a year later, or a mere week later, seem obvious and easy to espouse.

Eric related the idea to the hot topic of the day: health care reform. How can President Obama change the paradigm? Eric is convinced that imagination is the key, and that, here again, this issue, which has inspired more heated debate than perhaps any national concern in the past fifty years, will become a natural part of our lives when seen in retrospective—when the nation detaches itself from the fear of disturbing the status quo; when it allows itself to imagine freely; when it dares to ask “what if” along with those elected to provide the answers.

The conversation, lasting nearly an hour, addressing several topics and crackling with ideas from Eric, Weekday’s host, and several listeners who called in, was an exemplar of the extraordinary social importance of the imagination. To hear the complete podcast, go to http://www.kuow.org/program.php?id=19001.

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