Of Note: Plate Tectonics of Mind and Culture

Submitted By:
Jonathan Gold, Moses Brown School, Providence, RI

Imaginology by Stephen T. Asma
Aeon, May 26, 2022

This beautiful, thought-provoking article is a heartfelt manifesto to “develop an entirely new way of understanding learning that embraces the true engine of the mind – imagination.” According to author Stephen T. Asma, professor of philosophy and cofounder of the Research Group in Mind, embracing so-called “imaginology” would allow educators to “heal the terminal divide between the sciences and the humanities [and] also promises to reunite the body and the mind, reintegrate emotion and reason, and tesselate facts and values.” Asma takes readers through the long history of incorporating – and, more importantly, ignoring – the role of imagination in education. This article is heavy on philosophy and cognitive science, but for educators and school leaders looking to inspire some paradigm-shifting thinking, Asma’s offering affords lots of opportunities for discussion and reflection. Of particular interest to educators will be Asma’s contention that imaginology is a way to collapse the STEM/liberal arts dichotomy. There are also some interesting sojourns into the connections between imagination and creativity and the role of imagination in forming cognition and consciousness. Even deeper, Asma reframes “imagination as the ‘plate tectonics’ of mind and culture.” In this new framework – away from imagination as ancillary – “fractured territories on either side of a great divide become mere continents riding on the hidden motions of creativity below. Imaginology beckons us deeper.”

Teaching Practice
Science of Learning