Liberal Education

From the Editor

Is it my imagination, or is time moving faster? How often I've thought this-even tossed it off in conversation. Imagination's tricks appear in living color in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," as they do in all theater and the arts. In the My View section of this issue, Molly Smith talks implicitly about imagination in the art of the theater and how it crosses-even breaks through-boundaries.

Smith says, "Like the scientist, there is a drive to invent." While we think of imagination and invention as the engines driving the arts and science, most endeavors have the same genesis. At the Annual Meeting, ideas were given in reasoned and persuasive presentations, many with graphic accompaniments in Power Point and handouts. To imagine how things could be and to create visions of new possibilities, whether in liberal education or in bringing about social change, are rooted in the imaginative process.

One of the surprises on campus has always been the imaginative ways students, at their best, can rise to challenges of all sorts. When students are mobilized to effect a program or election or social event, do a presentation or deliver an address, they demonstrate the power of imagination in seeing and doing the task purposefully, with freshness, often with wit and originality.

At the Annual Meeting, a panel of student activists, one of whose voices can be heard in Vincent Pan's talk excerpted here, spoke with passion about the envisioned world that motivates their political and social action. Out of their experience, shards of meaning have combined into an imagined future, a hope, and an impetus to make real-to realize-their vision. The young see visions, and all of us dream dreams.

Ambassador Joseph's dream is a world going beyond private virtue to the macroethics of public values to bring about reconciliation of societal divisions. Barber, in a prophetic voice, shows the pernicious effects of consumerism, first, on the young, on society, and as well on the global community. A better way is implicitly imagined in his analysis. And Molly Smith notes that "artists are constantly pushing and evaluating these boundaries with their creative work." It seems fair to say that education, an art and a science, enacts such creative, even visionary, work on behalf of students and the changing world.

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