Friedman starts by talking about 11/9/89 when
Friedman then contrasts 11/9/89 with 9/11/01 by showing that imagination and a smaller world can benefit the bad guys to. The terrorists have a cause and they can use the
I think one of the two most telling lines of this section is in the next paragraph - "There is one thing, though, that has not and can never be commoditized - and that is imagination."
By commoditized he means simplified and transformed into a commercial package. It also can't be turned into a mathematic formula that can be done with a computer or by a Chinese person or Indian behind a computer. It is the "imagination" he is saying that really makes a difference in the world. It makes a difference between a good service and a plain old service. It is the difference between a vanilla idea and one modeled after
Finally, and probably my most favorite paragraph of the whole book, Friedman writes, "Therefore, thinking about how we stimulate positive imagination is of the utmost importance. As Irving Wladawsky-Berger, the IBM computer scientist, put it to me: We need to think more seriously than ever about how we encourage people to focus on productive outcomes that advance and unite civilization - peaceful imaginations that seek to 'minimize alienation and celebrate interdependence rather than self-sufficiency, inclusion rather than exclusion,' openness, opportunity, and hope rather than limits, suspicion, and grievance."
I especially like the last part because it is what people with disabilities have been saying for a long time. This really underlines what I believe in. To use positive imagination to "stimulate...productive outcomes that advance and unite civilization." To "encourage people to...seek to...minimize alienation and celebrate interdependence..." To "seek...inclusion rather than exclusion" and "openness, opportunity, and hope rather than limits, suspicion, and grievance."
Saturday, January 21, 2006
The Power of Imagination
On page 442 and 443 of his book, The World Is Flat, Thomas Friedman illustrates the power of imagination. He shows how it can go both ways - positive and negative – by contrasting the events of 11/9/89 and 9/11/01. His final thought urges us to work toward cultivating positive imagination. I agree with his sentiments 100%, which is why I’d like to take the time to explain and discuss this important concept.