Welcome to my Blog
As we behold, we actively transform the image.
Moral Imagination’s definition in Britannica is as follows:
Moral imagination, in ethics, the presumed mental capacity to create or use ideas, images, and metaphors not derived from moral principles or immediate observation to discern moral truths or to develop moral responses. Some defenders of the idea also argue that ethical concepts, because they are embedded in history, narrative, and circumstance, are best apprehended through metaphorical or literary frameworks.
Autoethnography creates the capacity to imagine more just lifeworlds through narrative inquiry. Poetic representations also contribute to forming ideas about what is good and just, right or wrong, in our lifeworlds. When living in an Alpine winter mountainscape, I ski on of fields of snow crystals that reverberate lifegiving energy to my family of snow dancers. Rumi, the Sufi poet, invites us to meet in a field beyond judgements of right and wrong. In this field of transcendence, we get a glimpse of our personal representations of the good life by connecting to our moral imagination.
Living in the Alps, highlanders have a different perspective than those living in the valley. We develop different world views that arise from our cultural landscapes. From the top of the mountain, I ask, “What lifts you?”. This chapter moves the story line towards what Kenneth Gergen refers to as “narrative slope”.
Climbing to the top of one side of the mountain, leaving the past behind, I ski down the other mountainside towards a vision of a bright future. On this side of the slope, using my ability to perceive through the lens of moral imagination, I envision enriching relationships that bring forth more just societies. I invite you to come ski down this narrative slope with me. Here, we leave behind the snow fields on high, walking through blooming orchards that hold the promise of ripening summer apricots, plums, pears, and apples.
Relational research also contributes to moral imagination by co-constructing ways to improve the human condition with research design. This relational approach to problem-solving gives value to transformational processes. Here is a video with Ken Gergen and Sheila McNamee, Taos Institute founders, talking about relational research. I did my PhD. with the Taos Institute, benefiting from the knowledgeability of these pioneering social constructionists. Autoethnography is an important method that they discuss in their conversation.
Ken Gergen and Sheila McNamee: Invitation to Conversations About Constructionist Practices in Research
Here is the book Moral Imagination, The Art and Soul of Building Peace, by John Paul Lederarch that explores conflict resolution using ethnographic approaches.
Here is a picture taken in our orchard in Isérables.
Here is a picture of my son Nils, skiing up the mountain.
Martin Buber’s “I and Thou” relationship, the Seven Arrows Medicine Wheel, as well of the saint’s lives are connected by their ability to bring us to higher levels of perception. We experience a form of relational transformation as we are lifted by sacred practices to see the interconnected nature of life and the divine working within all relationships. Spiritual traditions use different languages and representations. Religion can be understood as what we “rely” on, or what we are dependent upon and have confidence in.
Encountering the divine can happen as we journey through life. There is the inner and the outer journey. We can encounter great thinkers through their writings, and we can encounter sacred places through pilgrimages. There are different ways to gain higher knowledge that often transforms our perceptions. When we are lifted, we can see the sacredness of life.
The pain experienced by orphaned and adopted children is understood as the primal wound. It is a wounding that happens when babies are separated at birth from their mothers. The term “innocents” is used in reference to the Biblical story of the innocent babes that were killed by Herod. When I journeyed to Florence, Italy, I went to visit the first orphanage that was built in the 1400’s, known as The Hospital of the Innocents. Connecting with this historical site that received and cared for abandoned children brought me to a sacred place. As I prayed and gave thanks for all those who have cared for the innocents, I became even more consciously aware of the pain of mothers and children who have suffered the consequences of being separated at birth.
This inner and outer journey provided an encounter with higher knowledge through the historical understanding of the evolution of caring for abandoned children as well as the spiritual experience of connecting with these life histories. Through the ages, children like me, and my sister Cathy, have been cared for when the circumstances of our births didn’t allow us to remain in our families. Visiting the museum and attending the mass held there, allowed me to sublimate my personal experience through journeymanship, connecting even more deeply with the story of the innocents.
Here is the link to the museum:
Here is a documentary film that tells the story of the innocents.
The Innocents of Florence: The quest to save 600,000 children
Author of Homing In: A Story Mandala Connecting Adoption, Reunion and Belonging