JK Rowling: Power of Story Expands Minds, Changes Reality

7 06 2008

It’s all here, her funny AND serious personal story told almost shyly at Harvard for commencement weekend, as suggesting some real-life scripts for learning and earning, success and failure, voting, living, protesting, parenting, preventing poverty and pursuing peace.

Rowling quotes Plutarch: “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.”

She says the power to imagine is how we can understand and empathize with true life stories far from our own reality, and conversely:

“choosing to live in narrow spaces leads to
a form of mental agoraphobia. . .

I can imagine how this connects to my own power of story. For example, might this help explain the homeschooler fringe whose story I can’t imagine or understand, those whose inward reality is so narrow that they seem to fear “public” spaces inward and outward, to the point that their story literally narrows down to their own home as if they can imagine no other life story for themselves or their children?

And hmmm, I wonder if that’s the only homeschool story our most vigorous critics can imagine, those so earnestly certain we all must be living in such narrow, unimaginative spaces and imprisoning our children with us. Is it the only story they will tell themselves and each other as true, that all home education equals agoraphobia and so we’re all clinically disordered and in need of their life story rewrites?

Is home education’s real public opinion challenge therefore, a failure of imagination in both directions?

We do not need magic to transform our world — we have the power to IMAGINE better.

Frisky cock of the snook to COD for the video link.