by Budd Hall*
Adult education is about our relationships, our communities, our places of work, our bio-regions, our political structures, our planet, and our universe. It is about us. It is about the kind of work we do. But above all it is about the right to imagine:
- To imagine a context where we are each respected for who we are;
- To imagine a life of sufficiency and health;
- To imagine that everyone would have support to learn throughout their lives;
- To imagine that all our children could live without abuse;
- To imagine that violence or the fear of violence in the lives of all women and children could decline;
- To imagine that race could be a code for creativity and contribution rather than a filter which excludes;
- To imagine relationships of harmony and rhythm with the earth;
- To imagine that differences in ability be cherished for the gifts they make possible;
- To imagine that we have the capacity to transform our lives;
- To imagine that we have the courage to speak.
But to be able to work in a field of study which is about the right to imagine, we need to accept some quite simple and basic notions:
- Things are not OK the way they are;
- The current global economic machine is killing humans, all other forms of life and puts the survival of the planet itself at risk;
- The ways in which we think constructs our lives; Our lives (including our race, gender, abilities, age, class, and relations with the earth) construct the ways in which we think; and
- The seeds of a transformed world exist within our communities, our social movements, our locations of resistance, and even within this room.
* Excerpts from a paper prepared for the Canmore Conference, May 14-17, 1995, Canmore, Alberta, Canada. Posted with permission of the author.