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Record Type: Review   ID: 231

Images for Change: The Transformation of Society

Haughton, Rosemary Luling

 Rosemary Luling Haughton is the director of Wellspring House in Massachusetts. Wellspring House is a living multiple metaphor of the images she presents in the book. As the aim of her model is to find multitudinous ways to practice hospitality, her book can be said to be about a major general project of transcendence that can be fractionated into innumerable local expressions reflecting the same aim. Her aim is to bring about a sustainable future for this planet, and it starts with the heart, with the doable aim of hospitality. She uses house imagery to illustrate how we can transform society. Another important ingredient is, in her words: "As we explore ways of reimagining our structures, our homes, languages, habitations, philosophies, families, religions in order to create a hospitable house for all earth’s creatures, we shall need to keep in mind the uses of magic casements and the importance of that coherent imaginative context that we call fantasy, so that even the most apparently ‘fantastic possibilities’ may engage us in real action" (p. 61). She explains that she uses the imagery of "a house in dire need of repair, or adaptation and changes of spatial relationships,...to keep that focus on the coincidence of the spiritual and the practical, and the practical as spiritual" (p. 195). The aim of the reconstructed house imagery is to evoke "a sense of possibility, in which tradition and change are functionally interrelated and choices can be made at micro and macro levels that are both visionary and realistic" (p. 196). And the bottom line is that "the structures of government and business and education and religion will only change if they are peopled by those who share the vision of hospitality. It must begin in the wonder and sacredness of ordinary people...who have learned to imagine and gone on to take energetic steps to make a home" (p. 197). For her, "the myth of hospitality represents a criterion to be used in reimagining the structures of human life that have been damaged to the point where many are no longer habitable" (p. 10). In effect, she is using imagery based on the experiential paradigm to restructure our world so that all may live in peace and prosper. We can only do "whatever it takes" if we are guided by a compelling motivation for change that is rooted in the experiential paradigm. Cheers to Haughton for her imaginative and practical proposal!
Publisher Information:Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1997. x + 197p
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