Skip to content

Free Imagination Essays

Imagination is intrinsic to our inner lives. You could even say that it makes up a ‘second universe’ inside our heads. We invent animals and events that don’t exist, we rerun history with alternative outcomes, we envision social and moral utopias, we revel in fantasy art, and we meditate both on what we could have been and on what we might become. Animators such as Hayao Miyazaki, Walt Disney and the people at Pixar Studios are masterful at imagination, but they’re only creating a public version of our everyday private lives. If you could see the fantastic mash-up inside the mind of the average five-year-old, then Star Wars and Harry Potter would seem sober and dull. So, why is there so little analysis of imagination, by philosophers, psychologists and scientists?

Apart from some cryptic passages in Aristotle and Kant, philosophy has said almost nothing about imagination, and what it says seems thoroughly disconnected from the creativity that artists and laypeople call ‘imaginative’.

Aristotle described the imagination as a faculty in humans (and most other animals) that produces, stores and recalls the images we use in a variety of mental activities. Even our sleep is energised by the dreams of our involuntary imagination. Immanuel Kant saw the imagination as a synthesiser of senses and understanding. Although there are many differences between Aristotle’s and Kant’s philosophies, Kant agreed that the imagination is an unconscious synthesising faculty that pulls together sense perceptions and binds them into coherent representations with universal conceptual dimensions. The imagination is a mental faculty that mediates between the particulars of the senses – say, ‘luminous blue colours’ – and the universals of our conceptual understanding – say, the judgment that ‘Marc Chagall’s blue America Windows (1977) is beautiful.’ Imagination, according to these philosophers, is a kind of cognition, or more accurately a prerequisite ‘bundling process’ prior to cognition. Its work is unconscious and it paves the way for knowledge, but is not abstract or linguistic enough to stand as actual knowledge. 

This rather mechanical approach to the imagination is echoed in more recent computational and modular theories of the mind, according to which human thinking is packaged by innate processors. The American philosopher Denis Dutton, for example, argued in The Art Instinct (2009) that landscape paintings are popular because they trigger an innate instinctual preference for distant scouting positions in our ancestors, who were evaluating the horizon for threats and resources. That view – dominant in contemporary evolutionary psychology – seems very far away from the artist’s or even the engineer’s view of creative imagination. 

It is perhaps unsurprising that philosophers and cognitive theorists have a rather arid view of the imagination, but our everyday ideas about the imagination are not much better. Following the Greeks, we still think of our own creativity as a muse that descends upon us – a kind of spirit possession or miraculous madness that flooded through Vincent van Gogh and John Lennon, but only trickles in you and me. After the great Texas guitar improviser Stevie Ray Vaughan died, Eric Clapton paid tribute by describing him as ‘an open channel … music just flowed through him’.

We’ve romanticised creativity so completely that we’ve ended up with an impenetrable mystery inside our heads. We might not literally believe in muse possession anymore, but we haven’t yet replaced this ‘mysterian’ view with a better one. As the Austrian painter Ernst Fuchs said of the mysterious loss of self that accompanies the making of art: ‘My hand created, led in trance, obscure things … Not seldom, I get into trance while painting, my state of consciousness fades, giving way to a feeling of being afloat … doing things I do not know much about consciously.’ This mysterian view of imagination is vague and obscure, but at least it captures something about the de-centred psychological state of creativity. Psychologists such as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi have celebrated this aspect of creativity by describing (and recommending) ‘flow’ states, but the idea of ‘flow’ has proven little more than a secular redescription of the mysterian view.

Subscribe to Aeon’s Newsletter

Evolutionary thought offers a path out of this confusion. In keeping with other evolved aspects of the human mind, the imagination has a history. We should think of the imagination as an archaeologist might think about a rich dig site, with layers of capacities, overlaid with one another. It emerges slowly over vast stretches of time, a punctuated equilibrium process that builds upon our shared animal inheritance. In order to understand it, we need to dig into the sedimentary layers of the mind. In TheDescent of Man (1871), Charles Darwin says: ‘The Imagination is one of the highest prerogatives of man. By this faculty he unites former images and ideas, independently of the will, and thus creates brilliant and novel results … Dreaming gives us the best notion of this power; as [the poet] Jean Paul Richter says: “The dream is an involuntary art of poetry.”’

Richard Klein, Maurice Bloch and other prominent paleoanthropologists place the imagination quite late in the history of our species, thousands of years after the emergence of anatomically modern humans. In part, this theory reflects a bias that artistic faculties are a kind of evolutionary cheesecake – sweet desserts that emerge as byproducts of more serious cognitive adaptations such as language and logic. More importantly, it is premised on the relatively late appearance of cave art in the Upper Paleolithic period (c38,000 years ago). It is common for archaeologists to assume that imagination evolves late, after language, and the cave paintings are a sign of modern minds at work, thinking and creating just as we do today.

Contrary to this interpretation, I want to suggest that imagination, properly understood, is one of the earliest human abilities, not a recent arrival. Thinking and communicating are vastly improved by language, it is true. But ‘thinking with imagery’ and even ‘thinking with the body’ must have preceded language by hundreds of thousands of years. It is part of our mammalian inheritance to read, store and retrieve emotionally coded representations of the world, and we do this via conditioned associations, not propositional coding. 

Lions on the savanna, for example, learn and make predictions because experience forges strong associations between perception and feeling. Animals appear to use images (visual, auditory, olfactory memories) to navigate novel territories and problems. For early humans, a kind of cognitive gap opened up between stimulus and response – a gap that created the possibility of having multiple responses to a perception, rather than one immediate response. This gap was crucial for the imagination: it created an inner space in our minds. The next step was that early human brains began to generate information, rather than merely record and process it – we began to create representations of things that never were but might be. On this view, imagination extends back into the Pleistocene, at least, and likely emerged slowly in our Homo erectus cousins.

When we hear the word ‘cup’, the motor parts of our brain ‘pick up’ a ‘cup’

In contemporary philosophy, representation tends to be mostly understood in terms of language. A representation is an inner mental entity that has meaning via its correspondence with the external world or via its coherence within a context of other meaningful experiences (that is, other representations, rules, schema and so on). My representation of a ‘dog’ stands in for real flesh-and-blood mammals out in the world. Traditional semantic theories, from empiricism, positivism and even some semiology assumed that the basic element of meaning was the word – ‘dog’ or ‘chien’ or ‘gou’. However, philosophers such as Mark Johnson at the University of Oregon have challenged this model of meaning by showing that there are deep embodied metaphorical structures within language itself, and meaning is rooted in the body (not the head).

Rather than being based in words, meaning stems from the actions associated with a perception or image. Even when seemingly neutral lexical terms are processed by our brains, we find a deeper simulation system of images. When we hear the word ‘cup’, for example, our neural motor and tactile systems are engaged because we understand language by ‘simulating in our minds what it would be like to experience the things that the language describes’, as the cognitive scientist Benjamin Bergen puts it in Louder Than Words (2012). When we hear the word ‘cup’, the motor parts of our brain ‘pick up’ a ‘cup’.

This has been important research in how we understand the mind, but to fully understand the imagination we also need to explore the evolutionary period before language (a layer of prelinguistic mind to which I believe we still have access). Like prelinguistic toddlers, or even non-human primates, adult humans have an emotive, associational representation of a dog, for example. It might have cute associations that orient us to approach, or negative feelings that orient us to avoid. The image of a dog, in perception or in memory will be loaded with feelings and action possibilities. The word ‘dog’, by contrast, is a later, more attenuated and abstract level of representation – neutered of most emotional and motor content.

The imagination, then, is a layer of mind above purely behaviourist stimulus-and-response, but below linguistic metaphors and propositional meaning. Our modern imagination originates in this early era of image meaning, or image semantics. This historical moment (probably initiated during the early Pleistocene, c2 million years ago) is replicated or recapitulated in the processes of our contemporary imaginative activities. It is the power to take the mind offline – decoupled from the immediate flow of perception – and run simulations of counterfactual virtual realities.

Our improvisational and imaginative life today has an oblique access to the ancestral human mind. Understanding this connection is the aim of a growing research movement – called biosemantics – that seeks to ground human meaning in the embodied interaction of social primates, not just in human language. As great apes, we humans almost certainly engaged in the kind of subtle, antiphonal, body-language communication that we see throughout all social primates. Primate psychologists such as Louise Barrett in Beyond the Brain (2011) are starting to track the interaction networks that build up slowly during development, giving primates the local lexicon of gestures that ultimately serve the bigger functions of dominance and submission, mating, alliance, food sharing, provisioning and so on. But we too operate in these embodied gestural systems of meaning far more than we acknowledge. For a hilarious example of baby communication that is really about emotional expression, turn-taking and bonding, rather than describing the world or conveying information, see this video of ‘talking’ twin babies.

Our primate cousins have impressive abilities (grounded in the cerebellum) for sequencing motor activities – they have a kind of task grammar for doing complex series of actions, such as processing inedible plants into edible food. Gorillas, for example, eat stinging nettles only after an elaborate harvesting and leave-folding sequence, otherwise their mouths will be lacerated by the many barbs. This is a level of problem-solving that seeks smarter moves (and ‘banks’ successes and failures) between the body and the environment. This kind of motor sequencing might be the first level of improvisational and imaginative grammar. Images and behaviour sequences could be rearranged in the mind via the task grammar, long before language emerged. Only much later did we start thinking with linguistic symbols. While increasingly abstract symbols – such as words – intensified the decoupling of representations and simulations from immediate experience, they created and carried meaning by triggering ancient embodied systems (such as emotions) in the storytellers and story audiences.

The imaginative musician, dancer, athlete or engineer is drawing directly on the prelinguistic reservoir of meaning (sometimes called the ‘hot cognition system’ – a fast, ventral pathway through the brain that gives us emotional and semi-instinctual solutions to problems in our environment). A music improviser or intuitive problem-solver has to tap into that ancient call-and-response cognition of body language and emotional expression in order to navigate the social world properly. We try this move and watch for a response, try that move and watch. We dodge and parry this incoming gesture, accept that one. Flying by the seat of our pants, in these cases, is not just some analogy to prelinguistic communication – it is the thing itself.

Humans can just daydream about a desirable body, and the sexual equipment will begin to ramp up for action

Call-and-response, for example, is one of the oldest improvisational techniques, as is synchronisation of our melodies and our body movements (as in dance). These are ancient procedures for cementing communities, captured in performances that express and inspire emotion. At a simple level, humans synchronise their movements to dance in time. At a more complex level, they remember the dance later and experiment with it, reinventing it for themselves. Such simulation techniques allow us to explore open-ended options at the fringes of social and technological rules. Eventually such socially constrained exploration evolves into more and more offline experimentation, growing into forms of thinking with images, with sounds, with gestures.

The emotionally charged aspect of this kind of offline simulation is obvious when we consider that our animal cousins need chemical triggers and explicit perceptions of a sexually attractive body to become aroused, but humans can just daydream about a desirable body, and the sexual equipment will begin to ramp up for action. First our ancestors simulated others in real time, replicating dances and tool-making, but then these simulations became available offline (with no real-time model) as memory and executive function developed.

Computational theories of mind – that equate our minds with the binary blaze of a Google search – can jibe with our more recent linguistic thinking, but not with our earlier imaginative cognition. Image-based thinking employs gestalts of information-rich detail, and emotional and motor associations. We encode and manipulate images and gestures, thereby forming the basis of subsequent meaning. As Eric Kandel puts it in TheAge of Insight (2012):

Perhaps in human evolution the ability to express ourselves in art – in pictorial language – preceded the ability to express ourselves in spoken language. As a corollary, perhaps the processes in the brain that are important for art were once universal but were replaced as the universal capability for language evolved. 

I believe that the pictorial and gestural languages are still with us, and when we quiet our discursive consciousness long enough – as we do in improvisational and creative activities – we can still converse in these more ancient tongues.

A rare case from the medical literature gives us suggestive evidence that pictorial thinking has its own power independent of language. In a striking case study, in 1998 the psychologist Nicholas Humphrey at the University of Cambridge revealed the remarkable similarities between cave painting styles at Chauvet and the drawings of a 20th-century autistic girl named Nadia. Nadia’s case raises the possibility that painting and drawing, far from being the preserve of the fully modern mind, might have preceded language altogether.

Nadia was born in 1967 in Nottingham in England, and suffered from severe developmental disability. At age six, she still could not speak, had physical impairments, and many social incapacities. But even with these substantial deficits, Nadia could draw pictures with great accuracy and expression as early as age three. Humphrey placed Nadia’s toddler drawings next to the images from Chauvet and noticed striking similarities in the rendering of animals such as horses and elephants. 

It is possible that Homo sapiens of 40,000 years ago were graphically literate before they were verbally literate

The contour lines of the creatures are remarkably similar, as are their dynamic poses, but also the way in which the figures are reiterated and overlaid on top of each other. This parallel is not mystical or a sign of innate representations, but rather an indication that the human mind is primed for accurate simulations. And graphic simulation – just as much as linguistic description – is a kind of knowledge.

We cannot place too much confidence in anecdotal data, but Nadia’s case should at least provoke some skepticism about the notion that Upper Paleolithic peoples had modern minds. If Nadia was so good with pictorial representation, while lacking the foundation of linguistic symbolism, then it is possible that Homo sapiens of 40,000 years ago were graphically literate before they were verbally literate. An even stronger interpretation is that Nadia was pictorially sophisticated because she had little to no conceptual/linguistic distraction in her mind. Without the alienating aspects of linguistic symbols, Nadia might have been more perceptually sensitive – leading to greater accuracy and expression in her drawing.

Nadia made meaning very effectively without propositional tools. Our recent ancestors could also have had impressive non-linguistic minds – perhaps always in imagination mode. Image-thinking could have had a complementary evolutionary pathway, alongside language, or could have evolved earlier from natural selection upon tool-making capacities and adornment techniques.

The imagination – whether pictorial or later linguistic – is especially good at emotional communication, and this might have evolved because emotional information drives action and shapes adaptive behaviour. We have to remember that the imagination itself started as an adaptation in a hostile world, among social primates, so perhaps it is not surprising that a good storyteller, painter or singer can manipulate my internal second universe by triggering counterfactual images and events in my mind that carry an intense emotional charge. Fantasy that really moves us – whether it is high or low culture – tends to resonate with our ancient fears and hopes. The associational mind of hot cognition – located more in the limbic system – acts as a reservoir for imaginative artists. Artists such as Edgar Allan Poe, Salvador Dalí, Edvard Munch and H R Giger can take controlled voyages to their primitive brain (an uncontrolled voyage is madness), and then bring these unconscious forces into their subsequent images or stories.

The imagination is proficient at image associations, but it’s also extremely adept at mixed-media associations. Thinking and communicating with images requires access to inner representations, but the artist is shuffling these images into unnatural and unexpected combinations. Our very ancient cognitive abilities to free-associate become interwoven with more sophisticated aspects of cognition, such as executive function and the ability to mix or violate taxonomic categories – hybridising images. When we imagine, we blend pictures and propositions, memories and real-time experiences, sounds, stories and feelings. It is a multimedia processor that jumps laterally through connotations, rather than downward through logical inference. Much of this is unconscious, which is why the muse simile is so powerful, but this phase is followed by a reentry phase, where the free associations or stream of consciousness are brought back under executive control, and integrated into the more focused projects of the agent or artist.

Hominin waking life might have been closer to the free associations of our contemporary dream life

The mysterians have focused on this egoless stream-phase of imagination, while the mechanists have focused on the combinatorial results, produced in the dark machinery of imagination. Each model captures an aspect of imagination, but when we consider the evolution of mind we see how the two models are integrated in the activity of our embodied cognition.

In the earliest phase of this evolutionary process (probably during the Pliocene epoch) we had a kind of involuntary imagination. At this time, hominin waking life might have been closer to the free associations of our contemporary dream life. Our ancestors could obviously perceive a lion on the savanna, but random memory images of lions might also rise up unpredictably while engaged in daily work. Next, during the Pleistocene, a semi-voluntary imagination arose, like we find in real-time hot cognition (still accessible in our contemporary improvisational creativity). We can imagine, for example, how ritualised behaviours guided by shamans would have brought imaginary beings (some based on lions) into consciousness through habitual actions and gestures.

And finally (from Upper Paleolithic through Holocene epochs), the voluntary imagination emerges, which harvests associational products from the first two phases and brings them under the executive control of cold cognition (slow, logical deliberation). For example, the cave paintings ‘lion man’ at Hohlenstein-Stadel in Germany and ‘bison man’ in the Grotte de Gabillou in France might be early examples of the voluntary mixing of animal and human forms in the visual arts. Hybridised or composite creatures occupy some of our earliest cultural expressions – from cave painting to Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Vedic mythologies. Such zoological category violations appear to be early (and persistent) manoeuvers in the logic of imagination.

Between the modular circuitry and mysterious flights of fantasy lies the humble realm of evolutionary degrees. Before you have a modern eye, you need a simpler optical predecessor, and before that you need responsive light-sensitive tissue. Evolution scales up from the ground, so to speak. Similarly, evolution built a crude imaginative faculty before language and culture refined it into a sophisticated one. The raw system (dominated by emotional and perceptual associations) is still alive and well in the basement of our psychology. You can get a glimpse of it in your dreams, or just pick up a musical instrument or a brush and paper, and open the ancestral mind’s eye.

Stephen T Asma’s latest book, The Evolution of Imagination (2017), is published by the University of Chicago Press.

Republishing not permitted

Human EvolutionMood & EmotionArtAll topics →

Stephen Asma

is professor of philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, where he is a member of the Research Group in Mind, Science and Culture. His latest book is The Evolution of Imagination (2017).

“The sociological Imagination is defined as the ability to understand the one’s own issues are not caused simply by one’s own beliefs or thoughts but by society and how it is structured.” (Mills, The Sociological Imagination, 1959). Therefore, one can never solve their problems until they understand that they cannot be solved simply on an individual level but must be addressed on the social level. It is the ability to see how society is structured and how things such as societal norms influence people into performing certain actions. It involves observing outcomes from a different perspective in order to understand what influenced those outcomes.

Growing up in one’s environment is likely to play as a factor in the way they go about things in the life. People cannot change their environment so they sometimes have to change themselves in order to become to fit in with their societies or to become successful person. The sociological perspective better known as the sociological imagination helps individuals see through a broader scope of the society. Being a part of a general category like a working class youth or a student, you must learn how to view the world through by society. My agent of socialization belongs to my university and friends or peer who surrounded me recently because I believe the service-learning that we will be taking part in will help to expand our sociological imaginations.

For myself, my parents are born into a certain environment and depending on how the utilized their sociological imagination, play a part in the environment we become a part of. As I’m coming from the working class family, there is an assumption that you have to go to the school or university for your social status or prestige of your life in my society. My parents always wanted more for me so they enlisted me in a catholic elementary and private high school in my county. So I saw how different I was compared to my other friend’s not in intelligence but in wisdoms. I knew that I was capable of doing more and becoming more because not only I did I believe in myself, my parents did too. It’s correct because when you are in private high school or catholic school, you have to pay tuition fees and a lot of people do not have money to spare with it. Instead of having the latest pairs of sneakers or shoes and throwing big parties for every holiday and your birthday, we can save some money for the future and my education.

From being in my current university student’s life, my entire life that I learn so much not only academically, but that I do not have to settle for what our social class or social location places us. After my private high school in my country, I went to my fist college in the United States. I encountered the language barriers and a lot of cultural differences in my first six months of college life here. I also learned that no matter how good you do academically, you will always be stereotyped and looks at differently because you’re a minority who comes from different cultures in the society.

The sociological imagination is a capacity, ability, and a quality of mind that allows an individual to understand and connect her or his life with the forces and dynamics that impact it. It is about not blaming others for what they do, it is about judging ourselves before we judge others and understand people as if we understand ourselves for example if a student comes late to class there could be many reasons behind this student being late; there could have been traffic or an accident on the way that made him or her come late to class, so we should not judge but understand.

Although we should separate between personal trouble and public issue, for example a student could be coming to class late all the time because of his or her laziness this would be called a personal trouble but if all students are coming late to class than this is called a public issue, meaning there is something wrong with the class. Sociological imagination engages in, the minority status, gender, socioeconomic status and the family structure.

Sociological imagination is a social fact and empathy; social fact is the idea, feeling, behavior of individuals. An example of social fact is when the sun is rising, this is a social fact that we cannot change whether we like it or not it will still rise. There are many sociological issues in society; one of the issues learned in this course is the race and racism issue.

Race and racism are two different issues race is a social constructed aspect of identity in all cultures, race is not biological it is powerful; it is what makes us who we are for example what we are born with like hair texture and skin color. Racism is an interlocking system of advantage based on race existing at individual and cultural symbolic. Racism comes from power, and culture. Racism happens when some social groups have more power over another social groups, but racism have changed even if it still exist it is not visible in which it is been described as dangerous or a hidden fact. Racism is racism that it can’t be better or worse in any country. Even though being born with a specific skin color is a cause of geographic conditions, in which where the person is born for example being born in a sunny place is different than being born in a place in which doesn’t have sun, so all humans are the same if we put skin color a side, also black people are born with more melanin in their skin and that protects them from getting cancer that’s why white skin colored people are more likely to get cancer than people with dark skin. So there are always advantages and disadvantages about what we have and what we don’t have.

Society will always look at you twice before becoming a consideration for different things in an adult life. It takes a great deal of my social imagination to attend college. Not many people in my country feel like they are capable of going to college because of their general categories or social locations. College has always been a big thing in my family. My parents did not want me to settle for just any job that they wanted me to have a career and one that I enjoy. They want me to do well in the life so no only I can get out of the middle social class but I can also take them with me in my success. There is a limited amount of people in my immediate family who actually went to the college in here so going for me is a really big deal. I did not do really well in my past high school so that lead me to a selected few number of colleges to attend when I applied to school in here. I ended up choosing some universities close to my home town for my first student’s life. I decided to go to Webster Thailand campus because I did not want to branch to far away from my family. I know that if I continue to do good academically I can transfer to a college in the big city like Singapore and still be close to my family.

The sociological imagination distinguishes between two very distinct ends of reality, the “private troubles” and the “public issues”. To understand social reality, private troubles must be examined in the context of the larger issue. For example, a child who doing poor school work may be suffering from a private trouble but that issue is part of a larger picture. Is his trouble coming from a larger social problem that is also affecting his community? Is his trouble something which is common among his peer group? All feelings and emotions are inter-related in order to understand one end of society you must understand the others.

The sociological imagination, written by C. Wright Mills, is an insightful critique of the research taking place in sociology. Mills states that the sociological imagination is the quality of mind that allows one to understand “history and biography and the relations between the two within society” (p.6). It allows one to switch from one perspective to another allowing for a comprehensive view of the “socio-cultural system”. Mills stated some very valid points in this analysis. By defining troubles and issues, he points to each of the connections they have to each other. A good example is on Page 9, when Mills mentions marriage. He states that “inside a marriage a man and a woman may experience personal troubles, but when the divorce rate during the first four years of marriage is 250 out of 1000 attempt, this is an indication of a structural issue”.

Education is a key into overcoming one social location or the class. Doing good academically we can branch into different fields in which we can utilize and expand our experiences. Our social class will no longer be a fallback because we can get different types of scholarships. Social perspective plays a major part in one’s decision to go to the college because people want more in life not just what they were given. They want to learn more and they want to be more so getting a college education will get them there. People’s lives are shaped by society. They become accustomed to different things and try to stay in the trends in the society. One’s society plays a huge role in one’s personality and the way that they might live their lives.

Social Stratification is regarded quite differently by the principle perspectives of sociology. Proponents of structural-functional analysis suggest that since social stratification exists in most state of the societies, a hierarchy must therefore be beneficial in helping to stabilize their existence. Talcott Parsons, an American sociologist, asserted that stability and social order are achieved by means of a universal value consensus. Functionalists assert that stratification exists solely to satisfy the functional per requisites necessary for a functional proficiency in any society.

Conflict theorists consider the inaccessibility of resources and lack of social mobility n many stratified societies. They conclude, often working from the theories of Karl Marx, that stratification means that working class people are not likely to advance socioeconomically, while the wealthy may continue to exploit the proletariat generation after generation. Marx distinguished social classes by their connection to the means of production. Therefore the ruling class (the bourgeoisie) and the working class (the proletariat), identify their social positions by their relationship to the means of production. The maintenance of status quo is achieved by various methods of social control employed by the bourgeoisie in the course of many aspects of social life, such as through ideologies of submission promoted through the institution of religion.

In the conclusion, my sociological imagination leads me to where I am today. I did not let other stereotypes about my social location and my social class play a part in my decision making process. I took a stand and decided to go to college to better not only for myself but for my family. The sociological imagination is an awareness of the relationship between an individual and wider society; a key element in this is the ability to view one’s society as an outsider’s would. As being humans, we can’t let our social location determine our abilities. We must explore beyond what we are given and what we are told is right. Humans must defeat their ordinary life by not setting themselves up for limited expectations in the society and we should also try to exceed our or everyone else’s expectations in our life.


Mills, C. Wright. 1959. The Sociological Imagination. New York; Oxford University Press. Web. Engels, Friedrich and Marx, Karl. 1998. Manifesto of the Communist Party. New York. Web 10 Sep, 2013. Web 10 Sep, 2013. C Wright Mills, (1959), The Sociological Imagination, reprinted (2000), Oxford University, chapters 1-3 and 7, pages 3–75 and 132-143. Schwalbe, Michael. 1956. The Sociologically examined life: pieces of the conversation. Collins, Patricia Hill. December 1986. Social Problems 33. Web.