My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I met Dr. Guroian at a conference last summer where he gave a seminar on the original Grimm’s Cinderella. It was pretty amazing, which moved me to buy a copy of the book under review. I finally got around to reading it this summer. I’m sorry I waited.
Dr. Guroian writes in an attempt to revive, rally, recover the moral imagination. I’m not sure how to define the term, something I’m still working through in my own mind. It has been around awhile (since Edmund Burke, I believe). But it is an important idea, one I am ever more convinced we are in need of rallying.
In the first part of the book, Dr. Guroian goes through a series of examples of folks (Flannery O’Connor, Russell Kirk, and G.K. Chesterton) who have done much work toward the recovery of the moral imagination.
“A vision of the good has far greater power to move men and women to do the right thing than all the horrible images we may conjure up to terrify them into doing it.”
In part two, he discusses the moral imagination: what it is, how it is affected, it’s status in our own age.
“The moral imagination is the distinctively human power to conceive of men and women as moral beings, that is, as persons, not as things or animals whose value to us is their usefulness.”
In parts three and four, he discusses the moral imagination and how a recovery of it would affect our thoughts on marriage, abortion, childhood, honor, sex, politics, human rights, and more.
“in every society, power must be humanized and used morally in order that free and civilized life might prosper.
We humanize and understand how to use power morally through the use and exercise of our moral imagination. Rallying the Really Human Things may in fact help to rally us around the moral imagination and move us toward a humanized and right use of power.