Jane Shaw Reminds Us to Develop Moral Imagination

November 1, 2012

Registration for the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival opened this morning, with tickets to the Festival available here. The Festival is famous for its consideration of timeless values mixed in with contemporary topics, and as we move into November–less than a week away from the election–we thought it only fitting to look back to the 2012 Festival for one such atemporal perspective. Here, the Reverend Jane Shaw reminds the audience of the power of art to cultivate compassion, and of the values that bind us rather than the differing opinions that sometimes divide us.


“As individuals and collectively, we need to develop our moral imagination. Art is central to entering another’s shoes, but our education system is increasingly making that impossible with cuts on the humanities. The point of entering another’s story is not simply to feel sympathy, but to foster a sense of community that prompts action, which is about making that turn of heart that enables us to see from another’s perspective. Grace is the traditional religious language for this turn of heart, and art presents us with the shock of another, which cangender empathy–the idea that we could project ourselves into a work of art.”

The Reverend Jane Shaw