In his book entitled Moral Imagination, Mark Johnson defined it as “an ability to imaginatively discern various possibilities for acting in a given situation and to envision the potential help and harm that are likely to result from a given action”. Meaning, moral imagination is being able to perceive or imagine the possible moral implications of a particular activity prior to deciding to do it. Moral imagination answers the question, ‘will this action we plan to do could violate any moral standard we believe?’ By answering this question, one can decide to do or not do something depending on its possible ethical and moral effect.
The problem is, are we considering the moral implications of our actions? What is the state of our moral compass? One of the best examples of this is digital advertising and the use of our personal data, tech companies using that data against us to manipulate our choices, social interactions and behaviors all without any conscience to what this is actually doing to the fabric of our society or moral wellbeing. These companies and people have completely eliminated moral imagination from their strategizing and planning. If you haven’t watched the “Social Dilemma” on Netflix, I strongly advise you do. It epitomizes how we have lost our way and thrown morality out the window for the grand purpose of greed. The existing corruption, fraud, racism, and abuse are some of the visible evidence that tells us the situation of our moral compass.
So, the question remains, how do we fix our moral compass? A compass is considered faulty if it fails to point us to the true north. To fix it, its needle needs to re-magnetized or recalibrated. In the same way, we should recalibrate our moral compass. We need to ingrain Moral Imagination into everything we do, from the marketing campaigns we develop, to what we say of social media and even how we teach our kids. We live in a world that promotes self-value. Though it is not wrong, too much self-value may result in less valuing other people. While valuing ourselves, we should also value other people, recognize differences, and be empathetic. By considering the effects of our actions on the people around us, we regain the integrity of our moral compass. If selfishness corrupts our morality, then it’s time to be more selfless.