More about the Imaginal Cafe

More about the Imaginal Cafe

Envision groups of people, from all walks of life, coming together, face to face, heart to heart, cup to cup, to envision a new course for our community, our country and our planet.

The Imaginal Cafes will invite groups of regular people to sit down together, to discuss our lives, our values and our future. In a “café“, with food and drink in hand, we will discuss our real challenges and envision a sustainable future for all.

These cafés will connect with each other and share ideas and information.  In this way, a national and ultimately global common vision is created.

And then we will activate and execute that vision!

Why Start with Dialog?

It is important for us to re-discover our collective vision. A society must be fueled by a vision that is larger than “making more money“. It is only by face to face, heart to heart connection with each other that a common vision will emerge.

Almost everyone on the planet realizes that SOMETHING needs to change. They just don’t know what.

When asked to redesign society, most people will simply try to recreate what they already know – a “better” caterpillar.  We want different. We want to unleash our collective power to envision our united future. WHAT DOES THE NEW WORLD LOOK LIKE?

The imaginal cells within the caterpillar hold the blueprint, the vision, of a completely new and beautiful being.  Likewise, those of us who are “Imaginal Agents” will catalyze the vision of a new and beautiful society.

Why Do We Need “Imaginal Cafes”?  

To change the direction of our society, to create “societal butterflies”, all of us need to engage in a conversation about our future.  The Imaginal Cafes will spark that conversation.

Our problems are not “just“ economic or ecological or political or social. It is ALL of these things and more!

Unfortunately, there are many vested interests that don’t want us to envision our common future. Status quo politicians (on the Left and the Right) get their power from our present dysfunction.  They don’t want to END it, they want to MANAGE it.

Our work is informed by the 12 Global Challenges. This comprehensive assessment tool shows us that our solutions must be as far-reaching and comprehensive as our challenges.  

It is our intention that the imaginal cafés will spark a new public discourse on the future of our society and the vision of a world that works for all.

How Will We Reunite Our Society?

Our society is not nearly as fractured as our politicians and our media seem to indicate. And we intend to prove that!

Status quo politicians and the mainstream media gain exposure and power through the existence of conflict. Over time, people begin to separate from each other. The institutions that brought people together (including civic associations, religion and political forums) are limited in their effect today.

We intend to change this. We will catalyze ordinary people to come together and discuss our challenges and our future.  By inviting people from all walks of life, we will see that our problems can be redefined and our solutions can be made more comprehensive.

How Do ALL of Us Come Together?

Most movements address only a portion of [the public].  They act as though the people they demonize and oppose will simply disappear.

In the chrysalis, every cell of the former caterpillar becomes a butterfly.  No waste, no spares, no rejected parts. The key is creating a vision big enough for all.

What We Will Do:

  • Build infrastructure for networking, research, information, administration and management of the Imaginal Cafe project.
  • Conduct a minimum of 200 Imaginal Cafes nationwide, over the course of three years.
  • Engage a minimum of 25,000 people in fundamental discussions and activities on the future of society.
  • Catalyze indirect Imaginal Cafes in churches, colleges and community groups, plugging into existing communities to increase awareness and involvement.

Purpose of Imaginal Cafes:

  • Satisfy the human need for connection, community and bonding.
  • Healing alienation and disconnection.
  • Deep connection between human beings on the fundamental issues of a new society.
  • Training participants on the elements of an inclusive society.

Elements of the “Imaginal Cafe”:

  • Dialog in small groups
  • Dialog in flexible, informal but structured environments
  • Food and drink present to create indirect connections between people
  • Dialog to build cohesion, collective energy
  • Networking with other Imaginal Cafe Groups

Imaginal Scripts: 

In any dialog, the quality of the questions themselves can either connect or divide a group, will foster or inhibit inclusivity.  The Imaginal Scripts will bring awareness to these splits and create ways to bridge harmony.
The Imaginal Scripts are carefully crafted dialog facilitation points (“scripts”), encourage participants to engage in positive, future-oriented conversations and to form common bonds, despite the existence of potentially separating issues.  The Imaginal Scripts are designed to present scenarios where participants can search for “win-win” scenarios to difficult societal issues.

Imaginal Scripts will include:

  • Questions
  • Discussions
  • Imaginal games
  • Role-plays
  • Other activities