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In The Sociological Imagination by C. Wright Mills, Mills explains how the social imagination can be used to better help us understand society, and the ways in which is it constantly changing. The more Mills explained the social imagination, the more I realized how necessary it is to use the social imagination in a day and age in which technology runs our lives. When Mills brings up the three questions in chapter 1, one set of questions that he asks is, “What is the structure of this particular society as a whole? What are its essential components, and how are they related to one another? How does it differ from other varieties of social order” (6)? If these questions are applied to today’s society, it reveals the way in which modern history is being shaped by technology. Without the social imagination, we wouldn’t be able to notice that the gap between the third world countries and the first world countries is expanding quickly due the rapid growth of technology.
Living in a first world country, we don’t realize how advanced our technology is compared to the rest of the world, and in a third world country, people may not see that their technology lags behind the rest of the world. In fact, Mills mentions this idea when he says, “What ordinary men are directly aware of and what they try to do are bounded by the private orbits in which they live; their visions and their powers are limited to the close-up scenes of job, family, neighborhood” (3). And this is a valid point, because people get so wrapped up in their own lives that seldom do they stop to think about what’s going on in the rest of the world. This is exactly why the sociological imagination is so important, because it helps us realize these differences in our world and this provides us the initiative to create programs that help provide third world countries with more advanced technologies. Thus, without the use of the social imagination, I have no doubt that mankind would live lives of ignorance, and blatantly ignore the rest of the world.
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