Befindlichkeit and imagination: an excursion into emancipatory learning

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University of New Brunswick


This qualitative study looks at my idiosyncratic ways of perceiving and being in the world; a reflection of my upbringing, formal training, predispositions, and interests. Using philosophical autobiography, I examined how imagination has influenced my reality perspectives and my befindlichkeit or self-concept. I used a constructivist approach to learning and knowledge formation, embracing personal truths and affective ways of knowing (intuition and emotional understanding) as they prioritize experience and identify for me what is most significant in the reflection process (Mezirow, Taylor and Associates, 2009). The data includes three decades of artifacts and multiple iterations of writing, analysis, and self-determination. Findings are presented chronologically, describing my learning and development journey, uses of imagination and it effects. The data suggests that creativity was a coping mechanism to maintain a positive befindlichkeit which also delayed my psychosocial development (Erickson, 1982). I imagined conflict as power struggles with people trying to assert their authority over me.