Sociological imagination is the knowledge of the relationship between an individual and the effects in the surrounding society, the connection between personal and public. The idea of having the knowledge makes people aware of the things happening to them and the wider society, hence making it easier to survive. The imagination makes individuals go beyond their personal examination to understand the broader social issues in the community.
For example, every family has its history, and some of the things that might have been done before could lead to two individuals wanting to separate. The issue of divorce in a wider range is a difficult situation for the people involved. Mills says that it affects the emotional, spiritual, and financial state of individuals. Divorce is a personal struggle between partners, not forgetting children as well. Moreover, it affects the society as a whole as children may end up with one parent or left out on the streets.
On the other hand, the history of the war has caused many sociological effects on the society. For instance, when pilots fly the government aircraft, they may be bombed, leading to the loss of the lives of pilots, thus affecting the families of the deceased. When soldiers go to war and conquer cities, it leads to the fall of towns, which results in the displacement of people and fall of economies.
In the mass society, many people have lost their faith in their leaders and hence become unconcerned. Such individuals pay little or no attention to politics, which Mills views as a "spiritual condition." People affected by this condition are morally insensible, which is a root of many other problems. Such individuals accept and do not question their leader's atrocities. They lack the responsibility of choosing leaders during the election, claiming that nothing will change even when they cast their votes.
However, Mills relates moral insensibility to the rationalization process when people stop caring about the governments after the kind of things they used to do to their citizens. Barbarism splits consciousness and makes individuals be observers and perpetrators in an informal organization. These acts are not done for individual gain, but to execute the orders of the bigger people in the society. An example is when a leader pays individuals to cause a riot and kill supporters of an opposition leader or an individual community to gain superiority. Most of these actions are inhumane not because of the measure of brutalism but rather because they are performed without any emotions.
Furthermore, Mills says that the developments of the past affect the future in either positive or negative form. For example, when industrialization started, the standards of living of many people improved. Nonetheless, when investments fall, many jobs are lost; and when industries collapse, developing countries end up with massive debts that they are unable to pay. They live in debt, leading to unstable economies. People living under a dollar per day would starve to death due to the increase in prices of goods. However, when classes of people fall and rise, it affects the economy of a country. If upper-class individuals fall, this shows that lower-class people will be affected the most, and poverty levels will increase at the same time. If the high class rises, the level of the lower class will also increase, and poverty levels will decrease.
In conclusion, sociological research on the problems experienced in the social structures should be based on the inclusion of historical features of the society as they play a significant role in the lives of individuals by affecting them either negatively or positively. In particular, they affect people’s character, behavior, and values. At the same time, biography and personal experience also affect the wider society in the long run.