Imagination Versus Fact
One of the important things that I have learned over the years is how important images are for me. Besides creating a record of events, images allow me to re-imagine the world and even to enter worlds which I am not sure exist – well at least in an objective sense measured by my conscious self. I have six grandchildren who are constantly travelling between realities through their imaginations. And when we get together, the pull to imagination is felt stronger by me. It leads to a playful way of being without question. But more important for me is the realisation that life is deepened and our relationship as grandparent and grandchildren is cemented as no gift of material object could ever achieve. You can’t buy depth, soul.
Thomas Moore talks about how materialism short changes us as humans and how a “materialistic view of things gives us a half-life, a partial view of experience.” A half-life – this is an interesting way to look at life without imagination. A half-life implies that something is missing, something vital to our sense of well-being. As I look at the image here of one of my grandchildren, I know that there is more than the two-dimensions that are technically present. If the image was limited to the two dimensions, it would not be able to evoke an inner response; and it would likely be tossed out because the image has the subject out of focus.
The lack of imagination leaves us a poorer world, a hungrier world that never seems to ever be satisfied in spite of how much is eaten, how much is owned, how much is done. Thomas captures it well as he says:
“we are a population that is satisfied with sound-bit news, instant and opinionated political analysis, manipulative popular psychology, and insubstantial novels and magazines. At the same time, and understandably, we feel the absence of meaning and are speechless when we learn of atrocities in our society. We don’t know how to think about them because we don’t know how to think, and we don’t know how to think because we don’t believe that thinking for its own sake is worthy of our attention. We educate our children to make a good living rather than to become thinking persons. and often we honor as celebrities those who have not made a genuine contribution to society but who mirror our own madness.” [Moore, Original Self, p. 97]