I come from a land that doesn’t trust – or particularly like – imagination. It likes things that make sense. Normal things make sense. If things don’t make sense, we will talk about them and we’ll do it in those tones, in between sighs, and with a liberal dose of raised eyebrows.
You can be sure that imagination, all wiggly and elastic and agile, does NOT make sense. Unless it’s successful in business.
For the longest time it didn’t occur to me to think of an imagination as anything particularly valuable. We talk about it as if it is, but it’s just a word – a word to get mixed up with creativity.
I stopped myself in the middle of writing the below:
My imagination is some robust but tricky stuff. Thinking about it has never solved or opened up anything – not that I can remember. Presumably, the imagination runs through other parts of our minds – not the thinky parts. Maybe it sweeps through, a veil that can leave behind sparkly dust of ideas.
I stopped to think: very nice, that you can trace (sort of) how your own imagination works, but maybe someone out there who’s a real scientist, maybe they’ve figured it out.
They haven’t. A few years ago, neuroscientists did a little experiment and from the results of THAT, figured that in imagination, the whole brain is involved. This is not very useful information for the average brain user, now is it? No, it’s not. I’d like some instruction.
Which leads me to this thing I dashed off in a fit of sarcasm. It’s not very useful, either, unless you’re contemplating an investment.
From a manual for prospective owners of an imagination:
It’s becoming clear that some people just aren’t suited to having an imagination. Although maintenance is not particularly difficult, imaginations do need quite a bit of attention and regular, if not daily, exercise.
A healthy imagination will insist on flexibility. While some breeds only need gentle bending, the thoroughbred will strain to race in every direction. Training is highly recommended.
Those made anxious by the responsibility that attends the owning of an imagination can be assured their anxiety is misplaced. An imagination well cared for actually increases confidence and potency of performance.
Some believe an imagination is not appropriate to their lifestyle and/or ambitions. That they think this at all renders them virtually incapable of getting one, as an imagination is incompatible with a mind prone to pretentiousness and affectation. They can still take advantage of pretense, however the conscientious owner should note that pretense is an inferior product.
Although one might be tempted to worry, as the absence of imagination becomes more noticeable, we assure you it continues to be produced, in smaller quantities. This should currently not be considered problematic, as varietal testing shows the quality of individual imaginations has developed significantly, apparently benefitting from a greater concentration of fine ingredients.
Since I started showing my art in public, I’ve heard it often. You have such an imagination! I smile. I say thank you. But my brain is blinking. It comes without an adjective. I can’t tell if it means something good. Is it a virtue? Is it a strength? Is it something to admire? It might be a nice way of saying: You’re odd. So fringey. You don’t look like an eccentric …
I know what I think about it. I know that there are very few who wouldn’t benefit from a stronger, more powerful imagination. It doesn’t live in the service of conjuring dreamy scenes and virtual journeys to lands far away; it’s the thing that takes all your mind’s material and sees possibilities. Solutions. Options. It provides a solid foundation for empathy and reasoning.
There are things I do to keep my imagination nimble. Nimble. I like that word. I wish there was some reason to use it more. Oh. But back to things I do. I will make more blog posts about them. I want to have a record, in case I forget. Of course, in the library of causes and things to care about, this seems frivolous. It wouldn’t seem frivolous, though, if someone was considering it with a healthy imagination.
Ok. That’s all for today.