Monday, November 28, 2016
Thankful at Thanksgiving
OUR BIPOLAR IMAGINATION
This previous weekend many of us took a moment to consider what we have to be thankful for. One of the things I’m thankful for is imagination.
We think imagination sets us apart from other living beings on earth, though we can make no speculation about what may exist apart from the earth. Our discoveries in space may one day reveal an imagination we can’t now envision.
Much of our work as writers is dependent on this human quality. By that, I mean work not based on rote. Not just authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, or George Orwell, but writers who imbue everyday life with insights that reveal the human spirit.
Imagination is a double-sided wonder. The worlds we create in art, movies, and literature span the extremes from wonderful to terrible. We have created utopia and perdition.
It’s been said that as long as we can imagine a thing, we can create it. Or otherwise stated — we’re only constrained by our imaginations. We’ve seen elements of science fiction come true. As an example, the writings of Ray Bradbury foresaw earbuds and headsets, flat-screen television, electronic surveillance, ATMs, and artificial intelligence.
On the other hand, on our bookshelves and in movie theaters is an abundance of dystopian stories. We’re imagining the end of humanity and the destruction of the earth. However, in these dire scenarios, we humans always manage to save ourselves.
Without imagination, what would we be? A tree, maybe, though some of us are reluctant to suggest a tree has no imagination.