03 June 2010

Imagination and What We Know

"Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless." ~ Jamie Paolinetti

After yesterday's post, and the comments that followed, I've been doing a lot of thinking about Imagination.

Imagination (n) -
1) the faculty of imagining, or of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses
2) the faculty of producing ideal creations consistent with reality, as in literature, as distinct from the power of creating illustrative or decorative imagery.

We don't need to be taught how to imagine. It comes naturally. All children have the capacity to dream, to see fairies in gardens, to hunt dragons in the back yard and hear monsters under the bed. As we grow into adulthood, however, we're told those are fantasies, childish. Are they? Are our most dazzling daydreams or haunting nightmares all that childish?

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand." ~ Albert Einstein

I think it's a shame to see adults who have lost their capacity to dream. No, life isn't a barrel of laughs. It's tough sometimes, most of the time. Sometimes it down right sucks. There are even children who learn early about the hardships of life. I'm not discounting reality. I'm not trying to preach a rainbow and bubble gum gospel.

I am, however, saying, quite clearly and belligerently: we need to reacquaint ourselves with our dreams. Writers, artists, and all creative types seem to have a knack for calling upon the "unknown". For some it's more work than for others, but we all have a gift for seeing things in our mind before we put them down on paper or carve them out of stone.

There are others this way of seeing things isn't natural. In fact, it may seem impossible. Some people are predispositioned to see "hard facts" and "reality". They are black and white thinkers. For them, there is no grey areas. There's nothing wrong with this. If you're a black and white, we need you. Sometimes we need the blatant truth, no matter how much we'd rather have fluffy bunnies.
"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." ~ Mark Twain

I encourage you, no matter how hard it is to conjure up castles in the sky, to remember your daydreams. Remember the things that bring you joy, that made you smile when you were small. Spend a few minutes remembering. And, as the feelings transport you out of the cubical, the laundry room, the disheveled studio, allow them to conjure up another reality all together. See where it will take you. You may find yourself embarking on a new artistic journey, humming a forgotten tune while you finish the house work (and finish it way earlier than you thought you would).

At the very least you'll be able to see those dragons in the clouds we talked about yesterday.

Indulge in the grey areas today. Don't be afraid to ask "what if?" and "why not?".

Dream on,

"I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge - myth is more potent than history - dreams are more powerful than facts - hope always triumphs over experience - laughter is the cure for grief - love is stronger than death." ~ Robert Fulghum


Shannon O'Donnell said...

*sigh* I love, love, love this post! What a wonderful reminder and so beautifully given!! I'm printing this and adding it to my writing folder so it can nudge me in the right direction whenever I see it.

Rachel {Inspiration in Italy} said...

I was extremely inspired by this post, thank you so much. This was written beautifully and it is something that we all can relate to and need to hear! :)

Have a wonderful Thursday.


Jen Chandler said...

Shannon, thank you! I'm honored that my words would find a place in your writing folder :) Truly!

Rachel, thank you so much! I'm glad I was able to send a little inspiration to you via cyberspace!

Brian Miller said...

you speak a lot of truth here today...we al still have dreams, some are just hidden under the dust...

Terresa said...

Love love love the Twain & Fulgum quotes!

And your assertion that we need to reacquaint ourselves with our dreams.

What I've found recently in my writing, is the wave of life (ups & downs) and writing along with it, as it flows. Because the dark (times & writing) is just as gripping and truth telling as the light.

But dreams, yes, they are a requirement, a core of writing. Here, here!!

Jen Chandler said...

Brian, there seems to be a lot of dust around where I live. I think I need to get out the Pledge!

Terresa, fellow quote lover, I'm glad you discovered two more. I love those too. In fact, I've put the Fulghum on my side bar. So much about life contributes to our art, even the unseen bits :)

Lin said...

I find that if I hang with the right people, I can still tap my dreams and the ability to think creatively. I like to associate with artsy types because they aren't afraid or embarrassed to talk and exhibit dreams. I say we all have our 6th sense--the artsy side which allows us to think, dream, and act on our dreams.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Thanks for the encouragement. Dare to dream. Believe in making it happen!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jen Chandler said...

Lin, it's always refreshing to be around other creative types. I feed off their enthusiasm and ideas.

Mary, You are most welcome!

deb said...

ack ~ my comment is gone,
it wasn't spammy , promise.

I think I noted that while my imagination conjures up very different things from yours sometimes, the key is to stay in the wonder and awe right?

your enthusiasm is infectious here

Sandra said...

The i-net is rather like a huge room, mostly dark, with glimmers of light, but only ever so often, and I'm wandering around and around and around. Jen, how is it I didn't know you'd stopped writing the Slow blog, changed the name of this blog, stopped writing the Sagewood blog...? Am I truly this confused? I sure hope it's only being overwhelmed! At any rate, I'm now following this wonderful blog and love the new template...totally! There's so much to catch up, it will take me weeks...sigh.