Sunday, December 31, 2000


After a rather stressful day traveling from Wilmington, NC to Honolulu, HI, I'm finally on my last plane flight. I am finding it harder to deal with the various stresses of my day, so I throw on some music on my iPad and try to sleep.

Have you ever tried to sleep, but your mind wouldn't let you? This was one of those times for me. As I listen to my music, I start to experience the oddest feeling. I've felt this way before, but it's so difficult to describe, I have no idea what it means or how to deal with it. I'm not even sure what exactly causes it.

If I had to try to describe it, I'd have to say it's similar to nostalgia, but nostalgia about what, I can't say. It always makes me remember something I really enjoyed as a child: using my imagination. I mean, really using my imagination. Like the place between daydreaming and normal dreams. I felt like I could really be in another place; another world where people and places were different. I could be anyone I wanted to be, and go anywhere I wanted to go.

Any of this sound familiar? When I tried to describe it to myself, I realized I was starting to sound like someone describing the merits of reading a book to a 6-year-old, or like a Sesame Street character trying to entertain someone of an even younger age. I would have dismissed my thoughts as just that, the fancies of a child, but then I began to consider something: is imagination only for the young?

Is imagination something that only youngsters can use to keep themselves quiet while mom or dad have to do something "important"? Does imagination only lend itself to the playful and uncomplicated lives of children? If so, then why do I find myself longing and yearning for those adventures that my mind travels to at times like these?

While I'm fairly convinced that I will not find a satisfying understanding of my current subconscious predicament, I think it's important for me to remind any readers that imagination is, despite the cliche, a lost art.

I think that imagination is something we--adults--encourage in the young too often for our own convenience, then ask them to dismiss the ability in later years in leu of more "mature" thought processes. This is a travesty that must be cast away. After all, how many times have you hear people complain that no one seems to have any genuine creativity anymore? And isn't creativity an essential ingredient in the employment of imagination?

Over the past week, I got to spend time with my beautiful 2-year-old niece. As I observed her behavior and mannerisms, I learned several different things. One of which is that her whole world is a product of her imagination. Everything she sees and observes, her mind makes sense of it using an extremely limited memory of past experiences and linguistic apparatus. She's not tainted by what Hollywood tells us is a good story. Her interpretation of the world is completely at the mercy of her current thoughts. Not, some might consider it a good thing that this thought process of my niece is only temporary, for the more time she spends interacting with people, she'll be told--both verbally and indirectly--what social norms are. But what if a person were allowed to develop in an environment where there are no "norms"?

Obviously, norms are holistically good for the average person. They provide people with predictability, and thus, providing mental and social security and acceptance. But these--and really any--norms are irrefutably limiting toward a early developing person. They tell the person that they should not act a certain way, or even think that way, or they will be shunned from the societal surroundings. But I submit that creativity and it's partner in crime, imagination, should be fostered well after infancy.

Imagination is the playground of creativity, and must be exercised like any other mental muscle, or it will atrophy to the point of being unusable. So go on, dreamers. Dream away.

If nothing else, it'll ease the stress of travel plans gone awry!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Somewhere over the Pacific

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