Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. – Albert Einstein
It is considered normal for young children to have imaginations. Imaginary friends are even acceptable. Yet, few children have parents who know how to encourage or even allow imaginative play and only some teachers, in some contexts (such as art class or storytime) acknowledge (or are able to convey) the importance of imaginations in learning (and living).
Younger and younger, children are being exposed to mass media’s attempt to turn the landscapes of their minds into a wasteland – a landfill of toxic candy, plastic toys and electronic gadgets.
The children who manage to keep their imaginations beyond elementary school, despite the school system’s emphasis on measurable achievement (misnomered intelligence), will at some point be labeled immature or weird or at least told to Grow up, Get real and Focus!
Slowly but surely – or perhaps suddenly – dreams disappear and visions fade; our attention is captured by flashy illusions. Images and “self”-images are no longer our own. We are marketed meaning but have forgotten how to make it. Then we wonder, why we aren’t happy – even when we are able to pay the bills? Is this really what we want for the next generation?
Imaginations are not only for children – or artists. Imaginations need to be nurtured within each of us in order for us to be whole, to know what it feels like to be alive.
Imaginations are not the opposite of reason. We can be imaginative and logical, dream and act, be present and prepared, create a new future and be a responsible citizen of the world.
Imaginations are not the opposite of reality. Imaginations are a precursor to reality, a new reality.
This month, let’s get real and develop our imaginations:
In what ways do you use your imagination? What do you do to open your mind and honor your intuition? What do you imagine for a new way of learning and/or living? What role does your imagination play in creation?