The Death of Imagination

While I don’t agree with the search to reproduce the God particle, I admit that the idea is about as imaginative as one gets.

Neville Goddard, one of the 20th century’s most influential figures in the New Thought Field, proffered the use of imagination to create or alter reality.  Simply stated, his premise was “Imagine yourself in the wish fulfilled.”  By this he meant to not only envision a situation or desired end, but to step into it and experience the feelings and emotions that went along with it.  He experimented with this principle with great success and in his books he recounts how it enabled people to arrive at their innermost desires.  For Neville, imagination was a vehicle for transformation.  I think most children would agree.

Observe a young child at play, and you will probably find yourself admiring (sometimes despairing at) the way he or she acts out. 

Children are naturally imaginative and creative.  There is something beautiful and spontaneous about this demonstration that is much like that of a new shoot pushing through the earth—something that tells us that imagination is part of our natural state of being, unfolding quietly much like a blossom.

Unfortunately, in the world in which most of us live we have become human doings as opposed to human beings.  The paradox is that we must have gotten here through imagination.  We now need imagination to reverse that trend and return us to human beings.  This has to begin at birth when creation is nearest its source through observation and engagement in the natural world that resonates with our cells.  It needs to be nurtured as children grow through storytelling, games, books, music—so called right brain activities that should continue right up through adulthood if we wish to produce well balanced members of society.

As it is, our education both in and out of the classroom fails for the most part to encourage right brain thinking. 

What may have begun as a colorful landscape in a toddler’s world becomes a dull, dry backdrop when a child enters the classroom where more often than not there is a lack of creativity.  We are fast becoming a world in which the only thing children learn in school is to take tests, follow a timetable and squeeze in extra activities based on their utility rather than any passion or natural affinity.

Like most things imagination can be purchased these days as easily affordable props provided by technology.  But buyer beware, this is not the real deal.  Rather it is appropriating the desires of others as our own.  The truth is that only through the use of our own imaginations, can we achieve our own desires.  For anyone who has experienced the birth of an idea, there is a wonder, an almost sacred sense that resonates with all of creation, inviting us into the circle of Oneness that is our human condition.  Sadly, that brand of imagination is becoming a rare commodity in a world where the quest for knowledge is paramount.

No less than Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” and he valued his creative gift more than his cognitive ability. 

Imagination is necessary to the health of the individual and society.  It fosters not only the human qualities we value—tolerance, empathy, compassion—but also the promise for change.  Imagination is vision in the true sense of the word.  The person who has creative solutions for his own problems and those of society is a happier person and the world is a better place.  Encouraging children to seek creative solutions will not only help them navigate in an increasingly complex world, but will remind us to do the same.

In physics labs around the world the creation of new particles with whacky names—quarks, neutrinos—hints that some sort of revolution is afoot.  The discovery that we can change cellular behavior through visualization suggests that the keys to many of our problems might lay within ourselves, in our ability to imagine.  Along with these discoveries comes the notion that we create our reality and that we have the power to arrange those particles with our thoughts, our imaginations.  If you buy into the argument that imagination creates reality, at the rate we’re going pretty soon there’s not going to be anything there.  So unless we begin to encourage and use imagination to improve our world inside and out, then we’d better hope that those at CERN succeed in reproducing the God particle sooner rather than later.