=1 "Only imagination"

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Only imagination

by P. Daniel

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Einstein

Oh, this is only imagination, we are accustomed to saying, ignoring the fact that we are speaking of a magic power, the latest gift of the gods in the long line of gifts evolution has produced, and one which has its seat in those frontal lobes of the brain added last to the many reptile and bird brains which we had already.

We have the feeling that we are free to imagine whatever we like, but in truth we are terribly, lamentably limited in our imaginative power. Most people have an imagination quotient no better than a squirrel's.

Just ask someone to invent a nut or a fruit nobody has ever eaten. Or invent a new fragrance, a new flower, a new butterfly which you are sure is nowhere to be found and which is not just a combination of things we all know, like ice cream with oysters. Has any astronomer ever imagined anything as fantastic as Saturn before it was discovered? Or a doctor anything as small and powerful as a cholera bacillus? Look at the houses people build, so monotonously alike, hardly more imagination than the bees. The ugly termite hills of our cities – no imagination. And look through our picture galleries: how poor we are even when we imagine the gods. And how monotonous are our dreams and our nightmares. We could easily classify the monsters we meet there, and some dream-Cuvier might say, “If your devil has two horns he is a vegetarian”.

We wrongly oppose imagination to truth, clubbing it under in a child with ‘lie’. Yet the opposite of imagination is not truth but stupidity. Each time we meet imagination we should remember: Here is holy ground: life creating itself. The first wave of that which comes, the Spirit manifesting, may sometimes disguise itself in strange, extravagant forms. But don't be deceived.

See also