“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein
“So what is imagination with knowledge?” – Cheryl Wolfe
When I was young, I had a fantastic imagination. I would go to the library and check out books on everything from the solar system to Victorian England to Dracula. (That may explain why my brain is so..eccentric now!) I could be a high-class Brit riding a pure-bred Arabian horse side-saddle one day, and a teenage detective trying to outsmart Sherlock Holmes the next. I could spend hours lying on the ground trying to find objects in the clouds in the sky, or wandering around in the twilight trying to find incontrovertible evidence that there WAS a ghost following me.
What happens between childhood and adulthood that seems to quash imagination? Is it adulthood that hits you upside the head and makes you realize there’s a lot more than fun involved in living? Is it a traumatic experience that brings a cloud of negativity to hide the childlike innocence we associate with imagination? Does life just get in the way?
Kids have loads of imagination with buckets to spare. Adults who attempt to use the imagination they’ve managed to salvage from annihilation are looked at with suspicion of insanity. Maybe that’s why it is said there’s a thin line between genius and madness? Or is it this stigma that causes artists such as Van Gogh to plummet over the edge? Adults who pursue creative vocations in order to use their imaginations are the ones who’ve cheated Fate and refused to let their creativity be crushed.
How boring would life be if all adults let adulthood steal their imaginations? Pictures of a gray landscape a la Thunderdome where everything is generic and bleak come to mind. Thankfully, there are more people who’ve chosen to challenge the notion that imagination is only for kids. Who would write new books we can read to escape from our everyday lives? Who would build new and different cars so the highways can be seen with more than Ford Tauruses and Toyota Priuses? Where would Hollywood be without imagination? (Ok, so the argument can be made that Hollywood has lost the originality that made movies such as Ghostbusters and Star Wars great, but that’s a topic for another day.)
One thing I’ve come to understand as an adult is the crucial connection of imagination and life. Or is it living life like a kid who is still filled with naivete that says anything is possible? Regardless, as John Cougar croons, “life goes on long after the thrill of living has gone.”
I refuse, no matter what happens, to lose the thrill of living. What would the world be like if everyone did the same?