In many ways imagination is fickle. Driven by context, it is often merely connecting raw materials together within arms reach. If your arms are short and/or if your raw materials are dull, you will naturally have limited imagination. Imagination is needed to drive vision. How can you form a clear, worthwhile, and novel vision for anything without the imagination to conjure the view without anything existing in the material world?
Imagination isn’t epiphany, though I’m sure they share certain characteristics, they aren’t the same. Imagination isn’t hard work, either, though sometimes the things imagined require hard work to see through to fruition. Imagination isn’t free. There are costs for vivid imaginations that don’t play well with the current orthodoxy and at best you’ll get laughed at and at worst you could possibly be thrown in jail or even killed.
But a far more insidious thing happens when people choose to turn off their imaginations: Nothing. An empty house rotting, becoming overgrown with brush, and overrun by rodents. There are a lot of reasons people turn off their imaginations. Micromanagement is one. But I would guess most people aren’t encouraged to be truly imaginative, to take real risks. They don’t get permission or encouragement or they stop after the best case happens and they are laughed at.
Perhaps genius and imagination and vision are for some people, but not for everyone. Maybe. The thing is you don’t really know until you try and fail and try again. And, yeah, maybe people will laugh at you the entire time even as you make advances that only you can see, but what else are you using your time on earth for?
October 15th, 2016