Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Power of Imagination

I have always wondered what it is like to see in 3D. Being blind in one eye has made forever see in just two. Playing basketball, tennis, hiking, during so many times in my life, I have always try to imagine what it must be like to see in 3D.

I heard a program about a person who for her entire life saw only in two dimensions, then by awaking her imagination and the help of a development doctor she was able to seeingseeing in three dimensions. Her view of the world opened up so much after learning to see in 3D. Part of the process in learning to imagine the ability before.

What fascinated me was the power of imagination. We are imagination poor with all of our high tech movies. We don’t have to imagine a hurricane or a war, Hollywood can do it for us. Special effects can make a man fly, a space ship go past the speed of light, but it cripples us when it comes to a constructive use of imagination. Imagination is used to drive us away from reality. The fact the movies can so easily create the illusion of returning from the dead makes us less impressed by the Gospel.

The true power if imagination is it can be used to drive us toward reality and others. Jesus command about treating others as you would have treat you, is an ethic based on imagination. I have to imagine what would like for the other in order to act. I imagine what it must be like to be a pregnant young mother with your husband in the hospital and you sick with two sick children. I have a friend in this exact situation and I imagine her distress. It makes more compassionate.

Usually, imagination, the bring forth in the mind what is not there, is thought of as escapist form of avoiding reality, frivolous and apart from the serious part of life. We have created another word for imagination to try to handle the more serious form, visualize. To visualize is to imagine but to do it for what is important. What to succeed, we tell ourselves to first visualize it. But it is still to imagine.

Imagination is a skill that needs to always be exercised, or like under-worked muscles, it atrophies. It is a spiritual disciple to imagine life of God incarnate, Jesus. It transforms us.

I am resolve to, for just ten minutes a day, to imagine a scene from Jesus' life, and not to put myself in the scene. It is too easy to make myself a hero in the narrative, and read myself into the story. I want to start seeing better spiritually, to see in 3D.


Carol Castleberry said...

When I read this I thought of a book by Mary Elsbernd and Reimund Bieringer called The Normativity of the Future that speaks of imagination and the inbreaking of the Holy Spirit.

Ed said...

what about us, as fathers, if we imagine our children living a blessing life despite all obstacles in this world?

A book that can show us a little about how impossible dreams can be donne :

Translation from french book : La Vie rêvée de Jérémy, The Dreamed life of Jerémy [] :

This book takes us to the discovery of an extraordinary child.
From the beginning, everything was done to make Jérémy Gabriel's life a calvary, that he bent double by fate's blows. Now this little man, supported by exceptional parents, bravely confronts his disease and, especially, makes posible his dreams : to meet Celine Dion, to sing for the Pope, and more ...
It is this life, his faith, his will, that he shares here (in this book) to give hope to all children who are suffering and to give strength to their loved ones.
In this heart to heart with Alain Noël (author), this is a wonderful story that is emerging, that of a gifted boy to live.
Jérémy Gabriel will be 11 on December 10, 2007. He lives in a Quebec's suburb with his parents and his two younger sisters.

urbanstudiesdept said...

I worked in the Philadelphia School system for 2 and a half years, teaching character development education. A large conclusion I drew from my work with urban young people echoes your blog... that young people, especially those influenced by urban culture, do not know how to use their imaginations. I would often talk with students about the goals they had for their future, and while many had specific goals, they most often could not tell me how they would reach these goals. In part, I attributed this to the students inability to imagine the process and the goal actually being completed. Without this ability, how can young people succeed?!

The example I would give my students to demonstrate the importance of imagination involved an architect. When an architect puts together blue prints for a building, what is the first thing they have to do? They must work with the client listening to the client's ideas. At the same time, the architect must imagine/envision what this building will look like. After he has imagined, he can then put in on paper.

Thanks for discussing this topic... and thanks for pointing me towards how this impacts spiritual growth!

Whitney Monn- Program Recruiter, Urban Studies Department at Eastern University