Use Your Imagination?

Question: What do you think when you see this famous picture?

Here’s another way to ask the same question: which memes come to mind?

Like this one?

I am highly certain that what separates humans from animals is imagination. When a bear sees a salmon, his only thought is to eat it raw. When I see salmon in the supermarket, I have more than one thought. In fact, I use my imagination to decide how to cook it: Should I cook it on the grill? Or bake it in the oven? Or throw it on a pan? I start imagining how it would taste depending on which spices: should I use cumin, honey, salt and pepper, or miso sauce?

I don’t have a smoker else I’d make my own smoked salmon and eat it with bagel and lox. 🙂

Our imagination is much more capable than just figuring out what to cook for dinner. Just look at the best selling authors who created epic universes that have entered our global collective consciousness – Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter’s Wizarding World, and Narnia, to mention a few. How many of us have not wished that we could have entered those worlds?

What about all the times someone challenged us: “Use your imagination!” This is for all the times we were stuck on a problem. At the core of this command is to force us to rise beyond our limited thinking. Case in point: vacations after all the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Where would you go if you could travel again? Italy? Greece? Australia?

Use your imagination!

Unfortunately using our imagination can get us into trouble. Think of all the mischief and pranks we have played (or fell victim to). Think of all the vicious retorts, the put-downs – both said and unsaid. Think of all the violence we have dreamed up.

“You hurt me, I’ll hurt you back 10 times worse, 100 times worse!”

And what of ABC’s show “How to get away with murder?” Or “Revenge“? The classic revenge story: The Count of Monte Cristo – in the novel (and 2002 movie) Dantes is falsely imprisoned by three men: one who wants the same woman, one envies his abilities and prestige, and the third with a secret to keep. Dantes escapes from and exacts his sweet revenge on all three.

Perhaps what I consider the most depressing use of imagination comes from John Lennon’s Imagine – a one world that has no possession, no heaven or hell, and no countries.

Lennon had seen how divisive the world was in the 1960s and 1970s. He was right. That period was during the Vietnam War, the Cold War, riots in the streets, and lack of trust in the existing civil structure that make up society. The sentiments from Imagine are real: a desire for peace and unity.

Lennon was also extremely wrong. Why?

Lennon’s vision has no hope.
There is nothing to live for and nothing to die for.
There is nothing to believe.
None of the brilliant diversity that brings joy.

The corruption of our imagination, from violence, sex, and nihilism – can all be traced back to the doctrine of the depravity of man. In essence, this doctrine states that there is nothing good in man. That even our greatest good is still tainted and corrupted.

The solution is not the rejection of imagination; after all, there are science fiction stories where all thoughts are severely curtained through implants and drugs.

The solution is the redemption of our imagination.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s