Often people think of the imagination as something for children, but the imagination is quite possibly the most important tool in the artist/creatives’ toolbox. The imagination is where characters and other worlds are born, where problems are solved, and new possibilities created. As children, C.S. Lewis and his brother Warnie imagined a magical land called Boxen where there were kings and queens and wars and talking animals. Sound familiar? As Jack (C.S.’ nickname) grew, Boxen led his mind into another magical land, one that the world has come to know and love: Narnia.
For us to put away our imaginations in an effort to be more ‘adult’ is one of the most foolish things we could do. As Mr. Lewis put it, “Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
When we “make-believe” we are going about the business of constructing something to believe in. We are making the unreal real, the unbelievable believable. To consider the imagination as an escape from reality is not entirely true (but even if it were, I can’t help but ask, ‘Is that really such a bad thing?’), imagination is not ‘escapism’ but a tool to help one better deal with reality. The human mind needs to escape to better understand and process the present everyday life.
Viktor Frankl used the tool of imagination when he was imprisoned in Auschwitz during World War 2. Through what he learned in his imprisonment, “Frankl developed his psychotherapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positively about, and then immersively imagining that outcome. According to Frankl, the way a prisoner imagined the future affected his longevity.” (according to wikipedia page on Frankls bestseller Man’s Search for Meaning). Imagination not only aided Frankl in surviving some of the most brutal concentration camps the Nazi’s had to offer, but it became a foundation for the healing of many minds since.
Visualization has proven itself as a powerful and popular tool for success. Visualization can help us through those blocks we have and get us moving again in the right direction, it can push us past our procrastination. Visualization has proven to aid in the very healing of our bodies. Do not underestimate its power and do not neglect the imagination as you master your own creativity!
“Imagination rules the world.” -Napoleon Bonaparte
“The man who has no imagination has no wings.” -Mohammad Ali
“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” -William Arthur Ward
“We imagine reality to be what we can see, when reality is what we can only imagine.” -Shawn Hancock