The Art of Seeing What’s Not There, Or, Imagination

Yesterday, my daughter — who has been a constant source of amazement for me lately — decided to take a fake cardboard guitar we made for her and stand on the coffee table in our living room to give a brief, private concert.  (She didn’t end up singing because she apparently has early on-set stage fright).

Nevertheless, she did pluck the strings of the guitar and proceed to act as if she were regaling us with its music.

It struck me at that moment that I would love to see what her mind sees.  Does she see an actual guitar and hear actual music? Is she believing that she’s on stage? What do her eyes tell her — or rather, her mind’s eyes?

All at once, I saw the vestiges of something we’re losing as a generation and a people.  Movies, video games, smartphone games, etc are beginning to replace the imagination.  All things fantastic portrayed for us now.  And as we advance further in technology, we are actually, I believe, compromising our ability to imagine.  Because isn’t that the goal of entertainment, to create and put in front of our eyes the likeness of the real, of the genuine.

It’s an interesting paradox.  On the one hand, I do want to be entertained.  On the other, I’d like to be able to create, to draw the fantastic, to envision things that don’t exist, but that appear as if they might.  I want to be able to exercise my imagination and have it produce things that are unique.

So, even though it was against the “rules”, we let our daughter play as long as she wanted on top of that coffee table with her guitar, even though she never sang a word.  I’d like for her to grow up of that mind — to be able to see and imagine and envision.

You hear it often — a new wave of “visionaries”; someone with a “vision” for the future;  or what’s your “vision” for this project?  How else do you suppose those visionaries grow up?  How are you able to envision the future?  How can you have a vision for the project?

Imagination.  Seeing what’s not there.  Yet.

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