“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
When is the last time someone accused you of having your head in the clouds? Did you thank them? Chances are they weren’t meaning to be complimentary and that is unfortunate. It says more about them than you. Chances are they weren’t big fans of the imagination, daydreams, fantasy or invisible friends. Go figure.
Albert Einstein was also a daydreamer and he did all right by us. Other great imaginers include: Carl Sagan, Dr. Seuss, Julius Ceasar, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marc Chagall, Immanuel Kant, Michelangelo, Muhammad Ali. No surprise that you find artists and writers valuing imagination but military leaders, philosophers and athletes? Not at first blush.
Imagination is the mother of fantasy as necessity is the mother of invention. Fantasy is how we escape when reality is too tedious, demanding or overwhelming. Perhaps escape is too final a solution, say we hold reality at bay with judicious infusions of fantasy. When we step into a fantasy, the stranger the better, we observe situations that are outside the realm of our possibilities (for the moment) and are able to try on how we would behave in new situations. We can visualize and plan, we can step outside ourselves and act through the behavior of heroes and heroines because who knows when we will be asked to step up and assume a heroic undertaking. And if we never are, how else will we know how it feels?
“Everything you can imagine is real.”
When you escape into fantasy you allow your mind to take a break and regroup, imagine an alternative or grow in understanding. I know when I’m not feeding my imagination. My energy is just one casualty, but the first thing to go is my empathy. When I am stressed, with too much to do I become a shriveled version of myself.
There is a difference between stressing out by stretching yourself too thin and engaging in too many creative projects. Yes, even a good thing can be overwhelming. But I notice that the stress creeps in when I quit trying to discover or play with my project and get caught up in the end result. If someone likes it before it is done it is the kiss of death. I become paralyzed with trying to figure out how to keep their admiration instead of going where the project leads. I need to create alone or at least I need to create without input. Until I reach a final stage. That comes when I’ve pushed as far as I can and am ready to see it from a new perspective. I guess it is all a matter of timing.
“People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind.”
—William Butler Yeats
I don’t know of anyone who can pull from an unending pool of creativity without feeding that space with day dreams and “useless” speculation. Inspiration is the reward of feeding your creative place. It is the spontaneous vista at the peak of the endless and rocky mountain path. It shines, it glows, it lets you see things that are hidden by your daily routine. One of the most enjoyable ways of investing in my creative capital is by reading a good fantasy. And it is exactly when I don’t have time that I need fantasy the most. Because fantasy is really about perspective. It is a balance to the way we see the world breaking our preconceived ideas and offering a new way to perceive.
“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Fantasy is the root system that feeds the tree of knowledge.
Read more great quotations about imagination at: brainy quotes