Sunday, March 9, 2014

Practicing and Killing Imagination

Imagination is a uniquely human attribute. And what a great attribute it is! With imagination, we can literally peek into endless possibilities. However, in this age of instant gratification, imagination is slowly dying out. Pay attention to Hollywood movies: as of recently, nearly all movies were remakes, sequels and prequels. Not a whole lot of imagination there. And no wonder.

People today are used to visual mediums. They prefer to watch movies than to read. Sadly, reading is a fool-proof way to improve our imagination. Whether we want it or not, reading forces us to imagine settings, characters and events presented to us with nothing more than black words on white paper.

Imagination, as it were, feels the void that words can’t or don’t convey. Description might say that a woman had ‘blond hair’ – but the hairdo is up to our imagination to recreate. And that doesn’t even get into abstract descriptions such as ‘a beautiful woman.’ Nearly every human being will imagine that woman in a completely different way, only framed with what other info there is, and that is where imagination is at its best. 

However, visual mediums of today simply don’t convey that. There were visual mediums before: paintings and images. But they still left a lot for our imagination to work, to recreate the story out of one frame frozen in time. Movies and series today show what happens before and after a painting we see; it shows what kind of hair the blond woman has, and the specific looks of a beautiful woman.

Sadly, the more input we receive from the visual media, the more wanting our imagination remains. Simply put, there’s not a whole lot left to imagination, in the most literal sense of the saying. It wilts and finally withers, and in the end, we’re simply not motivated to practiced, in the same way a morbidly obese person would find running excruciating. Movies and such have their place in education - but it all has to be monitored.

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