Sage Advice 81: Imagination

The best part about having a mostly functional brain is how imaginative the mind can be. Really consider the images and ideas you can conjure instantly with just a little bit of thinking. Try this: a baby armadillo chewing on a six-year-old wash rag that your great uncle used to clean his car. Did that come up in your head? Probably. And it probably looks a little different from what mine looks like (mine is probably better since my baby armadillo also owns a corvette and has really nice back legs and my great uncle probably fought in a war or something).

I remembering reading about how some people think it’s impossible to really create a completely original image because everything we think of is based off the world we experience. So, for example, even if I come up with something that looks like a fire truck with a beard that pronounces the ‘h’ in every word with a ‘wh’ sound in it, it’s not really an original idea according to this theory. See how I had to describe it using words and images that we both already understand? It’s based off those things I had to say to describe my new thing that is now also a thing you could use to describe further things. Nothing is original.

That’s kind of depressing. To consider that everything we think is just based off something someone else thought and/or said really kicks imagination right in the face, telling imagination how worthless it is as it falls to ground and cries for its mom.

I don’t allow that to stop me from letting my brain come up with stuff. Sure, it’s probably borrowing from shared experiences and ideas, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to think about a really sad building that wears overalls and calls its left leg “papa” because its actual dad told it to. How I see that image is mine, even if it is based off something that already exists.


-Matthew Fugere

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