“All of us have to learn how to invent our lives, make them up, imagine them. We need to be taught these skills; we need guides to show us how. If we don’t, our lives get made up for us by other people.” – Ursula Le Guin
2014 has been a hard year for many: One of economic struggle, death, illness, and social upheaval and pain. I hope there has also been a lot of joy in 2014, and creativity, and love. I know there has been in my own life, but I’ve also keenly felt the pain and dis-ease around me.
What I hope is that for 2015 – which is already looking to be another challenging yet fruitful year – we spark up our imaginations. That we wheel the creaky machinery out, dust it off, clean it, oil it, re-calibrate it, and set it running again.
I posted the Le Guin quote on Facebook this week, and someone disagreed with it, saying “We just need to return to the imagination we had as kids.”
That is often easier said than done.
I think we get trained out of imagination and we need examples from other imaginative people to help us find our way toward it again.
We get taught imagination by reading, for one. We get taught imagination –or I do, at least– by listening to people like Neil deGrasse Tyson. We get taught imagination by daring to work magic…
Children have big imaginations partially because they haven’t been trained out of it. More importantly, though, they can still make things up because they aren’t yet bogged down by a bunch of their own lived stories. Stories that often tell them: “You can’t.” or “That’s not sensible” or “You’ll get your heart broken.” or “The world doesn’t work that way.”
The ancient Greeks believed that imagination was a real thing. It wasn’t just “make believe” the way we might put it, though if we think about it, imagination is then, the making up of beliefs. An affirming that “I want this to be so.” For the ancient Greeks, those thoughts already existed, they were Forms, and our minds, and then our hearts and hands, brought them into matter.
What do you want to make matter in 2015?
I want to make art and stories matter. I want to imagine a world of lightness, creativity, and truth. I want visionary dreams arising from the darkness. I want caring to matter. I want kindness to matter. I want fierce righteousness to matter. I want to make love and justice matter.
Please tell me, what would you like to imagine for the coming year? What sort of life and world would you manifest?
Let’s share our visions, inspiring one another.