A creativity blog - including reviews, photographs and discussion on a variety of things; such as dragons and other things almost but not quite completely entirely unlike tea.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

About imagination

Imagination is, in my opinion, one of the greatest powers we humans possess. I'm interested in the workings of imagination a lot, since most of my recreational hobbies are either completely about or at least somehow related to the art of imagination; role playing games, video games, reading the fantastic, films, anime and manga, teaching languages - even the cross stitch patterns I like most are ones I like to think I could easily imagine with while I'm stitching. I've always had a really active imagination and I've liked games and pretend play and drama and such as long as I can remember. Role playing games are among my chief forms of self-creation at the moment. As I've mentioned before I like to write a little bit fiction occasionally too, but for the most part I somehow cannot seem to be able to tie down things I imagine into such solid a form as a coherent text would be. I like to vary and enlarge and change and specify and expand the things I imagine from the moment I think of them, so that I can rarely be satisfied with one solution only - and I'm much too lazy to correct and write down and remember all of the different re-imaginings I so easily conjure up inside my head.

I admire people who can do that  - authors, game designers, musicians and such. And I'm quite happy being an admirer of such people and of their varied works - I can agree with their choices and limitations and rules just because I know that in order for a work of imagination to get out to the world and become admired by me, it also requires an ending of some sort - a thing I as a creator am often not able to make. Because even when I'm given a work of imagination made by someone else, I like to play with it even beyond that, which is given. That is one of the greatest thing about imagination - it's all about enabling you to create for yourself, to live outside or inside of yourself, if you so wish, without being dependent on the actual beginning or the end of the imagined. There are no rules, or if there are, they are most often only there to guide you onward.

The power of imagination is infinite and that in my opinion is what makes it great. If only we could somehow harness that power. :)

Another curious thing about imagination is that it is (again, this is my personal opinion) at its best when you get to imagine with a group of like-minded friends; although they don't really always need to be friends either - mortal enemies will do too, so long as everyone's like-minded. To have the instant gratification from voicing an idea and having it being developed further by not only yourself and your limitless imagination but by the same of a handful of other people - that is what makes imagining its most enjoyable. I myself get that mostly through tabletop role playing, but there are aspects of it visible too, when I discuss books I've read, video games I've played or films I've seen with friends of mine who've also partaken the same. It is terrific just to sit somewhere talking about some imaginary character, for instance, for hours on end, and everyone thinks that everyone else is completely sane and not only that, but a great fun to be around, too. Imagination also has the power to connect people, even if it is something that happens solely inside one's head and is often difficult to put it into exact words.

It is the connection with kindred spirits that hooks us to imagine together, I believe. 

Sometimes I read or see or hear opinions from people who don't imagine - or if they do, they keep it at a bare minimum - and I feel amazed at how narrow-sighted they can be. Mostly these opinions are something along the lines of "imagination is for children" - people who don't think any other recreational activities than sports and crafts are socially acceptable after certain age, for instance. When I sometimes meet these kinds of people, I mostly avoid discussing my hobbies with them - it's not because I don't want to discuss them with those kind of people, it's just that I feel distraught if someone has this disapproving attitude towards me or towards things I like (which most often are in fact just an extension of who or what I myself feel I am) and as such I feel the need to defend myself against their disapproval. I, however, don't want to feel the need to defend myself and because one of the ways I'd defend myself would be to attack against their beliefs or attitudes and make them defend theirs instead... I mostly decided just not to bother with it all. I can manage with non-imaginative people too, but only if we keep the relationships rather strictly focused on the whatever-the-thing-is why we're in the same room to begin with.

I want to believe I can understand people like that, too. And if I'm to understand them, I'm also to accept them, the same way I'd like them to accept me and my imagination. Maybe it cannot happen, or maybe it can, who knows. I like to think I always see the grey sides of things and I enjoy pondering the different sides to matters - sometimes endlessly - and I cannot really fathom people who are very absolute in their world view.

Imagination is beneficial too, not just purely enjoyable. In a similar manner that video games are both entertainment and can also train you in problem solving or with your hand-eye coordination, for instance, imagination keeps your mind sharp, your daily routines lively and is good for you physically too in the cases where it relieves stress, anxiety and tension from your body. Also, for me exercise is not rewarding if the only things I get from it are the number of calories or the amount of time or the distance I've spend or achieved on it. The thing I enjoy most about exercise is the feeling of clear-headedness - that which allows me to continue or begin focusing on the matters at hand with a new vigour, for as mentioned elsewhere, I live my life mostly inside my head.

So that's just something I thought about imagination in general. It could just be all in my head, though.

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