Creative people; great artists, great artists, great engineers, great scientists…people that invent (and invented) the technologies we rely on today…do they know something of which many others are not aware, or simply never thought about? I think the answer is “yes” and the important thing that is sadly missing for too many people is imagination.
Most people have heard that thought influences form, but the truth is that nothing has ever been constructed or invented or manufactured unless someone had a dream or an idea that he developed into an image in his mind first. In order to create something material, one must start with a clear mental visualization of what the finished product should look like, or how the finished product should function when it is completed. That is not to say the image will not change and be modified before completion, nor is it to say that the image will not grow, expand or take on additional functions before it becomes reality, but only that every product, service, building, or other human construct began as an idea; a visualization or image inside someone’s mind.
That image is a function of imagination. Imagination is a virtue that every child possesses in abundance; a virtue that is, too often, trained out of them by life pressures, over-focus on economics, mundane dead-end jobs and even our educational philosophies. And yet, our advancement comes from people with the imagination to visualize advancements in science, technology, medicine, and consumer goods and services. If we do such a good job of stifling imagination, how do we encourage it instead?
First and foremost is teaching and encouraging reading; not reading non-fiction books of facts, figures and how-to although those are also important, but rather, read fiction. Fiction is to be preferred because it encourages the reader to immerse himself into the lives of the story’s characters through imagination and to visualize, and even feel, the characters’ experiences. Reading fiction opens a world rich in imaginative, creative experience. Next is active involvement in the visual arts. The visual arts provide a nexus between visual experiences and feelings which are import to visualization. Third is listening to and learning to play music and to sing…again an emotional nexus to visual and auditory imagination, but also an important nexus to mathematics and the visualization of mathematical concepts.
So, we should encourage our children to read, fiction as well as non-fiction, and to immerse themselves in art and music, as well as science and mathematics because one supports the other and they all support imagination and the visualization essential to creativity. Do so, and who knows which one of them will visualize something as significant as Albert Einstein visualizing the universe as a flat sheet distorted by objects of varying mass, or Nikolai Tesla’s visualization of multiphase alternating current leading to electrification of the world, or even Steve Jobs visualization of Apple, or Bill Gates’ visualization of Microsoft.
Hi folks...I'm into a second career as a fiction author. After more than thirty-seven years of professional managerial experience, scientific background, and a lifetime of practical skills, my love of reading, research and writing has combined into action stories about real people told in a tongue-in-cheek style.
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