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The Tinkered Mind
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April 22nd, 2020
Our imagination is our one true superpower. But the benefit of this superpower also creates the biggest bottleneck between what we imagine and the reality we live in. Our imagination manifests superpowers that only exist in the imaginary world.
Each of us can close our eyes and picture castles assembling themselves in the sky, spaceships cracking the fabric of space, or perhaps things far more quaint, like that cabin in the woods we’d like to build, or that family we’d like to be surrounded by. The ease with which these things can be imagined is somewhat deceptive. Converting products of the imagination into works of reality is to negotiate an immense gulf. This void, bottlenecking dreams from entering the world we know, is the true realm of the exceptional imagination – one that can imagine in terms of the real.
Things is, it’s all fine and good to imagine a castle in the sky. It’s a delightful image, but it does little more than encourage someone to disassociate from the real world.
There is nothing special about imagining the impossible. What’s truly impressive is achieving what has never been done but what is entirely within the realm of possibility.
With our entertainment, perhaps our religions, and even with our personal dreams we allows our imaginations to venture ridiculously. It is like the friend we go for a hike with who is simply too fast and is out of sight in no time, leaving us to feel lost and lonely where we are.
Some people go on and on about IQ tests, others point at their social skills, others flex muscles, but at the end of the day, is not the greatest and most basic display of being alive the ability to imagine something and then do it? To make that imaginary thing exist in the real world?
The problem isn’t that we lack imagination, it’s that we let our imagination run wild without us. The subtlety lies in keeping tight reins on that imagination, not in the sense of keeping it reined in, but making sure it takes you along for the ride, weighed down as you are with all the laws and possibilities of the real world.