Bernie DeKoven-Playgrounds of the imagination are open whenever we are. They are everywhere we are. We can visit them in bed, on a walk, in the woods, looking up, eyes open or closed. Even when our bodies are no longer as flexible as our minds are, we still have our imagination to keep us free and alive and full of wonder.
Imagination. Such a simple gift. So much a part of us that we forget what it brings us, where it takes us, what it gives us: the opportunity to play with ideas, images, sounds, memories; to create new worlds.
Like all other playgrounds, Playgrounds of the Imagination are not always fun.
There are bullies in the playgrounds of our imagination. Nightmares that terrify us from the time we are children, and, from time to time, for the rest of our lives.
When we are children, we have yet to learn how to distinguish reality from fantasy. Our dreams are as real to us as our parents. We don't have them for fun. In truth, they have us.
But as we grow older we master not only the ability to distinguish between imagination and actuality, but also to apply our imagination to more and more of our ever-expanding consciousness.
We use our imagination to create our self-image, to expand empathy, compassion, to love; to politics, science, mathematics, philosophy, architecture, city planning, design, games; to the creation of culture, to religion, to belief....
Imagination is also something that we use to help us make things. It is closely tied to creativity. It is how we do our art. It is also how we appreciate art. All art. Anything we think of as art.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Says our good friend Al:
It's easy to understand why he'd say such a thing - the man who used what he called gedankenexperiment (thought experiment) to create his theory of relativity.
The man who also says:
What interests me in particular, and, hopefully you in general, is that imagination is something we can play with, something we can do for fun. And even more interesting: the fun that we can create with our imagination can be sometimes something very, very deep.
And I have a sneaking suspicion (also imaginary) that playing with our imagination, just for fun, by ourselves or with each other, makes our ability to imagine things more clearly, makes the power of imagination stronger, richer, and enhances our abilities to use our imagination even more skillfully for even more purposes.
But, of course, that's not our purpose here. Our purpose is to find new avenues to new kinds of play, deeper kinds of fun, o yes. And of all the conceptual tools we have access to, imagination (fantasy, role-playing, pretending, daydreaming, wondering, wandering) might very well be the most fun, the most useful, the most transforming and the longest lasting.