Quotation Saturday: Imagination

quotation saturday, mamacita's blog, jane goodwinMamacita says:  A lot of Saturdays have come and gone lately without Quotation Saturday.  How have we managed to cope, I ask you all. . . .

Since I stand firmly with Albert Einstein’s “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” this Saturday’s theme is “imagination.”

Take the word apart.  Do you see it?  IMAGE.  People with imagination can take their whims, dreams, and fancies and turn them into images.  I know that there are people who have no imagination.  I used to pity them, and I still do to some extent, but really, such people are an awful inconvenience, and are responsible for a lot of injustice, and these days, when I consider unimaginative people, I’m mostly just disgusted.

Unimaginative people are the ones who tell a daydreaming child to stop wasting time, thus interrupting the cure for cancer and rocket fuel made of sewage.

I know people who wouldn’t care if they never learned another new thing. I pity them, because when learning stops, stagnation begins. Those stinky little ponds all over southern Indiana, covered with scum and mosquitoes? They stopped moving, and now they are dead and dead things stink. When people stop learning, they might as well be buried and get it over with, for they are as good as dead. I consider a person who is content to allow his/her head to be stuffed full of other people’s opinions as good as dead, also. Echoes have no imagination.

Thinking can be hard. Some people just aren’t willing to put forth the effort. Besides, thinking sometimes makes us question our choices, values, and beliefs. Can’t have that. Many so-called “religions” encourage people to stifle their imaginations. I find this horrific beyond words. Then again, genuinely imaginative, creative, and intelligent people aren’t easy to stifle. Sheep are easy to boss around, but imaginative people aren’t so easily led. Even as a small child, I assumed a lot of churchy people were dumb as a sheep, because so many of them accepted whatever the preacher or rule book said, without a single comment, question, or raised eyebrow.

Harsh? Sure. But it’s how I roll. One of the many things I despise about most of our public schools is the fact that they pretty much beat the curiosity and imagination out of our children. Often, children are punished for wanting to know MORE and refusing to stop once ONE answer or solution is reached. Of course, as Professor Umbridge says, the important thing about school is taking tests, and tests are concerned only with predetermined answers, not curiosity. “Next year, Billy,” a teacher might promise. But when next year comes, Billy soon learns that the new year is just like the old year: day after day of sitting and waiting for other kids to catch up, with never anything for the kids who already know, and detention or worse for the child who dared experiment with his lunch or the ink in his pen or the clay or a poem or story or the paints in the art room. Sigh.

Curiosity. Imagination. Dreams. Let’s encourage them in our children, for the curious thinkers and scientists and writers and dreamers are the hope of the universe.

As for unimaginative and uncurious adults. . . . I should be a lot sorrier for them than I am, but it’s their own fault. Life is full of choices, and there’s more than one kind of Easy Street.

1.  Logic will get you from A to B.  Imagination will take you everywhere.  — Albert Einstein

2. The key to life is imagination. If you don’t have that, no mater what you have, it’s meaningless. If you do have imagination… you can make feast of straw. — Jane Stanton Hitchcock

3. A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral. — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

4. They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. — Edgar Allan Poe

5. Trust that little voice in your head that says “Wouldn’t it be interesting if…” And then do it. — Duane Michals,

6. Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun. — George Scialabba

7. The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. — Albert Einstein

8. Anyone who can be replaced by a machine deserves to be. — Dennis Gunton

9. I remembered a story of how Bach was approached by a young admirer one day and asked, “But Papa Bach, how do you manage to think of all these new tunes?” “My dear fellow,” Bach is said to have answered, according to my version, “I have no need to think of them. I have the greatest difficulty not to step on them when I get out of bed in the morning and start moving around my room.” — Laurens Van der Post

10. Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. — Albert Szent-Györgyi

11. I doubt that the imagination can be suppressed. If you truly eradicated it in a child, he would grow up to be an eggplant. — Ursula K. Le Guin

12. If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking. — George S. Patton

13. So you see, imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering. — Brenda Ueland

14. Most technological achievements were preceded by people writing and imagining them. I’m rather proud of the fact that I know several astronauts who became astronauts through reading my books. — Arthur C. Clarke

15. He who has imagination without learning has wings and no feet. — Joseph Joubert

16. As great scientists have said and as all children know, it is above all by the imagination that we achieve perception, and compassion, and hope. — Ursula K. Le Guin

17. We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry. — Maria Mitchell

18. One of the virtues of the very young is that you don’t let facts get in the way of your imagination. — Sam Levinson

19. The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope.– Henry Ward Beecher

20. When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microspically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.– Cynthia Heimel

21. There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds. — Gilbert Keith Chesterton

22. It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. — Henry Thoreau

23. I like nonsense — it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope… and that enables you to laugh at all of life’s realities. — Dr. Seuss

24. If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in. — Rachel Carson

25. Anyone who thinks the sky is the limit, has limited imagination. — Unknown

26. The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. — Albert Einstein

27. A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with – a man is what he makes of himself. — Alexander Graham Bell

28. Reality can be beaten with enough imagination. — Unknown

29. Let your mind alone, and see what happens. — Virgil Thomson

30. Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. — Pablo Picasso

31. Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination. — John Dewey

32. It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated. –Alec Bourne

33. Reporting facts is the refuge of those who have no imagination. -–Marquis de Vauvenargues

34. No course of life is so weak and foolish as that which is carried out according to rules and discipline. -–Montaigne

35. Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is? -–Frank Scully

36. Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. -–G.K. Chesterton

37. The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. -–Albert Einstein

38. What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible. -–Theodore Roethke

39. There are many ways of breaking a heart. Stories were full of hearts being broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream – whatever that dream might be. -– Pearl S. Buck

40. Nobody succeeds beyond his or her wildest expectations unless he or she begins with some wild expectations. -– Ralph Charell

41. I learned that there were two ways I could live my life: following my dreams or doing something else. Dreams aren’t a matter of chance, but a matter of choice. When I dream, I believe I am rehearsing my future. -– David Copperfield

42. In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities. -–Janos Arany

43. Dreams come in a size too big so that we may grow into them. -–Josie Bisset

44. Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. -–Gloria Steinem

45. Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. -– Harriet Tubman

46. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails Explore. Dream. Discover. -– Mark Twain

47. It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. — Einstein

48. Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly. — Arnold Edinborough

49. I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity. — Eleanor Roosevelt

50. Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision. — Aldous Huxley

Imagination should be encouraged, not discouraged.  Everything in the universe is fodder for the imagination, and any teacher who doesn’t know this, and doesn’t try like mad to make sure he/she encourages dreaming in all students, is a. . . well, you know.  Paging Auntie Em.  Of course, there are, sadly, always people who aren’t interested and whose life goal seems to be to prevent everyone else from dreaming and reaping gold from any lesson.  More sadly still, our schools often cater to this lowest common denominator instead of showering the imaginative and eager learners with opportunities.  sigh.

“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings” has become “Every time a bell rings, a child has to force himself/herself NOT to think about yet another subject that should rightly be fascinating but which has been edited and censored and otherwise beaten down to fit inside that little box lest it inspire someone to greatness.” (Whilst trying to ignore and dodge the antics, bullying, disruptions, hands, tantrums, etc, of the uninspired kid in the next seat over. . . .) (and likewise trying not to draw attention to himself lest he be told to take Butch and Woim out in the hall to help them with their spelling.)

Because we can’t have any individual greatness, you know; it’s not fair to the OTHER students who wouldn’t recognize greatness if it bit them on the ass and called them by name.

I might dare to remind whoever crosses my path – and aren’t y’all LUCKY – that, in the words of Madeleine L’Engle (see, you’re getting your famous quotation after all – “Like” and “equal” are not the same thing!!!!!

I might also dare to remind you that the entire universe is a big game of “Six Degrees of Separation” and that those who don’t know enough to make any connections are losing.

The answer isn’t really “Kevin Bacon,” you know.

The answer is “42.”  And if you don’t know why, be afraid.  Be very afraid


Quotation Saturday: Imagination — 1 Comment

  1. At my first real job, as a computer programmer, my boss once remarked that he felt we were working much harder when we were “just” sitting, perhaps chatting, than when we were coding: when coding, the hard part – thinking about the problem – was pretty much over.

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