What separates human beings from other creatures? Not in the physical sense, but from within.
Some could say that humans are more intelligent. But other animals possess intelligence too. Excelling in something isn’t really the same as being different. The distinguishing feature that humans possess isn’t intelligence. It’s imagination.
Out of all the creatures that walk the surface of the earth, humans are the only ones with the ability to imagine. Yet in today’s world, the value and appreciation of this rare talent is fast diminishing.
The way we live today, nose buried in dull school books and entertainment consisting solely of monotonous activities on our gadgets, we have lost touch with the wilder part of life. The one with the unbound freedom, the one that resides within our minds.
There were days when not much entertainment existed. At that point of time, imagination was the sole warrior that stood guard against eternal boredom. It was the one the kept us company, our only source of solace.
“The man who has no imagination has no wings.” – Muhammad Ali
With the way the world has evolved, imagination has, in a unique manner, both increased and declined. There has been emphasis on and growth of idea-centric industries, with innovative means to fulfill customer demands. New technologies are being created almost everyday, all with the aid of imagination. Almost everything around us, from the wheel to the spaceships, is a product of imagination. And yet, imagination in its true sense has almost vanished.
Earlier, people used to read novels a lot. It was one of the primary sources of entertainment. Now that was a worthy use of imagination, from both the reader’s side as well as the writer’s. The writer thought of things and penned them down. He constructed and explored a world, a journey which he narrates to his readers. And the readers reconstruct the events in their minds, delving into the same world with a different perception.
These days, movies have become much more popular than novels. And while it is not a bad form of entertainment, it serves up everything to the viewer on a silver platter. In novels and such, you have the liberty to imagine how the story might be unfolding. Movies present the story plainly.The perception of the events is restricted to that of the director’s; there is no space for stretching the mind, shifting your viewpoint, and interpreting the events in your own manner.
Of course this is not absolute and there do exist movies which allow the free thinking and interpretation of the viewer, but most of the movies do tend to stick to a dull, predefined outline.
But despite the various uses of imagination in modern world, the fact of the matter is that very few people imagine for the sake of imagining. They use it when they need it; for practical purposes. But where is the joy in venturing beyond reality, if you’re simply there to capture something and drag it back to the mundane world?
“They who dream by day are cognisant of many things that escape those who dream only by night.” – Edgar Allan Poe
Of course imagination should be used for practical things. No question about it. But every once in a while, it should be used for what it’s meant for. To forget reality. It’s meant to be used to create your own little world in your own little mind and just stay there for a while.
So here’s to all those who imagine, even while the world remains shackled in restraints of reality. Here’s to all those who dare to dream, while others stare down in confused condescension. Here’s to that diminishing specie that stares out the window at nothingness and still doesn’t get bored because they’re lost in a world of their own. Here’s to another daydreamer, may there be more of them.