Monday, March 23, 2009

Limits of the imagination

I've been mauling over this for a while. A few weeks, actually. I guess it was all started by this class and its emphasis on the imagination and how it makes a good reader. "I wonder if you can imagine us.." and such other passages from our readings (I found one such passage in Lolita but I forgot to mark it) mention the imagination. How great is the imagination of a person? Of course it would vary from person to person, but sometimes I get the idea people believe their imagination is grand.

I think that most people's imaginations are almost inept. I was arguing with someone I know about something like this. She said she felt that she much rather imagine things than be shown them. I find that understandable. An exercise of the mind can be just as pleasurable as the exercise of the body. But exactly what does the imagination create? Does it really create a vision or does it create a false experience of what we believe we are creating in our minds? I don't really know which one is acting when I'm reading a book but I know which one is acting when I'm creating something.

I love to draw. Drawing is my first love. Sometimes I'll think of something great to draw (or so I think), and I'll eagerly get whatever instruments I have nearby to put it to paper. Then, the actual drawing of what I envision. Truth be told, it never is like what I envision it. No matter how many times I redraw and refine, no drawing I ever make will be what I envisioned. It can come out approximately close sometimes. And rarely, it'll come out even better. The drawing will impress me. I can count the number of times that has happened with my hands, and I've worked with my imagination for tens of thousands of hours. It is my opinion, that an artist who can draw what he envisioned is the supreme master of his craft.

I'm finding it hard to articulate what my point is. Maybe its that artists have the most exercised imaginations. Artists of all sorts of course. Musicians, writers, directors, actors and even particularly clever scientists or chef. They use their imaginations for their craft and I find it hard to believe many of them achieve what they wish for. Sometimes, I remember what someone once wrote or told me. "Originality is splicing things up beyond recognition." Sometimes, I think no one has any real imagination.

Another point I think I'm trying to make is that the imagination we use when reading a book is a limited one. One that is not actually used to create something concrete. Maybe if I drew the room in which most of Reading Lolita in Tehran I would feel better when the author says "I wonder if you can imagine us" because then I wouldn't feel hesitant to say, I guess.

Im sorry this post is rambling and unorganized. Sometimes, my imagination fails me.

1 comment:

  1. Your statement about an artist creating what he had envisioned as the "master of his craft" is an idea many 'artists' can agree with. In fact it was Hitchcock that said if a director is able to create something even 65% of the way he has envisioned it, then he is at the top of his craft.