Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Long Live The Imagination

By Richard Jay Parker

Following on from Matt's piece about pulp fiction I feel I should add my own positive endorsement of not just pulp fiction but the broader notion of the written word remaining a vital part of everyone's personal development.  Whether you like reading Russian classics or riveting thrillers you're exercising your imagination - a faculty that is being steadily dimished by the plethora of 21st Century instant entertainment available to us.

Maybe it's not the fate of printed books we should be campaigning for but simply the idea of perpetuating the unique and personal experience of using words (in whatever format) to populate your mind with characters drawn from your own well.

OK - it's hardly surprising that a writer would be all for this but I really can't conceive of a world where some of the people who entertain me aren't entirely personal to me.  When you open/switch on a book your imagination is choreographed by the author but it's the only time your brain fills in the gaps and fleshes out the characters.

TV, DVDs and computer games are great entertainment and enrich our leisure time but they do all the work for us.  A little like dragging yourself down to the gym but watching everyone else working out.  Fun but not very beneficial.  And like your body your brain needs to be stimulated to stay in shape.  OK - fifties scaremongering infomercial over.

Simply put, I don't want the human imagination to become a casualty.  It's way too valuable and has given us the best books as well as the best DVDs, TV and computer games.  We've got to keep it in shape.

Even though I use mine every day I realise it's not relevant to everyone's lives.  I just hope this number doesn't rapidly escalate and we lose all those vital triggers to every new concept that entertains us.   Can you imagine that?

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  1. Richard I agree with you! For me, there would be no greater hell in the world than a world without storytelling, in any form. The human creative engine is unsurpassed and it would be a damned shame, for me, to not exercise it. Thanks for a heart felt reminder of something that really matters to me.

  2. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, Jason. Glad you're in agreement.

  3. I concur wholeheartedly with your thought Mr Parker - and would add that what is happening to our 5-18 years olds today is frightening. I grew up in a time where the only sap on my time was Top Cat and Popeye and spent most of my childhood outdoors or reading and keeping myself entertained and in that world the imagination was allowed to develop and flourish. I feel sorry for young children, especially city kids, who might travel from infant school to the world of work without climbing a tree, making a model or reading a book.

  4. Thanks for your contribution, Greg. Imagination also blossoms from boredom. It's great that there are so many options for parents to keep their kids entertained today but it also means time alone for children in their own imagined worlds is getting pretty thin on the ground.