Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Past & Present; Tyranny of Imagination

A tyranny exists in the desire, those dreams and visions and imaginations of man by which we strive to dominate and obtain from life the good that we see as relevant to our self-interests. We do so by acquiring certain attributes, those esteemed by others as attributes giving power, influence and authority ; those attributes of strength, virtue, prowess, piety, etc., and it becomes laughable, a mere game of rock, paper, scissors, for the exercise of one seemingly supersedes or trumps another. Although we claim mastery and desire mastery of an attribute we still are at the whim of circumstance and public opinion. Physical strength does not defeat a virtuous life. A life of piety does not destroy an athlete's prowess. Respect is not found in knowledge and wisdom, nor is fame found in brute strength. Tyranny means to have by a means what can only be had by another. We do not love because of strength, we do not fear because of beauty, we do not respect because of piety, we do not praise because of knowledge, we do not have faith because of mental excellence or moral quality or physical power either held by ourselves or personified in another. In a world where differing ideals struggle for supremacy, life itself is just an ongoing record of who has won, recently. We are not guaranteed or granted success based on personal character. Dominance is decreed by popularity or majority and subsequently does not represent what is true or just or right. We can imagine and dream and yet ...

Imagination is a dominant faculty of man. Imagination has no conscience, no boundaries, no consistency, meaning the ability of imagination to be perverse is equally as probable as it being virtuous. Imagination is a part of the happy and unhappy, the well and the sick, the sane and the insane, the rich and the poor, it knows no ethnic nor cultural inhibitions, but possesses the souls of all men. It interrupts life with instances of intense feeling and promotes the absence or presence of love and hate. Imagination can make fools of wise men. You will be hard-pressed to find in the history of mankind an instance where imagination did not play a prominent part in the stimulus to act; "Reason is compelled to give ground, for the wisest of men accepts as his principles those which the imagination has had the nerve to introduce." The very premise of work and reward is based upon the assumptions and impressions of the imagination and it is in the pursuit of whim, fancy and fantasy that man finds his true value and worth. The tyrant is dressed in the finest of robes, heralded with the fanfare of Kings, surrounded by the attractive and devoted and only in the realm of the fantastical does the desire of man have its perceived fulfillment. Only in fantasy is beauty, happiness and justice truly created. The only tempering aspect of imagination is the memory, that part of our existence which has created the impressions of life subjecting the projection of imagination to a reality created by past experience. I view life and future through the lens of a perverted (corrupted by dysfunction or diverted by life circumstance) common sense which understands dependant upon what was clearly seen as reality in the past. My memory diverts from the possible, to what is imagined as reality, because belief is tied to the premise that reality is consistent with past experience. This can be the freedom or the enslavement of life. The fantasy created by imagination is a separate and distinct function of my mind from the imagination of the what I believe is truly possible. This is the box, the cage, the prison, the place where Despair lives, for one function cannot exist as a reality of the other. They are mutually exclusive; in the life of the spiritual man, this is faith functioning in the reality of memory, imagination functioning in the reality of belief, future in the reality of the past, situation in light of possibility, life functioning as a reality of random circumstance.

Imagination is the precursor of invention. Imagination is foundational to the telling of a story, the relating of a narrative. It is accepted as the innate ability and process to invent partial or complete personal realms within the mind from elements derived from sense perceptions of the shared world. In this is provided the coping and escape mechanisms which assist people in dealing with the absurdities and incomprehensible actions of life. It helps provide meaning to experience and understanding to knowledge; it is a fundamental facility through which people make sense of the world, and it plays a key role in the learning process. Imagination enhances and develops understanding, creating vistas from which perceptions of life are organized and randomness is comprehended. We seek limits, we desire boxes, whereby, we can relate to the abstract and physical world and develop the models of behaviour and the concepts of action and reaction and thereby cohesively and concisely deal practically and adequately with life. In this lies the fault of human endeavour for in seeking an understanding, we reach the limit of a conceptualization. To understand something is to have conceptualised it to a given measure, to have created a paradigm. The box has been created and we are seemingly safe inside.

Imagination differs fundamentally from belief because the subject understands that what is personally invented by the mind, via imagination, does not necessarily impact the course of action taken in the apparently shared world. Beliefs are part of what one holds as truths about both the shared and personal worlds and those beliefs do not necessarily translate as impetus for changing our surroundings to a representation of our imagined state of being. The play of imagination, is conditioned only by the general trend of the mind at a given moment, although imagination creates scenarios whereby self is served, vindicated or justified those scenarios are governed by circumstance and emotion. Belief, on the other hand, is immediately related to practical activity: Belief endeavours to conform life and thought to the subject's experienced conditions or faith in the possibility of those conditions. Possibility exists as a function of the imagined, the imagined is a function of faith as believing in the truth or knowledge of the reality of the possibilities. You cannot believe in that which you cannot imagine as possible. To believe otherwise is insanity. In certain instances of memory, where memory has been serving as a basis for the projection of future cause and effect, a paradigm shift in a person's imagination must occur to allow for freedom versus enslavement to happen. This is not an act of the will but an understanding of the fact that a higher power in the person of God exists and controls life. This belief enables the mind and spirit to accept the limitations of this existence as well as to apprehend the possibilities for this existence and the future as a part of the vision of God for each person; Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." If we can grasp or understand a concept of future and hope which exists as a part of reality outside the realm of this human existence; that exists as a part of God's plan for humanity then we can rest in the assurance and the promise that an expected end is to be the result of a Sovereign God's purpose for our lives. Thomas Edison believed that the concept of understanding comes from the two simple words under and stand. When one acknowledges that they stand below someone or something else, they make themselves receptive to obtain and retain information from it, thereby allowing for understanding to occur.

Ephes. 3:20, "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, (or imagine) according to the power that works in us,... "
Philip. 4:7, "...and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, (which goes beyond anything we can fathom or imagine) will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Imagination in the light of Christian faith is illuminating, invigorating, and healing and offers us a faith which is clarified by a commitment to; love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love others as we love ourselves and is rooted in a reality deeper than the confusing moral ambiguities that we encounter in this world. It is a revelation that requires that greater reality, the one beyond our imagination, an entrance into our world. The facts, reason and sensibilities of this world will not support such a faith, unless one can grasp with imagination and faith the belief that Jesus came into the world to testify to the truth: the truth that in an unimaginable twist to human history a God exists who loves to such a degree that an unimaginable event happened, He chose His Own death in place of mine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Design and efficacy have a special function and play a special part in setting the tone and usage of invention. This is the same as the function of an individual within an organization or social structure. The question was not whether the invention would function as an efficient tool, although that was not it's maker's intent. It was whether it was the best for the "part". And whether the user of the tool would "feel" that he had sold short his "ideal" for a "function".

I think this is where dreams and pragmatism conflict, at times. Dreams are our "ideals" of life, while "how things really are" is the pragmatic experience in life. Most of us have limited "budgets" (attainment of dreams), but the question is not the "budget" but if the choice of the "pragmatic" is the best for the occasion (attainment of the "goal). How does pragmatism "feel" on the ones who "wear it"? Is it appropriate, or "will it "do" because of costs limitations? Are we functioning on our "budgets" (attainment of our dreams) at the costs of the pragmatic? And what will be the "end" (attainment of the goal, the efficacy of invention use)?

The question is one of value, purpose, goals, function, and beauty. While goals, purposes, and function are usually forefront in our society and this is why we are a nation driven by business models, will those goals, "functions" and purposes distort values or beauty?

Values are not the considered by the unreflective, while beauty is certainly not the most important emphasis in our pragmatic society. Beauty is in the eye's of the beholder and this is why the individual is expendable in our society, when it comes to business propositions. The individual doesn't count in a system of pragmatic interests. The individual is only a means of accomplishing the end result, which benefits the "bottom line".