IMAGINATION: A NO FRILLS DEFENSE

Imagination is not just one thing we have—it is the only thing we have.

Imagination is how we experience the world. No other person or thing experiences it for us. Only we experience the world—which is the same thing as saying only we experience ourselves.

When someone is rude or short with us, or fails to meet our expectations, we feel pain beyond the rebuke itself because this is a glimpse into the truth that every soul is trapped in its own imagination: communication exists, but it is not communication with you. Even when someone loves you, they are not loving you—they are simply in an imaginatively loving state. None of us are capable of loving another, but some of us are able to love—by using our imaginations.

Individuality exists only so much as it feeds into a type. The imagination is able to combine types, but it cannot appreciate individuality, since imagination depends on universals, and universals depend on types.

These observations are only true of myself, and only so much as I am a universal, will they make any sense to you. The detail I invoke requires participation in a type for you to understand it.

Details are only experienced as they participate in a type. If a recognizable type is not acheived by the imagination, the detail will not be seen as useful, but will be felt as a waste or an annoyance.

This is easily demonstrated by song—a note is welcome as it contributes to the tune. One wrong note can destroy the loved and familiar musical phrase.

The imagination can re-work wrong notes into an improvisational framework or coloring—the variation on a theme relaxes this precision, yet improvisation takes skill, and notes will sound wrong if the governing spirit of the improvising musician is not doing its imaginative work. The imagination makes details disappear into a higher unity.

We can break it down morally.  Good aspires to a higher unity. Evil descends from higher unity into chaos. Stupidity has no idea of unity, or type, at all.

The imagination: there is no outside to it, and it is all we have.

An objection will arise: but the world outside is real and the world outside defines the imagination, etc

To this objection we respond: We are not defining the world, we are defining the imagination—and this is the only way to do it.

We can make a list of all the things in the world, but what can the actions of human beings possibly have to do with this list? Reality’s list is too large to have any impact. If reality is more than a word, we must acknowledge its bulk—a tiny part of it is enough to overwhelm. Reality filters into our imagination from a limited perspective in time and space—the imaginative reality is our only reality.

This is not to say that artistic consciousness is some kind of goal or ideal—it is not.  Given what has already been said, all of us are artists already. The worldly vanity of the artiste shall be safely ignored.  Poets need not prove they are poets—but that their reader is.

The poet should be involved in demonstrating imaginative skill, not attempting to convey what is real. Perspective in painting, for instance, as art history has demonstrated, is imaginative—the merely flat canvas is real.  Where should the poet’s desire lie?

Happiness belongs to our imagination.  Reality gives us food out of necessity—eating is pleasurable when it is social and imaginative, not when it is natural. Yes, sugar is a delight and is found in nature—but too much sugar makes us miserable.  The imagination, in its harmony and beauty, curbs all excess. The imagination requires no checks, as nature does, for imagination’s measure is beauty and happiness itself.

Material necessity has no claim on the imaginative.  As Da Vinci wrote in his notebooks, geometry is the basis of perspective in painting, and the point (which forms the line, etc) is the basis of geometry, and geometry’s point has no material existence.

If imagination suffers from being a mere isle in reality’s sea, it is the isle where we find all love, all harmony, all beauty, all happiness.

That, my love, is where I’ll meet you.

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