Internal view of the Stanford torus. Source: Wikipedia.
From all the modern crises we face and suffer, there is one no one suspects of. It is the big elephant in the room of our challenging future ahead. I am referring to the unsuspected crisis of imagination. Since I was a child it bothered me and bored me why adults would not stop until they managed to strip away our dearest fantasies, imaginative ideas and any dreams that would not fit into the pathetically tiny box of possibilities for supposedly a successful career and life like doctor, layer, salesman and a just a few other professions. If we did not aspire to any of those limited possibilities, we were considered immature and childish, or living in La La Land.
Imagination is a word that has often become pejorative in our highly manipulated society as it often associated with kids or adults who cannot be taken seriously and therefore are pushed away from society being regarded as naïve, unrealistic or crazy.
We lose half of our humanity as we grow up and expose ourselves to the conditioning that annihilates our precious boundless and connecting child mind. Family, society and school make sure those ideas and attitudes that represent a threat to society’s narrow and fragile order are eradicated quite often ridiculing, marginalizing and even physically abusing those who dare to think outside the box, let alone those who question the system and the status quo. I know this not so much because of the dozens of passages where I have read about it, but because I have lived this painful truth in my own being.
Let’s be honest. Creativity is rewarded in just a relatively few exclusive circles, most of them not even available to the public at large. A few folks in the arts are allowed and even encouraged to think more creatively than anyone else but even then they are often subject to the same prejudice, criticism and antagonism as everyone else who dares to question The Establishment.
Even when creativity is made available to the public such as through activities like arts, crafts and cultural events, such creativity represents a mere narrow band in the vastly wide spectrum of possibilities available to re-define and re-live reality, and quite often such activities are nothing but an embellished repackaging of traditional outdated cultural icons and views thus offering a false and deceiving creative outlet.
A big inhibitor of creativity is the prevailing prejudice that creative activities are secondary in importance. They are generally thought of as a good hobby, a way to relax. They are usually played down by parents, teachers and neighbors as respectable career paths as an engineer or a sales executive are, simply because they are not perceived as ‘bread earners’.
A bigger detractor of creativity which reaches the rank of malicious is the prejudice and mental hijacking exerted by religious and political ideologies. These preconceived views of reality are mental strait jackets that keep individuals in a highly reduced universe whose limits cannot even be defined because they cannot even be imagined. The manipulative nature of these ideologies is so potent that it keeps the minds of the subjected believers unable to consider any idea outside their mandated conception of reality.
In this day and age creativity is still not taken seriously enough. The irony is that it will be our creativity, not traditional thinking, what will allow us to survive and thrive in this brave new world. No, this is not just a minor nuisance or even a loss of talent and potential but a cause of complacency, ignorance and ultimately inaction regarding the global crises we face including climate change, environmental degradation, resource depletion, food and water scarcity risks, world financial and economic instability, and all the other global challenges ahead.
Our lack of imagination to (1) conceive an alternative healthier world and (2) develop an alternative sustainable way to relate to ourselves, our species and the earth, results in our lack of ability and will to take the action. And of course I am referring to the action required to correct our accelerating collision course with the planet.
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