Imagination is very evasive and very difficult to define, because it is unique for each person on this planet. Imagination is one of the most human and therefore most unique concepts in the universe, which is known to us. We do not know whether animals or other living creatures have the gift of imagination. One thing is clear: imagination has become one of the factors that has gotten homo sapience atop of the hierarchy on our planet – the ability to think hypothetically, to envision the most daring things, so that there would be some incentive to move forward and to develop in whichever direction.
Fr. Nicolas gives a very interesting definition of imagination by saying that it is the ability to look at “the depths of reality” and “re-imagining” it. He views imagination as a deep level of reflection, which, as of late, has been thwarted considerably by the shifts in the society, which were introduced by modern technologies. While I do not think that imagination is all about deeper reflection and trying to look into things at a deeper level while alternating them, I wholeheartedly support the thought that modern tendencies towards globalization thwart the ability of younger generations to use their imagination to fulfill its potential completely.
New means of communication brought about the era of close connection between human beings, no matter how far from each other they are. Internet allowed visiting museums virtually, enjoying the beauties of nature and outer space – all available within a click of the mouse. Internet advanced the availability of the films and provided access to anything one could wish for. This resulted in the oversaturation of information, visual in particular. This left almost space to imagination for younger generations, who have any visual content readily available. There is no more need to strain one’s mind to look deeply into anything, reflect deeper into the nature of things and to try reimagining them. Internet has already done it in numerous possible ways. So, what we experience now is the devaluation of imagination as the driving force of mankind’s development.
The modern types of media do not leave enough space for thought: everything is presented on a golden dish with a blue lovely rim. Everything is analyzed beforehand and presented to an average user in ready made form. Let us take a common situation: writing a thesis paper. Earlier on, some 10 or 15 years ago a student had to think where to look for information, which book might contain the needed information for research, which sources may turn out to be unexpectedly good, interesting, and competent sources of information. One had to think of how top open up the topic and to make it interesting, enticing, yet fully proved by the fact and sound arguments.
To come up with all of the above, one requires abstract way of thinking which involves a good deal of imagination and ability to perceive an issue hypothetically. Now though, with so much available content available so easily, mental abilities do not have to be exercised extensively. Therefore, we have a situation, which is massively detrimental to many up and coming young individuals. Thanks to so much readily available content, the possibility to apply one mind has decreased. So, what can one in do in such a grave situation?
The answer is one: read. It is no coincidence that a book has remained till nowadays even such a universally acceptable and effective source of knowledge and information. The beauty of the book that it not only provides information, facts, and other useful things for mind – it also develops imagination greatly. The best books to read are without illustrations (provided that they are not of scientific nature), so that the mind could be trained to envision things, concepts, and ideas that are presented in any given book. This has been arguably the best way of developing imagination and abstract thinking since the time when the book was invented. It would also be advisable to restrain oneself partially from using Internet as a resource of information and communication and to rely on “analogue” means, such as libraries and live, real human communication. This is doubtlessly difficult to do, but I am confident that the results would be visible very soon, when one realizes how much better the real world despite the fact that it does not allow for much globalization. By mitigating the amount of ready made content and by trying to reach certain ideas and conclusion with the help of one’s own mind, a student would be able to arrange a better work out for the mind and, therefore, raise the abilities of imagination and hypothetical thinking.
Imagination is a vitally important of a human mind. It is what has driven many bright minds to create and invent things which were considered unthinkable before. This is the power, which drove the Europeans to exploring the planet on the other side and the entire mankind to start space exploration. By reducing the quantity of time spent in the Internet and turning to good old traditional books, a person is bound to strengthen the power of imagination.