“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to what we all know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” --Albert Einstein
Harry Potter fans finally got their hands on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince four days ago, opened it to chapter one, and read: “It was nearing midnight and the Prime Minister was sitting alone in his office, reading a long memo that was slipping through his brain without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind.”
Readers of The Sun Singer are opening this magical novel to chapter one to find: “Cold chaos of night and strangled moon, the great old trees drenched in sap’s perfume rise up like gaunt fingers out of the valley gloom seeking stars, any light.”
These opening lines are calling cards to your imagination.
They promise good stories filled with magic and mystery and a smorgasbord of other dangerous and humorous delights. There’s room enough in either book for your imagination to run wild, potentially creating scenes and characters the authors never dreamt of when they were weaving their tapestries of words.
The Sun Singer tells the story of young Robert Adams, an everyday kind of guy with a hidden talent who suddenly finds himself on the mythic hero’s path. He hardly knows himself, and now others are depending on him.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince continues the story of young Harry Potter, an everyday kind of guy with a hidden ancestry who suddenly finds himself on the mythic hero’s path. Like Robert, he hardly knows himself but he, too, finds others depending on him.
While you are reading these novels, you are invited to let your imagination escape from the cage of our rules-based everyday world and fly wherever your new wings will carry you. Perhaps there are hidden talents and hidden ancestries there for you to find; or perhaps you will create your own smorgasbord of delights and sample each one in turn. (They are calorie free!)
While you are immersed in the stories, you may discover that the events of your life have made for you a hero’s path. Great dreams urge you to walk upon it and face the risks and rewards of doing the impossible in service to others—and to transform yourself.
Once these books have been read and then read again and thought about and talked about before being put on shelves to gather dust and/or new readers, you will have received a gentle—but high-impact—charge of energy that refuels your imagination and inspires you to do wonderful things.
Day to day, we encounter projects, challenges, products, the furniture in the house, the cars on the street, the homes and buildings of our cities and towns, and in our science and technology based world, we see everything before us as concrete and real. Almost everything we have been taught reminds us that we live in a logical, nuts-and-bolts world. So it is, that Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and the Western Mountains in The Sun Singer seem very far away along with the magic and the mystery they contain.
But what about this? Suppose that whenever you receive a gentle—but high-impact—charge of energy that refuels your imagination from any source, you suddenly hold a calling card in your hand that invites you to see your day-to-day world as it really is: the product of the imagination.
Every object you see was first imagined, as was every main street and country lane, every job, every course of study, and every journey. The nuts-and-bolts objects and events do not physically appear until they have been selected from the infinite smorgasbords of one or more individuals’ imagination and then displayed before your eyes.
Harry Potter and Robert Adams began as fictional characters in novels. But as you allow your imagination to fly above the clouds, they almost become real as do the magical worlds they inhabit. The gentle—but high-impact—charge of energy that allows you to so easily picture this in your mind’s eye is (truth be told) the very same charge you use to create your life, your world, and the roads you travel.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Sunday, July 10, 2005
“Throughout the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstance, the myths of man have flourished; and they have been the living inspiration of whatever else may have appeared out of the activities of the human body and mind. It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation.” –Joseph Campbell, 'The Hero With a Thousand Faces'
“We have discovered the dual nature of the soul, and we understand that we are fully part of the nonlocal intelligence, just as a wave is part of the ocean. We have learned to see the synchronicity in all things, the matrix that links us to the source of the universe.” –Deepak Chopra, 'The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire'
“Whenever any of us becomes a hero, a dragon, a princess, or any of the other dramatis personae of the mythological world, we are dissolved in an archetype—an identity larger than ourselves. Our personal uniqueness perishes as we enter an eternal role. And yet it is only through entering this paradoxical zone that we truly find our individuality…” –Stephen Larsen, 'The Mythic Imagination – The Quest for Meaning Through Personal Mythology'
“Myth is not a distortion of fact, but the womb through which fact must come.” –Seth, in 'The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events – A Seth Book,' by Jane Roberts.
“The Harry Effect – Popular Hero Shifts Literary Landscape,” an article in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, stated that fantasy literature—which evolved out of mythology and folktales—is more escapist than science fiction.
I’m not surprised when I see fantasy and related styles and genres labeled as escapist, for that left-brain approach to literature meshes neatly with the predominant worldview that logic and empirical facts are the foundation on which civilization rests.
Let’s stipulate that some readers will be drawn to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as a brief escape from something or someone. And, other readers may run away from the everyday world into His Dark Materials, Artemis Fowl, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, The Sun Singer, and The Chronicles of Narnia.
But let’s give our readers more credit than that. Rather than looking at their reading as a negative escape from something, I suggest we should view it as a positive journey to something. Perhaps that something is a chance to experience and experiment with right-brain thinking...or a means of fueling the imagination and inspiring one’s own creativity...or a key element in one’s own conscious mythmaking.
Our readers have a thirst, I believe, for the true everlasting waters on which our civilization and our lives are sustained. They see within the grand fantasies and myths of worlds and cultures and within the personal fantasies and myths each of us follow day in an day out, the source of everything we know or will ever know and a road map for the journeys we are making.