Unleashing the imagination

Published 9:10 pm Tuesday, June 24, 2014

By Rex Alphin

“But by the end of August our repertoire was vapid from countless reproductions, and it was then that Dill gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out.”

— “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee

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Without it, Tolstoy’s pen would have lain dormant, the moon would hold no footprint, polio would ravage our children, gravity would be nameless. Language itself would be unrealized, undiscovered and unused, such that the very activity by which you are interpreting these small marks and the fact that my thoughts are — at this very moment — entering your consciousness would be impossible.

This thing called “the imagination,” is a mysterious force, an intangible monster that sits in the starting gate, tense, shackled, often confounded by its owner’s paralysis.

It lies in the heart of every mortal, as some caged lion, waiting to be unleashed by a single word, a solitary thought, a floating idea. Though dormant, it seeks to come alive; to be nurtured, stroked, fed, cuddled, observed, toyed with, played with, contemplated from a distance, studied with a microscope, bounced, dissected, stretched, compressed and analyzed.

It is fuel for the good, energy for the true, stimulation for the beautiful.

Its enemies? Habit, sloth and fear are but a few. The habit demands rigidity, a continuation within preset boundaries, a forced march within predictable lines, often pursuing the easier route.

Sloth seeks ease above all else, disdains effort and dislikes the taste of sweat. Fear avoids the unfamiliar, embraces only what is safe and lives within the known. It both seeks and expects the worst, the possibility of failure being at its core.

Unleash the imagination, I say! Burst the dam, sever the lock, unshackle the soul! Bind its enemies and let it run rampant upon the landscape. Let it seep into crevasses, drift through the atmosphere, drench the human endeavor.

There are a thousand dreams yet to be dreamed, ten thousand thoughts yet to be thought, a million discoveries out there somewhere, biding their time, waiting to be discovered. Go for it.

Rex Alphin of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for the Suffolk News-Herald. His email address is rexalphin@aol.com.