THE RETURN TO IMAGINATION AND MAGIC
DECEMBER 17, 2009. Taking a semi-break from medical/science issues.
Space is a collapsible item. It can be taken down like a stage set and later rebuilt, differently, in the twinkling of an eye.
Imagination does the rebuilding. And in doing so, transforms a life.
When I started painting in the fall of 1962, in New York, I experienced that in spades. Until that point, I pretty much assumed the world was the only space available.
In a small apartment in Manhattan, I painted day and night. I hung some of the finished work and the rest lay around me on the floor. To say each piece was its own world was not a metaphor, in my eyes.
It was an extreme confidence builder.
Imagination is always there: waiting. It's inexhaustible. It has no limits. It's not dependent on time or place. And in the launching of new spaces, it restores an ageless satisfaction.
The deepest Life has no clock. It doesn't creep along a line of advancing history. It moves out into endless improvisations.
I've posted a number of interviews I did with my friend and colleague, Jack True. Jack started out as a hypnotherapist, and then later changed his method of operation with patients, so that imagination became his primary tool. In the middle of one of our interviews, he said:
Let's face it. Without imagination, we'd all be dead. We'd be robots. We might be trained to perform acts, but there would be no life in us, just a current of minimal electricity to keep the whole show going. The paradox is, most of us deny having an imagination. Or if we'll admit it, we say we don't know how to use it. What is that all about? And then, on top of this immense lie we're telling ourselves, we say we want a better world. A better world for whom? Robots? Is that what we're aiming for??
At that point, I said, The most direct road to imagination is art. You can't really avoid it. If you use your imagination long enough and widely enough, you end up doing art. But that seems to be a dirty word. People avoid it like the plague. They think you're consigning them to Hell. Art? No, anything but that. I'd rather dig ditches than make art.
Jack laughed and pointed out the window at the street. You see that?? he said. That's what people claim they want. Reality as it is. No frills, no add-ons. They just want what's real. They keep saying it over and over, and that's what they damn well get. It's a full-blown phobia. So-called reality is the cover story everyone buys. And when you start to take the lid off the cover story, they protest. They're secret agents of reality as it is, and you're taking away their legend, their handle, their job. You're exposing them to the enemy. Except there is no enemy. That's a myth. When you explode the myth, you're left with imagination. And art. That's all. No one is bringing us a new world. We make worlds.