Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: let's pretend

Reasonosis: a condition of the central nervous system, centralized in the brain, involving dangerous swelling in the left hemisphere of the brain, caused by sustained isolation from the right hemisphere. If untreated, can result in loss of psychological balance and distorted perceptions of reality.

Antidote: escapism in moderately dispensed quantities.

Somewhere along the line, reason ascended from ruling monarch to god and we lost our balance. We toppled into a most unhelpful habit…isolating one kind of thinking from another.

Maybe it happened as we began to amass a clinical understanding of what the brain does and how it goes about it. Maybe, like a child with a new toy, we tossed aside the old, familiar wisdom about the realm of imaginative wanderings that lead to such discoveries.

To be fair, imaginative discovery is on the accepted value list, as long as it serves commerce. Imaginative wandering, however, is more suspect. A bit of a tight spot, since the wandering must precede the discovery.

In any event, we need to pull ourselves together.

Reading fiction, any genre that takes us out of our analytical minds, is a healthy antidote to obsessive rationality. As we read, the characters take up residence, and long after the reading ends, their inhabitation continues. They are real. They are made up. Real is made up and made up is real. Much to my delight, we seem to be waking up to that remembering. And that reminds us, within earshot of many loud voices claiming otherwise, that made up and real are not separate.

Sometimes an old friend has the best words. Here’s William Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.


Kamsin said...

Great post! So true that reason has become a good and that the life of the imagination has equal value.

Becca said...

Applause applause! The world is definitely too much with us, and we all need to inject a little more fantasy into our lives :)

Well done!

Alexandra G said...

I really hope you are right and that we are awakening to this glorious remembering. It may sound dramatic but I shudder to think of a world where rationality is not in clear balance with ripe faith in the imagination as well. I think its not rational to not cultivate the world of the imagination because it is there that we can create new possibilities for the very real and tangible issues and struggles in our everyday lives.

chiefbiscuit said...

You have put this so well and with a very strong voice. Great reading - thanks. Wordsworth's intimations of childhood goes well with your thoughts ... altho' I'm not sure if the quote you used was from that particular poem? Even so, Ww did write about this subject a lot didn't he.

megan said...

reply to chiefbiscuit:
thanks for reading & commenting. Wordsworth, in his sonnet "The World Is Too Much With Us," is talking about man's separation from nature and how it's not such a great idea.

If you're interested, you can read more on this at: