Oblivious to our human yearnings for permanence, the universe is relentlessly wearing down, falling apart, driving itself to a condition of maximum disorder.*
Last night I felt suddenly that my inner landscape was like a vast ripening cornfield … inside me are cornfields growing and ripening. […] I am filled with a sort of bountifulness, even towards myself. And a feeling of being at one with all of existence.’**
Imagination is critical to our existence.
Being conscious of the past, present and future is only possible because of our imaginations.
We do not come into the world with our imaginations sealed. We know that sometimes we can struggle to imagine, others times we excel.
It is important to feed our imaginations every day:
‘Aways be reading something, he said. Even when we’re not physically reading. How else will we read the world? Think of it as a constant.’^
Etty Hillesum made her diary entries at one of the most horrible and destructive moments in human history. It was 1942 in Holland and the Nazi occupiers were increasing their terror upon the Jewish population, yet something was happening within Etty, desired here by Patrick Woodhouse:
‘Here we glimpse the inner ‘reality’ that made her say often that what was going on within her was more real than what was going on outside.’^^
Wallace Stevens writes about how we must bring the power of our imagination to bear upon the pressure of reality. Everyone not only has imagination but can feed and grow their imagination.
Albert Camus understood that between reality and imagination there can be discovered the most wonderful of human creations, a place we can live and flourish:
‘After all, perhaps the greatest of art lies in the perpetual tension between beauty and pain, the love of men and the madness of creation, unbearable solitude and the exhausting crowd, rejection and consent.’*^
(*From Alan Lightman’s The Accidental Universe.)
(**Etty Hillesum, from Patrick Woodhouse’s Etty Hillesum: A Life Transformed.)
(^The character Daniel Gluck, from Ali Smith’s Autumn.)
(^^From Patrick Woodhouse’s Etty Hillesum: A Life Transformed.)
(*^From Albert Camus’ Create Dangerously.)