July 16, 2008

The whispering chambers of imagination

What if you could turn back time?

Trying to go to bed last night, I wished fervently that it was January 1, 2008. But then I quickly realized it would not do much good. Things were already in motion by then and I would not be able to prevent anything that has transpired this year. And then I had this thought - what if I woke up tomorrow and magically found that it was January 1, 1983. Surely, I have been in control of my own life in the last twenty-five years. What would I do differently? What would I not do? Which decisions would alter the course my life has taken and which ones would not affect it anyway?

What would I hold on to and not let go? Overwhelmed with memories of my father at this point, I snapped out of this reverie and stopped this 'vortex of immensity' with the following thought:

What is it that I have today that I will not have in 25 years? Better hold on to it and enjoy it now because no one knows what tomorrow brings.

Tomorrow (which in this case is already today), as the
clichéd saying goes, is another day.

`Mind and matter,' said the lady in the wig, `glide swift into the vortex of immensity. Howls the sublime, and softly sleeps the calm Ideal, in the whispering chambers of Imagination. To hear it, sweet it is. But then, outlaughs the stern philosopher, and saith to the Grotesque, "What ho! arrest for me that Agency. Go, bring it here!" And so the vision fadeth.' - Martin Chuzzlewit, Charles Dickens.

Only in man’s imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life.” - A Personal Record, Joseph Conrad

[Both quotes gleaned this morning from an interesting essay I found about imagination and poetry, which also refers to this wonderful poem, To Imagination, by Emily Bronte. Instead of me quoting excerpts from it, enjoy it in its entirety.]

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