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DTMark

The quality of your imagination

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There was mention of this recently and I was wondering if it's the same for everyone and is age-related.

When I was a child I read just about everything Enid Blyton wrote. I haven't read anything of hers for over thirty years but I remember the people and places being evoked really strongly in my mind. To this day I retain a mental image of the Enchanted Wood with the Magic Faraway Tree. Indeed every time I see Simon Rimmer I see Mr. Moon Face.

I'm sure that, at that age, I could readily create all sorts of imaginary things in my mind, on demand. I could "daydream".

I don't think this really happens any more. At least, not in the same controlled manner nor to the same extent and while conscious. It still happens when dreaming, all by itself. Not always in pleasant ways albeit I suspect I might have had more nightmares as a child (more extreme emotional responses both "nice" and "nasty").

Were I a writer, I don't think I'd be able to "be Enid Blyton" and create those things.Perhaps a part of her never grew up. She was somewhat troubled. But this isn't really about Enid Blyton specifically.

What I wonder is whether it's normal - as you age - to be less able to dream, to fantacise, what causes that "power" to diminish (do we surrender it, or is it effectively "beaten out of us") and how it is that some manage to retain that ability which seems magical from some distance, something tangible that I can almost, but not quite, connect with when I see the cover of one of her books.

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7 minutes ago, DTMark said:

There was mention of this recently and I was wondering if it's the same for everyone and is age-related.

When I was a child I read just about everything Enid Blyton wrote. I haven't read anything of hers for over thirty years but I remember the people and places being evoked really strongly in my mind. To this day I retain a mental image of the Enchanted Wood with the Magic Faraway Tree. Indeed every time I see Simon Rimmer I see Mr. Moon Face.


I have recently re-read some of the Magic Faraway Tree stories. They're great.
 

I don't think children read enough in general. And anyone who disses Enid Blyton can go fuck themselves. 

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10 minutes ago, DTMark said:

 

Were I a writer, I don't think I'd be able to "be Enid Blyton" and create those things.Perhaps a part of her never grew up. 

Looks like it, here playing snap with her "little" girls. They look pretty big to me. 

 

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My imagination is as powerful as it ever was - I think it may be a little like a muscle that withers if it's not used, and that most people underuse theirs because they're busy focussing on the mundane responsibilities of real life. I've always used my imagination as a way of escaping those, so have worked that muscle constantly.

It's great, except for the fact that I'm not very good at hiding it and frequently get called on the fact that I'm no longer "in the room", so to speak.

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19 minutes ago, sarahbell said:


I have recently re-read some of the Magic Faraway Tree stories. They're great.
 

I don't think children read enough in general. And anyone who disses Enid Blyton can go fuck themselves. 

I think the SJWs have done their damdest to get her off the shelves. The Adventure series was good, but..

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/parents-beware-the-awful-blyton-is-back-nicola-jones-refuses-to-read-her-children-the-stories-she-1467366.html

As for poor old Br'er rabbit ( which she cribbed from the US ) decapitated by some SJW bunny boiler.

Edited by crashmonitor

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I used to read a lot as a kid. There was a library. My dad didn't allow books in the house as he thought they were "dirty". I read "Lady Chatterly's Lover" in the coal bunker when dad wasn't watching.

Now my imagination is stretched by my 2017-2018 tax avoidance returns.

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28 minutes ago, DTMark said:

There was mention of this recently and I was wondering if it's the same for everyone and is age-related.

When I was a child I read just about everything Enid Blyton wrote. I haven't read anything of hers for over thirty years but I remember the people and places being evoked really strongly in my mind. To this day I retain a mental image of the Enchanted Wood with the Magic Faraway Tree. Indeed every time I see Simon Rimmer I see Mr. Moon Face.

I'm sure that, at that age, I could readily create all sorts of imaginary things in my mind, on demand. I could "daydream".

I don't think this really happens any more. At least, not in the same controlled manner nor to the same extent and while conscious. It still happens when dreaming, all by itself. Not always in pleasant ways albeit I suspect I might have had more nightmares as a child (more extreme emotional responses both "nice" and "nasty").

Were I a writer, I don't think I'd be able to "be Enid Blyton" and create those things.Perhaps a part of her never grew up. She was somewhat troubled. But this isn't really about Enid Blyton specifically.

What I wonder is whether it's normal - as you age - to be less able to dream, to fantacise, what causes that "power" to diminish (do we surrender it, or is it effectively "beaten out of us") and how it is that some manage to retain that ability which seems magical from some distance, something tangible that I can almost, but not quite, connect with when I see the cover of one of her books.

Maybe it becomes about calibration. Once you get to a certain age, you have a handle on most things and therefore everything reverts to a standard idea.

Maybe your Italian is too good now but I find it a nice game filling in the blanks when reading something written in a foreign language. I'll know the odd word and then let my mind decide what the other words mean. Maybe not quite such a visual thing. 

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I never really had much of an imagination as a kid, in that I wasn't interested in fantasy worlds or dressing-up or reading fiction. It just never appealed to me, the desire to escape reality. But conversely as I age it becomes more appealing to be able to leave behind the mundane and the drab and escape into a world of make believe. Perhaps Ms Blyton was the same.

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I think imagination gets beaten out of people by the unimaginative. There are those for whom their imagination, and hence play, are a huge part of who they are. Others not so. But the others, even if they are a small minority, often stop the rest from being themselves. Whether it is by ridicule or brute force, or both, people find themselves unable to vent their full imaginations. It starts in the playground and, as the teenage years approach, being part of the group, not being shamed and, of course, ego all play big parts in people starting to close down their true selves.

Being true to yourselves is, I think, one of the great life lessons. Most of us are not able to do this though. Again, ridicule and fear play a huge part. It should not be so as the people who lack imagination are the ones who should be pitied.

Look at the people whom we often hold high in our society today - actors, writers, musicians, artists. They all exercise their imaginations. Many of them get hugely rewarded for doing so. Yet how often do you hear such people talk that they were bullied for their imagination when in school? Or they reverted more into their imagination because of being bullied? Yes, I think it is often beaten out of people.

One of my bug bears in life is that people stop playing when they decide that they are adults - or other adults decide for them. It is very hard to go against everyone else. When children most of us loved playing doctors & nurses, cowboys & indians (Geesh, I will be put on trial one day for writing such things.) or any other kind of fantasy. It has always seemed to me that the best time to play such games... to utilise that imagination... is when we are adults. Surely doctors & nurses is much more fun as adults than as children... but sadly, by the time most of us have to that age, it has either bean beaten out of us. Or our egos tells us not to be so silly. Nah, being silly and stupid are some of the great things about being alive.

Don't forget, for a large part of our Human history the story tellers have held an exalted position in our societies. Partly as they held the oral tradition of who we were as a people. What our ancestors did. But somehow, somewhere, people began telling stories. I often wonder how, where and when that started. Some dark night huddled around a camp fire no doubt. People creating all manner of things seemingly out of nothing. But it came from within. Someone's mind started stories. How did we get from Big Bang to stone and rock to living flesh and finally to beings that make things up?

I was in a supermarket queue yesterday. A very attractive lady was behind me. I did my flirting about how healthy her shopping was. She was having a Morrocan themed party that evening. I asked whether everyone was going to dress up. Men in stripey dressing gowns with twirly moustaches? Women in veils and salvegirl costumes? She laughed. Said that she wished that she had thought of that. Perhaps next time she concluded.

I was pleased with her reaction. Someone else may have given me the 'weirdo' reaction. Closed minds. Dull, unimaginative? Or just afraid of being true to one's self. It is very hard to be true to yourself.

As you can tell, I could rant forever about this. It is something that I give a lot of thought to.

Edited by The Masked Tulip
found a typo right at the end, probably loads more but I am in laa-laa-land right now

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My earliest memory was a 'Magic Roundabout' mobile above my cot when I was 2 or 3 (I've confirmed this with mother) 

I don't recall much about my childhood memories from then till about 13yrs onwards.

Watching 'Avatar' right now - worth a watch if you've not seen before.

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As someone else pointed out the mind, or brain, is a muscle like any other part of the body. It needs to be worked, exercised and developed. Don't wait till you get order to play sudoko puzzles - go buy an xbox now and jump into the fantasy worlds. There are lots of studies which suggest that gaming helps keep the mind young.

People think that writing is easy - professional writing that is. But it is hard work. Those who do it for a living can find themselves exhausted at the end of a day. Or they have to do exercises in order to develop and expand how their mind works.

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I've got a very good and active imagination which I hope to put to good use one day by writing stuff down.

The problem I have is that it looks like I've got Menier's Disease (diagnosis ongoing) which, at it's worst, wipes my mind like a magnet over a hard drive and reduces my cognition to that of the most ardent of Black Friday shoppers.

It's hugely frustrating, to put it mildly.

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The majority of theoretical physicists are done by the time they're 35. Most composers have done their most inventive work by then too. As a writer of music, I look back at my twenties with the realisation that it was my most creative/imaginative period. It's been replaced by a maturity in composing that I never had before - swings and roundabouts. 

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9 hours ago, The Masked Tulip said:

Nah, being silly and stupid are some of the great things about being alive.

I agree and have been surprised at how different this can be between families. Much more fun to be yourself and be able to have a laugh rather than be serious. Used to talk about this with my Russian friend as we both had boyfriends with uptight English families. We joked that we used to want to shout swear words when at the in laws because of how forced all interactions were. It feels like they are acting rather than existing and is such a dull way to live. 

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I think as a child you have the time to day dream and let your imagination run away with you. I think I still have a good imagination when I get the chance to use it! Loved Enid Blyton as a child and re-read a few when Dipsy junior was younger, I'd kept all my Famous Five,  Mallory Towers, Twins of St Clare's and Faraway Tree books - none of them are PC, bloody great!

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40 minutes ago, maudit said:

I agree and have been surprised at how different this can be between families. Much more fun to be yourself and be able to have a laugh rather than be serious. Used to talk about this with my Russian friend as we both had boyfriends with uptight English families. We joked that we used to want to shout swear words when at the in laws because of how forced all interactions were. It feels like they are acting rather than existing and is such a dull way to live. 

It is very hard for people to break out of convention or how they were brought up. Being seen as not being part of the herd opens us up to danger. So people often do not do it even if they wish to do so inside. Plus it is hard to do if you have been conditioned to conform since childhood.

I suspect hundreds of millions, billions, are like this. Hiding their real selves inside and being miserable.

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40 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

It is very hard for people to break out of convention or how they were brought up. Being seen as not being part of the herd opens us up to danger. So people often do not do it even if they wish to do so inside. Plus it is hard to do if you have been conditioned to conform since childhood.

I suspect hundreds of millions, billions, are like this. Hiding their real selves inside and being miserable.

This is probably why so much great poetry is written in war time when the hold of convention weakens and danger quickens the imagination. A lot of good war poems were produced by individuals who had showed little ability before the conflict started and often showed none afterwards. I am very fond of the poem Thermopylae 1941 written by JE Brooks about his experience with the Australian brigade holding that pass in Greece against the Germans. It was apparently written in more or less one draft in a POW camp in Salonika and was not published until after Brooks death when it was found in a shoe box in his house in Somerset. As far as I know he wrote nothing else of note yet it is a poem packed with mythic imagination that mixes the mundane with the world of the classical Greeks and their gods

http://tripthroughtime.com/poem-of-the-day-thermopylae-1941/

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11 hours ago, MrPin said:

I used to read a lot as a kid. There was a library. My dad didn't allow books in the house as he thought they were "dirty". I read "Lady Chatterly's Lover" in the coal bunker when dad wasn't watching.

Now my imagination is stretched by my 2017-2018 tax avoidance returns.

Did he ask who had white washed the coal bunker 

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56 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

It is very hard for people to break out of convention or how they were brought up. Being seen as not being part of the herd opens us up to danger. So people often do not do it even if they wish to do so inside. Plus it is hard to do if you have been conditioned to conform since childhood.

I suspect hundreds of millions, billions, are like this. Hiding their real selves inside and being miserable.

Very insightful IMO about human beings and I personally relate.

I’ve never fitted in with the crowd all my life and even in my own family and have found life tough and very miserable at times.

Thankfully I’ve evolved over the years and DGAF about fitting in these days. I regard myself as alone and that it’s up to me to make the best of my existence and do as much as I can to make my life acceptable and at times enjoyable.

It’s a good approach from my experience because I still feel like an outsider and that I don’t fit in. The difference these days is that I don’t fret about the direct or imagined criticism regarding all aspects of my life from others.

 

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11 hours ago, crashmonitor said:

I think the SJWs have done their damdest to get her off the shelves. The Adventure series was good, but..

The adventure series was my favourite too.

I can still picture in my head exactly how I imagined the entrance to the hidden cave looked. I wouldn’t watch a film of it because it would ruin it for me.  Just like lord of the rings.. I still haven’t watched that for the same reason.

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1 minute ago, Van Lady said:

Very insightful IMO about human beings and I personally relate.

I’ve never fitted in with the crowd all my life and even in my own family and have found life tough and very miserable at times.

Thankfully I’ve evolved over the years and DGAF about fitting in these days. I regard myself as alone and that it’s up to me to make the best of my existence and do as much as I can to make my life acceptable and at times enjoyable.

It’s a good approach from my experience because I still feel like an outsider and that I don’t fit in. The difference these days is that I don’t fret about the direct or imagined criticism regarding all aspects of my life from others.

 

 

I can relate to much of this. I do try to DGAF but every so often the ugy loneliness creeps in. Those can strike at anytime and, whether it is in the middle of night or during the day amongst a crowd, can be ruddy painful and truly test the DGAF. But then I look around at couples and I see so many miserable ones.

If I am out and see a middle-aged or older couple holding hands I stop and tell them how lucky they are to be in love. It is a rare thing to see that in a couple in their 40's or over. I envy those couples. But I have such a different personality and interests to most that I would, could, never be happy in conventionality. I would also make a conventional person unhappy.

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2 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

 

I can relate to much of this. I do try to DGAF but every so often the ugy loneliness creeps in. Those can strike at anytime and, whether it is in the middle of night or during the day amongst a crowd, can be ruddy painful and truly test the DGAF. But then I look around at couples and I see so many miserable ones.

If I am out and see a middle-aged or older couple holding hands I stop and tell them how lucky they are to be in love. It is a rare thing to see that in a couple in their 40's or over. I envy those couples. But I have such a different personality and interests to most that I would, could, never be happy in conventionality. I would also make a conventional person unhappy.

Yep.

Being totally honest I feel very lonely at times. It’s not the done thing to admit that but sometimes I do. I know I’m not alone in feeling lonely but it’s a huge life problem IMO. Part of life.

I also admit to sometimes feeling envious of long term couples who have worked through strife and reached a comfortable rubbing along together lifestyle. I don’t believe people stay in love for years though but I could be wrong about that.

Also I can admit to realising that it will be extremely unlikely for me that I’ll ever be in a couple because, different reasons perhaps from yours, I’m not like conventional or mainstream people.

Better to be alone though IMO and try to embrace life rather than be trapped in an unsatisfactory relationship.

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