The imagination is crucial, in poet Wallace Stevens’ view, to the human effort to cope with an increasingly violent reality.
As he explained in a lecture presented in the midst of World War II, “The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words,” the poet responds to the extreme pressure of news and worldwide violence with the counterforce of the imagination. The role of the poet is that “of resisting or evading the pressure of reality,” knowing it may become even “deadlier” tomorrow.” It is a violence from within that protects us from a violence without. It is the imagination pressing back against the pressure of reality.”
Although Stevens’ comments were over 60 years ago, his view is relevant today, and not just for poets. We all need to use our imagination to counteract the world’s social, political and economic challenges.
To explore possibilities, to imagine the unthinkable, everyone — business leaders, citizens, politicians — needs to counter the daily barrage of data, electronic communications, and social media.
Listen to a symphony, watch a play, go to a concert.
Even better don’t leave these things in the hands of the professional performers and experts. Draw, dance, write a poem, sing. Engage, imagine, create, and open up.
Twisted Tree Image: naama