scene from six degrees of separation, written by john guare
PAUL: one of the great tragedies of our time (is) the death of the imagination. because what else is paralysis? the imagination has been so debased that “imagination”… “being imaginative”… rather than being a linchpin of our existence now stands as a synonym for something outside ourselves. like science fiction, or some new use for tangerines on raw pork chops. “what an imaginative summer recipe!!” and star wars – “so imaginiative!” and lord of the rings – “all those dwarves, so imaginative!”
the imagination has moved out of the realm of being our link, our most personal link with our inner lives, the world outside that world, this world we share. what is schizophrenia but a horrifying state where what’s in here doesn’t match up with what’s out there? why has imagination become a synonym for “style?”
i believe that imagination is the passport that we create to help take us into the real world. i believe that imagination is another phrase for what is most uniquely us.
jung says, “the greatest sin is to be unconscious.” holden (caulfield) says, “what scares me is the other guy’s face. it wouldn’t be so bad if you both could be blindfolded.” most of the time the faces that we face are not the other guy’s, but our own faces. and it is the worst kind of yellowness to be so scared of yourself that you put blindfolds on rather than deal with yourself.
to face ourselves. that’s the hard thing. the imagination – that’s God’s gift. to make the act of self-examination bearable.