Often, illusion is better than reality. Sometimes it is not.

It depends on the feeling it elicits, the ideas hatched or the cravings it sates.

On Freedom: Epictetus

It is also about acceptance. The embracing of truth. And, we humans have troubles with that. Salman Rushdie‘s literary works connect the real life troubles of one’s expression of their own truth. We make up stories, myths and theories about everything, even and particularly about that which we are not so certain about.

Being in the dark irritates us. We must see the light in everything, even that which is unexplainable. Impossible to prove, not reliant on the so called natural laws we deciphered, still we must word it out somewhat. For long we believed that the moon is source of light. The spacial mirror of the sun is such a marvellous form of alignment that at night it brightens our paths if the sky is clear, as if it were the closest star.

darkness in photography

Curiosity drives human imagination.

So does passion, the uncontrollable pull of something towards itself. Irresistible. As our ancestors understood well, in spite of its vertiginous nature, passion blinds us. Isn’t it wonderful this place of hopeful imagination without boundaries? Those blinders create the lies we tell ourselves about the true nature of something or someone we are passionate about. At least temporarily.

sculptures at the Belvedere in Vienna

Imagination for the bigger picture

The problem with having answers to everything through words, a human invention itself, is that we miss the whole picture. Also the limits of our sensual perception enforce the iron gate of our ignorance. What lies beyond transcends our rational mind, the body and perhaps is what only the soul could ever experience, and that is why we invented the words sprit/soul in the first place, to explain the beyond, the rare glimpses of consciousness into something even supernatural.

I think that the arts like music, visual renderings of the artist’s experience and feelings, physical performance like dance, ritual rites, tell more than words will ever be capable of. These harmonious instinctive even crafts are the tools to comprehending our human nature. They take skills onto the higher plane.

Kis-Lev. street art in Tel AvivHuber Scheibl art

Imagination to reach the depths

When illusion is not good for us is almost a moral question the eastern sages instilled into their practices. From the ancient Vedic scriptures through yogic to Buddhist traditions that inspire us today in our search of the self. Meditation is a tool to still the mind, to eventually remove the veil of emotional colouring from perception. So is mindfulness, regular reflection upon one’s life and how it aligns with one’s values, which may change over the course of a lifespan.

While modern science progresses it also regresses in some findings proving through their own methods set sometimes in the 18th century. Today, neuroscience in particular confirms what was known to work through practice, over centuries and generations of practicing some activity or non activity and the reflection upon that, an acute observation of oneself. The new science also shows that there is still so much we don’t understand.

ancient art in Rome

Hence, imagination comes handy even to the 21st century humanity. The booming sales of infinite work in fiction, fantasy, poetry swelling on social media, movies, with artificial intelligence enhanced coproductions of videos for our entertainment are the proof of our hunger for others’ imagination. Books, canvases, screens, stages, stones, marble, wood, glass and other materials and mediums cast out humanity in a profound breadth of expression. Even your voice, with or without lyrics can channel something beyond the meaning of what mere words are able to capture. I tried to capture that with my mysterious, cross-medium form poem bellow:

Millennial Fairytale ~ a poem(1)

A cupola art in Rome

Imagination to access the magical

Whether it is dragons, fairies or divine superhuman creations of our mind, now also avatars and other digitally transformed formless forms occupy virtual reality, the next level of human entertainment through stirring imagination.

Yet from my experience nothing equals the self-made experience in one’s own mind — the mental act of transforming reality yourself. Being a creative person, for me this activity seems natural. My mind slips into the realms only I fathom. It is magical. The spice of life. Taking that which is there, perhaps around me, surrounding me, and enhance it with the palate only my mind knows well. Sometimes, I feel like it is not even my own invention, it transcends me, dwells beyond me whispering its magic spells.

sculpture art in Rome street art in Rome

Just strolling though a fascinating city can do wonders, surrealities to be invented and told. Some places naturally, as nature herself does in the wild, tease out imaginary stories. For me these were Kyoto, Marrakesh, Paris, Rio, Rome, and many others in a more subtle way. Italo Calvino in his collection of imaginary journeys of Marco Polo captured human emotions through cities so palpably that The Invisible Cities kept Genghis Khan glued to his tellings in this masculine rendering of The One Thousand and One Night transcending east and west. Islands aroused all those living by the sea. The Hawaiians, Bermudans, the Greeks, … Just read the Odyssey and listen to the island myths. The far away, the isolated, all synonyms for the unknown.

nude male sculpture reframed in a contemporary cityart by the Austrian artist Kiki Kogelnik

Imagination like love fills the remaining empty hollows of my heart. The phantom gets you where you want it to go. Hovering the dark corners of the unconscious, entering the blissful with light-filled rooms, out onto the infinite ocean of pleasure we crave. We all crave pleasure in one form or another, don’t we? In some way dreams, those semi-conscious mirrors of something deep in the waters of our mind, answer this call. For the mind’s rational contemplation though the arts do a more clear job, we can connect the snippets of reality better than the filtered interpretations of our irrational dreams.

So let the mind graze on the green sprouting grass of your fertile heart. The more I do that, the more I allow the chest organ we assigned love to gallop all over me, beyond the chest, beyond the body, borderless, spreading the wings in free flight. We assume love’s residency, but is it ever at home at some specific place? Isn’t love essential in you, something driving human survival through the harsh life beyond procreation? Assuring the next of our kin does not make one’s life bearable, love does.