Imagination is a Superpower

I’ve taught English as a foreign language for adults for years, from the age of 13 up until Covid put such gatherings on hold. I would often use some kind of exercise that allowed students to think outside of their normal lives, to stretch their vocabulary and to practice speaking and forming sentences outside of their comfort zone. I once had a nursing student, meeting as a semi-private student with another fellow nurse, who categorically refused to do any exercises requiring a make-believe scenario; she called herself a “realist”. Despite reasoning with her, or her friend asking her to participate so that she could learn more, she refused. I found it frustrating as a teacher, but I found it tragic as a writer and creative thinker.

Thinking outside of the box and thinking creatively stretches our brains in extraordinary ways; it promotes creative problem solving, allows us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes for a moment, and can help us view a situation from several different angles. By thinking into fictitious scenarios, we learn something about ourselves along the way – those things that make us tick, our strengths, or our weaknesses.

For years, I’ve collected interesting writing prompts whenever I’ve come across them; it’s going down the proverbial rabbit hole to follow leads on the internet, but because I’ve collected them willy-nilly, I can’t tell you exactly where they originated – it’s a common problem with online research, and as often as I can, I try to give proper credit to images that I use if they’re not my own; the people out there who offer their creative perspectives, photography talents, or Photoshop skills deserve credit where credit’s due. But it’s one reason that I don’t often share such prompts here, for those of you following who are also writers. Another reason is that there are enough sites out there stuffed to the gills with prompts. What I would like to do today is share an exercise in imagination.

Albert Einstein quotes run rampant on the internet; without a reference book to know what he actually said, I feel that many of them fall into this category:

Having said that, sometimes you can gather the essence of what he probably said by reading “diagonally” through the supposed quotes, and one such sentiment is that Einstein said something like, “Imagination is more important that knowledge; knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world.” Mark Twain once wrote*, “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” [* Excerpt from his Complete Works] (By the by, if you’d like more Mark Twain wit, I wrote an article about his views on Switzerland, and the German language – just click here.)

So here’s something to exercise your imagination with:

You have the choice between flight and invisibility; which do you choose and why? What will you do with this superpower?

I’d love to hear your answers in the comments below!


Filed under Articles, Humor, Images, Musings, Quotes, Research, Writing Exercise, Writing Prompt

13 responses to “Imagination is a Superpower

  1. Imagination is the font of all knowledge.

  2. That could be a dangerous sentiment in the hands of those who choose to remain ignorant out of principle… 😉

  3. I jumped to the conclusion that my choice was to escape a bad situation by fleeing or by becoming invisible. I chose to be invisible, because I haven’t run in 40 years. I wanted to stay in the situation to see what happened. Thinking further, being invisible would still have been dangerous, because others would hear me bumbling about when they couldn’t see me. That’s when I reread your question.

    I have always wanted to fly on my own. Watching the gulls swoop about on former morning walks filled me with a great longing to soar. If I could fly, I would use it for pure pleasure to get a bird’s eye view of our mountains. I wouldn’t have the stamina to fly to NJ or to Denmark to see my daughters. Oh, and I wouldn’t poop on the mountains or the people below. My head was the target of a starling in the city of Ely in England 40 years ago.

    I would not want to be invisible, because I’d find out what people say about me behind my back. I’m better off without that knowledge.

    Would you choose to fly or be invisible?

  4. Flying sounds like it would be windy and cold, but then invisibility may involve nakedness, since I suspect the power would not extend to my clothing. Also cold. Oh no. Maybe I’m a realist, too.

  5. Anne, I would certainly choose to fly – I love the night, so I could fly without being seen – the best of both, I guess. 😉 I’d build my stamina to fly longer and longer distances – no border controls, no customs, no waiting in airports!

  6. Sarah, what if you could make everything you touch invisible with you – that only you could see in that between-world?

  7. Now I’m picturing an unfortunate King Midas scenario, which would make for an interesting twist on the story. Maybe I better stick to flight. I’ll wear a coat.

  8. In that case, you might want to be invisible as you fly. Defensive radar could have you in the cross-hairs with every border you cross. Never mind, let’s just fly and enjoy ourselves!

  9. I’d fly under the radar. 😉 Besides, they’d probably just assume any person flying was just a large hobby drone – military drones are much smaller! Haha!

  10. I’d opt for flying as a way to go places and see things from a different angle while getting some aerobic exercise.

    Invisibility would be handy for pranking or to avoid being shot at by fascist gun nuts, but I am not into pranking and am already not visible enough to incur the nuts’ wrath.

  11. I don’t know any “fascist gun nuts” to test invisibility…

  12. Sad to say, the USA has a growing supply of them.

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