Facts seem to dominate life since the explosion of the digital age. Google news, texting about activities and e-mails about polling numbers for political candidates, say, seem to create reality. But what is personal reality and how can it be found beneath the novelty of digital ease?
Sadly enough, there seems no easy way to know the self. Emotional fits, drug dependencies, listlessness, lack of direction, drive and ambition all make that reality evident. Even more significantly, many modern young people raised on television, the web and computer games seem to lack imagination, the ability to think creatively about existence and what to do with it.
Fiction is the medium that sparks creative thinking just as poetry does in an imagistic way. Fiction contributes to an inner world that makes it possible to make meaningful decisions about the factual world presented by Google news that changes by the time the end of the listing is scrolled.
Fiction is fun, satisfying and easily learned by digital kids getting a little coaxing from a person who remembers its pleasures. The activity of sitting still and absorbing words on a page for the absorption of sparked ideas can be evidenced in a concrete benefit.
A strong and active imagination seems to be a vital element in a person’s character. It seems to lessen bored impatience and drug–dependence to tame the malady. A lively imagination also leads to better decision making in every area of life from politics to the increasingly interwoven realm of entertainment.
Reruns of Law and Order and revivals of Broadway plays are not the answer to today’s repeats and lame.
Reality shows have tyranized the airwaves in recent years. Yet what practical ideas are sparked by a program that inspires nothing more than impatient phone dialing for a chance at the 15 minutes of fame in the limelight?
A reading of a Henry James novel or of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, on the other hand, could just spark the insight to inspire the first great global novel that captures the modern reality. Politics are inseparable from entertainment and all other aspects of life.
Such a reading augmented by newly minted classics as a result of activated imaginations could also bear another side benefit. They could lead to better decisions than at present for the country and for the world.