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Imagine If You Will

 

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Imagine If You Will

by John C. Dupré

Imagine if you will… Could there be a more wonderful beginning than that? A more HUMAN beginning than those 4 words? No, I’m not joking. You have not entered The Twilight Zone these words are often associated with. I invite you, to imagine if you will, how much these words can mean.

Imagine.

The mother of all words. When you IMAGINE you give yourself permission to forget the rules, to indulge in possibilities, to leave the time and place you’re in and travel to somewhere new, exciting, different. Every new adventure begins with a spark of imagination. For those who traveled to EPCOT at Disneyworld during the 1980s, the Journey Into Imagination Pavilion and its characters sang the praises of the “One Little Spark,” with Dreamfinder and Figment taking families on a journey into their minds illustrating how the simplest of inspirations could become so much more.

Imagination is what propels us to dream of new futures, to build new things, to go to new places. The idea has to be there first. Our monuments, our cathedrals, our scientific discoveries, our breakthroughs in medicine, our civilizations and advancements and enlightenments—and even our new potato chip flavors—all started as ideas. Humanity’s advances were born because someone dared to imagine.

But it’s not just a word for creation. No, when we Imagine, we enhance. We expand the meaning of our present.

When we suffer a loss, our grieving is not just sadness over that element leaving our lives. It’s more than that. It’s the emotional devastation from being able to imagine all those tender moments of connection that won’t happen. It’s the loss and the loss of what could have been. On the flip side, when new love comes into our lives—be it a child, a lover, or a passion—our joy is amplified tenfold and more because we imagine all the bliss to come. It’s the present joy and our future joy.

Would John Lennon’s classic song, Imagine, resonate so long after it was released, if imagination wasn’t so intrinsically linked with feeling and the human condition?

With such a powerful force, and with something that we encourage our children to develop and expand during their formative years, it’s no wonder that our ability to imagine can sometimes lead us to fear, to dread, to despair. But it also gives us HOPE. We IMAGINE an end to suffering, we IMAGINE a better future. Imagination gives us Hope. And futures—along with rebellions, if one imagines themselves in the Star Wars universe—are built on hope.

If. Imagine IF. 

Again, we come back to possibilities. With IF, the future is not written yet. There are choices. There are options. There are conditions. In coding, IF gives developers the ability to handle multiple options within one piece of software. Take a web page. Typically they contain conditions that say IF you are looking at the page with one browser, render the page in such a way so that it looks best for that browser. Or IF you are looking at a page on a mobile device, render the page in such a way so that its looks best for that smaller device. IF you do not have permission to view the page, don’t show it.

IF provides us with multiple opportunities, multiple options, multiple paths. IF lets us tell alternate tales. How often do we say, What If? Even Marvel Comics did so, creating various runs of comic adventures that provided different paths for familiar characters, like their first issue What if Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Four? from Feburary 1977. IF gives us choices.

You. Imagine if YOU.

Your imagination is YOUR gift. Your treasure. It belongs to YOU. So how fitting that such a powerful beginning wants YOU to be involved. This is a journey for YOU. This is a choice for YOU. Imagine, if YOU. By our very natures we all try to hack each other’s imaginations, whether on purpose or by accident. We share stories with those we love—and sometimes those we don’t—and in doing so we provide them with fodder for their imaginations to run wild, picturing the scene, the events.

Politicians and advertisers understand how important YOU are. They tailor their messages to YOU, to move YOU to do what they want. They may not care for YOU personally, but they want something from YOU and will tell YOU what YOU want to hear so that they can get it.

But here, no, with this wonderful beginning, there is no hijacking. YOU are valued. YOU are invited. I want to tell you a story, I want to take you on an adventure, I want to share an experience with you. I’m extending my hand…

Will. Imagine if you WILL. 

Will you take my hand? Will you run away with me? Will you take the spark I provide to you and dream it into something more?

Willpower. Free will. The will to live. The Last Will and Testament. How much of our humanity is linked to the concept of choice. Choices define us. In religious traditions, one of humanity’s greatest gifts is Free Will, which enables us to choose to live our lives in the way that we wish, instead of according to a divinely dictated pattern of behavior.

When we find ourselves bowing to the choices of others, we are said to be weak-willed. If we stand by our choices despite difficulties, we are said to be strong-willed. For those who’ve indulged in role playing games or video games, there are even game dynamics built around a character’s will, where you hope to make a will “save” to protect yourself against some mental—and possibly manipulative—effect.

Our WILL represents our choices; our decisions; ourselves.

Imagine if you will, your own story.

Imagine if you will, what could come next; what SHOULD come next.

Imagine if you will, YOUR wonderful future, and then work to make that future your reality.