The capacity to form new ideas, concepts, stories or poetry, music and new methods of dealing with problems, and outwardly doing so out of nothing. That’s imagination.
Growing up, when I wasn’t bothering my siblings, running around outside or collecting newspapers for recycling, imagination was a constant in my life. So much that I was a hair’s breadth away from becoming a poor copy of Walter Mitty.
Daydreams fueled by science fiction centered on excitement and being more than the person I was: if not a hero, at least important to the make-believe mission. Sure, I consumed the usual television shows: The Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons, Tom & Jerry, the obligatory Sesame Street and Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood, The Jetsons, Johnny Quest, the craziness of Sid & Marty Krofft (H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville, The Banana Splits, Land of the Lost, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters), and nearly any other late 1960s or early ’70s shows that you might recall.
But sandwiched into my television viewing was Thunderbirds, one of my favorite shows and likely the root of my partiality for science fiction. (This would later lead to mass consumption of shows such as Space: 1999, The Six Million Dollar Man, the original Battlestar Galactica, reruns of the original Star Trek, The Prisoner, Logan’s Run.)
Despite this list of shows, I wasn’t always stuck in front of the boob tube. (American slang during the 1970s and ‘80s for the television, not something scandalous.)
A lot of my time was spent with a briefcase full of Legos. The original Legos. The ones that were rectangular or square of varying thickness. No curves. Then one year Lego launched bricks with a slope to one side. It was amazing.
A small niche of the interwebs went a bit crazy yesterday with the launch of the Lego Creator 10252 Volkswagen Beetle. Don’t get me wrong, I really like it. I owned a 1971 Standard VW Beetle.
But it worries me. Beyond the basic definition of imagination is the ability to see something that’s not quite there.
My Lego version of Thunderbird 2 was cubist by nature of the materials at hand. But I imagined it into being the Thunderbird 2 through which I lived out many adventures.
I can’t help but wonder if the Lego Creator 10252 kit and others like it go too far in removing the need for that aspect of imagination.