The Power of the Imagination


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They say that the imagination is a powerful thing. A rather dramatic example of this is the story of Air Force Colonel George Hall.  A POW locked away in a North Vietnamese prison for seven horrific years, Hall played a full game of golf in his imagination every single day. One week after he was released from the POW camp, Hall entered the Greater New Orleans Open, shooting a 76 and walking away a winner.

Mark Twain once said, “Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.”  Like it or not, the gift that is our imagination comes with great power and impacts our reality on a daily basis. On one hand, it can be used to create idyllic worlds and to contemplate all that cannot be seen. It can enable us to put our creative energies to great use and to envision and plan for our future. It can help us overcome a difficult past, and even survive a challenging present.

However, this same power can be used to plot, scheme, manipulate, and influence so as to impact our reality for our own good alone. With our imagination we can envision a world in which superiority and control are seen as the only means of gaining necessary advantage over others. Furthermore, we can use our imagination to justify lifestyles and actions that may be harmful both to ourselves and to those around us.

So how do we harness the power of our imagination to do what is right and good when evil tempts us to use our gift for harm? For starters, we must feed it with a steady diet of virtuous material, stories in which ideals such as Honor, Courage, Sacrifice, and Love are conveyed. But we must also saddle the imagination with the only things that can keep it at bay: things like Truth, Righteousness, Hope, and Faith.

In summary, we would do well to keep in mind the words of the Latin proverb: the imagination exercises a powerful influence over every act of sense, thought, and reason — over every idea.


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