Imagination steers us to the stars . . . or not

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Recently I read “The Orphan Master’s Son,” by Adam Johnson, a novel about life in North Korea. The author describes a savagely brutal regime. The irony is that he uses his nuclear-powered imagination to create a world few people outside North Korea have ever witnessed. He uses his artist’s imagination to describe a country where imagination is punishable by death — or worse. You work, you obey, you ask no questions, you imagine no other life or destiny. The reader realizes early on that imagination is the enemy of a despotic government.

Steve Jobs imagined devices that hadn’t been invented, and that are now transformative necessities in our daily lives. John Lennon imagined a world at peace. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. imagined freedom.

We must cultivate imagination in our children, tell them stories and encourage them to tell their own. They need imagination to lead rich lives. Surely we don’t want them to be people who take their babies out to sea without imagining that wind and waves and chronic solitude might steer them off course.

Copyright © 2014 Randi Kreiss. Randi can be reached at

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