A spaceship landed in your front lawn
You were a boy instead of a girl
Cats could talk
Cell phones didn’t exist
People had three ears
Cats could sing
Wouldn’t that be awesome if…
We could only eat cupcakes
Walls were made of wrapping paper
Cats could sing AND dance
Just set foot inside of a preschool and the possibilities are endless: one kiddo thinks he can walk on walls once he invents the super sticky shoe while another kiddo thinks paper should taste like marshmallows.
Don’t young children say the darndest things, even if they are off-the-wall and completely absurd? Laughing at their creativity and energy is one of the best feelings in the world. Young kiddos have spunk. They have originality.
They have IMAGINATION.
Indeed, a spoonful of IMAGINATION makes the world a happier place. Isn’t that why kids are so blissfully happy?
If you think Spongebob was the first person to revere imagination, you’re wrong. It’s not that I don’t love Spongebob, it’s simply that he gets all of the credit for imagination. Let me introduce myself. I’m the handsome and famous Giambattista Vico.
You may have heard of me. No? I’m an Italian Humanist and a writer. More importantly, I am the primary originator of imagination. I am an early Enlightenment philosopher born too late to be considered among the renaissance philosophers, although I vigorously study their theories.
Plato, Pico, Ficino, I studied them all. Yet, I take the most pleasure in writing my personal response to Descartes’ philosophy of rhetoric. Descartes interests me so because of his belief that rigid numbers trumps poetic human-to-human communication, which I greatly disagree with.
To me, rhetoric is more than analyzing or rationalizing. Rhetoric is a gateway to see the unchanging truths of society. Rhetoric is pertinent to our survival and it is the basis of social life as we know it.
On the other hand, Descartes and his biased scientific thoughts amusingly believe that science should reign supreme over human relationships. Moreover, he completely ignored all aspects of true human thought. I have taken it upon myself as my personal duty to write in response to his obtuse perspective and write about the true purpose of rhetoric.
I greatly enjoy exploring human thought because it is infinitely fascinating.
Language is a gateway to human thought and, because we speak in metaphors, we think in metaphors. The metaphor “Time is Money” was originally immensely imaginative. Now, you don’t even realize all of the “time” metaphors that you use daily.
I would like to spend time with you.
We’re wasting time.
She’s not worth my time.
We speak an entirely metaphoric language because, at our core, we think in metaphors.
Yet, the centerpiece to my philosophy is, as Spongebob so eloquently pointed out, imagination which is essential to life.
At our core as people, imagination thrives. Rather than metaphysics, human history reveals who we are and where we come from. Our earliest ancestors mastered the art of imagination. The evolution of language is fascinating and can only be expose by studying the imagination of ancient human cultures.
So what can you teachers do to please me and my adoring fans?
Look at your students and get to know them. Converse with them and listen to their crazy ideas and then encourage them to pursue those same ideas.
Do not be like Descartes and set aside these key notions. Instead, focus on how your students think and be attentive to their need for outlets of creativity. I am begging you; please let them use their imagination everyday in your classroom.
Teachers, the same goes for you. Put on your thinking caps and join your students as they ponder new methods to cure diseases and how to solve Rubik’s Cubes. Sit down with them and allow yourself to color outside of the lines.
Pay no attention to your administration’s pressure to have your students make sure they completely fill in the bubble on the standardized test.
Continue to write and teach your students poetry. Write poetry and then share with your students then have them do the same. Be an inspiration of imagination wherever you may go.
Herrick, James A.. The History and Theory of Rhetoric. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., 2009. Print.