“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein
After playing in the frigid snow, we sat inside munching on Girl Scout cookies. Phoebe declared she wished all the snow would melt so we could swim through it… Looking outside I could imagine a foot deep layer of water on the backyard. It was pretty cool!
But as adults we know this is impossible. First the ground would soak up the liquid water. Second a foot of snow only amounts to an inch or so of rain (since unlike other substances water expands as it freezes — I found a conversion suggesting 10:1 / snow:rain, but it varies with temperature). So if the snow became instant liquid, we would not have a pool but a muddy lawn.
Sometimes knowledge is a little depressing. It limits our imagination by declaring so much impossible.
I have heard more than one person lament that we teach our kids they can be anything when they grow up. Growing up, I imagined myself as George Brett. Anyone who saw me play baseball knew this was impossible. But no one told me, and my dream was allowed to die of natural causes (natural ability causes). And I suppose we spend too much time chasing impossible dreams to be professional sports stars or part-time brain surgeons.
At the same time, when we come to grips with perceived reality – we stop dreaming dreams. There is no point in reimagining the impossible. We let the world bog us down, and we stop testing reality’s limits. And without a push – our world never gets bigger.
This is on my mind as I read news reports on the Ukraine. Russia, as their Olympic closing ceremony, has executed a well planned invasion into Ukraine’s Crimea. And now they have issued an ultimatum to surrender. It feels like a flashback to the 1980’s. Another Tom Clancy novel played out in real life.
And I wonder why we still live in a world where dictators rule? I can imagine a world without Putin. Closer to home, I can imagine a world without bullies.
Someone might respond, that is impossible. Why? Is time a fixed replay? Must history be repeated? Or is life relative to the speed of our imagination?
I think the world is waiting for someone to stand against bullies. On the grand scale, I hope America will stand in that gap. In my life, I hope I will stand in defense of the weak. As James writes,
“True religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Do not be polluted by a world of limits and impossibility. Instead embrace our Christ who already overcame the impossible, even death.