For I am every dead thing, In whom love wrought new alchemy. For his art did express A quintessence even from nothingness, From dull privations, and lean emptiness He ruined me, and I am re-begot Of absence, darkness, death; things which are not.
Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention aand innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared. Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people's minds, imagine themselves into other people's places.And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.
The contrasts between what is spent today to educate a child in the poorest New York City neighborhoods, where teacher salaries are often even lower than the city averages, and spending levels in the wealthiest suburban areas are daunting challenges to any hope New Yorkers might retain that even semblances of fairness still prevail.
I didn't want to be the archetypal sponging brother-in-law, so I didn't go into acting when I got to the States. I thought, 'No, I'll go to school and then I'll be an English teacher that'll be fun.' But I was horrible as a teacher. As hard as I tried, I just couldn't inspire those kids to take an interest in Milton and Shakespeare and Donne.
Few people ask from books what books can give us. Most commonly we come to books with blurred and divided minds, asking of fiction that it shall be true, of poetry that it shall be false, of biography that it shall be flattering, of history that it shall enforce our own prejudices. If we could banish all such preconceptions when we read, that would be an admirable beginning.