The Greatest Poverty is the Loss of Imagination

Just the other morning I heard this quote on the radio:  “The greatest poverty is the loss of imagination”.  The author of these words is a singer, and unfortunately I don’t recall her name or know exactly what she had in mind, but it set me thinking about the power and role of the imagination and particularly about the religious imagination and its place in our religious and faith story.    

Imagination is about possibility.  Albert Einstein said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited.  Imagination encircles the world”.  Artists, philosophers, scientists all draw upon the imagination and it is the driving force behind the great inventions and forward-leaps of humanity.  The word ‘imagine’ can be traced back to the mid fourteenth century and is linked to the Old French, ‘imaginer’ and the Latin ‘imaginari’  –  ‘to form a mental picture of’.  It is also linked to the term ‘imago’  –  image.   When we ‘imagine’, we create a world which does not yet exist in the world of the senses, but which we conceive and conceptualize.  The imagination thus opens up possibilities.  It is rather like extending the horizon.  The way things are is not all there is to say, it is not the end of the story.  All of us use our imagination constantly:  we dream of what could be, what we desire, what we long for.  We  see ourselves in future situations…

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Ms Kerry McCullough

Dean of Mission