magazine of communication and trends
La créativité : l’helium du peuple no. 14 – page 58
July/September 2015 Paris
The imagination and the dance of life
‘The art of dance,’ writes Valéry, ‘far from being futile entertainment,
is simply poetry that encompasses the actions of living beings.’ Continuing the metaphor of the poet,
we can view the world and human travels over the centuries
as a vast choreography.
Life is comprised of dances, emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual dances. We dance within ourselves, and we dance with the people in our lives. We dance in our homes, in our place of work, in the city in which we live, the country, the continent, in the places to which we travel for pleasure or for business. Our overarching partner in the dance of life is the time in which we are living. This is now the 21st century, the beginning of a new millennium. The choreographies of our dances with this strange, volatile partner, are complex. The steps we need to execute with it are difficult to invent. We stumble and fall easily, and end up dancing wildly in unclear ways that leave us in the dark, unsure of where to turn next.
The 21st century: a highly sophisticated dark age
Other periods in human history were less complex as dance partners – the parameters of the dance floor were clearer and thus the choreographies somewhat easier to construct. But over the course of the 20th century, many established principles were thrown into the air, and have yet to land in any clear formation.
It was discovered that what had been considered to be the smallest possible unit of matter was capable of being divided further; the nature of art was questioned; the rules of war degenerated; borders between nations became more fluid; political systems lost their cohesiveness; enemies and allies no longer fall into clear camps, effectively blurring the line between good and evil; long established management practices ceased to meet the needs of global business, with nothing concrete emerging to take their place; the speed and quantity of information circulating in our daily lives increased rapidly, creating a mass of vapid and valuable information through which we continually need to wade to discern order and meaning. Overall, many of the fundamental techniques for the dance of life became outdated.
By the time the second millennium ended, humanity found itself in a dark unsettling world. Dancing in this obscurity is difficult, as our partner – the 21st century – is wily. It changes direction and intention with little warning. Using lies, vested interest, megalomania, greed, banalities, violence and crises of many kinds, it attempts to dip us into a deep bend, from which it is unclear if we will have the strength or technique to straighten up again to continue the next part of the dance. It seems to be attempting to spin us towards a highly sophisticated dark age, where we will stagger, unable to perform our part in life’s dances with any kind of grace.
Light: the imagination
Yet throughout history, we human beings have proven ourselves to be naturally good dancers, capable of finding new choreographies that enable us to step, leap or spin out of darkness into light. To emerge from the darkness into which the 20th century has led us, we need to shift our focus from the form of our dances, to the inner world of ourselves as dancers. The source for the choreography of 21st century life is not out there in the world somewhere, but rather it lies deep inside of ourselves, deep inside of our own imaginations. People in diverse fields are recognizing that the imagination is the new frontier for human exploration, and that within it lies the way out of the darkness that has heralded in this new millennium.
The writer J.G. Ballard:
‘I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world …to hold back the night …’
‘The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.’
The business strategist Gary Hamel:
‘What matters in the new economy is not return on investment, but return on imagination.’
The imagination: a private anchor in the sea of turbulence
Our imaginations, though intangible and elusive, are not things that may or may not exist. They are there, very real, inside of us, offering us access to a vast array of resources that can help us contend with the chaos and uncertainty surrounding us. Our imaginations can provide us with our own private anchor in the sea of turbulence that is our world. We need to exploit them in order to be able to meet our chaotic, aggressive 21st century partner in a dance of beauty, strength and grace that can lead us out of the darkness.
Ann Papoulis Adamovic