As a child I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment which allowed me freedom from adult responsibility. The world to me seemed a complex enigma, made up of many layers, each as beautiful and as compelling as the next. To me, the mythical world was just as real and as tangible as the mundane context through-which, I believed, it could be interpreted. In every cloud I saw a picture and in every mossy tree trunk I saw a face. The world was mysterious and magical; ours to unravel. However, as time passed I began to grow up.
Recently I have been thinking a lot about this universal subject; the complex relationship between ( as William Blake put it), innocence and experience. How do we retain wonderment and enthusiasm for life while at the same time learning as much as we can about how our world works? How do we remain fascinated by the land that may lie just beyond the woods outside of our window, when we have Google images to tell us that all that is there, is more concrete and another motorway? It occurs to me that I am lucky to have been a child just before the internet monopolised our lives so completely. Had I only been four or five years younger than I am, I may never had had to wonder about what magic could be residing just outside of my vision, I simply could have asked my good friend Google. Indeed I’ve babysat children who own their own i-pads at an age when I couldn’t keep a tamagotchi alive for two days. What if we are denying children the chance to one day be the inventors and dreamers of the world, as well as denying the world of their creativity? Could the age of internet mean the end of imagination?
Perhaps we must find a new way to cultivate imagination. Perhaps within our interpretation of ‘facts’ and information imagination can still thrive. As said by Yeats: “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper”.
Feeling disillusioned every so often is natural. We cannot always be transfixed or wholly enchanted by what surrounds us. We must carry on with our mundane duties. We must learn, become functioning adults. However, I would like to believe that enchantment can still be found in our lives, as adults and as children. We all experience our surroundings differently, and so while we all may receive the same information overload, we can still look at life through our own unique lenses. As long as we approach life with a ‘let’s experience this’ attitude, as opposed to a ‘let’s get it done’ one, I believe that we can still find magic in everyday life.