IMAGINATION and LIMITS - Part 2
I can only guess that when Man first appeared in evolution's scheme-of-all-living-things, that his brain kick-started his imagination, eventually leading him to the present day. Should he have had dreams back then, they were most likely limited by what his days incurred and be of food and fearful predators - two bases which seem to have survived until now.
Naturally, as his imagination and thinking progressed, and he began creating tools and better skills needed for acquiring food and shelters etc, the limits on his dreamtime would have lifted and allowed for more scope.
Early Man had nothing except a need to survive, and what set him apart from other species, was the imagination he developed, and with its development, further removal of his limits.
So let's skip a few years and look at what Man has now, by way of his needs, and the expanding imagination that provides the skills to acquire them.
In fact, he's acquired EVERYTHING through imagination: food, shelter, language, community and rules. He's maintained the scary predators in the guise of things supernatural, and he's comforted himself about dying by creating an aerial wonderland where he'll float off to and meet up with all of the billions of immortal mortals who preceded him.
When looking at the supernatural world, which still seems to be evolving, albeit at a much slower pace, and without any of the first horror that had us gasping and cringing over the last few centuries, I always find temperature and location interesting.
Very simply put, the cold, stay-indoors climes of far northern Scandanavian countries, provide us with much of its myth/legend/horror tales in a darker, dreamier style. Many almost feel as if they've originated from mid-winter sleepy huddles around indoor fires of log cabins near snowy, dense forests.
European supernatural and horror, though frightening enough, is somewhat more tempered to acceptable climates, which is probably one reason why more populations can relate easily to tales from these regions.
However, jump south to much hotter zones, where life is more extreme (as in opposition to the extreme cold of the far north), and you find voodoo and hoodoo, practices that involve more plants, herbs, body parts and fluids. Generally, bits and pieces easily obtained where no freezing temperatures or excessive clothing are a hindrance.
There was also the imaginative move in the 17th century, by the Church, to use the scare factor as a means of boosting their flock of believers. This was done with the sudden influx of so-called witches, a contrivance both devious and successful. People were terrified by these women with unknown powers to perform any number of ungodly acts.
The Church, however, devised ways to deal with them (often fatally), and appear as an all-knowing saviour who could obviously outwit the devil, and offer safe havens for the masses. Results being a rejuvenation of religious bondage.
How religions came into Man's existence in the first place, is no doubt a question answered within the complexities of Man's need for a comforting father figure, coupled with an astounding amount of imaginative invention. One point that remains solidly intact, thanks to science, is that Man definitely DID precede all of these spiritual protectors, and therefore, imagination stands alone as the original source.
It all gets a little murky though, when these belief systems attempt to enter the areas of general, and global, governance. Placing limited dogma atop necessary attendance to planetary crisis issues, is nothing short of dire detrimental ignorance against the care of people it claims to look out for.
But let's wander away from this oppression.....
Our world of story telling has grown through time and given us insights to places and legends, and filled every corner of our imaginations. So much so, that as I mentioned at the beginning of Part 1, there's a list of categories by Jessamyn West. In fact, there are even more lists, and the category numbers within the most noted lists, are for 3, 5, 7, 20 and 36. These are recognised as specific areas of storytelling description.
In themselves, they represent limits of imagination, and should anyone care to know what they are, they're very easily found on Google.
There are no real surprises by which everyday stories remain popular, outside of the aforementioned myths and legends. Love, adventure, mystery etc, will most likely always attract those opting for an easy read. Others, looking for darker corners, saturate the supernatural areas (and with a very high number of younger readers who are at more inquisitive stages of their lives).
Further out, we have the science fiction fans. Many of these stories becoming outdated very fast, as science and space exploration gain a stronger foothold on reality with each new discovery.
Just exactly what this says, is that Man still sets his own limits by whatever stage his imagination has reached.
It's difficult to know if there'll ever be new categories for our stories to fill, but fortunately, there are people who are aware of another category that has no limits. Anyone can join this group. Simply walk, or ride your bike, out into the country, take your dog for company, and look around at something made up of the million recurring, limitless miracles Nature gives us. Our own miniscule creations, connecting us with galaxies far, far away, in what is our true, science non-fiction, never ending story.
.........End Part 2........