The Lies Have It, I Imagine

Today is a wintry mix kind of day, and the kids are hoping to see the school closing banner on the idiot box, but it’s not going to happen. I keep telling them the temperature isn’t right for the snow and ice to stick. It’s cute but it also shows the denial inherent in human nature.

What denial? Do you say there isn’t any denial?

Bullshit. People practice this all the time – when they spend too much money and can’t figure out why. How about when they read a book thinking the protagonist deserves an untroubled life, or the antagonist, while evil, cannot have an empathetic side to make them more human? Then there are really big ones, like believing politicians (regardless of the country) really look out for the people they represent.

Denial is the way of life for everyone in one way or another. I don’t want to list a slew of possible things we deny. The short list above will give everyone the gist. What it boils down to is lying. Most of it is lying to ourselves.

We have an expectation that we desperately want to believe, yet know in our core that it won’t resolve the way we hope. Again, it’s life.

It is an important part. Without denial, a good story fails to be a great one. The tension it creates will drive the reader to see how things resolve. Shakespeare’s plays are full of lies and the denials that mirror them. The lies in his plays are ultimately repudiated to the downfall of the recipient of the falsehood. The liar then leaps over the object of the lies and takes over. Wham, bam, done.

Do I need to talk about the old joke of the three greatest lies? Each of them plays on expectations that are known, deep down, to be lies. That’s what makes the joke so funny. They are all denials.

Lies are everywhere, from the little white lies, the falsehoods, to the bold as brass look them in the eye and grab your balls and lie your ass off. This last one is the sort that many politicians use to get votes. Another group of people who use lies effectively is fiction writers. We build our own world for each story and usually the underlying idea, along with the characters. They are all made up. There is usually a disclaimer printed on one of the first pages to tell you everything is fictitious (a lie).

Here is the catch to the writer’s lies. This is one of the cases where the falsehoods can actually be true because an expert writer will build a solid world that is true and consistent with itself.

Wait. Was that a denial about what writers do? Why, yes. Yes, it was, because of the planned imagination involved.

Imagination is the keystone. With it, you have something spectacular. Without it, the result is ordinary at best. If you take imagination away, all of the graphic art and creative writing would be considered lies. It takes imagination to both create and understand art, every bit of it. The inventiveness and resourcefulness of artistic creators – authors, composers, artists, actors, playwrights, etc. – contributes to so many things like sports, research, development of any kind not to mention all of the arts that make life so comfortable.

It touches so many things needed for life that I fail to understand why our schools routinely try to cut back on the classes that explore creativity. The first subjects cut back in a budget cut are the arts, and trying to lay blame to the responsible parties is extremely hard to do. It’s not the teachers, not the principals, the district administrators even the people higher up that have their finger in the pie. It is the entire system that is at fault; that means the ones ultimately responsible are the people in the community.

If the community insisted the art classes not bear the brunt of budget cuts the system would at some time comply with their request. Once that happens, there will be a new renaissance of not only the arts, but of business, science, and understanding of the world around us.There is no sense in denying this either. Without imagination and creativity we will be on a downward spiral that ends in nothingness.