“By challenging — through reading — our imagination to engage and embrace ever changing, often alien, characters, circumstances, and dilemmas, we expand our ability to empathize and understand; to be human, that is.
Does it matter? What use is the imagination — as opposed to, say, the kind of mental agility, the quick-reflex thinking, that video games encourage? What is the argument we make for reading and daydreaming and cultivating inner resonances? I would say, to put it in the simplest terms, that imagination nourishes the primary self. As much as our skills and practical accomplishments bolster a sense of independent identity, imagination fills out the inner counterpart. It consolidates the “I” by making plausible the other. Imagination enables empathy, and imagination exercised through reading, through the work of inhabiting the language and sensibility of created characters… pushes continually against the solipsism fed to us by a marketing industry selling consumption as the index of our worth.”
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