IMAGINATIVE DR.SEUSS

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand”. ~ Albert Einstein

Dr. Seuss would say that his stories and art were based on a logical insanity. As he explained “I start with a two-headed animal I must never waver from that concept. There must be two hats in the closet, two toothbrushes in the bathroom and two sets of spectacles on the night table.When his stories introduce a logical aspect,it tends to satisfy the rational mind and then permits the reader to enter into the fascinating imagination of their intuitive mind.

Seuss’illustrations heighten the imaginative side of the formula.His animals are alien-looking, and though soft and furry, appear to have no bones or joints — “My animals look the way they do because I never learned to draw”, he once said suggesting that his art is like that of an innocent child.

What’s more, his physical objects seem to have a rather unsteady relationship with gravity and with their surroundings. Homes don’t nestle on mountainsides, but perch on the edges of cliffs. Cars drive down impossibly windy roads, their tires barely staying in contact with the surface. Plates and fish bowls balance in ten-foot high stacks, each item wobbling out of place, the whole construction a whisker away from total collapse,all of which delights the imagination of children. Yet within each story, this madness has a rational factor, and never betrays its premises. As in all successful narratives, once set, the premises can’t be changed in mid-story. Nonsense does not mean anarchy.

But nonsense literature and art adds a beneficial twist: it encourages children to think and see the natural world not as it is to the rational mind, but as it could be. Rather, nonsense teaches children the salutary mental habit of not-ruling-things-out. Once you’ve accepted, even for half an hour, the premise of a talking cat in a tall red and white hat, you’ve taken a tiny step towards staving off, or even reversing, the process of mind-narrowing that otherwise afflicts us all as we get older.

Obviously, Seuss’ tales and art prompt their own ideas. Could a race of beings live on a speck of dust? How small would they have to be? Would they ever fall off? Could their voices be heard if they shouted? What language would they speak? Such questions are natural for children, but the ability to think about nonsense can transform the way that all of us understand the world. When Today, science presents us with a whole collection of counter-rational and apparently impossible propositions: that time runs slower when you move very fast, that atomic particles can be in two places at once, that the shortest distance between two points is really a curve. What nonsense. But true, nonetheless.

“Your theory is crazy…but not crazy enough to be true.” ~ Niels Bohr

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