Lack of imagination: a fatal flaw

Commentary - © 2014 Pat Temple - A lack of imagination can make life worse than death, in ways. And, sadly, the way human beings are made, they simply can't think ahead when it comes to certain specific areas. They're pretty good at laying out fields and irrigation systems. 
      They can picture a pecan farm twenty years in the future, and the way the house might look, with rich hardwood floors, high ceilings, and hand-created tile counter tops, but they are nearly hopeless at combating "common folklore" such as "the hook doesn't hurt the fish," despite the fact that the fish appears to be trying desperately to get off it.
     H. L. Mencken wrote, about 100 years ago, that people hadn't bathed until the last 75 years. He did that deliberately to see how many people would believe it. My father said he was thinking about that statement (and believing it) standing in front of a Roman bathtub in the Pliny Gardens in Florence, Italy. 
      He said the dichotomy almost did not occur to him. He was standing directly in front of proof that people bathed 2,000 years ago while thinking "I believe that people did not bathe until 75 years ago … and yet, here I am, standing in front of a bathtub that was hand-carved out of marble 2,000 years ago."
     It must have helped us survive, somehow, to have this ability to believe a certain set of facts that aren't facts at all, but it might not be so good for us as individuals. I know that for years the school system has said that children have to go to public schools "because they have to learn to get along with these people; they will be with them when they grow up." 
      It's not true. Getting along is among the most natural of any human qualities. Any two people sitting next to each other on an airplane can adjust to each other's differences in minutes, and find grounds for a first-rate conversation. Read full column



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