The aura about this book of Salinger’s which perhaps should be read by everyone but young men is this. It mirrors like a fun house mirror and amplifies like a distorted speaker one of the great tragedies our time: the death of the imagination, because what else is paralysis? The imagination has been so debased that imagination, being imaginative rather than being the lynch pin of our existence now stands for a synonym for something outside ourselves. Like science fiction or some new use for tangerine slices on raw pork chops. What an imaginative summer recipe. And Star Wars, so imaginative. And Star Trek, so imaginative. And Lord of the Rings, all those dwarves, so imaginative. The imagination has moved out of the realm of being our link, I mean our most personal link with our inner lives. The world outside that world, this world we share. What is schizophrenia but a horrifying state where what’s in here doesn’t match up with what’s out there. Why has imagination become a synonym for style? I believe the imagination is the passport that we create to help take us into the real world. I believe the imagination is merely another phrase for what is most uniquely us. Jung says, “The greatest sin is to be unconscious.” Holden says, “What scares me most is the other guy’s face. It wouldn’t be so bad if you both could be blindfolded.” Most of the time the faces that we face are not the other guy’s but our own faces. And it is the worst kind of yellowness to be so scared of yourself that you would put blindfolds on rather than deal with yourself. To face ourselves, that’s the hard thing. The imagination, that’s God’s gift. To make the act of self examination, bearable.
Six Degrees of Separation, Paul