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As a young boy I looked at the world with unbounded awe and excitement. Everything was new and exciting. Everything had to be experienced and tested empirically. In my mind's eye there were no limits to what I could do or accomplish. A few rocks, sticks and, to my mother's consternation, the kitchen dishcloth would be transformed into an intergalactic universe of infinite possibilities. On board my ship (a simple red brick) my side-kick, Sonomonix (the dishcloth), and I travelled to distant galaxies in search of adventure. We moved faster than the speed of light, often crash landing on remote planets at the very edge of existence.
Enter the real world. Growing up was not easy. There was always an adult around to spoil my experiments. 'NO!! Put that down; NO!! Don't drink the toilet water; if you climb that tree you'll get hurt', someone would cry. Finally enough was enough - these people were messing with my fun. In an act of mindless bravery I donned my father's beach towel as a cape, wore my underwear on the wrong side of my pants and climbed up our avocado tree determined to show the adults that I could fly - if Superman could do it then so could I. I leaped off the highest branch shouting, “LOOK MOMMY!!” A few seconds later I was on the ground with a broken leg, screaming for mommy. The adults weren't wrong after all; they were simply trying to protect me.
This, unfortunately, is the reality of most people today. The world is coloured by hurtful experiences, broken hearts and the many injustices we see and read about on a daily basis. We have been told so often, by well-meaning people we trust, what we can and cannot do, unknowingly allowing our imaginations to atrophy.
Paradoxically, it is imagination that has changed the world most. Once upon a time it was inconceivable that a hand-held, cordless devise could allow people separated by thousands of kilometres to communicate in real time. Today cell phones are ubiquitous; in fact, it is difficult to imagine a world without them. We all need to break out of imposed paradigms and think outside the proverbial box. Rather than allowing others to tell us what we can and cannot do, we need to awaken our imaginations and go - with a spirit of adventure - in search of answers. The marriage of adult experience with child-like imagination is what will make the world a better place.
Thinking is an active process that allows us to interrogate the natural world. It is thinking that has steadily pushed aside superstitious myths, allowing us to get closer to the truth. When we really think about it, we are all people of one family- branches of the same tree. Perhaps I am naïve but I choose to believe it is thinking that will make real the dream uttered by beauty contestants the world over - “World peace”. - Independent Newspapers Cadet School