The world is but a canvas to our imagination
Have you ever contemplated infinity? In the world of advertising, we are continually bound by our client’s counsel, never to use words that have an absolute value attached to them. Words like: forever, always, impossible and never. We cannot use these words, because as soon as an advertisement expresses an absolute value, the litigious nature of our society is instantly fed a meal ticket by the prospect of proving the absolute claim as being false under some circumstances.
So absolute values are wonderful for writers, but they are taboo for copywriters. And perhaps with good reason, so as to protect the interests of the consumer.
Converse to this, the creative individual is tasked with using their imagination to conjure an infinite combination of variables into some cohesive whole, that all parties will buy into.
The joy of imagination is precisely that it is infinite. In this situation, the absolute is working in complete favor of the person who is imagining. No rules. No limitations. Only a blank canvas as wide and as deep and as long in all directions as infinity. There are no rules in the imagination. No laws of physics. No laws of time or reality. Imagination is at its absolute pure essence, freeform.
So let’s come back to the word infinity for a minute. Can your imagination handle infinity? Really?
Imagination has exponential power and is certainly one of the characteristics that separates humanity from the majority of other life forms. Imagination seems boundless. As we try to embrace that concept of boundless (that we find ourselves looking at), whatever our brilliant minds may conjure, we are still entirely humbled by reality.
If you think you have a vivid imagination, try this one on for size: imagine the universe. Imagine how vast the space between everything must be in the universe. The universe, we are told, is all that is. Simultaneously, we were told that the universe is always expanding.
If the universe is all that is, and yet it is always expanding, what is it expanding into? What is on the outside of the universe that gives room for the universe to continue to expand? Or go the opposite direction…. given the electron microscope and other incredibly powerful tools, we are able to separate the world into particles of infinitesimally small proportions.
If you think you’re capable of contemplating these two massive journeys into the macro and the micro, your imagination is very broad. I but I still doubt that your imagination will be able to really conjure the exponential distance and size relationships between these two journeys.
Illusion Factory was the advertising agency for IMAX for 14 1/2 years. During this time I sat in an IMAX theater and Morgan Freeman was the Master of ceremonies as well as the narrator of the film that was being screened so that we could start working on a campaign for it. This film, Cosmic Voyage, would go on to win an Academy award for best short documentary that year.
If you want to look at life as though the world is a canvas for our imagination, this extraordinary project made our imagination a canvas for the world.
How long is the journey to the expanding boundaries of space? And conversely, how far is the journey into a single drop of water?
What I share with you here is not infinity. It is only our current ability to quantify what infinity could even begin to be described as. I will let Morgan Freeman take it from here: