Noodles in the head
Muse #202 - some small things have serious impact
There are things that keep going around one’s head and that one just could not shake off. And the quote below was one of them. Which had just eleven words. And, I have been dissecting and analyzing it for over three days now. And I shall share that experience with you.
Knowledge is a polite word for dead but not buried imagination.
— E. E. Cummings (1894 - 1962) Poet
First things first are the definitions - in my own words, what do some of these words mean to me?
Knowledge - is the practice of applied patterns of information and experiences acquired by a person.
Imagination - is the application of such knowledge creatively either directly or indirectly to create something different with certain novelty or utility.
After some research, I found that this quote is actually an aphorism or an epigram - a pithy saying or remark expressing an idea in a clever and amusing way (or) a short poem, especially a satirical one, having a witty or ingenious ending.
If one reads it closely it is imagination that is dead but not buried. Meaning a lack of creative work or not applying oneself creatively without the use of imagination is akin to dying. And extending that to read that any knowledge so unutilized for not creating something with it is like being dead (and to be buried at some point in time) - that one is just a living dead ready to be buried one day. A purposeless life.
The site Graceguts summarizes as follows - "The imagination here is not utterly dead but merely buried, so those with “knowledge” do at least have hope."
And another John Edwin Cowen summarizes it as “that to merely exist is equal to being dead.” - so apply imagination to knowledge to make something of it (my additions to it)
So, after three days of muddling, I put this one to rest. I think.
So, what is your perspective on this quote? Go ahead, chew on it. For a while. Or not.
Some more quotes from E. E. Cummings - these are all for another day!
"A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long."
"America makes prodigious mistakes, America has colossal faults, but one thing cannot be denied: America is always on the move. She may be going to Hell, of course, but at least she isn't standing still."
"Be of love a little more careful than of anything."
"Humanity I love you because when you're hard up you pawn your intelligence to buy a drink."
"I imagine that yes is the only living thing."
"I like my body when it is with your body. It is so quite new a thing. Muscles better and nerves more."
"I thank you, God, for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes."
"I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance."
"I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart."
"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."
"It takes three to make a child."
"Private property began the instant somebody had a mind of his own."
"The earth laughs in flowers."
"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter."
"The sensual mysticism of entire vertical being."
"The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful."
"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."
"Unbeing dead isn't being alive."