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Imaginationist Manifesto
essay [ ]

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by [justin_fenech ]

2011-07-17  |     | 

So fragile is the reality of life, that it is not real at all. Man is increasingly discontent with his destiny, for he makes himself more aware of it daily. A destiny he sees to be one of disquietude, disappointments and failures – and yet he does not know what his destiny is. Many a prophet, many a mystic, and many a philosopher has sought to unravel the truth behind our destiny. The meaning of our lives, the secrets of life after death, all of which he intended to discover through meditation, or questioning, or even artificial means. All he managed to discover, however, was momentary enlightenment followed by the inevitable toppling of his theory and his own foundation that he built around it.

Throughout his quest for enlightenment, the prophet, mystic or philosopher (or all three) must take breaks from his journey. He stops and sits on the grass, relaxes, has a beer or a cigarette, and reflects on everything without reflecting. After he feels sufficiently rejuvenated he carries on his God-given path.

He will find the occasional epiphany, a confirmation of his mysterious ecstasy, like a stamp-collector learning of a neighbour who owns a rare stamp he has always sought. The collector becomes filled with excitement, and his mind is invaded by thoughts and visions of seeing that incredible stamp being the centerpiece of his own collection. He runs over to his neighbour's house, a neighbour he hardly ever speaks to (what can people offer??), he enquires enthusiastically about the prized stamp, only to hear that the neighbour used it to send a Christmas card to his long-estranged daughter.

The collector, and the philosopher at this point will both suffer the same anguish: a tower falls in upon their hearts Berlin wall, tears soak their lungs, and the day just seems that little bit more gloomy, the clouds have sealed away all sunlight with no possible hope of repair.

Let us take a pause, and make a case for common sense: in which moment did the collector/philosopher feel most contented? Was it when he was decided on his quest, or was it when he took action against his present state of existence, or was it the disappointment of that action's failure? Let us now analyze the first option. When he decided upon his quest, upon his destiny the collector/philosopher saw the whole world light up before him. He saw the streets of his birth filled with slogans, he saw his house form upon his own Parnassus; basically he acquired a taste of that poisonous nectar: Excitement.

Now the Excitement Attitude is a state of mind which is at once infantile and mature. When in its throes the mature man feels himself a child, for his imagination is drunk on whatever alcohol he fed it. A simple platform that got him into this state of excitement, turns his mind into a playground of fertile imagination in which he roams, happily, alone, victorious, at peace – until he decides to sober himself up. At the same token, in this state of mind, the excited man is at his maturest for he makes himself succumb to what's best for him, a silent tranquility.

The only way to lift oneself from the condition of failed collector/philosopher, is not to battle it, but to ignore it.

We are all of us fortresses, incredible labyrinthine monsters more complex than even our architects can begin to fathom. We are susceptible to the deserts that surround us, sandstorms hamper us, drought aches us, midnight storms bemuse us. Such is the metaphor for life. Yet, who we truly are is the Castellan nestled deep in the heart of the fortress, immune to all the external forces Nature throws against him. Such is the metaphor of our consciousness. In the words of the doomed book-keeper, himself the creation of the doomed poet Fernando Pessoa:

“Everything unpleasant that happens to us in life – for example, when we appear ridiculous in the eyes of others, behave badly or lapse from virtue – should be considered merely external events without the power to touch the depths of our soul. “

The reality we are forced to endure is hilariously cruel. Hilarious in that it is as anti-self as possible, cruel in that it is utterly inescapable. Many have tried, many have died. What of the man who endures it, head on, or rather, the man who endures it with is head in the clouds? I am not speaking of the armored horse they use in the corrida that just stands there as he takes on the bulls calamitous charge without budging an inch; that is as foolish as much as it is movie-worthy. No, I speak of the banderilleros, who stay behind the safety of the walls of the arena, and come out every now and again to weaken the bull by piercing its neck with the banderillas, only to retreat again whilst the matador finally kills of the big bad bull. Life is to be taken in small doses, the rest should be Imagination!

No benefit can come from taking on too much. Stress stifles imagination. Yet, somehow this seems to be a culture built around stress. So many Disciples of Stress take the form of your friends, and preach to you how busy they are, how tired, and how little time they have on their hands. Alas, do they not know that time is not kept in hands, but rather resides in the mind that can comprehend it.

I do not suggest a withdrawal from daily life, such a thing is impossible and undoable. No, I suggest a mental withdrawal from life, a complete disregard of what we have to go through in favour of the dreams we want to experience. To live in the imagination is to live within oneself, unmovable, immune to external forces.

This anti-philosophy cannot be more artistic in its nature. For it is artists who most have the capacity of living within their minds, oblivious to the world, bohemians of the soul. They dig through their dreams, tunnel through their Golden Fields, wrestle with the banal, and come out with an end result that is an art that is wrenched from the soul.

Let it be known that any other artists are false, and those artists who make art part of the external reality of life's consciousness are heathens!

Let us now turn our focus onto that pendulum our souls have evolved: thought. Thought by its nature is contradictory, the worst kind of enemy for it makes itself into a necessary friend. Thought is both the antithesis of imagination and its womb: You cannot imagine when thinking, you need to think to imagine. How to overcome this little barrier? I have separated the nature of thought, in the manner of the Greek gods such as Eros who is also feared as Anteros. There are two kinds of thought: The Banal and The Concerned.

The Concerned Thought is the one that emerges from the daily worries and concerns of life. It is the thought that keeps you awake in the night thinking about the morrow's interview, or some looming decision with your girlfriend, or an unpayable bill. We deem this to be the thought that is diametrically opposed to imagination. It stifles it, buries it prematurely, without ritual without delight.

On the other hand we have the Banal Thought. This is the true essence of philosophy: the thinking about that which does not matter. These are the kinds of thoughts that lead us to question whether the sun looks more like a football or a basketball, whether life can exist on a planet a million light years away from us, and whether you should sleep with your friends sister or girlfriend. This kind of thought is the very basis of imagination, for it has no limit, and whats more: IT HAS NO BEARING ON LIFE, THUS IT TAKES US AWAY FROM LIFE. This is the essence of imaginationism; that banal secret and platform that takes us away from reality and plunges into the mystique of our inner minds, or whatever it may be. One knows one is leaving the realm of imagination when you begin to think about something which can change something in your life, however minuscule. The border between banality and concern is indeed thin.

We refuse to concede that this is escapism for one simple reason: escapism is too real a term and thus it is distracting.


1.Art is a means of delving into ones subconscious, thus art can never be real, and always surreal.

2.The movement will help promote the delving of the public into their imagination by surrounding them with an art that constantly reminds them of their own dreams and the unreality of life.

3.If Imaginationism ever becomes political or social it must be disbanded.

4.Those who submit to the imagination must submit themselves only to their Banal Thoughts.

5.Reality is no longer necessary.

6.The Surrealist movement founded by Andre Breton is formally acknowledged as Imaginationisms parent.

7.As there is no limit to the imagination so there must be no limit on art; as long as it is Banal: that is, has no bearing on real life.

8.No Maltese who has never been abroad can be an Imaginationist, for the Imaginationist is in essence a Traveler.

9.Always seek the State of Excitement. Action is its very antithesis.

10.Imaginationists must surround themselves with Imaginationist objects that link them to a memory or fantasy they represent.

11.No object will be viewed in the same lens again: everything exists merely as a platform to the days next daydream.

12.As travel is the essence of the Imaginationist so he must also be a time-traveller. Use his imagination to take him back or forward in time, by the means of a platform: be it a ruined church, or a photograph. The Imaginationist is the ultimate historian.

13.Art must be freed of all that is real, serious and stagnant. It must flow with the Muses of the Seriousness of the Absurd.

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