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The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination

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The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination

In 2008, J.K Rowling delivered the commencement speech at Harvard University. The speech was titled “The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination”. In the speech Rowling describes how she went from an abject failure to a woman with another way to look at life. She talks about growing up with parents whom came from an impoverished background, had no college degree, and the way she took another career path, than her parents wanted her to. She looks back at a life with unemployment, a divorce and being a single parent while living in poverty. She was, in her own mind, a pathetic failure. She hit the bottom of the society for real, but it also brought a clarity to her. She started working for the Amnesty international in the African research department. This job changed her spectacle of life. She discovered a whole new world with people, who have been living in the hardest conditions. Some of them got raped, while others have seen their parents been killed. She then started to appreciate how fortunate she was, to live in a country with rights for everyone. Rowling then starts to talk about the importance of imagination, because humans can learn and understand without having experienced. They can in fact, think themselves into other people’s places. She wants people to use their imagination to help those people with no influence, because humans have the power to imagine better.  [pic 1]

     The importance of imagination

According to Rowling imagination is a tool to understand others. By using this tool, we should be able to feel sympathy and empathy and by it make us either better or worse humans. It’s just a question of moral. When I hear about today’s topics in the news, it’s often about refugees. I think it sucks to hear about this all the time. All this war and horror. Rowling says that we do not need magic to change the world. We do all carry the power inside ourselves. We have the power to imagine better, so why do we not just use our imagination to remove all this war and horror? According to Rowling it’s a question of individuals not to exercising their imagination at all. They like to remain comfortably with their own experience, and never think of those who are in real trouble. I think it’s weird to think about, but I do also agree. For me fantasy is an important tool. Try to look at a child, and then you can experience real imagination. The way they are able to create a little thing to an amazing and exciting thing is quiet fascinating. Like turning two big stones to a football goal or turning their hand into a machine gun. It brings joy. Try to think about a world with a joy like this.[pic 2]


Imagination is also a tool to creativity and innovation. Try to look at your smartphone. I’m sure a little guy has been playing with the idea of creating a phone that reacts by touching it. Some of the most influential products have come from something as simple as imagination. A guy like Thomas Edison played with the thought of creating a long-lasting light bulb. Without this creative tool called imagination, we may never have had a light bulb. Imagination invented products like the Internet, computers and a lot of other stuff. In my point of view, imagination is the key ingredient to evolution and how the world looks like today. You could say that imagination and thoughts create our future.



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