(I’m on lesson thirteen of How To Revise Your Novel. This lesson, I’m sorry to say, may take the month of December to complete. But, good news. I’ll be three lessons away from the actual cutting. This is an awesome process. My deadline is the end of April, 2012.)
Throw a spear into the darkness. That is intuition.
Send an army into the darkness to find the spear. That is imagination.
When I first read this quote, I wondered if it applied only to film-making, or did it apply to any creative act? Could I use it to describe the dilemmas of the space explorers in my novel?
True explorers, of any species, need intuition (knowing without proof), curiosity, and daring. To these individuals, throwing the spear is an act of faith and wild-assed guesses. To follow the spear with an army requires imagination (thinking and pushing reason), confidence, and arrogance.
The ability to manipulate public and governmental opinion comes in handy, too.
Exploration requires huge amounts of money and, for the really looong trips, it often takes a reorganization of alliances, alliances that pour funds into tenuous projects in spite of protests or disagreements. Money hungry alliances can topple governments, enrage populations, or destabilize entire civilizations. (Study the repercussions of Columbus’ journeys for more than you ever wanted to know about exploration.)
Exploration comes naturally to humans. Some say it’s instinctive to our kind, but I think it’s also addictive. The because it’s there factor defines us and has for years. We’ve only stopped space exploration because the money ran out. We made a mistake. We forgot about the importance of what is happening here on Earth and the funds it takes to improve life for everyone.
Are we the only species in the universe to have this problem?