Kevin Pashuk en beBee in English, Writers, Education and Training Chief Information Officer - Appleby College/ beBee Brand Ambassador • Appleby College and beBee 10/11/2016 · 3 min de lectura · 3,7K

Between Mysticism and Reality – The Realm of Imagination

Between Mysticism and Reality – The Realm of Imagination

This post was inspired by three disconnected, yet in my fertile mind, related things.

The first was a recent post by Phil Friedman on Mysticism vs. Rationality (On Forcing Perception to fit Preconception).

The second was a quote from a church sermon. While I won’t go into the whole talk, there was one quotation in the handout that struck me, which sent me on a mini-research project on the topic using my smartphone. It’s a good thing there was not test at the end, because the topic was so engaging I have to admit I didn’t hear much of what the speaker said. (A side note: this was my major problem in school… I would get distracted by the ‘interesting’ and go off on an adventure).

The quote, by C.S. Lewis was the definition of ‘the satisfied imagination’. He described it as “Looking long enough and looking freshly at what is familiar”.

C.S. Lewis is probably best known for his series The Chronicles of Narnia, mythological fantasy rich in allegory. He is also well known for his writings on Christianity, and in particular using scholarly tools to attempt to define the mystical.

He seemed to hover a lot between Phil’s Mysticism and Rationality… and somehow (for me at least), provide a good measure of plausibility that Christianity (not the church you may be interacting with today, but the core tenets of the movement) might just have some merit.

But that’s not what I’m writing about today… I’ll save that for a future post.

Between Mysticism and Reality – The Realm of Imagination

The third trigger is a sign I have in my office, pictured above.

It’s not a sign that hangs on a wall, but a series of 3” high letters spelling out one word – “IMAGINE”

Today I want to talk about the realm between mysticism and rationality, an area that Mr. Lewis saw as a key to a fulsome life.

It’s also important if you want to be considered a strategic leader.

That realm is imagination.

If you ask me the worst thing we as a society have done to our children in the last 100 years, I would stick my neck out and say…

We have devised a school system that systematically suppresses their imagination and creativity. We focus on facts, on conformist behaviour, on receiving information rather than thinking.

We have elevated ‘rational thinking’ to the ultimate prize in education.

But if you look at all the breakthroughs of modern history, the prize has gone to the outliers, the dreamers and the divergent thinkers.

Educational systems that focus on purely rational learning, tend to be good at being efficient, but not necessarily good at producing innovators.

I could go on and on and on, but instead of dwelling on the negative, I want to dwell on the place of imagination and creativity in our world.

If you are connected with the educational system in Canada or the US, you may have heard of Sir Ken Robinson.

Aside from having a funky accent, he has found a way to articulate the need for change in our school systems.

In the following YouTube clip, he talks about the requirement for divergent thinking, which creates a fertile environment for creativity.

Please don't skip over the video… it’s an important part of my thought process here…

It's only 3-1/2 minutes long, and I promise, it is not boring.

Between Mysticism and Reality – The Realm of Imagination

(Here's the link if you can't see the video:

You DID watch the video? It’s really worth it.

I'll wait while you go back and do so....

As the study cited in the video show, we ‘teach’ the genius out of our kids.

The good news?

You can resurrect that inner genius, by learning to build questioning, dreaming, and divergent thinking into your life.

Now here’s your homework.

It’s simple.

I actually borrowed it from Javier (beBee) Cámara Rica.

It’s his mantra that allowed him to build a new social network to over 11 million users in less than 2 years.

It’s quite simple.

“Dream Big”

Javier (beBee) Cámara Rica

If you are not a dreamer, perhaps you can learn to question things.

Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not. 
Robert Kennedy

If you have read down this far, you may feel that I am against rational thinking.

I truly am not.

As a matter of fact, I wish there was much more rational thinking in the world, especially in the area of politics and social media commentary.

But if we treat Rational Thinking as the only approach, we are robbing ourselves of the innovation our creativity and dreams can produce, or (while it never really creates anything tangible) missing the wonder that the mystical can provide.

There's a place for the dreamer.

There's a place for divergent thinking.

And there's a time and place to question things, to see if they could be better.

I know that some of you will agree with me.

I also hope that some will disagree (respectfully of course).

That's what the comment section is all about.

....Now, where did I leave that paperclip?


Image: K.W. Pashuk

About the Author:

Between Mysticism and Reality – The Realm of ImaginationI’m the Chief Information Officer for Appleby College, in Oakville, Ontario Canada, where my team is transforming the delivery of education through innovative application of technology.

I'm convinced that IT leadership needs to dramatically change how IT is delivered rather than being relegated to a costly overhead department.

In addition to transforming IT in my role as CIO, I look for every opportunity to talk about this... writing, speaking and now blogging on BeBee ( , LinkedIn, ITWorld Canada, or at

I also shoot things... with my camera. Check out my photostream at 

Lisa Gallagher Nov 13, 2016 · #55

#54 @Praveen Raj Gullepalli, if you write a buzz about this please tag me, I love your stories! This was great.

+1 +1
Praveen Raj Gullepalli Nov 13, 2016 · #54

#53 Dear Phil, I would not take offence no matter what you would say for my incredulity too knew no bounds; and each time i met such folks it only increased my bewilderment and instilled a sense of acceptance of waves and frequencies (that is the word some used) which were simply beyond my ken. I spent quality time poking, provoking, testing, cross-checking and talking to them at length. I actually wanted to do a small book on my experiences with these amazing people, but had trouble deploying reason on their prowess. Barring their reticence, they allowed me to frisk them, remove all gadgets etc from their person...but they would just close their eyes, meditate and tell it like it is! One person would talk to a small stick, keeping it to his ear as if he was on long distance call and ask someone at some other wooden end! Did i feel like a fool! Were they laughing at me! One even offered to teach me, but backed off when i said I was married :) (what was that about?)...these are my experiences and not just claims Phil. Some of these folks are still around. But I no longer mess around with them. But I sure will write about some of the encounters and share them just for the interest factor. Thank you for your response.

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Phil Friedman Nov 13, 2016 · #53

#51 Praveen, with all due respect, I am incredulous, particularly because you claim involves your having personally encountered "many mystics" with such powers. It is such a controversial subject that, if you had personal encounters with a great number of such Mystics with such powers, I would have expected a full blown scientific study of the encounters, for documentation of circumstances and repeatability. And what a marvelous thing it would be to establish the truth of such claims once and for all,

+3 +3
Praveen Raj Gullepalli Nov 13, 2016 · #51

#12 Dear Phil, Intuition has also been defined as 'the direct perception of knowledge'' without tools of reason or empiricism aiding that perception. I have personally encountered mystics (many) who have been able to read the thoughts of a total stranger (who I knew well) 1500 kilometers away, just upon being provided the person's full name. I even called that person after this meeting with the mystic to verify the same. While the thought of the stranger itself was unusual the fact that someone so remote could access that exact thought was simply stupefying! Am as puzzled about it today as I was then. When i asked how he could do such a thing, that rustic mystic just smiled and said practice and mentioned some process that involved investing firstly belief, and a lot of sustained effort. I assume there must be some higher science to it involving physics, near-instantaneous travel, and so on! ;)

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Praveen Raj Gullepalli Nov 13, 2016 · #50

Great thoughts dear Kev. Questioning, reasoning, wondering, dreaming, postulating etc., is everyone's prerogative. It is forcing perception to fit pre-conception (in a recent instance some folks mistakenly forced their perceptions and assumed a bee was building a cult - when it was not so - and started a long thread that was based on a wrong assumption! We were light-years away from a breakthrough there actually ;). It really hurt a lot of enthusiastic, curious and wondering minds who were developing a wonderful rapport with each other. Things could have been reasonably resolved in an offline mode as most of it was technical and beyond the Ken of even perhaps a Boddie! ;) (No offence meant to our dear Wandering Aengus there :). It was a kind of in-hive inter-group talk that was rudely intruded upon sort of :) However, that threat revealed the limits of Reason in a nutshell. Reason is beautiful. Imagination is wonderful. Out of wonder and imagination sprang all seeds of enquiry and thought. We must never forget that. Of course Dreaming should be followed by Doing, once the vision is laid out to a plan. The patterns, the forms, the fractals (more like units of similarity, recurring abundantly)...they have messages to convey am sure! We can't just say that they are just there and that's that can we? Ignorance is not bliss for all! Seeking answers can be / is a tortuous path to self-realisation. The cold comfort of Reason may not suffice for all. The cult of Reason is equally abhorrent to many. The sage and tolerant accept, acknowledge and respect all for their respective worth and seek Reason and Imagination for answers and inspiration.

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Mark Anthony Nov 12, 2016 · #49

Well @Kevin Pashuk, rationally thinking this makes complete sense . I always remember snippets of info that stick with me ,of the top of my head from my studying days . One of those was " When we're born we bring something with us and as time goes on we lose that something " . I also feel a sense of anger and resentment towards social norms when I read posts like yours . Thankyou

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Irene Hackett Nov 12, 2016 · #48

"When you adopt the standards and the values of someone else surrender your own integrity and become ...less of a human being." ~Eleanor Roosevelt

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Irene Hackett Nov 12, 2016 · #47

Thank you dear @Milos Djukic for tagging me in Kevin's inspiring buzz.I would first like to respectfully point out that Robert Kennedy was actually quoting George Bernard Shaw in thay famous line. I am very interested in a 'holistic' approach to education, allowing for more organic expansion and growth, meaning the student learns according to his/her natural instincts. But that is my dream 😀 The challenge with education is that it tends to be a closed system of indoctrination within our cultural conditioning - a form of Reductionism, where certain aspects of the person are disregarded. Viktor Frankl talks about these issues as causing great emotional disturbances in college students - "the existential vacuum". Perhaps as we encourage the student to experience art, for example, we help them to open their capacity to create, to invent, to dream big! A lot of love and personal attention may be the best inspiration to fuel the geniuses we all are - these are the teachers who change lives and do not necessarily teach in a school room. Glad you wrote this Kevin; the message is very important.

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