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In defense of the digital world, the world of the mind, and the world of imagination


All of my life I've heard grownups criticize me for spending too much time in the world of the mind, in the world of imagination. And nowadays I hear it from grownups who want me to spend less time in the digital world, less time on my computer, less time reading ebooks. And it's all the same to me, just grownups trying to make me stop enjoying my imagination.

When I was a kid, I was told that I should go outside and throw a ball. I did a little of it, of course, but I always always anxious to get back to my comic books. My parents were very nice about it, and other than giving me a few anxious looks that I would get "lost" in my world of imagination, they supported me. They didn't make me feel bad about my comic books, they bought me sketchbooks, and any kind of art materials that I wanted. I grew up to be someone who read a lot, and someone who cherishes the world of the mind, the world of imagination.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, that's understandable. That's because most people have a very rich world of the mind until they're about eight, and then it stops. And that's a good thing - we need responsible people, people who will accomplish the difficult tasks that keep the world running. I really don't want a dentist to be daydreaming while he's filling one of my teeth!

But people like me never grow out of the world of the imagination. I remember stopping reading comic books, at about age 12, because I was getting interested in girls, and comic books seemed childish. At eighteen I bought my first car, and got rid of my bike. In my twenties I started wearing a shirt and tie, and got a corporate job. But my job was as a Graphic Designer, so I could still be who I truly was inside of me, even though I wore a tie.

Yes, there are people who get lost in the world of imagination. I've known a lot of creative people, and I sometimes despair for their success financially and socially. They're dreamers, and they often think of things that no one has ever thought of before. They often see the world so differently from most of the people around them that they become misfits. And well-meaning people (grownups) tell them to put away their world of the mind, their world of imagination, which nowadays exists so wonderfully in the digital world.

I'm a defender of people who immerse themselves in the digital world, in the world of the mind, in the world of imagination. I saw a lot of them when I started teaching Graphic Design and Illustration. And many of them felt as if they didn't fit into the world, but they did. It's the world of the imagination. Welcome to the digital world, make yourself comfortable!