We need more heads in the clouds

Dreamers are achievers because they use their imagination to innovate

In Summary

• Nothing original comes out of sensible

Image: FILE

I was having a semi-formal chat with someone the other day about entertainment graphic novels (comics). The person wanted to know what sort of people read entertainment comics; basically who they are, what they like, how they think. And so I told him.

He then wondered if graphic novel/comic book people would be interested in current affairs (news) if it was conveyed through this medium of comics. I said no.

My answer wasn’t based on any thesis I’ve written on comic book fan interests, but I do spend time with this lot, and I also happen to be a comic book person, partly anyway.

It’s not that comic book people aren’t aware of what’s happening in the world, they just don’t care enough to have an opinion about the everyday, like initiatives for bridge building, the load capacity of donkeys (punda-mzigo), or Trump’s tweets on Mexicans, Muslims and migrants.

As for me, I’m interested in the news only as far as it’s a goldmine of fiction story ideas. Some of the real-life goings-on in the news, you can’t make that stuff up.

But I digress. So no, I said to this person I was having a chat with, comic book people won’t be more interested in the news because it is in a comic. The person then surmised correctly that comic book people’s heads are in the clouds.

Later, I thought about this phrase, head in the clouds. It means a person not paying attention to what is happening around them, who’s in his own thoughts, head filled with unrealistic ideas. It’s dreaming and visualising on an audacious scale — no limits. It’s the Wright Brothers before their first contraption took flight. It’s the Apollo 11 moon landing when the project was first conceived. It’s the smartphone when someone first thought of the idea before anyone had ever heard of such a thing.

Not in Kenya, though. Here, if one’s head is in the clouds, he or she is considered feckless. Kenyans value common sense more, we’re practical people. I say that like it’s a bad thing because it is.

Common sense can be described as the knack for seeing things as they are and doing things as they ought to be done. The problem with common sense is it lowers our dreams to an achievable level we know we can easily meet, as that’s how, looking at it sensibly, things are and how things are done. Nothing original comes out of sensible.

It’s understandable, this reliance on common sense and being practical. It pays the bills, keeps the lights on. But common sense comes second to head-in-the-clouds thinking. The guy who thought up the moon landing wasn’t the engineer who went up to the platform with a blowtorch to weld the heat shield onto the spacecraft. How it works is, head in the clouds thinks, common sense welds.

I get that people are afraid of head-in-the-clouds thinking as part and parcel of it is failure, and here’s a quote for that: ‘If you’re not failing, you’re not trying…’ Jillian Michaels.

‘Head in the clouds’ is not idle, frivolous thinking. People who respect it call it, Big Thinking.