Imagination: Two Excerpts from "Out of Africa" by Karen Blixen that struck a chord....


On what impresses Blixen's Native Africans (hint, it's *not* power or money):

"Amongst the qualities that he [the native African} will be looking for in a master or a doctor or in God, imagination, I believe comes high up in the list. ... When the Africans speak of the personality of God they speak like the Arabian Nights or like the last chapters of the book of Job; it is the same quality, the infinite power of imagination, with which they are impressed."

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On the Native African's mortal fear of regularity over danger:

"When I first came out to Africa I travelled on the boat with a great German Scientist, who was going out, for the twenty-third time to experiment with cures for sleeping-sickness, and who had over a hundred rats and guinea-pigs on the boat with him. He told me that his difficulty with the Native patients had never been any lack of courage in them--in the face of pain or a of a great operation they generally showed little fear--but it was their deep dislike of regularity, of any repeated treatment or the systematization of the whole; and this the great German doctor could not understand. But when I myself got to know the Natives, this quality in them was one of the things that I liked best. They had real courage: the unadulterated liking of danger--the true answer of creation to the announcement of their lot--the echo from the earth when heaven had spoken. I sometimes thought that what, at the bottom of their hearts, they feared from us was pedantry. In the hands of a pedant they die of grief."