There are many things that in fact cannot be imagined, by anyone. Pain for instance: your own experience of extreme pain a week or a month ago. You can remember THAT it was terrible; you can no longer imagine it. This occurred to me in the course of "rap sessions" at the local Depression/Bipolar support group. As we discussed our feelings when depressed it became clearer & clearer to me that while I could remember having a deeply depressed experience it was really pretty abstract: I could not actually _imagine_ my own experience of depression; and if even the person who had experienced it could not, when it was past, imagine it, how could those who had never experienced it (e.g. the spouse, child, parent of a depressed person) imagine it? They could not, and ought not to try to; BUT they could _accept_, _acknowledge_, THAT the experience existed. The same thing applies to (e.g.) infantry combat, spousal abuse, childbirth; blindness. It was always false and even offensive for someone to say, "I
know how you feel; I feel your pain."
Because the imagination always falls short of certain kinds of experience, it is essential that one learn to _accept_ even if he/she cannot imagine those experiences as real, and respond accordingly to those who have experienced or are experiencing the state.
An actual example. Some years ago I was on a depressed and bipolar e-mail list. One person explained that she often had moments of extreme rage, which for her were signaled a few seconds in advance by some physical sensation. On that signal she would immediately leave the room, and her family members were trained NEVER to ask her why she was leaving or to follow her. Her experience could not be shared or imagined or understood by others -- but they could accept as true her report of it and act accordingly.
Another example, a frustrating one for me. A major symptom of my "depressive syndrome" is pathological procrastination. I can _never_ get others to believe it; I'm forever encountering the response of "Me too; I'm always putting things off" or some equivalent claim that I'm wrong when I speak of my _pathological_ procrastination: they think they can imagine the experience I'm reporting. There is a difference however from mere habitual putting off and _pathological procrastination_.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
> Nancy Gish
> Sent: Monday, November 19, 2012 9:55 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Jean Verdenal awarded the Croix de guerre
> I teach WWI literature. The nearest I ever could come to imagining it was in the
> Imperial War Museum in London. In the lower level there is a reconstruction of a
> trench: it's dark and you see flares and hear the five-nines and screams. I had to
> leave. I could not even bear a reconstruction. How did any of them live even a
> >>> Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> 11/19/12 9:54 AM >>>
> "And the band played Waltzing Matilda"
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
> > Rickard A. Parker
> > Sent: Sunday, November 18, 2012 5:14 PM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Jean Verdenal awarded the Croix de guerre
> > For Rememberance Day (see also Armistice Day and Veteran's Day)
> > On Mon, 12 Nov 2012 16:38:43 +0000, David Boyd <[log in to unmask]>
> > wrote:
> > > http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-
> > dead/casualty/1640845/MYERS,%20CHRISTOPHER
> > >- my grandmother's brother. RIP.
> > That prompted me to search for the lost Jean Verdenal on French websites.
> > I came upon a photgraph of him that was published with other soldiers that
> > had the honor of being mentioned in dispatches:
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentioned_in_Despatches#France
> > He was posthumously awarded a Croix de guerre (roughly the equivalent for
> > U.S. Bronze Star Medal and Silver Star or UK Military Cross and Military Medal):
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croix_de_guerre
> > He has a place of honor on a plaque memorializing doctors.
> > "A la gloire des internes en m�decine des h�pitaux de Paris victimes de la
> > grande guerre"
> > "morts au champ d'honneur" -- died on the field of honor (in battle) versus
> > "mort pour la France" -- died for France
> > http://memorial-genweb.org/~memorial2/html/fr/photo.php?id_source=39504
> > As I mentioned, he has a photo on the web that was published in a news
> > magazine/newspaper:
> > http://jeanluc.dron.free.fr/th/V/slides/verdenal_jean.html
> > with the caption "A rempli ses fonctions avec courage et devouement. A ete
> > tue le 2 mai 1915 en pansant un blesse sur le champ de bataille."
> > "He fulfilled his duties with courage and dedication. He was killed May 2,
> > 1915 while bandaging a wounded man on the battlefield."
> > Regards,
> > Rick Parker