Imagination in “The Queen’s Gambit”

November 23, 2020

From “The Queen’s Gambit”

In “The Queen’s Gambit”, currently showing on Netflix in the U.S., the protagonist Beth Harmon, a young orphan is first introduced to the game of chess by observing from a distance. Having activated what develops into a genius for the game, she uses the stimulant and relaxant drugs her orphanage requires to activate her imagination to run through games and moves.

A sometimes demeaned phenomenon, imagination is present and available to anyone with only a shift of attention and a willingness to trust this arational aspect of knowing. As a form of knowing imagination follows logic that does not apply to rational knowing.

(Mild spoiler ahead!) Beth’s dependence on the drugs for this imaginative process runs throughout the story until near the end she discovers she can, and must in this instance, use her imagination in this way without the drugs. For me, this was one of the best parts of an engaging and entertaining story.

For one scholarly and enlightening explanation of the logics of rationality verses arationality see: Gregory Bateson, “Style, Grace, and Information in Primitive Art”, in Steps to an Ecology of Mind. 1972

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Queen’s_Gambit_(miniseries)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steps_to_an_Ecology_of_Mind?wprov=sfti1

One Response to “Imagination in “The Queen’s Gambit””

  1. Sandy Says:

    Wonderful connections with imagination!

    Liked by 1 person


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