Dante believes our imagination “rains down from the heavens”.
Calvino believes in two types of an “imaginative process”. One that begins with the visual image and arrives at words, and the other begins with words and ends at a visual image.
The basic example he gives is when we read. We read words and they become visual images in our minds.
When we watch a movie we are watching a director’s visual imagination before our eyes. A director takes a written script and creates a visual image.
A childhood favorite, The Wizard of Oz, is a great example of both types of imaginative processes.
The author L. Frank Baum had a visual image in his head of a story, he then created it into words. The director, Victor Fleming, took these words and created his own visual image which became the movie.
Calvino’s emblem for visibility is a comic strip. When he was younger, he would ignore the captions on comic strips, and write his own. He was letting a visual image become words through this process.
Calvino fears a future lacking visibility.
If I have included visibility in my list of values to be saved, it is to give warning of the danger we run in losing a basic human faculty: the power of bringing visions into focus with our eyes shut, of bringing forth forms and colors from the lines of black letters on a white page, and in fact of thinking in terms of images.