What is imagination? Is it useful and if so, how do you use it and/or can it be a hindrance?
In a brief discussion dedicated to imagination (De Anima iii 3), Aristotle identifies it as “that in virtue of which an image occurs in us” (De
Anima iii 3, 428aa1-2), where this is evidently given a broad range of
application to the activities involved in thoughts, dreams, and memories. Both Husserl and Sartre theorized
imagination as picture consciousness, and Sartre wrote two books on the
imagination early in his career, defining imagination as the synthesis of our
knowledge of and our intention, and
imaginary objects as a "melange of past impressions and recent
knowledge" (The Imaginary 90)
Dr. Carl G. Jung said, “All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right
have we then to depreciate imagination.”
His psychology emphasized Active Imagination
as a method for visualizing unconscious issues by letting them act themselves
out. Active Imagination
personifies the "parts" of us that are talking -- to create more
clarity or even resolution that might not be possible with ordinary linear
Cognitive psychology focused on mental imagery in the 1970s. Great claims continue to be made, by
some, for the healing powers of guided imagery, whereby clients (or
patients) are encouraged to visualize particular scenes or scenarios thought to
have therapeutic value (e.g., Rossman, 2000). Guided imagery techniques have
been claimed to be effective for purposes ranging from chronic pain relief
(e.g., Fontaine, 2000) to breast enlargement and global spiritual renewal
(Willard, 1977; Ekstein, 2001) Currently,
Science (the study of how
thoughts interact with the physical world) continues these studies.
Imagination is not limited to only seeing pictures in the mind, it includes all the five senses
and the feelings. Imagination makes it
possible to experience a whole world inside the mind. It gives the ability to
look at any situation from a different point of view, and enables one to
mentally explore the past and the future.
Is imagination the common thread that unites creative endeavors?
According to the Dictionary of Philosophy of Mind : “despite being a familiar word of everyday language, imagination is a very complex, contested, and evaluatively loaded
concept. It, like many cognate terms, often appears to have radically different
senses and connotations when used in different contexts.”
What do YOU think?