Society consensually projects the idea of imagination to childhood and it often equates it with immaturity or a lack of thinking seriously and rationally.
Even artists and people with a creative flair in general have been directly or indirectly discredited at some point in their lives - either at school, at home or by their peers.
It's as if the liberal
use of the imagination is silently shunned by society.
The Historical Demise of Imagination
The root of all this comes from a global culture in developed countries that has been increasingly leaning towards a patriarchal, logical and rational based society.
In spiritual literature, creativity is seen to be more the domain of the feminine and in neuroscience, creative imagination is found to be more dominant in the right hemisphere of the brain.
If you look at the history of the western world, one can see a crescendo, especially during the last 200 years, of a trend towards a 'left-brain' dominated society.
In the early 20th century, ideologies such as Fascism and the scientific movement known as 'logical positivism' come to mind.
These are notorious
examples of 'chauvinistic' or 'left-brain' ideologies.
"What really made us leap forward
as humans since we invented fire
is our imagination"
What I find interesting when I look at the two sides of our brain - logical rationality vs. creative imagination - from a historical perspective, is that the world has not progressed because of logic and rational thinking but despite of it.
What really made us leap forward as humans since we invented fire is our imagination.
I am not discrediting
rational thought. Rationality was and is helpful to refine, make
clearer and structure ideas and thoughts. It is also needed to keep
imagination in balance because if imagination runs too wild and out
of control it can also be destructive as much as a society
completely devoid of it.
If you look at the greatest Scientific theories and discoveries, you will see that they were spurred by the use of the imagination and intuition. Rationality, logic and mathematics is later used to verify (or falsify), structure and define those conjectures and ideas.
In short, imagination is what makes the world go round.
"I think of imagination
as not just the power of
summoning up images and fantasies in the mind,
but rather the power
to make something out of them…"
Going back to why imagination has been misjudged, I believe that it has been given the wrong attributes.
For instance we think of
imagination as being at odds
with reality or as being
completely illusory and hence has no place in everyday life. I
think of imagination as not just the power of summoning up images
and fantasies in the mind, but rather the power to make something
out of them and hence has a practical dimension too.
Yet imagination can also be used to create your world into being.
Who Killed our
No one knows if there was one culprit or assassin...
The imagination has been a victim of our times.
Some say that our loss of
using our creative imagination, such as more 'primitive' cultures
did was an unavoidable consequence due to the cyclic change of the
ages and we are now heading back to an age where our creative and
imaginative side will be embraced once again.
has a lot to do
with the subversion
of our creative sides"
We have built a schooling system that is geared up to encourage academic thinking but not how to think better in the first place, even less how to use our creative imagination in extraordinary ways.
From another point of view we can ask ourselves,
There are various practical aspects to imagination apart from the most obvious such as in the Arts.
Here are a few I would
like to share: