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Thread: what is imagination?

  1. #1
    Registered User Neha Khan's Avatar
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    what is imagination?

    Hi friends,
    I would like you to reflect upon, what actually imagination is? What role does it play in our lives? How it leads to creativity? How poets, writers, philosophers and artists use imagination ?
    Weep no more,nor sigh, nor groan,
    Sorrow calls no time that's gone:
    Violets pluck'd, the sweetest rain
    Makesnot fresh nor grow again.
    Trim thy locks, look cheerfully;
    Fate's hid ends eyes cannot see.
    ----John Fletcher

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    Welcome to the site, Neha Khan! You ask quite the challenging question.
    Jean-Paul Sartre wrote extensively of imagination in both Being and Nothingness and a book ironically entitled Imagination.
    Being and Nothingness made my head hurt, but Imagination had a lot to say regarding the dichotomy of perception and imagination, that imagination seemed a type of perception, but perceived inwardly, complete, and multi-dimensional, while perception itself, on the other hand, requires the senses and has less dimension; what he means by dimension - when seeing a coin on the ground, we can perceive its shape, color, but only its one side, while we can imagine its opposite side, what its insides consist of, what it could purchase, etc. Does that make sense?
    With that in mind, I wonder which we could learn and discover more from - perception or imagination? Does either directly lead to knowledge?
    Discoveries and inventions rely heavily upon imagination, in my opinion; Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and Eli Whitney, to name a few, would unlikely have invented their contraptions without imagination and creativity; Sir Isaac Newton, Anton van Leeuwenhoek, and Albert Einstein the same with their discoveries.
    How imagination leads to creativity? Simply said, it does. Unfortunately, imagination owns the bias of its beholder, and this can plague the judgment, for, as they say 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' in my opinion, created 'beauty is in the imagination of the eye of the beholder.' What an artist creates, for example, by his/her creativity and the tools of imagination, may not measure up to what the artist imagined; in Sartre-like thinking, this appears as the fault of transferring the imagination to the perception, the potential to the kinesthetic, thought into material. Furthermore, in terms of creativity and imagination, even if the artist felt satisfied with the created piece of art, we have all no doubt encountered the artist who thinks his/her artwork is the bee's knees, comparable to the greats, and the artist may refute all critique.
    With that matter aside, artists of all kinds use imagination, as it seems a prerequisite to their creations; imagination and ability will always result in creativity, and that defines an artist. Everyone has imagination, everyone has various abilities, but the artist can recognize his/her ability and combine it with the imagination; the judgment requires perception, however, and the perception of the artistic result by the artist or on-lookers may not seem as good or bad as what the artist imagined.
    In terms of the imagination engendered in philosophers, I would really have to think about that one. Where imagination plays the role in logic seems questionable, as logic appears more of a step-by-step process, and imagination has more of a . . . you know, bang process! When Plato thought of the Tri-partite State in The Republic, I doubt he imagined the idea, but found the logic of the political system by reason; towards the beginning, Plato must have imagined an ideal, Utopian State, which lit the first fire of The Republic, but I believe he, and most philosophers, developed their workings less by imagination and more by step-by-step cognition.

  3. #3
    dafydd dafydd manton's Avatar
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    Imagination, if I've got this right, is the ability to put yourself somewhere completely different. To be able to see, in your mind's eye, situations that you've never experienced, to hold conversations that never happened, although they could have. To put yourself in someone else's place, to be able to live a small part of their life, and tell others about it. Not only that, but to make it either totally plausible, or totally implausible. Douglas Adams was a genius at it. If you ever watch children playing, they have the most amazing imaginations. They can see, which we can't that what looks like a box is actually a racing car, a spaceship, a house, whatever they want it to it to be. They can play games with situations that they cannot have encountered, which is a gift that life rather knocks out of you as you get older. Certainly forty years ago, the education system did not want you to have imagination, it wanted you to conform. it wanted you to follow unnecessary rules like not starting sentences with conjunctions. Fortunately, there were enough people out there to ignore the strictures of an over-formatted sociey, who had the imagination, wit, flair, drive or whatever to do what they wanted, and the era produced some good literature (amongst some absolute dross). Imagination seems to be the art of being something you aren't and getting it down on paper. I would imagine so, anyway.
    Dafydd Manton, A Legend In His Own Lunchtime!! www.dafydd-manton.co.uk

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    Registered User Neha Khan's Avatar
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    Thanks for your remarkable responses. Yes imagination is everything you believe in, anything you long for, it's about aiming and wishing, living your dreams and making them a reality. Martine luthe imagined a free world and people made it a reality. It is about being a visionary.
    Weep no more,nor sigh, nor groan,
    Sorrow calls no time that's gone:
    Violets pluck'd, the sweetest rain
    Makesnot fresh nor grow again.
    Trim thy locks, look cheerfully;
    Fate's hid ends eyes cannot see.
    ----John Fletcher

  5. #5
    nothing lasts forever maraki16's Avatar
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    imagination....to me imagination has a key role in my life. it is fantasy. it is the act of dreaming. it is what inspires me in this dull world. imagination helps me feel free. it makes me believe for some moments that everything is possible, though in real life it might not be. imagination gives me strength in order to survive in a non-dreamy world. it is like a potion. and i believe it is important for creativity. if you cannot imagine something, imagine the details mixed up with the feelings, then you will not be able to create. you will simply make.
    love is like a flower; it needs warmth and light as well as some space and care in order to grow. if you take care of it it grows and blossoms and you can taste its scent and touch its velvet surface and look at its bright colours. if you don't, it dies. and of course a flower has no meaning either if you don't give it to someone or have it growing next to another one. flowers are delicate. and so is love.

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    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    In fact all I have to say is imagination what fuels our inventive faculties in point of fact.

    If we have no imagination we will be as backward as animals.

    Today man lives in big cities, uses the Internet and takes flight far and wide of the country.

    Imagination is what leads us to creativity.

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

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