by Catherine DeAngelis
Imagination is not a talent of some people, but is the health of every person.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the image above, perhaps a photographer used imagination to create a thought-provoking photographic technique. Most of us can probably imagine the meaning intended here, but is it the same meaning the photographer hoped to show us from his mind’s eye?
The dictionary defines imagination as the ability to form ideas or images in the mind and the ability of the mind to be creative or solve problems. This means then we all have imagination, we use it in our every day life.
Many words are associated with imagination, such as artistry, creativity, fancy, ingenuity, insight, inspiration, inventiveness, informal mind’s eye, originality, enterprise, resourcefulness, sensitivity, thought, and vision. Other related forms are image, imager, imagery, mental imagery, imaginable, imaginary, imaginative, imaginativeness, imagine, imaginings.
Benefits of Imagination
Jane Bolton, Psychology Today in her article “’Build Self Esteem and Zest with Intention and Imagination’ explains imagination as one of the six functions of our minds (along with logic, reason, will, memory, perception, intuition). Our ability to use our imagination for our benefit plays a major part in our experience of power, self-esteem and joy. In fact, one definition of the word “empowerment” is the ability to assign advantageous meanings to life’s events. Facts are facts. But the meanings of the facts we make up, imagine, and interpret all the time. We can’t help ourselves–our minds are made to create meanings.”
Imagination, including imagery has been approached from serious scientific, philosophical or historical perspectives. Nigel J.T. Thomas Ph.D. is a philosopher, cognitive scientist, and historian of science and psychology who has developed a web resource for the study of imagination and mental images and their relevance to the understanding of consciousness and cognition.
Taking Imagination Seriously
An Artist’s View – Take a look how Janet Echelman, an artist who uses imagination to capture a windy day and watch her bring it to life through her art. She presents her artistic point of view on Ted Talks to explain how she found her true voice as an artist. “When her paints went missing, it forced her to look to an unorthodox new art material. Now she makes billowing, flowing, building-sized sculpture with a surprisingly geeky edge.”
A Poet’s View – To take a slightly more whimsical and romantic view, let’s agree with poet and spiritual teacher, Sri Chinmoy who writes, “Imagination is birthless and deathless, its power is inexhaustible.”
If we are able to take imagination and weave it into expansive works of art, we can also take imagination and apply it to our lives. The approach we take is to look at a more imaginative way to refresh or reinvent our life stories and see through a different lens that anything that once may have been impossible is now possible.
Listen to BBC talk more about Imagination
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