Imagination is a wonderful skill to have, I believe that most of us have this skill. Having said that, I also believe that over time, many of us discount the importance of imagination in our lives. It was important when we were young and is just as important when we are retired. Dr. Murray Hunter of the University of Malaysia Perlis explains that imagination is, in part, about filling in gaps in our knowledge.
“Imagination is the ability to form mental images, sound passages, analogies, or narratives of something that is not perceived through our senses. Imagination is a manifestation of our memory and enables us to scrutinize our past and construct hypothetical future scenarios that do not yet but could exist.
Imagination also gives us the ability to see things from other points of view and empathize with others. Imagination extends our experience and thoughts, enabling a personal construction of a worldview that lowers our sense of uncertainty. Imagination enables us to create new meanings from cognitive cues or stimuli within the environment, which on occasions can lead to new insights.” And, Dr. Hunter explains it’s not always a conscious process.
The reason imagination is just as important now is we have different types of imagination we use on a regular basis:
1. Effective Imagination combines information together to synergize new concepts and ideas.
2. Intellectual Imagination is utilized when considering and developing hypotheses from different pieces of information or pondering over various issues of meaning.
3. Imaginative Fantasy Imagination creates and develops stories, pictures, poems, stage-plays, and the building of the esoteric.
4. Empathy Imagination helps a person know emotionally what others are experiencing from their frame and reference.
5. Strategic Imagination is concerned with the vision of ‘what could be, the ability to recognize and evaluate opportunities by turning them into mental scenarios.
6. Emotional Imagination is concerned with manifesting emotional dispositions and extending them into emotional scenarios.
7. Dreams are an unconscious form of imagination made up of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that occur during certain stages of sleep.
Truth be told, no matter how logical or intuitive you are, neither of these virtues, no matter how exceptional, will ever enable you to peer into the future and reasonably predict the twists and turns your life may take, nor the circumstances, fortunes, and friends that might someday be your own. It is, in fact, impossible.
That's what imagination is for.
Thoughts become things.
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