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A.O. Kime Articles:

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Betrayal
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Time (nature of)
Two Septembers
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SOCIOPOLITICAL
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The Human Imagination... the nemesis of cognitive science

artist rendition of hammock and book ... an original inkwell philosophical analysis

An empirical review of man's imaginative faculties

(5th edition - March 2008) by A.O. Kime
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The human imagination has been subjected to many empirical beliefs over the ages which philosophers began seriously trying to tackle in the 17th century. Following their lead, ultimately science got involved and became a matter under study by what is now known (1973) as 'cognitive science'. Since it is of a metaphysical nature, naturally there would be disagreement over what the human imagination entails. Although the questions surrounding it are approachable from many angles, scholars continue to focus on the ‘imagery’ aspect of the human imagination. While it is an aspect, it isn’t primary… it is getting off on a tangent which doesn’t address the greater function of imagination.

Aristotle has been credited as being one of the first to try explaining ‘imagination’ when he began to address mental images... although it should only be said he was just beating around the same bush. Aristotle seemed to have been trying to associate it with 'common sense' (sensus communis). However, philosophers later decided that 'common sense' and the 'human imagination' are two different things (Descartes- Treatise on Man). In this, all would probably agree that for the purpose of describing functions, to consider them separate is only logical. Well, we shall see.

A fresh look at the human imagination

Our imagination is a phenomenal mechanism we rely on amazingly more than we realize. We might think we just use it occasionally, perhaps believing it is limited to daydreaming or kicks-in when we try to project the outcome of a particular action. Actually, we use our imagination almost 100% of the time. The human imagination is so deeply intertwined with our thinking process that if separated, we couldn’t think at all. Almost everything we ponder is in need of it and almost every thought reeks of it.

While similar concepts have been put forth before they never really flew... although the idea had at least some support. Webster's dictionary states that, along with the more obvious descriptions, it is the ‘ability to confront and deal with a problem' and ‘resourcefulness’. More provocatively however... ‘the thinking or active mind’. Yet, curiously, imagination is not commonly considered 'the thinking or active mind'. For some reason, it never caught on with the public. Of course, in order for a concept to fly it must, at least, be commonly known.

The public adopted the concept as a whole however obviously because imagination was easily determined to exist. Cognitive functions were surely commonly known to exist even in the Stone Age... the public ultimately referring to each of them by giving them names. Thence, with help from philosophy, science took over.

Although the understanding of cognitive functions wasn't advanced very far by science, only in scientific terminology (but of little help in understanding their metaphysical aspects), early science (philosophy) did make some valuable contributions. Identifying the sixth sense and subconscious mind (as such) were especially great milestones. Since the 19th century however, there has been little or no progress. Science and philosophers are seemingly stymied... and, in frustration, continue to pump out bizarre concepts which will never fly. Clearly, as we have seen, the decision whether they fly or not belongs to the general public.

The area where science and philosophers are really having trouble, and most everyone else, is just what ‘cognizance’ is all about and how all our thinking processes are related. It is also a matter of whether they actually exist as perceived. Above all else however, it is a matter of just how and why they exist... and we all know where that leads. Cognizance (awareness), from all indications, is the manifestation of life itself but that’s a different subject for the purpose of this article. The primarily purpose here is to demonstrate the relationship between thinking and imagination, specifically the centuries-old concept that imagination is involved in each and every aspect of our thinking... that it IS our mind. While this concept isn’t as popular today, it simply may be due to the wider variety of concepts to choose between. Some latter-day philosophers have doubts the human imagination even exists as Gilbert Ryle addresses in his The Concept of Mind (1949).

Imagination and analyzing

Of all the ways one can break down the conscious thinking process, which includes the ability to analyze, imagination plays a roll. In fact, imagination is an integral part of analyzing. One cannot effectively analyze without imaginative input because it helps point out the next logical step. Imagination and analyzing are so intertwined that they, for all practical purposes, are inseparable. However, if imagination and analyzing are inseparable, yet we can still relate to them as separate processes what is this telling us? For one thing, it might suggest this cannot be... that these terms represent the ‘result’ of our thinking process rather than being individual processes themselves. In other words, anyone considering them individual processes is giving them more credit than deserved. Although, in the strict sense, they assuredly don't exist either way. Perhaps we are limited to determining whether they are 'more-so' results or 'more-so' processes. Or, are they so interconnected they can't be separated? Yet, to some extent they can be... but this limited extent can only serve narrow purposes. For example, when the early philosophers decided to make 'common sense' and 'imagination' two different things, what purpose did this serve? Well, it was for lesser purposes than for understanding the whole. While perhaps they thought it might lead to the whole, it didn't.

To put it another way... if someone said assumptive and analytical activities are independent processes, and therefore the cause (of the results), they'd be right. Yet if someone said they are instead sub-functions, and therefore the effect (of the mind), they'd also be right. Depending on how you look at it, assumptive and analytical powers could be classified as being either the cause or the effect. Being classified doesn't mean they correspond to ethereal realities however. The whole matter keeps revolving around how one looks at it. The mind is approachable from many angles but for the unknown, such as it is, there are countless false doors. Actually, the unknown must first (somehow) be seen in totality before its aspects can be accurately determined. Being a matter of metaphysical semantics however, it can't be explained briefly.

It could also be said that by trying to subdivide our mind could be throwing us off. Subdividing the mind may be a good way to understand some things but a hindrance if understanding the totality of our thinking process is the goal. Considering them separate functions could also be negatively effecting how we perceive our 'being'. Understanding life is the ultimate goal, isn't it? In other words, once terms are applied to spiritual/metaphysical aspects, they have a tendency to create our understanding rather than assist our understanding. Terms also have the effect of degrading the magnificence of the whole and this magnificence is something one should not forget if to get anywhere. In a sense, this applies to material objects as well. For example, a skyscraper looks more beautiful when not considering its parts. Furthermore, that's how the architect wants you to look at it.

Dreams and assumptions

However it is perceived, one should appreciate the power of the human imagination and its extent is, well, awesome. While this isn’t really a revelation, or anything not pondered before, it’s just that we don’t think about it much. We really can’t consider a proper place for something in the scheme of things if we take it lightly or underestimate it. It is one thing trying to make sense of it laboratory fashion, quite another to have an intimate appreciation. In the metaphysical realm, intimate appreciation is closely related to intimate understanding.

First of all, we’ve all experienced our imaginative powers within dreams but that’s just one example the extent of its capabilities. In dreams, the imaginative input is obvious... whereas in other departments the imagination is not so apparent but nonetheless just as active.

Let’s also consider ‘assumptions’. There is a lot of input from imagination when it comes to making assumptions... simply because we’re using our imagination to fill in the blanks in order to arrive at a conclusion. As just one example among thousands, before planning a trip of some kind, we use our human imagination to first determine whether we really want to go. In almost everything we do, for a lack of data, we use our imagination to fill the voids. In other words, knowledge creates the framework of thought and imagination does the rest.

Imagination... the default processor

In recognizing every thought is dependent on the human imagination, one should easily conclude imagination is the default processor in lieu of information. As for 'analytical reasoning', this could be considered the result of our data banks and imagination working together in unison. We shouldn’t forget ‘analytical reasoning’ only describes an action in a way we can relate, and while valuable for that purpose, it only serves our current concept on how thinking works. The same thing can be said about instincts or even our 'frame-of-mind'.

While imaginative, assumptive and analytical reasoning define actions, and within the current concept good terms to be using, descriptive and easy to relate to, accurate within the context of our current understanding, but they, as part of the established framework, may well be negatively influencing what is actually the case. Yet, since the public has grown attached to these terms, and the sciences and professions reliant, any newly discovered truths would likely be held hostage for centuries. Actually though, to consider imagination as the default thinking process wouldn't threaten the established framework. Such a consideration would merely be redefining the role imagination plays.

To put it in yet another way... having already given names to these actions, as if separate functions, this serves the purpose of communicating about the matter in our everyday affairs. These terms are established terms and therefore serve us in practical ways however inaccurate they might be. Except for reaching a higher understanding, many concepts could be in error and still wouldn’t affect people in their daily affairs. In other words, if normality seems present in our everyday affairs, it creates the illusion our concepts must therefore be correct. Humans functioning normally, or seemingly normal, is not proof their adopted scientific concepts are accurate. Thinking the world was flat wouldn't have affected daily affairs either. Today, with the professions in charge more-so than even 'science' itself, often guilty of manipulating it to keep themselves a viable profession, the money-oriented drug companies in particular, it's easy to relate to those flat-world times.

So where does that leave us? Since the sciences are now largely self-serving as is the case with organized religions and most all institutions, we've got nobody left but the spiritually-minded to defer to. We can't trust the establishment anymore. Perhaps it's time for empirical thinking to make a comeback... once the only method to arrive at conclusions in ancient times before the sciences came along. So, could spiritual/empirical thinking advance man's knowledge? In metaphysical matters, it is the only way... spiritual perspectives can see more of the forest.

However, spiritual/empirical revelations must also be thought scientifically credible... the public wouldn't have it any other way. On the other hand, the veracity of the sciences is at an all-time low, reminiscent of religions during the Dark Ages. Scientific dogmas, like religious dogmas, have become entrenched. Will the public have to wait centuries for verification? To improve their standing with the public, it would behoove the sciences to at least take heed of spiritual revelations. With thousands of spiritually enlightened people around the world, an untapped resource to date, reoccurring revelations would point out trails for science to follow. In metaphysical matters, it is time for the sciences to engage the public.

Don't forget to read the amazing article "The sun... is it alive or not?" and if you like poetry see "metaphysical poetry" and/or "poetry a la mode" (yes, right here on the world's 1st and only 'reality plus' website)

Yet, the public may not want anyone spoiling the wondrousness of another mystery. Like the moon for example... science having stripped it of its romantic hue. Comets, once thought a deliverer spewing the seeds of life across the universe, its magical glow has been reclassified as a 'dust ball'. While scientific explanations may continue to ruin the excitement curiosity holds, dampen our wonderment, the magic of metaphysics is protected within our subconscious mind. It is a matter which divine intelligence can testify.

A.O. Kime

Matrix of Mnemosyne... the place of smoke signals from the spirit world

Last modified: 03/05/16