The Power of Imagination
Summary: Human imagination mostly functions in the same way as the universe. This essay is about the power of imagination, and how it can be used along with reason and faith to improve your thinking and behavior.
Both reason and faith are important in our search for truth. However, they can neither answer all your questions nor help you make a sense of the world. They do not adequately satisfy your curiosity about the world or explain all the mysteries. One cannot solely be robotic or dogmatic in thinking and behavior. Human beings cannot exclusively depend upon reason, nor upon faith and emotions to solve their problems or verify truths. We need a still more powerful, useful and holistic approach, in which every faculty and every type of intelligence is used to elevate our thinking to a vastly different level to understand the truths of the universe and our existence. In that, imagination also has a place and its own importance. Unfortunately, most of us tend to ignore it and do not make adequate effort to polish this particular skill.
Imagination is a superior power, which in many ways greatly enhances the ability of the human mind to comprehend truths and make a sense of things. Therefore, instead of solely relying upon reason and faith, we should also bring the power of imagination into our observation, exploration and analysis of truths. Where facts are not clear and causes cannot clearly be established, we must use imagination to bridge the gaps that exist in our knowledge and understanding.
Undoubtedly, imagination is far superior to reason and faith because both can be sustained and improved by it. Even to think rationally you need imagination, while faith cannot be sustained without it. Further, while logic is bound to certain principles and processes, human imagination has no set boundaries or limitations. It is an unbound and free-flowing mechanism, which can be stretched in every possible way and in every direction with no limits.
In many ways, the algorithm that controls our imagination seems to be a mental replica of the program that runs the universe itself. Hence, the functioning of the human mind is similar in many respects to the way the universe functions. Because of imagination, our minds have the plasticity and an unlimited capacity to be anything and become anything. Because of our imaginative ability only, we are able to comprehend the mysteries of the universe or formulated the abstract notions of God principle.
Just as the universe, the human mind is also an open-ended and indeterminate system, with no set rules, where reality can be anything or become anything, with no limits whatsoever, except those which one puts on oneself due to fear or ignorance. Just as numerous possibilities exist in the universe, we can conceive in our minds infinite probabilities and possibilities.
For example, in your imagination you can be anything that you want to be. You can be a superman, who can fly in the sky or travel to distant planets or perform any superhuman task. In the fraction of a second, you can build in your imagination anything that you desire, even whole universes. You can build multiple realities or fast forward to a few million years into future or go backwards into the past. Without moving, you can travel in your mind from one corner of the universe to another in a brief moment.
Further, whatever one can imagine in the mind or in reverie can potentially happen in the universe. It may not happen in your life or in your lifetime, but it can happen in some dimension or space and time of the universe, where the laws of physics or the quantum reality may not even be the same. For example, in ancient times people imagined flying machines. Today, it is a reality. In today’s science fiction, we come across many scientific possibilities regarding space travel, time travel, instant healing, artificial intelligence, extraterrestrial life, quantum jumps, and traveling through wormholes to reach the far corners of the universe. Currently, they may appear as the products of one’s rich imagination, but someday they may truly be possible.
Without imagination, we would never be able to empathize with others, discern truths about them or express our humanity, and reason cannot comprehend truths that are imperceptible to our senses, or solve complex problems where causes cannot clearly be discerned or established. Without imagination, it would not have been possible for the humankind to establish an advanced civilization or go beyond the planet to explore space and the solar system.
Imagination extends our mental reach into the objective world to grasp its immensity and diversity, without feeling overwhelmed. With its help, we can envision the infinite universe in our limited consciousness and understand its dimensions and mysteries. We can also mentally visualize many processes that happened in the past, including the evolution of life or the progress of our civilization through the millenniums.
It is true that our imagination is confined to the mental realm. It is not real in the physical sense because we cannot readily manifest in the physical world or make it immediately happen. Yet, we cannot ignore its importance in our survival and in shaping our future. Imagination along with reason and faith help us foresee and believe in reasonable outcomes of any action, problem or situation. They help us formulate hypotheses when we do not have adequate proof or knowledge or foresee possibilities when we cannot predict future. In problem solving and decision making they help us find alternatives and analyze different scenarios. They are also extensively used in brainstorming, creative thinking, and scientific inventions, innovations and discoveries.
In the field of psychology and mental health, imagination helps us improve our thinking and behavior. With the help of visualization techniques, we can reprogram our minds, overcome unhealthy habits and cultivate healthy ones. With their help, we can induce hypnotic states and go deeper into our own subconscious minds to find the hidden causes that are responsible for our behavioral problems, defensive mechanism and suffering. They are also helpful to foresee future possibilities and take necessary measures.
Imagination is invaluable in decision making, creative problem solving, planning and dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity. In psychology and spirituality, imagination and visualization techniques are frequently used to reinforce positive behavior and attitudes as well as to weaken negative behavior and habitual thought patterns, apart from using them to induce altered states of consciousness to discern the hidden causes of abnormal patterns of behavior.
In your quest for truth, in solving problems and dealing with people and situations and to improve your life, knowledge and wisdom and seek fulfillment, you can safely rely upon these three faculties. You can use reason to analyze your behavior, make right decisions and choose right values, principles and goals. In difficult situations and in the midst of ambiguity and uncertainty, or where reason and analysis do not give you clear answers, you can depend upon faith to persevere in your actions or believe in yourself, in your values and principles or in a higher power.
We live in an indeterminate world where each living being is a work in progress and life is a sum of possibilities and probabilities. It is a word in which none can be certain to achieve anything. However, even amidst the chaos, confusion and uncertainty, you can always estimate the possibilities and probabilities of something happening or not happening, and act accordingly. It is where we have the hope to make things possible and be effective in reaching our goals.
Combine the power of imagination with those of reason and faith to multiply the power of your mind and its intelligence. Use your imagination to foresee possibilities and probabilities. With the help of reason, set your goals and devise intelligent strategies and plans to increase the possibility of reaching them. As you implement your plans and pursue your goals, persevere in your effort, using faith to strengthen your resolve and conviction, so that you succeed in your efforts and increase the chances of creating the future you desire.
One can understand the importance of imagination from the fact that visualization techniques are used both in psychology and spirituality to program the mind and overcome behavioral problems or reinforce new behaviors. In future also, it is certainly going to play an important role in areas such as the development of Artificial Intelligence or the quantum mechanics.
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