Imagination is Our Truest Inner Force

William Blake once said something akin to ‘imagination in isolation can lead to the shackles of madness’, but do we ever have the opportunity to truly imagine in isolation?

We are all the product of nature and nurture – if I had grown in total isolation in nature without nurture, alone in a forest, say, what would I be able to imagine?

Without others – and perhaps never seeing myself or hearing myself – I might have not imagined anything at all and only seen the reality around me. Who knows? I doubt anyone’s had that experience, and how would they communicate it never having had to communicate to others before?

Though perhaps as with the notion of ‘genetic memory’ there can be ‘genetic imagination’ giving us the ability to imagine beyond our experience and the nature that surrounds us, imagining through our deeply embedded memories of our ancestors’ imagination?

Our imagination is the product of nature and nurture – it is shaped in large part by our environment, our upbringing, our evolution, our history, our friends, family, neighbours, enemies, our collective; it is shaped by how we come together and who we come together with through the rituals, ceremonies and events that bring us together and unite us.

Our collective imagination is shaped by our collective nurture in society, by our unity and it is our collective imagination that, in part, as a product of this collective nurture that can enable us to create and build better futures, to become better ancestors, to build better society.

So, to truly imagine better futures for all using our truest inner force we need to all come together, to join our forces, to imagine as one, to imagine collectively and to share our imaginations.


Dr. John L. Collins is a scientist, innovator, and Disruptive Technologist who has worked in areas from lab-grown diamonds to synthetic biology, AI and blockchain to ethics and Intellectual Property. As an art-led engineer, he uses his imagination and love of creating and making in many forms to devise inventive solutions to big challenges.