Imagination is the Star in the Human
Can we imagine the imagination?
Imagine an image of two overlapping circles, one of which represents the outer world (everything outside ourselves which is not us), the other representing our inner world (the realm of our private experience – our consciousness). Now concentrate on the almond-shaped area of overlap between the two circles. I think of that area of overlap as the ‘house of the imagination’, where our inner world merges with the outer world to shape the experience from which each of us builds our personal stories. For we don’t just live in the public world around us, nor only in the private world within, we live where those two worlds meet. And the outer world and inner world are interdependent at every moment. We are simply the locus of their collision. Our imagination is a dynamic process of negotiation between the outer world and the inner world. The overlap fluctuates all the time, the greater the area of overlap is the larger and more inclusive is the embrace of our imaginative vision.
Imagined in this way, the imagination becomes an instrument of liberation, one to which we all have access to, something more democratic than elitist, which serves to celebrate and enlarge our common humanity.
I regard the imagination as the means by which we shape our vision of the world and our place within it, and also as the primary means by which we can transform it.
I’m regularly considering the relationship of imagination to time. It is through the imagination that we often try to envisage what will happen in the future, but our imagination plays such a large part in helping us to remember what has happened in the past, begging the question ‘Is memory itself is an act of imagination?’
Richard Bright is the Editor of Interalia, an online magazine dedicated to the interactions between the arts, sciences and consciousness, which is part of The Interalia Centre he founded in 1990. Formally studying both Fine Art and Physics, he has lectured extensively on art and science, written articles on artists such as James Turrell, Andy Goldsworthy, and Susan Derges, and co-authored the book, The Art of Science, exploring the work of 40 artists and artist-scientists from different cultures and eras to uncover how they designed futuristic technology centuries ahead of its time.