Imagination is the mental capacity to transcend the immediate here and now. Although grounded in the experiences of sensory perception, imagination takes us beyond what we see and hear into the realm of the hypothetical and possible, of what might be or could be as opposed to simply what is. Our consciousness and our mind space is colossally expanded, above and beyond perception and memory, through the capacity of imagination. Our minds breathe and set sail into the limitless realm of the indeterminable and the infinite within imagination. Imagination is the means by which the human mind experiences freedom to explore and ponder existence.
Imagination is necessary for future consciousness. Going beyond what is and what has been, imagination allows us to envision what could or can be in the future. Throughout recorded history humans have been capable of transcending the present through imagination and visualizing varied possibilities of the future. Future consciousness is our most distinctive and empowering human mental capacity and imagination provides the means to consciously explore the future.
Imagination is human creativity at work. Imagination is a creative act, drawing upon the raw material of perception and memory and constructing new realities, hypothetical and real, out of these building blocks. Without imagination there is no creativity in the human mind. All of our inventions emerge out of imagination. Our level of creativity reflects how rich, flexible, and expansive is our imagination.
Imagination can be cultivated and enhanced. We can seek out creative and imaginative works of art, literature, and other human activities and study them, and allow our minds to be stimulated by them. Practice daydreaming, read fantasy and science fiction. We can exercise our imagination, visualizing and mentally manipulating images in our minds. We can paint pictures and write songs in our minds. We can purposefully attempt acts of creation. Strengthening imagination requires work.
Imagination is the possibility space of consciousness. The power of our imagination is judged by the plurality and diversity of its creations. The imaginative mind creates many possibilities and not just one. Our minds are as closed and confined, or as open and expansive as is our imagination. In fact, in imagination we are able to break free into the impossible. As Robert Goddard, the great rocket scientist stated, “It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.”
For more ideas on imagination and creativity see my book Future Consciousness: The Path to Purposeful Evolution, Winchester, UK: Changemakers Books, 2017.
Dr. Tom Lombardo is the Co-Director of the Center for Future Consciousness (with his wife Jeanne), Fellow and Executive Board member of the World Futures Studies Federation, and author of numerous books and articles in psychology, philosophy, education, and the future, including Future Consciousness: The Path to Purposeful Evolution.