DOI: 10.14704/nq.2006.4.1.89

Imagination and The Randomness of Thought

Lars Rönnbäck


Imagine no imagination. Thoughts would be nothing but appropriate responses to stimuli, humans reduced to rely on instincts alone and ideas impossible. If we on the other hand had only imagination, thoughts would be disconnected from the world outside us, our minds living in solitude without the possibility to communicate. Both ways are evolutionary dead ends, so nature devised a better way, one where imagination and instinct play equally important roles. Somewhere in between the two extremes we find our everyday selves. We live more or less imaginative lives, altering between states influenced by different degrees of imagination. It is such and integral part of life that we have taken it for granted and rarely reflect upon the ways it affects us. But it plays such an important role for us, and evolution as a whole, that we ought to be more familiar with its nature. It is the birthplace for ideas, and strangely so since the best ones seem to pop up at the most unexpected times. Sometimes it is when you walk away from a difficult problem that you come up with the solution. It is almost as if imagination stands in contrast to concentration and is given more room when you enter a state of relaxation.


imagination, mind

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