“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Albert Einstein
Imagination is the ability of the mind to create mental images, sensations and concepts, which helps contribute to the understanding of knowledge and the learning process. Children use their imagination as part of their early learning process to translate stories such as fables and fairy tales into vivid images in their minds. As children we do not have any boundaries or barriers. A cardboard box can turn into hours of fun for a child when they pretend it is a red racing car or a time machine.
When we read a novel our imagination is used to evoke images of the story in our minds, experience feelings of the characters and stimulate our senses. As the text is read our mind translates the words into visual images that essentially creates a fantasy world. The interpretation of the text and words of a novel may be different for each individual because each mind perceives the storyline from a different perspective.
Imagination is strong in children, however, as children develop into adults many lose their imagination. Unless we encourage imagination in children, this ability will dissipate from lack of use, and it may be difficult to revive in later adult life.
It is easy to forget the power of imagination. People go about their daily lives on autopilot, accepting the status quo and not challenging their current situation. People spend a large proportion of their time complaining and blaming others for their own undesirable situation, instead of taking action. Everyone has some imagination even though it may have been lying dormant for years. By using our imagination we can begin to visualise the life we desire.
Imagination starts with the word “image”. By combining images we already know, we can create something new in our minds. For example, in the 1800’s the fountain pen was created by combining the image of a quill-pen and the inkwell used as a dipping reservoir. Many new ideas emerge through the combination of existing well-known images, a process called constructive imagination.
Everyone can unleash greater imaginative capacity by developing the right mental attitude and making a concerted effort to play with images to create new combinations and connections. Set aside some time to play and create new worlds through your imagination. Who knows, you may develop the idea for the next blockbuster movie, best selling novel or new product.
What are some examples of how you use your imagination?
Dr John Kapeleris