Imagine if we had no imagination
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28-08-2016, 08:24 PM
RE: Imagine if we had no imagination
(28-08-2016 07:55 PM)DLJ Wrote:  Please miss, I have a question.
(at the risk of off-topicking away from theism and into philosophy/science)

What is imagination?

Presumably, as a thinking tool, it's an emergent app evolved from our pattern-recognition software that enables us to project to future possible scenarios ... from "if/then" to "what if?".

But how does that work? What's the chemical mechanism?

How acutely can we imagine (recognise a potential pattern) that we have not personally experienced or (via presumably mirror neurons) seen someone experiencing?

How do we get to pleasure/pain imaginings from the words on a page?

I'm not sure I can see an internal model for this.

aka, I'm not imagining it.

Consider

I'd like to take a stab at this question if you don't mind, DLJ. I think the imagination is the brain's ability to take the things it has experienced and rearrange them into new combinations that it has not. I've seen a monkey, a grand piano, an ironing board, and the summit of Mount Everest. I've never experienced a monkey ironing on the summit of Mt. Everest while simultaneously playing a grand piano, but I can imagine it.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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28-08-2016, 09:45 PM
RE: Imagine if we had no imagination
(28-08-2016 08:24 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  ...
I've never experienced a monkey ironing on the summit of Mt. Everest while simultaneously playing a grand piano, but I can imagine it.

Weirdo!

Tongue

Big Grin

I'll grant you that, but how?

I understand the "what for?" (ultimate causation = evolutionary advantage) but I don't understand the "how come?" (proximate causation).

And then what can we conclude?

Does a greater ability to imagine (combine patterns of monkeys, mountains and pianos) increase the likelihood of seeing god? Dance's reply, above, would indicate not.

Similarly but differently, I had myth-data (other peoples' imaginations) uploaded before Jesus-data so my pattern-recognition software categorised the latter as another form of the former.

Is it connected, as Dancefortwo indicates, to our fight/flight/freeze defense mechanism?

Pattern recognition of nihilism / death --> stop thinking --> run to daddy = god.

Huh

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29-08-2016, 12:12 AM
RE: Imagine if we had no imagination
Actually beginning to wonder if I have a true imagination!

I would create things in my mind as even a small kid, but the building blocks of my ideas would be the physical world around me. I can reassemble those pieces into an entirely new creation - but is that an act of imagination?

I always describe myself as "analytic, pragmatic and practical" with a side dish of creativity. Or should that be "re-creativity? Being a lover of sci-fi I tried writing a book when the publishing revolution started. Then I realised that I was merely assembling elements of other books into another combination, there was nothing new there. There are now hundreds of new authors in English alone, the better ones find a new twist, many plagiarize as I did.

Does this bother me? Not seriously, so long as I can reassemble those building blocks in a way that no-one else has done so (to my knowledge.)

I can visualise, I can see the missing part that completes the whole - but, somehow, do not feel that comes under the title "imagination". Yet I still have a rich mental environment to draw on, even if I is composed of observed items.

It's mainly memory that let's me down these days! Big Grin

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29-08-2016, 10:29 AM (This post was last modified: 29-08-2016 10:33 AM by true scotsman.)
RE: Imagine if we had no imagination
(28-08-2016 09:45 PM)DLJ Wrote:  
(28-08-2016 08:24 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  ...
I've never experienced a monkey ironing on the summit of Mt. Everest while simultaneously playing a grand piano, but I can imagine it.

Weirdo!

Tongue

Big Grin

I'll grant you that, but how?

I understand the "what for?" (ultimate causation = evolutionary advantage) but I don't understand the "how come?" (proximate causation).

And then what can we conclude?

Does a greater ability to imagine (combine patterns of monkeys, mountains and pianos) increase the likelihood of seeing god? Dance's reply, above, would indicate not.

Similarly but differently, I had myth-data (other peoples' imaginations) uploaded before Jesus-data so my pattern-recognition software categorised the latter as another form of the former.

Is it connected, as Dancefortwo indicates, to our fight/flight/freeze defense mechanism?

Pattern recognition of nihilism / death --> stop thinking --> run to daddy = god.

Huh

Just as I said: by the ability my brain has to visualize scenarios based on my experience. It is the creative faculty. Creation means, metaphysically, the rearrangement of nature into new forms and arrangements just as when we quarry stone to make buildings and statues. Imagination is the mental equivalent of that process.

Reason and imagination may work hand in hand but they are fundamentally different. Reason is the faculty that perceives, identifies and integrates the fact of reality. It is outward looking. It observes and identifies objects it doesn't create them. Imagination is not a process of identification but of creation. But it requires reason, and physical action to make what we imagine real. Before Henry ford could create his assembly line he had to create it in his imagination since no such thing existed for him to perceive or observe. But just imagining it didn't make it real. Steve Jobs had to visualize the ipod before he set about discovering, through reason, how to create it in reality. All of the materials existed already but they had to be rearranged into a new form first in the mind and then by a physical and rational process, in reality. The imagination is the blackboard of the mind. I've got a lot more to say but I have to go to work.

Without imagination there'd be no art, no stories, no music, no hospitals, no computers and no ipods.

I don't think it has anything to do with the fight or flight mechanism, but I could be wrong. The fight or flight mechanism is automatic, imagination is volitional. It could be that it is an improvement on the automatic fight or flight mechanism because it lets us work our what to do if say, a lion starts chasing us, before we've had that experience and it gives us a way to work out what to do in advance using our reasoning faculty. An animal fights or flees automatically, man invents the rifle.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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29-08-2016, 10:44 AM
RE: Imagine if we had no imagination
(28-08-2016 12:02 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  Who knew imagination could be so powerful ?

That's all there is. Even reason is imaginary. Have you seen some of the fucked up logics we come up with.

(28-08-2016 07:55 PM)DLJ Wrote:  But how does that work? What's the chemical mechanism?

I'm not a doctor but I'd bet it involves dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine and a bunch of other neurotransmitters we have not yet imagined.

#sigh
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29-08-2016, 11:08 AM
RE: Imagine if we had no imagination
I should have read your first post more carefully, TS!

As often with this sort of subject I go back to a deginition:
imagination
ɪˌmadʒɪˈneɪʃ(ə)n
noun
1 the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.
2 the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful.

But that merely seems to offer more questions!

I once read that the sculptor or career "sees" the object in the raw medium, the eyes see the outside layer, the brain sees the shape inside. That, perhaps, is what I feel is true imagination.

I have a near neighbour, currently a computer tech at a school but also a gifted graphic artist. But he cannot even start a picture without something that he can see as an example. I asked him to do a little sketch for something I was doing for the local school. I had to sketch the thing out before he could even start. He did seem able to visualise a Cotswold hill scene without the clue. All he did, basically, was "improve" my sketch, but to a level I could not acheive. Give him a photo of a similar scene and he will give pictures back in a number of styles and media.

So, according to some quick reading visualisation and "internal models" are important factors. The models are built of experience and observation.

Thus, perhaps, I do have an imagination!

Now, what is happening in the mind of the kitten or pup as they chase a toy around the floor or "fight" something? Do crows, parrots and other intelligent birds that play have imagination? Or is it just "instinctive" behaviour or mimicking?

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29-08-2016, 11:16 AM
RE: Imagine if we had no imagination
At work.

".......................................... "

Consider

Nope, I got nuthin'.
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29-08-2016, 11:19 AM
RE: Imagine if we had no imagination
(29-08-2016 11:08 AM)Gloucester Wrote:  Now, what is happening in the mind of the kitten or pup as they chase a toy around the floor or "fight" something? Do crows, parrots and other intelligent birds that play have imagination? Or is it just "instinctive" behaviour or mimicking?

That is a very interesting question. How about another primate? Do chimps have imagination? They have learned to make and use a few tools. Is that sufficient evidence? Beats me.

#sigh
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29-08-2016, 11:27 AM
RE: Imagine if we had no imagination
(29-08-2016 11:19 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(29-08-2016 11:08 AM)Gloucester Wrote:  Now, what is happening in the mind of the kitten or pup as they chase a toy around the floor or "fight" something? Do crows, parrots and other intelligent birds that play have imagination? Or is it just "instinctive" behaviour or mimicking?

That is a very interesting question. How about another primate? Do chimps have imagination? They have learned to make and use a few tools. Is that sufficient evidence? Beats me.
That is a very interesting question. I think you're right about chimps.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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29-08-2016, 11:49 AM
RE: Imagine if we had no imagination
(29-08-2016 11:27 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(29-08-2016 11:19 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  That is a very interesting question. How about another primate? Do chimps have imagination? They have learned to make and use a few tools. Is that sufficient evidence? Beats me.
That is a very interesting question. I think you're right about chimps.
Trying to remember if I have ever seen video of any of the great apes "playing" other than "play fighting" or "play displaying" (banging a stick around),or even play mating? Learning social rules and the pecking order takes up a lot of the non-feeding or sleeping time.

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