Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  .This section is about imagination.  Topics include: ( ) Imagination.  ( ) Inspiration.  ( ) Vision.  ---  1/24/2006

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  (1) Broad definition.  One way to define imagination is to say that any time you "think" of something that is not directly in front of you then you are using your imagination.  Thus, all memories and non-sensory thoughts are exercises in imagination.  (2) Narrow definition.  Another way to define imagination is to say that if you think of something that never happened to you then you have used your imagination.  ---  5/29/2005

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  (1) Imagination means to think of anything that is not actually the case.  If you know something to be true then you can imagine otherwise.  (2) Wonder means to imagine the possibilities for when you do not know something.  Wonder is a form of imagination.  (3) Doubt means to question.  Doubt is a form of questioning.  See: questioning.  ---  1/2/2005

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  (1) What is imagination?  Imagination is the ability to think of things that are not, that never were, and that never can be (impossibilities).  (2) Why did the ability of imagination develop in humans?  If you need to figure the odds of a situation, if you need to assess the probabilities, then you need the concepts of improbable, probable, impossible, and possible.  You need imagination to figure probabilities.  Humans needed to figure probabilities to survive.  Imagination is a survival tool.  (2) If humans had no imagination then there would be no abstract thought.  Imagination makes possible abstract thought.  Abstractions are things that are not physically real.  Imagination lets humans create thoughts about things that are not physically real.  (4) Imagination lets humans tell lies.  (5) Imagination makes possible question asking.  "Is there a hyena behind that tree?"  "It is possible that there is a hyena behind that tree."   These abilities increase survival potential.  ---  11/14/2005

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Are there any people who have a disorder that prevents them from imagining?  ---  5/30/2005

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  How is the ability to think abstractly related to the ability of imagination?  For example, when one does geometry, and considers the abstract notions of point, line and plane, is that an exercise in abstract thinking or is it an exercise in imagination?  ---  5/30/2005

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination about past, present and future.  Statements of imagination, that is, hypotheticals, take the form of "If...then", which is a type of conditional.  For example, "If it were not so in the past then perhaps something else", and, "If it was not so in the present then perhaps something else.", and "If it were not to be so in the future then perhaps something else."  The above quotes are counterfactual conditionals and are useful when engaging in reality checks such as the following: (1) Can I believe what the other  person is saying?  Is the other person lying?  Does the other person have a faulty memory or senses?  (2) Can I believe what I am seeing?  Are my senses faulty?  Can I believe my memory?  Is my memory faulty?  Am I remembering something that didn't happen?  ---  9/14/2004

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination and counterfactuals.  (1) Examples.  The factual statement, "The earth is round."  The counterfactual statement, "The earth is not round."  The counterfactual conditional statement, "If the earth was not round but rather flat then you could fall off the edge of the earth."  (2) Examples like the above lead one to posit two types of imagination.  (A) Visual imagination is the type of imagination that lets you create an audio/visual picture in your mind that deviates from real experience.  Visual imagination is a result of image thinking.  (B) Logical imagination is the type of imagination that lets you use negation (NOT) to create a counterfactual statement.  Logical imagination is a result of linguistic or sentential thinking.  ---  11/17/2004

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination and environment.  If you imagine your environment is another time and place, and if you imagine that tomorrow you will wake up and do something other than you will actually be doing (ex. Imagine you will harvest wheat, or be executed), and if you imagine this often, and intensely, how and how much will it change your mind and behavior?  Can it make you more creative?  How will it help or hinder you?  ---  07/30/1993

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination can take you farther than drugs can.  But imagination takes work.  ---  8/23/1998

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination is a byproduct of the human ability to transcend the present "here and now" to think about the future (and past).  Thinking about the future let us develop the ability to plan, and develop the ability to choose between alternative courses of action, and to think about what possible courses of action our opponents might use.  From thinking about specific cases of what might be (or what could have been) it is a short step to a more generalized imagination that can think of things that can never be.  All creativity, artistic and otherwise, stems from the same ability.  ---  11/10/2001

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination is the basis for creativity, and thus art and invention, and thus progress.  ---  12/29/2003

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination running wild.  A vivid, overactive imagination can sometimes be a hindrance if it causes you to panic and overreact.  ---  11/7/2003

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination.  (1) Imagination is based on "pretending".  Just like kids play "lets pretend".  (2) Many psychological skills are based on imagination.  (A) "Vision" is based on imagination (vision defined as long term forecasting and strategic goal setting).  (B) Creativity is based on imagination.  (C) Hypothetical thinking is based on imagination.  (3) Imagination is a key component of genius, and it is crucial for all thinking.  "What if..." is a key phrase for imagination.  (4) (A) Future studies is based on imagination.  (B) Historical understanding is based on imagination.  (5) Emotional empathy is based on imagination (imagining how another person feels).  (6) Any thinking beyond the here and now relies on imagination.  Memory is very close to imagination.  Abstract thinking is very close to imagination (ex. imagining geometric shapes).  (7) What is imagination?  Thinking by creating a picture, or a movie (audio-video).  A vivid, active imagination is able to imagine clearly, strongly and often.  (8)(A) How to develop and exercise the imagination?  Play as a child?  Play as an adult?  Taking the time.  (B) What kills or degrades the imagination?  Constant lock-step work.  ---  3/16/1999

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination.  (1) Imagination is good because (A) It is a mental workout, which is healthy.  (B) It is creative.  (2) Take a mental trip.  Two types of mental trips.  (A) Imagining the historical, the real or the possibly real.  Imagining what could have been, should have been, could be or should be.  (B) Imagining the impossible, or fantasy.  ---  10/1/1998

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination.  (1) Imagine a setting or environment.  That's easy.  (2) Imagine a person or persons.  That's tougher.  (3) Imagine people interacting.  That's almost impossible.  (4) By imagine I mean, in this note, to create using your imagination.  I do not mean to picture or create a mental image of an existing person or place.  I also do not mean to call to mind a pre-existing mental picture of a fictional person or place.  ---  11/20/2001

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination.  (1) Personal emotional imagination answers the question, "How would I feel if their experience happened to me?"  (2) Sociological emotional imagination answers the question, "How would they feel if my experience happened to them?"  ---  12/29/2003

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination.  (1) What destroys imagination?  (A) Depression.  (B) Spirit or will broken by authority.  (C) Constant work with no free time.  (2) What improves or encourages imagination?  (A) Quiet time to daydream.  ---  02/05/1998

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination.  A good imagination is key to creativity.  Seeing something like a film in one's head.  Imagining people, places, things, actions and events.  To be able to envision.  ---  07/02/1997

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination.  Five ways to get to imagination.  (1) From memory to imagination is a short step.  Memory produces imagination.  Because we never remember exactly.  There is always a question as to which of two similar memories of an event is the accurate one.  If one memory is accurate then the other memory is a figment of your imagination.  (2) From sense perception to imagination.  If you can ask yourself, "I can't believe what I am seeing.  Am I imagining it?", then the notions of illusions and mirages can lead easily to the notion of imagination.  (3) The notion of dreams can lead easily to the notion of imagination.  If you can dream when you sleep, and if you can remember your dreams, then you can more easily imagine things.  (4) The notion of doubt can lead easily to the notion of imagination.  If you can doubt that something is true, then you can imagine that it is otherwise, and that requires imagination.  (5) The notion of lying can lead easily to the notion of imagination.  If you can lie then you can imagine otherwise.  ---  6/12/2002

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination.  Pretending, imagining, trying on roles through behavior and dress, experimenting, acting.  It can be a useful way to learn and grow, as well as a communicative technique and a public relations technique.  ---  01/24/1994

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination.  To what degree can you use imagination to live in another world?  Can one be completely in an imaginary world?  Do novel writers do so?  Do novel readers do so?  How healthy is it?  How educating is it?  If you imagine a better world, to what degree do you reap the psychological benefits?  That is, if you live in an imaginary world(s) in addition to the real world what can you gain?  We tend to mock those who inhabit imaginary worlds instead of the real world.  But what about inhabiting imaginary worlds in addition to the real world?  Can you imagine so well that it seems real?  Can you gain imaginary experience?  ---  3/29/2000

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Imagination.  What is the lowest animal to possess imagination?  Lets give two definitions of imagination.  (1) Imagination defined the ability to picture or call to mind the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and touch of anything that is not directly in their immediate environment.  This is imagination defined as mental imaging.  Perhaps the first animal to have memory was the first animal to have imagination.  Here I posit two types of memory.  Reactive memory causes an automatic reaction to a stimulus without conscious thought.  Image memory is memory that plays like a movie in the head.  Humans are so used to using image memory that we forget that most animals possess only reactive memory.  (2) Imagination defined as the ability to picture (using any of the sense abilities) something that one has never experienced before.  This definition rules out all memory-based images.  This is the common definition of imagination.  Yet how about confused, distorted or melded memories?  They can create new pictures which fit this definition of imagination.  Thus we can define imagination as a distortion of memories.  And one can argue that anything we can imagine must in some way be based on memories of what we have previously experienced.  (3) What survival benefit does an animal get from having imagination?  Imagination lets you plan strategy.  Imagination lets you invent tools.  ---  6/14/2002

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Inspiration: grab it when it strikes.  ---  12/30/1992

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Inspiration.  (1) Getting in the mood to create.  Inspiration as a mood or motivation.  (2) Getting an idea.  Inspiration as a new thought.  ---  10/1/1998

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Inspiration.  (1) Getting inspired (vision), getting psyched (drive), and being optimistic are three different things.  (2) Getting inspired 24 hours a day.  How to do it?  ---  06/17/1994

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Inspiration.  Biographies of heroes, pictures of babes, mountain walks.  Travel, change of view.  Great works of art (literature, visual arts, music, movies, etc.).  Seeing the work of past and current greats.  ---  12/30/1992

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Inspiration.  Definitions of inspiration.  (1) Inspiration as motivation.  (2) Inspiration as ideas and emotions which arrive seemingly out of nowhere, but probably out of your subconscious.  ---  5/15/2001

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Inspiration.  Music is very inspiring.  Music provides vision and emotion.  ---  12/30/1992

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Inspiration.  The big two questions: (1) X inspires you to do what most?  (2) What inspires you most to do x?  ---  12/30/1992

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Inspiration.  Types of inspiration.  (1) Inspiration to create.  (2) Inspiration to live.  (3) Inspiration to do anything.  ---  4/10/2001

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Inspiration.  What inspires me currently?  The lives and works of artist and thinkers.  Any great and noble act or work.  Quality, excellence, genius.  ---  12/30/1996

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Is imagination a form of thinking?  When we imagine an emotion are we thinking of that emotion?  Should I move all my imagination notes to the thinking section?  Yes.  ---  5/29/2005

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  PART ONE.  Imagination and its relation to depression and anxiety.  (1) Depression and imagination.  Lack of imagination is a cause of depression.  Lack of imagination is not merely an effect of depression.  When you cannot imagine any possibilities it is depressing.  (2) Excess of imagination is a cause of anxiety.  Excess of imagination is not merely an effect of anxiety.  When you imagine too many negative possibilities it can cause anxiety.   PART TWO.  (1) Imagination is a key element of the human mind, in both health and in illness.  Usually imagination is a useful, helpful thing.  What causes imagination?  Imagination is in large part based on memory.  The hypothesis that I am advancing here is that memory, through its role in imagination, plays a larger part that suspected in both psychological health and psychological illness.  (2) Imagination is a mental process.  There is a mechanism of imagination.  There is a neurochemistry of imagination.  ---  2/15/2006

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Vision and inspiration are closely related.  ---  5/30/1998

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Vision is future thinking, in at least three ways.  (1) To imagine clearly a better situation.  (2) To believe it is obtainable.  (3) To want it.  ---  1/22/1999

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Vision is important.  What could be and how.  What should be and why.  Seeing what is most important.  How clear you see it.  Vision of the new; vision of the future.  ---  12/30/1992

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Vision vs. inspiration.  Vision is seeing the big picture, and far into future, and most important things.  Seeing ways to go, and not, and why.  Percent of time you spend with any size vision window.  It closes due to fatigue, stress, distractions, poor nutrition, and pathological psychology.  ---  06/01/1994

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Vision, future thinking.  Being able to see the possibilities.  Being able to see the potential in a situation.  Vision, or future thinking, is a vitally important skill, because vision is one of the major bases of motivation.  What motivates people is often a vision of the future.  ---  4/23/2006

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Vision, types of.  (1) Vision of what could be.  (2) Vision of how to achieve goals.  (3) Vision of seeing beyond surface appearances.  (4) Vision as seeing beyond the present.  ---  11/20/2001

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Vision.  (1) The vision yields focus, concentration, drive, and energy to pursue it.  Lack of vision yields depression, aimlessness, no drive, and laziness.  (2) Aimless wandering and doing nothing, is it all bad?  How much time should we devote to it?  Vs. aimless yet actively searching and exploring, wandering for any good idea.  ---  06/10/1994

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Vision.  Definitions of vision.  (1) The big picture.  Global thinking.  (2) Long term picture.  Future thinking.  (3) Complete picture.  All the details in every subject area.  ---  5/15/2001

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Vision.  Holding the vision takes psychological and physical effort, time and energy.  Our normal state is mental rest (like a lion), pleasure, and satisfaction.  High ethics takes work.  Cool out and wait for the next big idea.  ---  03/30/1993

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Vision.  The vision is in music and babes, which yield hope, energy, ideals, life and love.  Not in despair, lethargy and practicality, which yield death and emptiness.  ---  10/8/2000

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Vision.  To get the vision: Calm down, relax, get quiet.  See and feel your interests, and likes/dislikes, and reasons why.  ---  01/01/1993

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Vision.  Without the vision there is only depression, hopelessness, and lazy inactivity.  The vision is future thinking.  ---  07/30/1993

Psychology, thinking, imagination.  ---  Vision.  You have to have a strong, sure sense of (1) Who you are, and (2) What you believe in.  And you have to be willing to fight for yourself, and for what you believe in.  And you have to know how to fight.  Otherwise people will just use you for their purposes, or destroy you when you get in their way.  Knowing what you believe requires ethical development and thinking.  ---  12/26/1997

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.