Human Imagination

An eagle may have much keener eyes then ours but it cannot "see" the things that we can!"

"Mankind's Two Imaginations"

If there is any distinguishing trait that sets humans apart from all other
species on the planet it is their powerful imaginations.

Human Imagination is made up of a "Learning" imagination and a "Creative" imagination.

The "Learning" imagination is the ability of humans to learn to learn from others. To imitate what they see other people do. To learn to associate sounds (language) and symbols (writing) with abstract ideas in their mind and to communicate these abstract ideas with other people.

"Creative" imagination is the ability to create new words, languages, concepts, inventions, innovations, art, etc.. These two distinct imaginations create "Human Imagination" the undisputed power behind all human endeavor. It created the "MIND" of mankind. It made the amazing human adventure possible.

It changed the Homo Sapien species (modern humans) from being merely intelligent beings, such as the Neanderthals, into a super species whose powerful imagination has catapluted it to unbelieveable achievements. The Neanderthals had a stronger learning imagination then the earlier 'Homo' species and the beginning of a creative imagination but it never evolved into the powerful imaginations of modern humans.

The higher animals are also intelligent to a degree. They have a limited "learning imagination" but lack the power of "creative imagination". They are able to learn to survive and prosper from their parents, they establish territories, learn how to forage, hunt and defend themselves. They may be able to adapt to new environments and learn various tricks if taught properly and fed. They learn by imitating, they have adequate learning imaginations but little or no creative imagination. They cannot progress, they do not improve their conditions. This is where they differ from humans.

Human Imagination (a mixture of powerful creative and learning imaginations) has allowed humans, in a relatively short period of geological time, (around 50 to 100 thousand years), to create thousands of cultures as well as millions of useful inventions and concepts, to discover and explore nature's secret worlds from the unbelievingly small microbe world to the astronomical world of black holes and galaxies. It has given mankind the power to discover many of nature’s laws that guide everything in the universe. It has enabled mankind to travel to the moon, send robotic probes out to the edge of the solar system.

Most people think to imagine means to fantasize or daydream but this powerful mental ability means much more then that. 'Human Imagination' is the ability to mentally visualize abstract ideas and concepts and to associate this mental power with vocal sounds and writing. Any mental activity that requires a visualization within the mind is a form of imagination. All humans possess this amazing power in various strengths. The following are some of areas of imagination: to create, to reason, to theorize, to speculate, inspiration, to associate, to perceive, to comprehend, to think, to philosophize, to understand, to learn, to ponder, to memorize, to analyze, an idea, a concept, etc..

It makes it possible for people, to associate marks on a paper (writing) with objects and concepts, to communicate complex ideas with other people across vast distances, to create and listen to beautiful music. Above all, human beings are storytellers! Human imagination has allowed mankind's superminds (creative geniuses) to create words, languages and stories that explain everything humans encounter - whether or not the stories and concepts are correct. Human Imagination is our only contact with the supernatural, there could be no heaven or hell, devils or gods without this powerful trait.

The rich legacies of the Greek philosophers, ancient mythologies, etc., would not exist without human imagination nor would the great religions of the world. The abstract world of mathematics or the scientific method of thinking would not be possible without this remarkable ability. Human Imagination is the undisputed power behind all human endeavor. It created the “ Mind” of mankind, the vast network of human minds of the past and present that are able to communicate ideas across time and distance. Imagination made the amazing human adventure possible.

Human Imagination is made up of two distinctive, very powerful imaginations in the minds of modern humans - a "Learning imagination" and a "Creative imagination". All modern humans have these imaginations, but the strengths of these two imaginations, vary greatly between individuals. For a better understanding of human nature, "Human Imagination" is the defining reason for the difference in people's aptitudes and abilities. The following four groups can go a long way in explaining the great diversity in the nature of people.

  • The largest class is the ordinary everyday people. They have both an ordinary learning imagination and relatively weak creative imagination. These are the people who just bump along through their lives, learning just enough to carry on their jobs and life, creating little innovation and not very curious about anything that does not concern them. The intelligence level of this group goes through a whole range of learning ability from above average to the mentally disadvantaged people. They go through life, going to work, raising a family, enjoying life.

    This is an extremely important group of people. They are the people who get the work done, they build the roads, the bridges, the pyramids, the great walls, the cities, grow the food. They work in the factories, building the products that the more creative people have invented and improved. They are the people who get things done! It would be a very different world if everyone was a creative genius just sitting around coming up with new inventions, philosophizing about new theories and concepts. Nothing would get done, we very much need this class of people to carry out the ideas of the more creative people.

  • Another category of people have stronger learning imaginations relative to their weaker creative imaginations - they are the people who are very good at learning (comprehending & memorizing) - great students that excel in school. They are likely to become leaders - teachers, professors, doctors, generals, admirals, politicians, etc. But with a weak creative imagination they are not visionaries - they don't come up with new ideas that can propel mankind to ever higher levels of achievements. They may live very successful lives in their fields of endeavor but do very limited innovating .

  • Some people are just the opposite - they have weak learning imaginations but strong creative imaginations. They are the people who come up with the wild original ideas. Most of their ideas are too far out or not workable but then some of their ideas are revolutionary. Some creative inventors, philosophers, artists, and musicians fit into this category.

  • The real super minds (geniuses) are the people who have strong learning and also strong creative imaginations plus an insatiable curiosity. - they are the inventors, philosophers, scientists, explorers, etc. who have propelled mankind since the time of the transformation. These are the people who do not accept the “status quo” - they always want to dig deeper, go down new paths, try new ways. These are the people who have propelled the "MIND" of mankind, across the ages, to ever higher levels of existence.

    The diversity of talents of these four general classes of people working together create the efficiency of the modern human’s civilizations. Someone had to conceive the idea of the ancient pyramids, someone had to design them and then it took a really lot of people to build them. These four general categories explain the difference in the ratios of strength of the "learning" and "creative" imagination that cause the large diversity of abilities and aptitudes in the nature of people (the Homo "Imaginative" Sapiens).

    Donald L. Hamilton © 2002
    Refer to: Chapter 8 - "Human Imagination"
    "The MIND of Mankind: Human Imagination, the source of Mankind's tremendous power". (Published 1996)

    ( Click on cover)

    Imagination - The Power that makes us Human!
    Plus - New concepts in Cosmology, Physics, and Astronomy.


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