Picture a coach telling his players, “Come on, get serious. Destroy those guys! This is not just a game, it is your life.” If he can get his players pumped with these images and feelings, victory certainly has a better chance.
Visualize treating a patient with acupuncture or giving a patient some medicine. The more the patient is convinced of the power of the treatment, the more effective it will be. In fact, that power will be amplified further if the practitioner is also convinced of the power of the treatment.
Imagine a charismatic jihadist or politician getting his listeners to see a flat world of “us vs. them” and having his spell-bound followers feel the power of self-righteousness and hatred. Imagination for these skilled manipulators is a trustworthy ally.
When believers gather together to talk to their imaginary god, the power of the group amplifies the illusion: the voice of the god can be heard more clearly, the visions and feelings flow. The group thus confirms the power of their god.
Writers and artists find that treating creativity as if it comes from outside themselves helps to nurture that creativity. This is because we fool ourselves thinking we are in control of our thoughts. We fool ourselves in imagining who we are. We are many things. Imagination can show us that — for the better or for the worse. Imagination can feed both love and war.
The trick is to let imagination be your friend and not your master. Such a balance is very delicate. Our imaginations are our servants in some aspects of our lives and enslave us in others. This “double-edged” principle can be seen in many aspects of our mind including our analytic skills and our emotions. Making the mind an ally is an art.
Questions for Readers:
- How do you view the double-edged sword called “imagination”?
- Has your imagination ever stung you?
- Do you feel you use your imagination as well as you could?
My related posts: